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Wanna be Expats!!! Can we move to Mexico sooner? Work? Elsewhere?

Wanna be Expats!!! Can we move to Mexico sooner? Work? Elsewhere?

Jul 6th, 2014, 07:58 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2014
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Wanna be Expats!!! Can we move to Mexico sooner? Work? Elsewhere?

We fell in love with Playa del Carmen. Then we travelled to Huatulco and PV and loved it as well. We just loved Mexico, the people especially. So it became part of our life plan over the last few years to travel with a purpose - ours was to decide where we would retire to in Mexico in twently years. Great right? WRONG. We simply do not want to wait that long so were thinking of moving our timeline to 5 years, when our child graduates high school. We need help ... We will have to work. Can we do this? We are not wealthy but rather middle class. We speak english and french, no spanish. We are college educated folk. So here are the first few questions we need help with ...

Is it possible for an expat to earn a living in Mexico, if so where and how?

Telecommuting jobs, how to find legitimate ones?

Are there other english speaking places in Central American we need to consider to improve our odds of expediting our dream?

What are the top tips/things you expats think we need to consider, wish you knew before?
mich_and_den is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 10:13 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,863
First of all, slow down. Living in another country is VERY different than being on vacation there. It's not for everybody. I know expats who love their new lives. I know others who are very unhappy. Do a trial run. Go for a few weeks or, better yet, a few months. Rent a place. Plunge into the tasks of day-to-day life that you have to perform back home. You'll have to do the same things (grocery shopping, banking, paying bills, going to the doctor, getting around, ...) in Mexico too. See if you like it. You may; you may not.

Finances will be your big obstacle. Generally, the answer is, no, you cannot work, and without Spanish, it will be impossible. Even with Spanish, it will be very nearly impossible without proper documentation.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 10:18 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,863
Places in Central America with substantial expat populations:

Guatemala: Antigua, Panajachel

Honduras: Roatan, Copan Ruinas

Nicaragua: Granada

Costa Rica: San Jose, Escazu, Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, Manuel Antonio

Panama: Panama City, Boquete, Valle de Anton

But the same issues I mentioned above apply: Working legally would be VERY difficult.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 03:59 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Belize is English speaking. It's also the most expensive country in Central America. Very difficult for non-Belizeans to obtain a work permit. You need to have a skill that Belizeans don't have. Even then, it can be difficult and expensive.

Friends of mine have been trying to establish residency for well over a year. Delay after delay.

Another option is to start your own business and hire Belizeans to work there.

Where ever you decide to move to, you need to have a substantial amount of cash on hand.
JeanH is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 07:54 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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My condo manager in Mexico (Playa Del Carmen) is from the Netherlands. She started a company there to manage people's vacation condo rentals. She employs Mexicans, Europeans, Americans.

I have used the services of a Canadian woman in Playa who runs her own catering company there.

My realtor in Playa is American, originally from Boston. There is no licensure process to sell real estate there. There are several American realtors in Playa del Carmen.

there is a German man and his American wife who live full time in our condo bldg. In Playa del Carmen who started and run a very successful hurricane glass company.

I know several people, both Americans and Europeans, who live and work in Playa. You have to work hard, be industrious, and get into the community of foreigners who are working and learn the ropes. But it is very doable, Many people do it.
emd3 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 08:09 AM
  #6  
 
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Here is the blog of a fellow fodors poster, MicheleInPlaya. She is the American wife of my realtor in Playa. They have lived and worked in Playa for years, and are raising their two kids there. Her blog also has links to other American's blogs who live and work in Mexico. Good info here.

http://www.buyplaya.com/blogs/rob_kinnon/default.aspx
emd3 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 10:29 AM
  #7  
 
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It is easy to live in Mexico as an ex-pat. It's almost impossible to find work there. Especially since you don't speak Spanish.

The easiest way is to get someone to hire you and then they do the paperwork to get you in. Like if you got hired within the tourist industry to work at a resort. Basically you need to be able to do something a Mexican person cannot do, to get the papers to work legally.

Honestly location or specific destination isn't your biggest challenge. It would be finding full-time work for two people anywhere.

I have the same dream as you do (Puerto Vallarta) but I won't be able to do it until I am retired, and even then I only plan to do it half-time, not make a permanent move.
suze is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 01:44 PM
  #8  
 
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Lots of people work in Playa and most of them start off working illegally. Yes, many expats live and work there legally but have gone through immigration and done it the right way. You have to apply for an FM2 or FM3 If you work under the table, you have to expect very low wages as you are an illegal alien. I know a lady in Playa (from France) who sells day trips for a living. She shares rent with another lady and spends long hours everyday on the corner booth (calle 2 and Ave. 20) and makes a percentage on the trips she sells. Their small apartment is noisy and hot. If I were you I would go to the embassy and start the procedings asap. Also as mentioned, living and vacationing in Mexico is a whole different thing. You should most definitely try it for several months beforehand. We spend most of our winters there and speak Spanish but it took several years to get used to a lot of adjustments. It is very doable, but you need to be patient and do things the right way...
Rohelio is online now  
Jul 7th, 2014, 01:44 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Step 1 - start learning spanish now! It is not as hard as you probably think, and is a lot of fun to learn. You will then gain a better access to the culture (authors, music, films, way of thinking, perspective on life, etc.) that will provide a fascinating glimpse at the mexican identity, values and way of life.

