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Mischiefmaker

Budgeting costs of reconnaissance

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1 hour ago, CHILLIN said:

RV is right, if you are lucky, Mexico will "assimilate" you. This involves, not surprisingly, hanging around a lot of Mexican people. 

Lol, claro que si! I grew up as a white minority in the projects on the lower east side of Manhattan, near Chinatown. Almost all my friends growing up were Puerto Rican and my high school was half Chinese.  I think I'll be ok!  (My wife, on the other hand, es muy blanca and grew up in CT, but loves other cultures so I think she'll be ok, too.)  :)   

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53 minutes ago, pappysmarket said:

It's up to you and your wife to figure out where you fit health, healthcare and health insurance wise before you start dreaming about retirement in Mexico or wasting money on anything other than a pure vacation. Some figure it out ahead of time and come knowing they have a plan. Others, hopefully not you, say "But all of you do it, somehow, so why can't we?" Those that come with that philosophy are most likely to be the ones who return NOB sadder but wiser.

Baby steps.  Think about the big things first before you worry about how much food will cost on a daily basis.  You sound like the type of person who might do well here but there are lots of big questions to be answered before you focus on the little things.

Good luck.

Thanks very much for the sage advice.  I do tend to get carried away with the fantasizing, looking up air bnbs and airfares before it's really time, but I also do a lot of research.  I have started reading up on all the healthcare options.  It's the scariest part, for sure.  I definitely will NOT just go there hoping for the best.  We do have some health issues and prescriptions.  Good advice to check on that medical part before even taking that reconnaissance trip.  I will do that.  I thought that most day to day medical problems are affordable out of pocket?  But we do have to think about the big things: what if one of us has a bad accident or a heart attack?  So much food for thought.  

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1 hour ago, court0503 said:

Food costs suggestion - if you google Ajijic restaurants many have Facebook pages that include their menus. Of course local Mexican food stands are cheaper if you’re ok with variations of tortillas, beans & rice. 

Thanks Court!  I didn't think of that!  And yeah, local stands are also ok with us, too.  

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59 minutes ago, pappysmarket said:

Thinking of Huatulco.  Dan and Suzan of IL spent over 2 months looking for a better alternative to lakeside and returned to report they did not find it anywhere in Mexico. To each his own.  The beach towns north of Merida around Progreso have a certain charm but the ocean is so shallow there seaweed chokes every beach. We found the same problem on Bali. The search is half the fun.

We honeymooned in Bali a couple years ago. It was absolutely amazing, but you're right about the beach: it stunk. We stayed in Sanur for a few days at a place right on the beach, only to discover that the water is pretty shallow right up to the enormous seaweed patch, so no real swimming for us. We did go in the first evening, but just sat in it for a while. We went on a snorkeling trip right offshore and didn't see much either.  And our requisite seafood dinner right on the beach in Jambaran was, without a doubt, both the most expensive and the worst meal we had in our entire stay there.  I highly recommend Bali to everyone to visit, but def not for the beach.  

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Hello Mischiefmaker - My husband and I have chosen a not uncommon approach to healthcare  here. We pay for office visits (quite affordable) and prescriptions out of pocket and have Seguro Popular and a medical savings plan for any emergencies. Thus far, we have only used Seguro for annual physicals and have been very pleased. You will find your own best way through all of the decisions ahead - just hang  to your sense of humor and don't let the naysayers discourage you.

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Expedia has had pretty cheap rental cars, as low as $1 a day including Mexican liability insurance. 

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10 minutes ago, kam said:

You will find your own best way through all of the decisions ahead - just hang  to your sense of humor and don't let the naysayers discourage you.

Thanks Kam!  I understand making sure someone isn’t going into this all wide-eyed and clueless, but honestly, it seems some folks are here only to discourage more expats from coming. Your approach to medical sounds reasonable. 

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4 minutes ago, tomgates said:

Expedia has had pretty cheap rental cars, as low as $1 a day including Mexican liability insurance. 

