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Gringal

Jan 30, 2010, 10:37 AM

Post #1 of 27 (6422 views)

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HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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From the many questions I've read on Mexconnect and from the many people who have tried to offer helpful answers, there is an underlying thread: Many people are looking for answers to questions they should have asked themselves before even considering the life-altering decision to pull up roots and move to a foreign country.
Yes, Mexico is a close neighbor, but it is very much a different world.

Here are some of the issues:
Do you speak Spanish? If not, are you planning to move to an expat-intensive area where there will be English speakers to ease your way until you learn enough to get by?

Are you healthy enough to undertake such a move? If you have a chronic condition requiring prescription meds, have you worked out how you will get them?

Are you ready to leave your favorite medical care facility and accept a new doctor; perhaps a new hospital?
Can you feel comfortable without your U.S. medical coverage? Think about this long and hard. The idea of going back to the states for care only works if you aren't too sick to move, and IF you have it worked out how you are going to stay in the States until you're well. Do you have a "medical savings plan" in place in case you can't be moved? Can you afford a good Mexican health insurance policy? Will you be willing to accept care in an IMSS hospital where you will need a person to help you with non-medical care during your stay?

If your spouse or significant other dies, are you prepared to stay in Mexico on your own? Could you afford it?

How about those children/grandchildren? Can you (and your spouse if you have one) be away from them for long periods without being miserable? How often do you need to visit NOB for that reason? Can you afford those trips on your budget? Will that be enough, or will you be seriously homesick?

Are you ready to deal with a culture where the priorities are very different from those in the U.S.? Where family is more important than making money, and a birthday trumps showing up to fix your plumbing? Will your blood pressure handle the many little frustrations of things like: traffic, unavailiability of your favorite (.......), the law enforcement differences?

Can you deal with a place where living behind high walls, and having barred windows is considered "normal"? Where the garden looks inward, not seen from the street?

Are you ready to be a foreigner, surrounded by a different culture? Where, whatever you used to do in the states is no longer important to anyone?

I'm sure others will add to this list. But, IMO, these are questions which every potential expat needs to consider.

Those of us who have been here a while are glad to help with the things that come up, but the above questions can only be answered by oneself. I'm always saddened to lose a new expat friend to "regrets" as they leave to return NOB.


(This post was edited by tonyburton on Jan 30, 2010, 11:55 AM)



La Isla


Jan 30, 2010, 11:00 AM

Post #2 of 27 (6404 views)

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Re: [Gringal] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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Gringal, this is a very important post. Before I made a permanent move to Mexico, I had already spent quite a bit of time here over the years, could speak Spanish well, and was aware of the cultural differences you mention. It still isn't easy at times, but I'm happy with my life here. For those considering the move SOB who haven't had the advantages I've had, it could be quite difficult. When I read posts from people eager to move here who feel confident about their choice because of all the research they've done on the internet or who've had a couple of vacations here at the beach, I roll my eyes and wonder why their common sense has flown out the window.


esperanza

Jan 30, 2010, 11:16 AM

Post #3 of 27 (6394 views)

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Re: [Gringal] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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Gringal, this is an extraordinary and well-thought-out post. Thank you for taking the time to put these questions together. Marvelous work.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









gpkgto

Jan 30, 2010, 11:27 AM

Post #4 of 27 (6388 views)

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Re: [Gringal] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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Great list and a good idea to add to it. Almost everyone who comes to Mexico from the US or Canada has a pioneer/immigrant in their past, so maybe we have a genetic predispostion that can help.


Gringal

Jan 30, 2010, 12:10 PM

Post #5 of 27 (6367 views)

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Re: [gpkisner] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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Thanks for the kudos, folks. I was inspired by considering the many people who have asked questions on here AFTER moving here which should have been asked before the decision was made.

Confession time: My husband and I moved here around 6 years ago without doing enough research, learning enough Spanish or knowing what to expect in general. Thus, we were hurtling down a highway and seeing signs like "curva peligroso" with him driving and me frantically consulting our pocket guide translation. I could write about all the hilarious things we learned along the way....but that's another story. Those books on "moving to Mexico" are often excellent...but there's nothing that can totally prepare you for BEING THERE.


raferguson


Jan 30, 2010, 1:19 PM

Post #6 of 27 (6340 views)

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Re: [Gringal] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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Looks good.

