Episode 55 – Marc discusses circumstances surrounding his family’s move to Mexico and what that process will involve.
Marc and his wife have a few reasons for planning a move to Mexico in 2018, but mainly it involves the high cost of healthcare in the U.S. Marc will not retire but will continue to run his company from Mexico.
Listen in for how you can research whether Mexico or Central America is right for your family.
[1:28] Marc announces his first audience survey on what demographic listens to the podcast, what you like, and what you would like to hear about in the future.
[2:12] Marc reviews the series format of this podcast for new listeners. Each month, the first episode is an expert interview. The second episode is a career pivot interview. The third episode is of Marc’s choosing. This month it is Marc’s story of taking the family and job abroad. The fourth episode of the month is a Q&A episode with Elizabeth Rabaey.
[3:06] Marc and his wife are moving to Ajijic, Mexico In this episode, he walks through the decision process and their plan for execution. It started with the October 15, 2016, episode of the Money Matters podcast by Hanson and McClain where they interviewed Art Koff of Retired Brains on best international retirement destinations.
[4:17] RetiredBrains.com has a ranking of places to retire overseas. #1 is Ecuador, #2 is Panama, and #3 is Mexico. The analysis considers real estate, expat benefits, cost of living, ease of integration into the community, entertainment and amenities, health care, infrastructure, and climate. The top three destinations were closely-ranked.
[5:11] At the same period Marc received his new health care insurance premium at $1,800.00 a month. They decided to look for another plan on Healthcare.gov. The choices were very limited. Marc’s 2017 premiums and medical costs were $20K.
[6:35] In November, Donald Trump won the presidency. This created uncertainty around the Affordable Care Act. They visited Ecuador. Over half of U.S. retirees overseas return to the U.S. within five years. Also, those in the 60 – 64 age range now are at a disadvantage. Marc and his wife discussed this several of times.
[8:45] Marc read a post on GringoTree.com on assimilation vs. integration. Assimilation is full immersion in the language and culture, standing apart from the expat community. Assimilation leads to more happiness, better eating, better exercise, and a longer life.
[10:40] Marc and his wife visited San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, a popular ex-pat destination. Marc found a webcam on the downtown plaza, filled with expats. They booked an Airbnb. Date a location before moving there.
[12:09] Marc and his wife went to visit places for one-to-two weeks each. San Miguel is typical of much of Mexico — with lots of fireworks. There were many Canadians, U.S. citizens, and some Europeans. There are no chain pharmacies or supermarkets there but family-owned stores with only the most common medicines and foods.
[15:18] San Miguel at about 5,000 feet may cause some altitude sickness. San Miguel is about a 90-minute shuttle bus ride from the airport. Flight scheduling back to the U.S. is difficult.
[16:50] The Millers next went to Cuenca, Ecuador. Cuenca was difficult to get to due to flight schedules. Quito and Guayaquil are two other popular cities for expats. Ecuador has some high-altitude cities, such as Cuenca, and most Americans leave there within a couple of years.
[19:03] Mrs. Miller was experiencing overwhelming fatigue. They cut their visit after five days. It took three days to get to Austin from Cuenca, and then Mrs. Miller went to the hospital. She was very anemic.
[19:37] The fruits and vegetables in Ecuador don’t resemble fruits and vegetables in the U.S., but they are good. Repair or maintenance is offered mañana, by which they mean, ‘not today.’ Bills are paid by check at the bank, not online. It is a cash-based culture. Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar.
[20:47] The Millers went to Ajijic in October, and that is their planned destination. Ajijic is on Lake Chapala, the largest lake in Mexico, and just south of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city, and is very easy to get to with multiple U.S. flights daily. Ajijic is 25 minutes by cab. Thousands of U.S. and Canadian expats live there in an ideal climate.
[22:13] Marc and his wife found the community to be very supportive. Everybody was so nice. They all say Ajijic is the best location in Mexico for expats. There is one paved street in town, alongside the lake. Every other street is cobblestones.
[24:46] The Millers are going to go back to Ajijic for a month next March, and shop for doctors, insurance, and rental properties.
[25:43] Marc talks about Necessary Endings, a book he considers life-changing. A good gardener will trim a rosebush so the buds that are left will flourish. We need to do the same things with careers, relationships, and more.
[27:14] Marc has lived in Austin Texas for almost 40 years. Why is he still there? No other family members live near. Marc can work from anywhere.Taxes are too high. It’s expensive to live in Austin now. The health insurance costs in Texas are high, so they are looking. Austin is an expensive city.
[23:29] In March, Marc and his wife will go down to Ajijic next March, shop for doctors, health insurance, and rental properties. The plan is to go down there for six months to a year, next July. They will also visit Costa Rica, Panama and Belize. Then they will make decision. International House Hunter has given Marc some ideas for selecting a home.
[29:19] Marc is not looking for a vacation resort, but for a community of expats and locals populated 12 months of the year. That describes Ajijic.
[29:32] The Millers will rent out their Austin home while they travel. They haven’t made a permanent decision yet as to the move. They may come back. This is a journey to take one step at a time.
[30:43] Marc mentions a post on GringoTree from Ecuador about health insurance. The state health insurance is about $80.00 monthly. People retire overseas either out of adventure, or necessity. The author of the post and his wife lived on SS $1,200 monthly.
[33:30] This is a deliberate and thoughtful journey for the Miller family.
[36:06] Next week is the Q&A episode.
Mentioned in This Episode:
CareerPivot.com/Episode-54 Interview with author and career pivoter Susan Lahey
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