Um, wow!  I’ve never driven in a foreign country and the idea is scary but maybe... or maybe not. Lol.  

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Why don’t you and your wife come down for 10 days or so.  See if you like it, get the feel of it.  Some like it and others cannot stand the mañana attitude.

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On 7/11/2018 at 12:26 PM, court0503 said:

I’m from madison CT and indeed the cost of living here is indeed much lower.However you should know that the Lakeside areas most favored by expats  have been hard hit by gentrification in the past 1 1/2 years especially and while costs have risen for most things for everyone (gasoline, food, internet, doctors) rents and home prices for expat-type houses (nice kitchen/baths, gardens etc) , in popular areas have really sky rocketed and continue to rise. . A $650/month rent would be hard to find, though not impossible if you’re not too picky (ie  very basic small house , likely unfurnished, in a very Mexican neighborhood,). Working on-line is also very tricky. Again not impossible but because of poor infrastructure & exploding demand service  is highly variable by area and even house to house .Come explore beautiful Lakeside just don’t expect the ‘cheap’ living of only a few years ago. 

It is possible to work on line.  I have two friends who do so.  Perhaps check out the internet reliability in a location you are considering for housing.

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20 minutes ago, Mischiefmaker said:

Um, wow!  I’ve never driven in a foreign country and the idea is scary but maybe... or maybe not. Lol.  

Rental cars can be obtained from Mark Turford locally as well. It's not cheap, but certainly makes everything easier when you need to get and around and really see what's here.

To my knowledge rental cars from the US could be driven cross the border.  This would be something to check out in more detail to verify. 

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Mischeif you wrote: 

“.  If we were "well off" we wouldn't be looking to live there! . 

Angus said the probable truth - you can't embrace the culture, you will be toast and headed north quickly. 
 
If the sole purpose to move here is to live cheaply I agree, chances of living happily here is not a likely probability.    So come down and if you can’t adapt to the lifestyle consider another country   
 
 
 
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No, US rental cars cannot be taken to the interior of Mexico. Some few, in US border areas, may be permitted into the 'free zones', but no further into Mexico. However, they may also be forbidden by Mexico, and by their owners, but the unsuspecting customer does not know that, or wishes to ignore it.

Bad idea.

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22 hours ago, El Cartero said:

Mischeif you wrote: 

“.  If we were "well off" we wouldn't be looking to live there! . 

Angus said the probable truth - you can't embrace the culture, you will be toast and headed north quickly. 
 
If the sole purpose to move here is to live cheaply I agree, chances of living happily here is not a likely probability.    So come down and if you can’t adapt to the lifestyle consider another country   
 
 
 

Or consider another part of the US. In the meantime, contact your closest consulate to see what the current financial requirements are. I read recently that Mexico is looking at taxing online workers. Talk with your financial advisor about whether you would be liable for double taxation. 

 

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On 7/13/2018 at 4:31 PM, ajijiccharlie said:

. I read recently that Mexico is looking at taxing online workers. Talk with your financial advisor about whether you would be liable for double taxation. 

 

Now that’s some good advice. I hadn’t heard that.  

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On 7/13/2018 at 3:31 PM, ajijiccharlie said:

I read recently that Mexico is looking at taxing online workers.

 

Do you have the source for that statement?  I tried to Google it and I could not find it.

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13 minutes ago, Tiny said:

Do you have the source for that statement?  I tried to Google it and I could not find it.

I don,t think you ever will. The Mexican tax collectors still haven,t mastered getting I.V.A. tax on foreign or national owners renting furnished units. I would think that will be their priority before trying to track down mercurial online workers, plus they have option of liens, etc.

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On 7/12/2018 at 2:58 PM, kam said:

Hello Mischiefmaker - My husband and I have chosen a not uncommon approach to healthcare  here. We pay for office visits (quite affordable) and prescriptions out of pocket and have Seguro Popular and a medical savings plan for any emergencies. Thus far, we have only used Seguro for annual physicals and have been very pleased.

