Episode #96 – Marc Miller Explains Why He Has Pulled the Plug and Made the Move.
In this episode, Marc explores healthcare, insurance, automobiles, shipping food supplements, house rentals, the internet, visas, public transportation, and downsizing. He explains his plans for the next year while continuing to run his businesses from Ajijic.
[1:22] Marc welcomes you to Episode 96 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
[1:34] If you’re enjoying this podcast, Marc invites you to share this podcast with like-minded souls. The more people you share it with, the more he can help. Please subscribe on CareerPivot.com, iTunes, Google Play, Podbean, Overcast, TuneIn, Spotify, or Stitcher. Share it on social media, or tell your neighbors and colleagues.
[2:03] Last week, Marc answered LinkedIn questions with his ‘partner-in-crime,’ Mark Anthony Dyson.
[2:10] Next week Marc will return to the career pivot evaluation series “Can Sara Repurpose Her Career?” for Part 3 of four parts.
[2:16] In this podcast episode, Marc will be discussing a variety of issues around their final decision to make the move to Mexico. This will include things like healthcare, health insurance, automobile insurance, automobiles, shipping food supplements and medications from the U.S. to Mexico. You can’t get everything in Mexico.
Now on to the podcast…
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[2:38] Marc will talk about leasing property in Mexico, and their move. Finally, Marc will talk about shopping to set up their house. Don’t plan on bringing your “stuff” from the U.S. Just get rid of it and buy used or new stuff in Mexico.
[2:58] Marc and his wife made the decision in the last two weeks to “push the button” and sign a lease on a two-bedroom, two-bath Casita in central Ajijic, Mexico. The number one factor in making this move is the absurd behavior of the U.S. Government and the healthcare and health insurance industries.
[3:18] Marc wrote about this in a post called “The Looming Healthcare Insurance Catastrophe for Baby Boomers.” Marc’s prediction about rates has come true. Marc’s health insurance provider has asked the Texas Insurance Board for a 34% rate increase in 2019. Marc already pays $1,358 per month premium for a $10,000 deductible policy.
[3:50] In two-and-a-half months in Mexico, Marc’s wife has seen an endocrinologist, a hematologist, a dermatologist, had blood work done and had her teeth cleaned. Overall they have paid about $150 in fees. She has been treated by doctors with credentials from top universities. The three doctors spent a total of four hours with Marc’s wife.
[4:19] Mrs. Miller’s blood was drawn at a local clinic but for about 200 pesos ($10.00) more, the nurse would have come to their house. The Millers have researched a variety of health insurance policies and a worldwide policy, excluding the U.S., with a $2,500 individual deductible, will cost them a little less than $2,000 per year.
[4:43] If Marc stayed in the U.S., health insurance for him and his wife would have cost $2,000 per month. They could take a worldwide policy that includes the U.S., with a $5,000 individual deductible for something less than $4,000 per year.
[5:01] The world-wide policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions but Marc’s wife’s out-of-pocket expenses have been very low.
[5:15] Marc talks about a couple near them in Mexico who are both enrolled in Medicare. They don’t carry coverage in Mexico, and for anything major they go to the U.S. Another senior covered by Medicare returned to the U.S. when he had a heart attack.
[5:43] Another senior in their Introduction to Spanish class came down with pneumonia. She was admitted to the top cardiac hospital in Guadalajara and for two nights her total cost was $1,500. She was thrilled with the treatment and the care. The doctor even made a house call to check in on her.
[6:14] Marc and his wife are in Mexico for the health insurance and healthcare. Then they had to face questions about bringing their car into Mexico. Mexico does not want your American car there. Marc put up a blog post about it last week and talked about Visa levels. On a temporary visa, you can bring a U.S.-plated care into Mexico temporarily.
[7:04] You cannot sell your American car in Mexico. After four years you have to take it back to the U.S. and dispose of it. Mexico wants residents to buy Mexican cars. With duties and taxes, cars are more expensive in Mexico.
[7:21] Marc has not investigated all the aspects of car insurance in Mexico. In an accident, you need to call your insurance agent first, and then the police.
[7:40] Mrs. Miller takes certain food supplements and a thyroid medication that she cannot get in Mexico. She is a Genesis Pure distributor and uses the products. Genesis Pure does not ship to Mexico. There are shipping companies in Mexico to facilitate that with an address in Laredo, Texas where you ship your products.
[8:16] The products are taken through customs by the company, duty is paid, the products are taken out of the box, reboxed and shipped to the company’s address in Ajijic. Where it is picked up and the customer pays for the shipping and the duty on the products. Just ship small amounts at a time, as the reboxing is not careful or gentle.
[9:36] When the Millers go back to the U.S. in October, they will bring as much of the supplements with them as they can when they drive back. On every trip back to the States, they will bring more.
[9:52] The next issue is renting property in Mexico. Many people just buy. Marc is not planning to do that. You pay cash to buy property in Mexico. There are no mortgages. Everyone has recommended to the Millers to rent. They are in their fourth location in the area. They decided they wanted to be in the center of Ajijic.
