Thursday, December 29, 2011

6 Ways To "Live and Finish Rich in 2012"

Here's some good advice from David Bach, he says to "Live and Finish Rich in 2012." I think it's great advice if you are planning to be an expat.

1) PAY YOURSELF FIRST - have a goal of doubling your savings.  Then, look at your 401K and increase your contribution  by 1%.

2) MAKE YOUR FINANCES "AUTOMATIC" - Change the way you get paid by directly depositing your pay into your checking account. Then by using online banking and bill pay, you will distribute your money automatically into the following key accounts:
Retirement Savings
Emergency Savings
College Savings
Dream Account (i.e. vacations, holidays savings)
Mortgage Payment
Credit Card Bills (minimum payment, so you will never miss a payment again)
Recurring Bills (utilities, phone, cable, etc.)
3) GET A WILL - for as little as $50 using a program such as Quicken WillMaker or you can hire an attorney to help you. Critical things that you will need in your will are:
Health care directive
Financial power of attorney
Executor documents
Final arrangements
4) TRACK WHERE THE MONEY GOES "AKA FIND YOUR LATTE FACTOR®" - The best way to improve your financial life that I know of, other than paying yourself first, is to track where your money is actually going. I would use a site like, or Yodlee Money Center.

5) CLEAN IT OUT AND SELL IT - accumulating stuff is not cool and your heirs will just ditch it or put it in a cardboard box high up in the garage.

6) GIVE SOMETHING UP - One of the fastest ways to cut your expenses in 2012 is to pick ONE thing and give it up.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"There's A Big Gap Between Perception And Reality,"

The Seattle Times carries a Washington Post article about safety for tourists in Mexico.
Without a solid understanding of the geography (761,606 square miles) and the nature of the drug wars (internecine fighting), many foreigners assume that all of Mexico is a war zone. But it isn't.

"The episodes of violence are in very specific pockets," says Rodolfo Lopez-Negrete, chief operating officer of the Mexico Tourism Board, "and are unrelated to tourism."

For proof, Lopez-Negrete rolls out the statistics, derived from a combination of government and non-government sources: Of 2,500 municipalities (what we call counties), only 80, or fewer than 5 percent, have been affected by the drug war, which accounts for only 3 percent of all crime. Mexican cities are also safer than some urban centers north of the border: Mexico City, for example, has 8.3 homicides a year per 100,000 people. That's fewer than Miami (14.1) and Chicago (16.1). On a global scale, Mexico is safer than many of its neighbors. In 2008, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported Mexico's homicide rate as 11.6 per 100,000, significantly lower than Honduras (60.9), Jamaica (59.5) or El Salvador (51.8).

Bottom line: check the news daily in any city in America or watch the late night news and you will see evidence that people are dying violently every day. Many of those people are killed in areas that I wouldn't go into in the daylight. When traveling anywhere, keep your eyes open, don't flash your wealth and stay out of bad neighborhoods.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feliz Navidad y un muy feliz año nuevo a todos.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Strong Growth Trends In Merida

There are several strong trends that are influencing the growth of the real estate market in Merida.

The 10 trends supporting continued growth in the Merida real estate market:

1. Strong demand from Mexican buyers, investors and renters. The primary engine powering the growth of Merida is internal growth from around the Country of Mexico. Mexicans are moving to Merida to enjoy the lifestyle, cost of living and safety.

2. Infrastructure investments. New bridges, highways, government buildings, universities, trade schools, museums, hotels, shopping centers, cultural centers, markets, electrical grid, renewable fuel resources and new neighborhoods/schools.

3. Cost of living advantages. Merida has rich, middle class and poor. There are markets that serve all groups and government programs to aid the very poor. You can shop at stores like Costco, Sears, Sam's, or Walmart. But the best buys for your produce, food and household products will be found at the local markets and flea markets.

4. Public Safety. Despite a swiftly growing populace and the demands it puts on policing, public safety and the criminal justice system, Yucatan remains one of the lowest crime-rate states in Mexico.

5. Demand from foreign buyers, investors and renters. A strong influx from mostly Canadians, Americans and Europeans looking for a tropical lifestyle that provides a greater flexibility in cost of living, lower taxes and household expenses.

6. Large educated workforce. Business moving to Merida can count on a large pool of educated young people to help them grow their businesses. Additionally, the local pueblos also provide a strong resource of construction and manual laborers.

7. Excellent and inexpensive health care facilities, doctors and hospitals. Dentistry, Plastic Surgery, Therapist, Cancer Specialist, Nutritionist, Veterinarians, Dermatologist and in-home health professionals all contribute to making Merida the perfect option for anyone living with a long-term health issue or anyone just wanting to know that, in case they need it, excellent and reasonably priced health care is locally available.