Not to go too far astray, but.....

Yes, this seems to be a 'not uncommon' approach but it does require IMO a couple of things:

1) a fairly good health situation, something that might not continue or can change in a heartbeat [no pun intended!]   2) a fairly good financial picture... surely can't be living paycheck to paycheck             3) a trust that when one needs that 'catastrophic' SP coverage it will still be available and for the condition that one has found themselves strapped with, and   4) that the SP and/or IMSS facilities/doctors in the area that you are living is 'ready for prime time' because they can vary widely from location to location.

Other folks choose to get private insurance with a high deductible to augment their out-of-pocket costs but of course that too requires some financial wherewithal, something that the OP does not seem to posses and couldn't possibly 'acquire' in the 2-year window that is being discussed.

 

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...and of course, some of us are simply not eligible for private health insurance because of pre-existing conditions, so it's not an option and we're lucky to have SP as a backup.  No, it does not cover everything, so it's best to check into that.  Some people keep their complete Medicare insurance and plan to be flown back to the states when they're seriously ill.  There are companies that advertise this service in the local papers and magazines.

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45 minutes ago, RickS said:

Not to go too far astray, but.....

Yes, this seems to be a 'not uncommon' approach but it does require IMO a couple of things:

1) a fairly good health situation, something that might not continue or can change in a heartbeat [no pun intended!]   2) a fairly good financial picture... surely can't be living paycheck to paycheck             3) a trust that when one needs that 'catastrophic' SP coverage it will still be available and for the condition that one has found themselves strapped with, and   4) that the SP and/or IMSS facilities/doctors in the area that you are living is 'ready for prime time' because they can vary widely from location to location.

Other folks choose to get private insurance with a high deductible to augment their out-of-pocket costs but of course that too requires some financial wherewithal, something that the OP does not seem to posses and couldn't possibly 'acquire' in the 2-year window that is being discussed.

 

Excellent thoughts RickS.  If one is already in Mexico, and either can't/won't go back NOB for treatment or coverage then one must choose from whatever options are available and they can afford here. If someone is currently covered for health issues in another country then deciding to move away where that coverage is no longer available becomes a more complicated decision.  Gather all the facts you can before making the jump to lessen the chance of remorse.

Also,and I'm not giving legal advice here, anyone should confirm that coverage such as IMSS or SP would be legally available to someone who is making an online income here. No need to lecture, I'm fully aware some folks are willing to lie about some things when they feel they have a moral right to do so. Just do your checking to see if truthfulness might exclude you from coverage. Remember, anyone using scarce medical resources that they aren't entitled to is taking them away from someone who is. The resources are finite, not infinite.

Again, best of luck to the OP.

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I am also from CT (now in San Francisco) and also considering moving down to Lakeside in 2 years. You said that the primary reasons to move to MX is that it was less expensive and for a better climate for health and sanity.  Having lived in CT for most of my life I can say that the weather in comparison to CT is amazing!  Although I can't confirm this I have heard it said that National Geographic said that Lakeside has the 2nd best weather in the world.  This is also a primary draw for me to go.  I just Googled Tucson weather averages and Ajijic weather averages and I see that averages in 2 months of the year it says 100 degrees and 3 months average in the 90s.  I realize that this is dry heat but personally I find this too hot.  In comparison Ajijic/Lakeside has 3 months highs in the 80s.  To me Lakeside weather is much better.   You stated weather for "heath and sanity" so I am guessing that you mean you what to hike and kayak and do outdoor activities.  If so, depending on what you find to be ideal weather, I think that Lakeside is a clear winner.  Since I work in healthcare and do work similar to a physical therapist I see good PTs charging 30/hr down in Lakeside.  This is much cheaper that in the US.  I would expect lower prices in MX for healthcare.  I find most things are cheaper in MX.  Your 2000 rent in CT would likely be half that in Lakeside and maybe less.  It would depend on where you wanted to be in Lakeside since Ajijic (my favorite town) prices seem to be much higher.  Because the weather is so good you may find yourself outdoors more often and may not require as much space as you would in CT where you spend a large percentage of time indoors.  There are many retired folks in Lakeside with a majority in Ajijic.  Realize that there are not as many younger folks.  That being said the people I have met in my 7 trips to Ajijic I find very interesting.  When I go to Lakeside I always walk and use the bus system.  I do not plan to have a car when I move to MX.  Best of luck!