[10:33] Marc’s original plans were to come down in June for three months, then again in September, for three months, and arrange for a long-term rental property in January. That would not work. The rental market in Ajijic is so tight that rental agents are asking people for more properties to rent. People are moving from both Canada and the U.S.
[11:12] At least a third of the expats are Canadian. The high season is October through March.
[11:27] There are two ways to acquire rental property. One is through a rental agency and the other is from an individual. Individuals rent by word of mouth. Marc didn’t have the connections, so they contacted a couple of Realtors® and with their direction, connected to three or four services. They ended up choosing Access Lake Chapala.
[12:41] Julio was their agent. It is important to understand what comes with the rental, and what the costs are. Some expats want to rent a property that is fully furnished and where everything is paid for.
[13:17] Water is included in the rental. It is usually paid annually. The water flows from the city to an underground cistern on the property. Then a pump moves it to a rooftop cistern. This provides the water pressure to the home. No one drinks the water, though it is potable. Marc gets a 5-gallon jug of drinking water delivered for 20 pesos.
[14:24] Taxes are also included in the rental. Then there are the internet, gas, and electricity. A poll and air conditioning take a lot of electricity so it can run high. April and May are the hottest months. Otherwise, you don’t use air conditioning.
[14:56] Marc looked at several places where the internet was not installed. The incumbent carrier is TelMex. It is ADSL. There is no guarantee you can get a line at a specific property. Marc turned down a property because the internet was not installed.
[15:34] Marc was advised over and over again, if the internet was not installed and where you could test it, not to rent that property.
[15:46] The lease looks very different from a lease in the U.S. It is in Spanish. An unofficial English translation is provided on the back, but Marc found a local expat attorney, Spencer McMullen, to go over the lease for him. In Mexico, the landlord does not have to fix any problems on the property if they don’t affect health and safety.
[16:44] Most Gringo landlords don’t play those games. Written into Marc’s lease is a clause that if the repair costs less than 900 pesos ($45-$50), Marc is responsible, and if it costs more, the landlord is responsible. The landlord is Mexican and has a very good reputation. He manufactures furniture and fully furnished the casita with nice furniture.
[17:28] The Millers found the casita right in the center of Ajijic. It is going to be noisy, particularly around the holidays. Some of the expats head to Puerto Vallarta for the holiday season. The Millers will head back to Austin in early October and not return to Mexico until mid-November, so they will miss the Day of the Dead, November 2nd.
[18:05] Marc will empty their condo, saving only a few keepsake pieces from his parents. You don’t want to ship furniture to Mexico. As it goes through customs it is not treated with care. Also, American appliances do not fare well with Mexican power surges.
[19:14] Appliances in Mexico are really cheap and don’t last through too many power surges. Marc will bring a VitaMix with him and leave it unplugged most of the time.
[19:38] Ajijic is a very transient community. There are a lot of second-hand stores where items are inexpensive. Juan, the landlord gave some basic Kitchen cookware. They are buying utensils, a cutting board, and large knives for fruits and vegetables. They picked up coat racks and hat racks and custom cat trees at bazaars.
[21:03] People find it hard to give up their stuff when they move but it is best. The Millers only live in a 1,000 sq. ft. condo in Austin, so they’ve already downsized once. They are not attached to a lot of their stuff. Marc has his mother’s urn. They don’t have a place to bury her. Marc does not know if he will bring the urn to Mexico.
[21:36] Marc wrote in the recent blog post about the visa needed to bring a car to Mexico. Marc will get a permanent visa so he can get a bank account. Mrs. Miller will get either a tourist or a temporary visa so she can keep the car. Marc is thinking about getting rid of the car on the next trip back to the U.S. and not have a car in Ajijic.
[22:43] Public transportation on the north shore of Lake Chapala is very inexpensive. It’s very easy to get around. Buses run all the time for seven to nine pesos (35 to 50 cents).
[23:15] The point is to live like a local and not like a tourist. There are a lot of gringos who don’t assimilate. They drive everywhere and keep to themselves. Marc has a 71-year-old neighbor from Dallas who has no car and walks everywhere. He has lost five inches in 18 months! It is also easy to eat healthy in Ajijic.
[24:08] Marc has been getting lots of positive feedback about both the blog posts and podcast episodes. Reach out to Marc at Podcast@CareerPivot.com, or leave a comment at CareerPivot.com/Episode-96/ with any questions.
[25:56] Click back next week, when Marc will continue with “Can Sara Repurpose Her Career?”
Mentioned in This Episode:
“The Looming Healthcare and Insurance Catastrophe for Baby Boomers.”
“How to Move Abroad and Take Your Job With You – Part V”
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Congratulations on the bold move down south incredible sum of money you are saving on health care low-cost of living I can see more Americans relocating to Mexico other Latin American countries.