8. Excellent universities, trade schools, cultural arts schools and language schools provide a vast menu of institutions to provide for continuing education, higher education or alternative learning centers.

9. Tropical weather and local beach. Accessibility to great beaches, water sports, fishing, marinas, growing and enjoying year-round gardening, fruit trees and tropical flowers and plants makes for year-round comfort and many enjoyable outdoor activities.

10. Mayan culture and ruins, shopping, cinema, art studios, theater, restaurants, night life, casinos, cantinas, symphony orchestra, opera, fabulous Yucatecan, Italian, Cuban, French, Irish, Asian, Mexican, Seafood, chops, steaks, wine bars, boutique chocolates, specialty shops and much more.

I haven't been to Merida, But I'm certainly blooking forward to visiting.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

MinnPost - Mexico-U.S. relations: beyond 'looniness, stupidity and flatulence'

MinnPost - Mexico-U.S. relations: beyond 'looniness, stupidity and flatulence'

La Casa Que Canta

Someday Bev and I will stay here:

The beautiful place is called La Casa Que Canta and it's situated in Zijuatenejo, Mexico

Compare Portland's Cost Of Living to Mazatlan

Numbeo has a nice little chart that you can use to compare the city you currently live in to a city in Mexico. I compared Portland, OR to Mazatlan. It's pretty eye-opening for someone not familiar with Mexican prices.

Housing is one of our biggest expenses. Rent Prices in Mazatlan are 72.26% lower than in Portland, OR.

From reading the two previous articles, you can surmise that healthcare is cheaper. Right now Bev is paying $620 a month for healthcare, and she's healthy, or almost $7,500 a year. (We just received a bill for January that reflects a 6% increase over 2011.) In Mexico the cost for Bev's health insurance would be no higher than $300!

Mexico is calling!

Have You Been To Gringo MD?

Gringo MD is a useful service I just came across. is your community-created resource for healthcare support in Mexico. The recommendations are for gringos, by gringos.

I learned quickly from the Medical in Mexico website that doctors and dentists in Mexico do not enjoy the same income levels that doctors and dentists do in the USA do. Therefore health care is more reasonable for Mexican residents and for foreigners who use medical services in Mexico. To supplement their income, it is not unusual for a doctor to own a pharmacy (Farmacia) as well as practicing medicine. The quality of doctors and dentists in Mexico, as well as most anywhere else, varies considerably. so it is best to consult other expats for their recommendations.

Farmacias in Mexico are everywhere. A downtown area will have one every couple of blocks or so. In some cases, if you don't have a prescription the doctor can write one for you, for a small fee. The pharmacist can often be helpful if you just explain what your situation is.

Now this seems like great advice for travelers to Mexico with pre-existing conditions:
  •  Before you go, write up a brief description and history of your condition. Begin with your name, birthdate, your doctor and his contact information, and who to notify in case of emergency. Include a list of medications and dosages that you are taking. Include a list of anything that you are allergic to. Unless your Spanish is very good, I would just write this in English. Get this onto one sheet of paper or less and carry it with you. Give your travelling companions copies. That way, if you do have an emergency, someone can just hand this to the doctor and you don't have to worry so much about communicating all this information during the emergency.
  • Also before you go, find out where you might find treatment and how to make contact.
  • Find out how to say your condition in Spanish

Here's a good site: Public Health Care System in Mexico (IMSS)

Now go and have fun!

Medicare Pre-Planning For Expats In Mexico

Mexperience has an article in their Mexico Living Blog about an expat named Phil who experienced chest pains and went to a Mexican hospital. He received excellent care, but his plan to go back to the U.S. with his wife Gloria and have Medicare cover the expenses went awry. He was put in intensive care, then a standard room "...but it was clear that between the heart monitor, the IV solutions and the oxygen therapy, Phil was not moving anywhere for a while. He certainly wasn’t in any shape to jump on an international flight back to the USA to use his Medicare benefits."

If they had thought things through more carefully and had the information about the various types of insurance available to expats in Mexico, including various “blended solutions,” Gloria and Phil might have actually been able to take advantage of Medicare while still getting the emergency care that Phil needed in Mexico, and to have had quality, affordable coverage for all of it.

What was missing was information, the kind of information they would have found in The English Speaker’s Guide to Medical Care in Mexico. This helpful book suggests a number of strategies for people like Gloria and Phil.

With some pre-planning, Gloria and Phil might have actually been able to take advantage of Medicare while still getting the emergency care that Phil needed in Mexico, and to have had quality, affordable coverage for all of it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why Mexico?