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Two of you could eat quite nicely on $25USD a day, and that includes at least 2 meals out a day. As it is your first visit, I do not recommend eating at any local taco stands, as atasty as those might be. We retired here around 2012. We had been here off anf on for 6 years previous. Back then there was no WalMart, no Laguna Mall, and many fewer restaurants. While others often turn their noses up at those who admit to shopping at and being grateful for WalMart, I am NOT one of those. There are places to stay where you can have a kitchenette and have breakfast at home, cool the beer for the evenings and have some snacks in the room. While our house was under construction, we stayed at Casa Blanca in the village. Not fancy, not rustic, but a cross in between. Prety lights in the evening, and, if I remember, a great breakfast, Come in early March and the weather will be warm and dry, but there might still be snowbirds. Come in October and early November and it will also be delightful, and no snowbirds yet. We live without a car, and rely on public transportation. In my opinion, I would NOT rent a car. Driving here is a full on contact sport and no need to subject yourself to that. Buses run up and down the highway and some wend their way through the villages. Taxis are affordable. Grab the card of one you like, tip well and they will come when you call. Rents are definitely going up. There have been many people moving here, lots from Guadalajara. I live in a subdivision ( also called a fracc) midway between Ajijic and Chapala. We can walk to WalMart and to the other stores and restaurants around us. It is not a "gringo ghetto" as is sneered at by many, but a typical middle class neighborhood. Fairly quiet. Kids play in the streets. Dogs bark at the mailman and pizza delivery guy. Pilots, a few doctors, several university professors, lawyers, a few retired business owners, a restaurant owner, construction business,physical therapists and just plain old retired folks. Mix is about 80% Mexican 20% other. Internet speed is not fabulous. That being said, there is new fiber optic cable being pulled all through town. A new hospital is going up about 2 blocks from me, and I think that may just pull up the infrastructure as things move along. I am an editor for an online magazine, and I work wirelessly. It is usually sufficient. One difference here from Tucson is the weather. With the exception of late March to early June, I consider it about perfect. No heater, no AC. In December, I think we took out the small propane heater 1x last year. We have ceiling fans in every room and a house that faces N/S with a long hallway to grab the breeze. Health insurance will be a big deal. We have private international insurance and it is $$$$, but it is a priority for us. We are grateful we do not have to deal with IMSS and Seguro Popular, but understand that many people do so. Medical care is outstanding and modern. I just had eye surgery and foot surgery on the same day, and my doctors coordinated the times so I could get from the eye surgery to the orthopedic hospital witrhin less than 2 hours, so I didnt have to fast more than 12 hours. My doctor answers his own phoner and email. Investigate health insurance that will cover you internationally or at least in US/Mexico . The earlier you do it, the cheaper the premiums are. I am not familiar with Mexican health care policies, but have heard stories that would curl your hair.  Come down and check it out. Save your car rental $$ and use cabs and bus. 

 

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What about Medical, how do you think you could afford that here if you have no savings, insurance or whatever?

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46 minutes ago, hensley said:

What about Medical, how do you think you could afford that here if you have no savings, insurance or whatever?

Unless they are old enough for Medicare, they are out of luck in the U.S.

Health insurance in Mexico is extremely expensive, even if one can qualify for it.

They can probably survive here better financially, but the above is one of the trade offs.

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This is going to be an entirely different place in two or three years.  Come visit enjoy it for what it is and what it might be to you.  There is also the very real possibility that immigration rules will change significantly with AMLO in charge.  And the real estate market could change significant with economic and political events.  So stay tuned and make your best plans.

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