Episode #91 – Marc Miller and his wife are expatriating to Mexico.
Marc shares with the audience more about his upcoming move to Mexico including a big announcement on how the move is progressing.
[2:12] Marc welcomes you to Episode 91 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast. If you’re enjoying this podcast, Marc invites you to share this podcast with like-minded souls. Please subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Podbean, Overcast, TuneIn, Spotify, or Stitcher. Share it on social media, write an honest iTunes review, or tell your neighbors and colleagues so Marc can help more people.
[2:49] Next week, Marc will interview Dawn Graham, author of Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers — and Seize Success. Dr. Dawn Marie Graham, Ph.D. is one of the nation’s leading career coaches. She is the career director for the MBA program for executives at the Wharton School, where she counsels business leaders.
[3:11] A licensed psychologist and former corporate recruiter, Dr. Dawn Graham hosts the SiriusXM Radio’s popular weekly call-in show, Career Talk and is a regular contributor to Forbes.
[3:26] This week, Marc will be talking about the first six weeks of his family’s transition to being temporary expats in Mexico. This is a three-to-four month visit. This episode is a follow-on to Episode 86 where Marc discussed their drive from Austin to Ajijic, Mexico.
Now on to the podcast…
[3:44] The Millers arrived in Ajijic on a Saturday late in June and Marc’s first challenge was getting all the technology to work.
[3:53] The WiFi in the Airbnb they rented wasn’t very good. It is through TelMex, the incumbent landline carrier. They provide ADSL service but the connection is shared between two houses and the cable router is in the other house, so coverage is poor. Marc bought a WiFi extender and an Ethernet cable at Steren (like Radio Shack).
[6:05] The second problem is that the cell phone service is not very good. They get 3G data. Marc was getting a low signal for a while, but it has gotten stronger.
[6:51] The next step was to find stores. They found a small “dollar store” and bought a slow cooker, a blender, a racket-sized electric insect swatter, and household items. The store opened the insect swatter package and slow cooker to make sure they worked when they bought them. They later bought a bug zapper from Steren.
[8:10] Next, Marc found a gym. He chose Zona Gym, a basic gym for 550 pesos for two months or about $12 a month. He also bought a cat tree from a man at a Bazaar who makes them custom for 1200 pesos ($60). It would have been more than $200 at home.
[9:28] Mrs. Miller set a Saturday appointment for an endocrinologist through the Quality Care Clinic about three weeks before the trip. At the appointment, the doctor spent two hours with her looking at her history, then set up an appointment for a hematologist, two days later on Monday. The endocrinologist appointment was 700 pesos or about $35.
[11:06] On Monday, Mrs. Miller met with the hematologist for an hour. The cost was also about $35. Mrs. Miller, a former nurse, was thrilled with the care from both doctors.
[11:28] After about three weeks, the Millers were fairly settled in. Marc was running his Career Pivot Community Mastermind calls. One night, during a seasonal storm, the Internet connection failed. So he ran the call off his iPhone 3G network without video. Marc was getting about 1Mb/s upload speeds, which is low for video.
[12:31] Marc talks about Chicklet, the street dog in the neighborhood. He was an abandoned dog. Marc started leaving food for him. He was getting fed by a lot of people. Finally, an expat family took him in, so he has a home. Ajijic has plenty of street dogs and some roof dogs! You may hear some of them in the podcast.
[14:52] There is a lot of construction in Ajijic. The housing market is hot, mostly due to the number of expats moving in, both renters and buyers. Marc says some buy within three days. This caused Marc to accelerate their search for a rental property.
[15:20] Marc’s original plan was to arrange a rental now for January when they would return to Mexico. The rental market is too hot for that. Big Announcement: Marc is about to sign a lease for a two-bedroom, two-bath casita a block from the main plaza in Ajijic.
[15:55] It will be $950 a month, which is $200 to $300 more than Marc was planning to spend. It is new construction and part of a gentrification development in the middle of town. Marc renewed their membership at Lake Chapala Society. A volunteer there, Marguerita, is a real estate agent. She gave Marc some leads on apartments.
[16:35] Marc also talked to their neighbor Lori, a real estate agent. Marc learned that you have to move quickly to get a rental. They also looked on some Facebook groups. They first looked at a unit in La Floresta, a neighborhood built in the 50s and 60s. There are a lot of four to five bedroom homes built for Guadalajarans for vacation homes.
[17:48] Then, they looked at a property in Riberas but there was no internet installed. Marc didn’t want to take the chance that they couldn’t get a good installation there. After looking at a couple more places, they found the casita that they chose to rent. Marc lists the deposits they need to put on the rental. Marc found cats are a problem in renting.
[20:05] The casita has secure off-street parking and a private courtyard. There are about $4,000 in deposits due up front. Marc doesn’t have a bank account in Ajijic so he is pulling 7,000 pesos at a time from ATMs. That’s $390. It’s an all cash society.
[20:53] The next steps are to finalize the lease. They plan to move in on September 3. Marc needs to get a lawyer to review the lease and talk about immigration status. After that step, Marc needs legal advice on taxes and running his business from Mexico.
[21:29] Marc has located a health insurance broker. Marc completely expects his ACA plan to blow up next year. Marc and his wife are currently paying $1,358 a month for a $10,000 deductible policy. Next is an appointment to get their teeth cleaned.
[22:06] Marc needs to locate a property manager in Austin for their home there. As Marc accelerates his plans to rent, he has time set apart to buy some things for the rental, including a much larger cat tree.
[22:51] The last thing is to find a new gym because they will be two or three miles from Zona, which is walking distance from his Airbnb. Marc has not put 20 miles on his car since they arrived in Ajijic.
[23:14] They take the bus everywhere. They took the bus one weekend to Jocotepec on the western end of Lake Chapala. They took the bus another weekend to San Juan Cosalá also on the lake. Next weekend, they will take the car into Guadalajara.
[23:37] Mrs. Miller needed her Birkenstock boots repaired. Marc tells how they found Umberto, a shoe repairman, through the Gringos Ajijic & Lakeside Facebook group. It was 300 pesos ($15) to put new soles and heels on them, made out of tire tread, in a week. Umberto is also the lead singer at the Chili Fest. Everyone loves him.
[25:40] Facebook is the place to go to find different people’s experiences.
[26:11] Marc will be in the unit one month, pay the electric bill, then drive back to Austin for a period to get the condo ready to rent.
[26:37] Marc has figured out that what they are going to save on health insurance will fully pay for their housing expenses in Mexico. At the same time, Marc expects that renting out their Austin condo will also almost cover their housing expense.
[27:01] The housing in Ajijic is 30% to 40% higher than Marc thought it would be. The market is exploding.
[27:11] All the rental units they looked at are fully furnished.
[27:29] Marc had thought they would start renting in early January, but it was just not possible. No matter how well they had planned, they have had to adjust plans as they learned more.
[27:49] They also met the man who makes the cat trees. Ignacio (Nacio for short) is a 75-year-old retired Mexican general manager. He is going to build a six-foot-tall that will be weather resistant for outside use.
[28:07] In a couple of weeks, Marc will start the next career pivot evaluation series with “Can Sarah Repurpose Her Career?” Sarah (not her real name) is employed, a closet creative, and a structured anarchist. He personality is quite interesting. Marc has seen all aspects of her personality in other clients, but not in the same person.
[29:42] Check back next week, when Marc will be interviewing Dawn Graham, author of Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers — and Seize Success.
Mentioned in This Episode:
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