The interest rates of Italy have jumped big the last few days and today there are reports that banks in Europe dumped $300 billion of Italian debt. Why because total debt as a percent of GDP has soared. There are fears that Italy will be unable to service its debt and thus be bankrupt. Look at this chart at how the US compares to Italy. See anything familiar4?

Then I took a look at Public debt to GDP in the US and Mexico. Are the financials better down south?

BTW, "public debt" is the cumulative total of all government borrowings less repayments that are denominated in a country's home currency. Public debt should not be confused with external debt, which reflects the foreign currency liabilities of both the private and public sector and must be financed out of foreign exchange earnings.

Finally, lets look at total debt of the US and Mexico; GDP of Mexico is $1.567 trillion (or 13.5%) Vs  US $14.660 trillion (100%).

Public debt for either country is not a big problem, but total debt to GDP is for the US. It also means we can be blackmailed!

Mexico looks more attractive!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mexico on Top | Prestowitz

Mexico on Top | Prestowitz

"Here are some interesting numbers. Mexico's economy is presently growing at 3.2 percent annually or more than twice the 1.3 percent of the U.S. economy. In the past four years, Mexico has increased spending on new infrastructure from 3.3 to about 4.5 percent of GDP. In contrast, U.S. infrastructure spending has been falling as a percent of GDP since 1960 and is now at 2 percent of GDP according to the American Society of Civil Engineers which gives the United States a D on its recent Infrastructure Report Card.
Would you rather talk jobs? Okay, Mexico's current unemployment rate is 5.26 percent versus America's 9.1 percent official rate and closer to 16 percent comprehensive rate (including those too discouraged to look for work, those working part time who would like to work full time, etc.)."
A few reasons for staying in Oregon for part of November have to do with the fall landscaping colors.  Today, Bev and I took a ride to Forest Heights and took pictures of blazing trees and fall foilage:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Enrique Peña Nieto Wants To Privatise PEMEX

PEMEX, the Mexican oil company, is a Mexico owned monopoly authorized by Article 27 of the Constitution. As such, the U.S. Mexican Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow said that even talking about outside investment in PEMEX was “taboo.”

To hear Revolutionary Party (PRI) presidential pre-candidate talk about Pemex, leads one to conclude that PEMEX needs outside investment and the way to get that help is through privatization. Some say private investment as been reluctant to invest in PEMEX for fear that their property could be seized.

The handsome Nieto may bring the PRI back to power that's why his view is important. Nieto says "...Mexico has been 'held hostage' by it's mistaken urge to keep PEMEX nationalised and that Mexico 'can achieve more; grow more and do more through alliances with the private sector.'"

Dennis Gartman in the October 25th, 2011 Gartman Letter says,
Mr Pena Nieto has our interest. For the time in many, many years we are actually interested in owning things in Mexico.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hurrican Jova Expected Near Manzanillo, Mexico

Dr. Jeff Masters writes, "If (Hurricane) Jova maintains its current central pressure of 960 mb until landfall, it will rank as one of the ten most intense Pacific hurricanes to hit Mexico since record keeping began in 1949." Winds are currently blowing at 125 mph and it could be either a category 3 or 4 when it makes landfall near Manzanillo on Tuesday.

San Miguel Doors

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kelly McLaughlin's Mexico

She originally visited Mexico in 2003 for a vacation and never went back home!

How I envy such people. I wish it were that simple!

Two Tropical Storms?

Mexico from Manzanillo north is expected to be hit by hurricane Jova.  Landfall is expected Tuesday as either a category three or four.  Following behind is tropical storm Irwin. Dr. Jeff Masters writes, "...the one-two punch of heavy rains from two tropical cyclones within a week could cause a devastating flood situation along the Mexican coast". 

Here's a rainfall forecast:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

7th Annual San Miguel International Writers’ Conference & Literary Festival

Can I figure out a way to attend this writers conference from February 16 – 19, 2012? 

It will feature Margaret Atwood and 42+ world-class speakers, instructors & agentsOne-on-one pitch sessions with agents; 42 workshop options (choose six); keynotes and panels; individual consultations with seasoned professionals; open mic; manuscript contest; bookstore; live performance: That Dorothy Parker; receptions; spectacular Mexican Fiesta; guided excursions. Gourmet dining all week!

One of my first sessions would include Writing the Novel You Can Write conducted by Rosalind Brackenbury.

The next day that could be followed by Deep Point of View: Infuse Power into Your Story and Characters conducted by Jodie Renner.

Later that day I could try Introduction to Travel Writing by Laurie Gough.

On Saturday, I'd choose The Heart of Story: Writing Scenes by Eva Hunter Next on Saturday, I'd choose Techniques of Fiction: A Supersonic Overview by C.M. Mayo.