It is all highly interesting and motivating!
kanadajin is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 01:48 PM
  #10  
 
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I agree with figuring out a way to spend more time there before making a permanent move. Even a 1 month stay will give you an entirely different perspective than being there on vacation. Even renting an apartment for vacations will start to give you a feel for how things work more than staying at a hotel or resort.

Definitely sign up for Spanish classes TODAY!
suze is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 01:50 PM
  #11  
 
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Another more easily do-able option is a part-time arrangement.

Work double-time at home for 1/2 the year, then live in Mexico on those earning the other 1/2. With your skills you would easily make double the money doing something in your field in the US/Canada, then you'll ever be likely to make trying to work in Mexico.
suze is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 07:48 AM
  #12  
 
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If you can get a telecommuting job, that would be best. Many gringo owned business here in PV, but most took years to get to that position.
cabron is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 10:59 AM
  #13  
 
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I guess it is easier to set up a business owned by a non-Mexican in Playa del Carmen. I know several people, both those in my posts above and others who moved there and had businesses started fairly quickly, within two months. Maybe it's because of the large population of non-Mexicans in Playa and all the tourism. All of them are very successful, the condo manager, realtor, caterer, and I also know some Europeans who own and operate bars (and have sold several they have started and made successful) in Playa.
emd3 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 01:42 PM
  #14  
 
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You can forget about working a regular job in Mexico. Foreigners cannot hold employment that a MX national can hold, with very few exceptions. But you probably wouldn't want to anyway, what with low pay and long hours. You can own a business and work in said business. But there is a catch-22. To be able to get a Residente Temporal (with or without work permit) you have to prove you don't need to work, i.e., proof of about $2,000 USD of monthly income. I have friends here in San Miguel that have income from the US from various sources. Some have rental properties, some sell a product via the internet, some teach English on the internet to people in Indonesia, Philippines, etc. But the time zone differences can make that (teaching) tedious. Personally, I have a type of vending business that generates recurring revenue that I can manage with emails and my voip phone from Mexico. A good source of ideas is the book "The 4-Hour Workweek". A fun read if nothing else. So, if you have a US source of income, learning Spanish wouldn't be a deal breaker, although you'll want to anyway. But if you already speak French, then learning Spanish will be pan comido.
If PV, PDC, and Huatulco are your only experiences with Mexico, you really need to widen out. Can you handle the summer heat and humidity in those (or similar) places? Do you need to be close to the beach, or will a few hour's drive suffice? Climate will be a big factor in deciding where you might want to end up.
While living in MX on a tourist visa is doable(depending of course on where you live)it can be wearisome and expensive to cross the border every 6 months.
If I were you, (and I'm not) I'd keep your day job, start saving, and start a small business (or 2) that generates recurring revenue. You've got 5 years, so that is doable.
For many parts of Mexico, $3,000 US buys a pretty good lifestyle.
A good source for info on moving to Mexico is www.rollybrook.com.
Last, you'll need to start your visa (Residente Temporal) process at a Mexican Consulate in the US. You used to be able to do it from Mexico, but no longer.
Que tengan buena suerte.
baldone is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 08:48 AM
  #15  
 
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I know of a bar in town looking for a partner, mainly financial
cabron is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 08:52 AM
  #16  
 
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How much money do I need? I am an experienced bartender -lol!
suze is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2014, 04:38 PM
  #17  
 
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Seriously, carbon. What kind of an investment would it take to buy into an existing business in Vallarta?

Are we talking $5,000, $10,000, $25,000USD or more? I need a retirement project to keep me busy (lol)!
suze is offline  
Jul 25th, 2014, 07:08 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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10,000 would do it, but on the one I mentioned, there is someone lined up next month, I'll let you know if it doesn't work out. Keep in mind, getting income out of a business would probable take 12 months.
cabron is offline  
Jul 25th, 2014, 08:36 AM
  #19  
 
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Thanks so much for the answer. Cabron, I'm thinking to the future, I've got awhile still before I can retire. And would not be expecting immediate returns. More as a way to get into the local community beyond being just a tourist. Happens I do have background working in the restaurant business is why this idea caught my interest.
suze is offline  
Jul 26th, 2014, 11:45 AM
  #20  
 
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Why don't you watch those Househunter international shows? They seem to always be having some about Mexico in several places. Some of those people work, it seems usually they are working from home on the internet or something.

I don't really understand the desire to move to a place like PDC. I enjoy it for a vacation, but it's hardly some quaint burg, and the idea of living in a place totally consumed by tourism would not be my idea of a fun time. A lot of expats have businesses based on tourists, of course. At least PV is more of a real city. There's a smaller place with expats north of PDC, puerto Morelos which isn't (yet) as built up.

You'd better have plenty of money if you seriously intend to retire to Mexico fulltime, and a way to get health insurance. There are lots of expats in Guadalajara (huge city) and San Miguel de Allende, of course. Having just been there, I don't really get it, but I could see it more than PDC, unless you insist on a beach, of course. Then I'd look into smaller places. There were some Househunter shows in some beach areas that were smaller than I never heard of. I get it on my cable channel's demand feature.
Christina is offline  

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