Retire in Mexico or Centeral America

Old Feb 26th, 2015, 03:53 PM
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Stew, if you somehow manage to spend 30% more on your groceries, you are either shopping at OXXO or surviving on Pop Tarts and frozen pizza while you're away from your wife. And with the exchange rate @ 15? Maybe you just eat a lot more on vacation.
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Old Feb 26th, 2015, 09:26 PM
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Panama..it is on the dollar!
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 05:43 AM
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Mega or Commercial. Don't know when the last time you shopped for groceries in Northern California but Winco or Food Source will be at least that below the average Super Market in Mexico.
PS I eat out at least one meal a day in Mexico.
PS Having check out rents in both San Miguel & Oaxaca your statement about cost of Living in either is nonsense.
The Apartment I have in Guanajauto would run double at the minimum either place.
Heck even the guy who put San Miguel on the map ("On Mexican Time" by Tony Cohan) now lives in GTO.
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 11:47 AM
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BTW, Mega and Comercial are the same stores. And in the context of this thread, that of retiring somewhere, perhaps in Mexico, the other posters may want to check numbeo.com and type in the cities they want to compare. I punched in Omaha and Queretaro, 2 places I'm fairly familiar with, and found the results to be pretty accurate. I don't know where you're from in NoCal, but when I used Sacramento and San Jose, the results don't jibe what you're implying here. I doubt if the site is 100% percent accurate in all categories, but overall it seems to be a good reference tool. If you're including eating as grocery cost, maybe that accounts for some of the discrepancy. But it doesn't make sense that you can eat out for considerably less in Mexico if the groceries are so much more expensive.

If you re-read my post, you'll see that I excluded renting in Centro, where indeed the rents are ridiculous. But you can still find apartments in the $500-$600 range, if you look hard, and they're rarely posted online anywhere. But in the context of living full time not vacationing for a month or 2,
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 02:48 PM
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I stand by my previous post. Same for Oaxaca. Our 3 choices for retirement or semiretirement were Antigua, Guatemala, Oaxaca, & San Miguel, so we checked out long term rentals in all 3. Our vacation rental in Oaxaca was $1,000 per month, so I agree that that wouldn't be what the OP and Will would be after.
Coincidentally, I picked up Tony Cohan's book in the airport on our first visit to San Miguel. The gringo boom was already happening by 2001, set in motion in the 40's when the GI Bill paid for vets to study in San Miguel. Probably a bigger driver of gringos to Mexico was baby boomers reaching retirement age. Chapala and Ajiic have experienced the same thing and Tony Cohan never wrote about them, to the best of my knowledge. After the financial crisis of '08 in the US, the influx of foreigners ground to a halt, being replaced by wealthier Mexicans, many fleeing from violence in places like Monterrey. These days, there's a lot more upper-middle class homes being built by Mexicans, as the economy here improves. Speaking of books, maybe Suze has read it, Gringos in Paradise is a fun read about a couple building a home in Sayulita. Our experiences were similar in many ways. We built a 4400 square foot home with a lake view, for $220,000 US, so,relatively reasonable real estate can indeed be had in San Miguel. That price may go up however, as we are still battling with IMSS as to whether or not we owe them $301,000 pesos.
Apologies to all as I ramble. Or drone on, as it were.
Stew, you and I disagree on any number of things, but one thing we do have in common, like Suze and probably Will, and maybe someday Valerie, is a love of Mexico. But I have a hard time understanding the criticism of San Miguel. It's not of the city itself, as most would admit it has it's charms, and a "city" is really nothing but a bunch of buildings and some streets. So the criticism is of the people. And in this case, gringos. I admit I'm pretty sensitive to it, because I, like many here that I know, have invested a lot of years and money to make it happen. I quit a 27 year corporate job to become self-employed and risked my life savings to do it. My life NOB is over; I have nothing to go back to. It seems Suze is making similar plans, as is hopefulist and maybe Will and Valerie. And the biggest irony is most of such criticism comes from people who are tourists, like yourself. They spend a week or a month in Mexico and then they pack up their suitcases and go back to the US or Canada, back to their jobs or tract homes in the suburbs where they're,...wait for it...surrounded not by a modest number of English speakers, but millions. The fantasy is over, and they convince themselves and others they've seen the "real Mexico".
What is the "real Mexico"? I'd submit it's a far cry from any of the UNESCO cities which have been carefully restored and have plenty of restrictions on new construction. Ditto for the "Pueblos Magicos", to maybe a lesser degree. I suppose most would think of places that are less touristed, however that might be quantified, but all of the aforementioned have plenty of tourists, GTO among them. I'm of the opinion that the real Mexico is where the 121,000 million Mexicans live and work, where some might kill each other, and for 99.9% of them, it's a place where no tourists go unless it's to the bathroom. It's certainly not Ixtapa/Zihua where there's probably as many gringos right now as there are in San Miguel. It's not PV, with apologies to Suze. It's a place you might see from a bus, but never visit. Or probably want to live, for that matter. Living here in San Miguel, and having a car allows my wife and I to see parts of Mexico that few on vacation ever do, and it's a real privilege to be able to do so before, as Stew says, I'm in the urn. If anyone can do something similar, I wholeheartedly encourage them to try to make it happen.
Best of luck to Suze, Will, hopeful, and Valerie on your endeavors.
Stew, I am sincere, I think you said your wife's here now, I hope you guys enjoy QRO.
Apologies again for being a blowhard.
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 06:16 PM
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Hi baldone, I too love Mexico, including a lot of places that you aren't "supposed" to visit, particularly now.

And, I agree with you about San Miguel. Although there is an awful lot for a gringa to do there happily, you can be re-immersed in Mexican culture and the Spanish language within seconds of enjoying a fantastic chamber music concert by an anglo group or an English-language theatre production.

I can't say where I'll end up, if even in Mexico, but I can sure think of a lot worse places than San Miguel!
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 09:16 AM
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There are many who criticize, especially on this forum, my love for Puerto Vallarta. Diminishing my Mexico experience because PV is "touristy" and "americanized". It sounds like it is similar to San Miguel, in that you could retire there without emersing yourself in local culture, but nothing is stopping you from doing so if you are interested.

I've observed many snowbirds and expats in PV who don't even try to speak a single word of Spanish, one example. But that doesn't mean that will be me!
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 02:14 PM
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Suze, it sounds like you didn't take my comment as criticism, cuz it wasn't. PV was my first taste of Mexico while on a cruise; I was hooked, and I spent the next 25 years scheming and scamming ways to figure out how to live here full time. I haven't been there in a long time, not because I didn't like it, but because I had so many other places on the BL. Maybe soon.
I totally agree that SMA and PV are probably similar to how you and Will describe either place. If you can't find the some
semblance of the elusive "real Mexico" in either, you're just not looking.
It's one thing to pimp your favorite place, still another to disagree
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 02:27 PM
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Geez, it's hard to type on a tablet with bad internet..

about a place or a restaurant or whatever. But I really have a hard time figuring out the appeal of criticizing where someone else goes on vacation.
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