One thing that I would add would be some discussion of Medicare, which I understand does not cover retirees living in Mexico. I would guess that some newbies would not realize that.

The other thing worth adding might be the general rule of rent for a few months before buying in Mexico or selling your home in the states, although that is perhaps an issue after you have asked yourself these questions.

How about "Have you ever lived outside the USA/Canada?" Obviously someone who has lived elsewhere, even if in Europe, has a better understanding of cultural differences, homesickness, etc.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


tonynico

Jan 30, 2010, 1:46 PM

Post #7 of 27 (6325 views)

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Re: [raferguson] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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I wold think renting for a month is not long enough, that is like a long vacation. Try 5 or 6 months.

Tony


lostinmex

Jan 30, 2010, 1:49 PM

Post #8 of 27 (6324 views)

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Re: [Gringal] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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Another important point you omitted is whether the person has a hobby or other interest to occupy his/her time.

Several years ago I met a Canadian doctor who had lived for a while in Ajijic. He said the most common problems among the expats were alcoholism and depression.

From our personal experience many gringos spend all their time watching television and drinking. A very small number play golf or quilt or have other interests but most just do nothing.

Boredom is a real problem for many retirees. Retiring in a foreign country with no family around and with no knowledge of the language makes retirement much more difficult for many people.


see saw sallie

Jan 30, 2010, 2:01 PM

Post #9 of 27 (6319 views)

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Re: [Gringal] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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Prepared to get checked routinely (once a year) for parasites? Especially in areas where parasitic eggs are ingested through dust in the air (nothing to do with where you eat).

;)


see saw sallie

Jan 30, 2010, 2:06 PM

Post #10 of 27 (6312 views)

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Re: [Gringal] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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I had an opportunity to live in two other countries after living in Mexico. I realized we survived just fine in Mexico because we have family there so I turned down the idea of moving elsewhere (I have little kids; this makes a big difference in my willingness to become an expat anywhere). I suffered a few injustices while in Mexico AND still came out ok but that was because I had family to help me through it. Corruption isn't easy to deal with. I still love Mexico though and plan to go back.
Everything in your list I had to deal with...and I agree they are good questions everyone should ask themselves.


tonynico

Jan 30, 2010, 2:34 PM

Post #11 of 27 (6304 views)

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Re: [see saw sallie] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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I am already a drunk and depressed so I guess I got nothing to worry about LOL
No just kidding.

Your right you need interests! diving hiking, gym, working with dogs. Volunteer at humane society, working a garden, watching a sun set. maintenance on the house, taking a vacation, and on and on. But if you choose to veg out you will get old no matter where you are.

Tony


chinagringo


Jan 30, 2010, 6:10 PM

Post #12 of 27 (6258 views)

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Re: [Gringal] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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An observation and comments for my two cents worth:

Not so much on this forum but after a number of years of following other "local forums", I have formed the opinion that a vast majority of retirees who move south find a "gringo ghetto" and then rarely, if ever, travel beyond their safety zone. And if they do, it is often on organized tours to a tourist spot such as PV, Manzanillo, Tequila, SMA, etc. This may just be because they never traveled NOB but it is beyond my grasp how one can move to a new country and not be curious enough to do some traveling if for nothing else to learn something! For example, there are lots of people living at Lake Chapala that would not even consider driving into Guadalajara on their own. Do they have any idea of the experiences they are missing?

That said, we owned a home near the Lake for 8 years and while we never lived there full-time or for real extended periods, we did find our selves tied to the house and the various issues that homeownership demanded. It wasn't until we sold the house, that we found ourselves with the time and freedom to experience "REAL MEXICO"! What an eyeopening experience that has been! We have found ourselves really enjoying Mexico to its fullest!
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



morgaine7


Jan 30, 2010, 6:47 PM

Post #13 of 27 (6252 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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OTOH, owning a house tends to take care of the problem of what to do with your days. I've seen it suggested that those who don't want to own a home should consider a boat. ;-)

Kate


robbers

Jan 30, 2010, 8:18 PM

Post #14 of 27 (6227 views)

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Thanks, Gringal...

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...all very important points for people like me, who are contemplating the move, to consider quite seriously. And, as someone already reiterated, the "rent-before-buying" rule which is repeated so often that it should have formed a new hemisphere in our brains by now...but always worth another mention for obstinate people like me who think they can ignore such common sense suggestions with impunity. Thanks for your thoughts. Regards, Rob.


gpkgto

Jan 31, 2010, 9:45 AM

Post #15 of 27 (6167 views)

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Re: [robbers] Thanks, Gringal...

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We bought first and have never regretted it. Definitely a personal decision.


Peter


Jan 31, 2010, 10:26 AM

Post #16 of 27 (6153 views)

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Re: [gpkisner] Thanks, Gringal...

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I built a house first with no regrets, but now I rent in a more desirable location. Where I built is a nice, new colonia but just not yet well developed with all the commercial activity I like in the older colonias. Perhaps it will be better developed in a few years and IŽll prefer to stay there but I like living downtown in walking distance to everything.


gpkgto

Feb 1, 2010, 8:22 AM

Post #17 of 27 (6048 views)

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Re: [Peter] Thanks, Gringal...

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Did you build your house with Ing. Eduardo Garibay?


lmaxine

Feb 1, 2010, 10:33 AM

Post #18 of 27 (6023 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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I guess we have different friends. Almost all my friends who live Lakeside travel all over Mexico-some often go on interesting tours and others travel on their own. I would say that singles tend to be more group tour oriented and it's easier for couples to do their own thing.
Many of my friends speak Spanish decently, as do I, and traveling outside of the so-called Gringo-ghetto is maybe more rewarding and less threatening.
"He upon whose heart the dust of Mexico has lain will find no peace in any other land." Malcolm Lowry


356S90

Feb 1, 2010, 11:44 AM

Post #19 of 27 (6006 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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I realize this is off-topic, but anyone who thinks owning a boat is less work than owning a house must never have owned a boat. Many (former) boat owners will say that the two happiest days of their lives were the day they bought their boat and the day they sold it. I know lots of boaters in my home state of Washington, and they all will tell you that the costs of ownership, i.e., fuel, moorage, maintenance, insurance & all the rest, costs them about 10% per year of the original cost of the boat, and that's if you do whatever maintenance you can yourself. So if you go out and buy yourself a nice 45 foot cruiser for $500K USD, you should budget $50K per year for the ancillary costs. Regardless of how much one may like boats and fantasize about living on one, they are neither cheap to buy and keep up nor easy to own.

GA


esperanza

Feb 1, 2010, 12:08 PM

Post #20 of 27 (5998 views)

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Re: [356S90] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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The poster who suggested buying a boat was joking.

The definition of a boat is: a hole in the water, surrounded by wood, into which one throws money.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









morgaine7


Feb 1, 2010, 2:14 PM

Post #21 of 27 (5980 views)

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Re: [esperanza] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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Quote
The definition of a boat is: a hole in the water, surrounded by wood, into which one throws money.

Yep, that's what the ;-) was for!! But a boat, like a house, is a perfect solution to the problem of too much time on one's hands.

Kate


BajaGringo


Feb 1, 2010, 7:16 PM

Post #22 of 27 (5940 views)

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Re: [Gringal] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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I wrote my own list / criteria for expats considering the idea of moving to Mexico.

Expat Living in Mexico - Is it for Me? How Will I Know?

I really think that those who don't do so well down here are those who avoided asking themselves some of these important questions. That or they chose to answer them with more wishful thinking than reality...


Our House Building Project in Mexico...
Lomas de San Martin
Loving Life on the Baja Peninsula


Peter


Feb 2, 2010, 7:44 AM

Post #23 of 27 (5892 views)

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Re: [gpkisner] Thanks, Gringal...

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In Reply To
Did you build your house with Ing. Eduardo Garibay?

No, donŽt know him. A friend had architect plans for an identical lot. Got bulldozers to come in to level the lot and dig out the foundational trenches then contracted mason friends for the construction. Others in the colonia helped with the plumbing and electrical. Mostly a do-it-yourself venture.


gpkgto

Feb 2, 2010, 2:43 PM

Post #24 of 27 (5822 views)

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Re: [esperanza] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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Why the "sticky"?


BajaGringo


Feb 2, 2010, 3:26 PM

Post #25 of 27 (5811 views)

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Re: [gpkisner] HEADING FOR MEXICO? QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

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Why the "sticky"?

They probably think it is a good topic to keep near the top.

I agree...


Our House Building Project in Mexico...
Lomas de San Martin
Loving Life on the Baja Peninsula
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