On to Sunday, I'd attend Travel Writing in the Digital Age conducted by Anne Dimon.

All those workshops and a Keynote Address by Margaret Atwood for $395 + hotel + airfare + food etc.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mexico Popocatepetl Blasts Out Ash

The Popocatepetl volcano spewed ash more than a kilometre into the sky four times on Tuesday, Mexico's national disaster prevention agency said.

It said there was a possibility ash could fall on to Mexico City overnight.

The agency was urging people to stay at least 12 kilometres from the crater.

The 15,450-metre volcano (26,242 ft.), pronounced po-po-ka-TEH-peh-tel, is located about 65 kilometres southeast of the Mexican capital.

Retirement & Second Homes in Mexico 2011…A “half full or half empty” market?

Retirement & Second Homes in Mexico 2011…A “half full or half empty” market?

"6,000,000 retired Americans will live in Mexico by 2025. That equates to an increase of 4,000,000 retirees over the next 14 years."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mexico Behind the Scenes: An Exclusive Interview with an Intelligence Operative – Part 1 | Mexico Premiere

Mexico Behind the Scenes: An Exclusive Interview with an Intelligence Operative – Part 1 | Mexico Premiere

Talk about unintended consequences, to be polite, or just plain planning, " ...(the) retired “case officer” and still a member of the intelligence community at the highest levels" says it all started with NAFTA!

CostaBaja Resort & Spa – La Paz, Mexico

Never been to La Paz.  This looks interesting!

Room rates at CostaBaja in La Paz seem reasonable for room with a king sized bed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mexico's president becomes TV adventure guide

President Felipe Calderon and Peter Greenberg walking on beach in Cozumel while filming Mexico the Royal Tour, Photo credit: Robert Landau

Mexico's president becomes TV adventure guide

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Agreeing To Leave?

Every time we get together with the two of our best friends, this time for dinner to celebrate her 61st birthday, the topic always turns to moving to Mexico. We all want to sit with our toes in the sand and experience the warmth that we will miss so much in the approaching fall and winter.

Having a business and a lease has stopped us in the past, but now the economy has outlasted our ability to feed a losing furnishings business. By August 31st, we will have liquidated our inventory and closed our doors. My wife will have to find another job, so we can continue paying the mortgages and buying food other than cat food to eat. That's her fear, that she'll have no money and have to eat catfood to survive. I always say that catfood is better than having to eat kitty litter.

We were asked, "Why don't you just sell the house and your stuff and leave? At least sell the house and rent an apartment, forgoing all the expenses associated with home ownership." That's a darn good question. It's probably fear on her side and inertia on mine. I think we all agreed last night, them in a wine-induced fog, to pack up and leave. We'll see what the next few days brings.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

One More Reason To Move

From International Living

From running one of the most influential and well-known independent bookstores in the U.S. to establishing a family- and community-based business in one of Mexico’s most beautiful colonial cities…Patrice Wynne’s career has taken some dramatic turns. She now calls San Miguel de Allende home, and her unique take on life and business in central Mexico is an inspiration to anyone who thinks that the challenge of starting over is one to be savored. It was certainly that way for Patrice, and she’ll tell us why in this edition of Finding Your Overseas Paradise.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Six Considerations For Retiring Abroad:

Liz Davidson has a column in Forbes titled "A Great Retiree Migration Abroad is Not So Far Fetched." She writes
Millions of U.S citizens retire abroad; the State Department records that there are over 6.6 million Americans living abroad, many of them retirees (550,000 of them are military personnel and their families). This number has grown over 500% in the past 40 years and will probably continue to increase going forward.
I think Liz is exactly right! Baby boomers will be moving from the U.S. in something called a diaspora to escape to a warmer climate, sure, but really to escape the high cost of living, a financial system that is failing and ultimately the fear that the U.S. will impose all sorts of controls over our movements and movement of our assets.

The story of violence we read about in North American newspapers stopped travel to Mexico temporarily, but now hotel booking sights are seeing big increases.
Expedia revealed last week that travel bookings made to Mexico from its portfolio of global brands, which includes the Expedia and websites, were up nearly 25 percent in the last 12 months.

Returning to Liz Davidson, her piece looks at six considerations for retiring abroad:

Distance: For some long plane flights to and from family are a deal breaker. Davidson says consider shorter distances away and consider Skype. You may have more face time with Skype than you do now living in the same city. Also, remember, we have become such a mobile society that families are already spread across the country.

If language is the problem, consider living in expat communities. If you can learn the language, you'll enjoy the country more.

Culture Shock:
To adapt to not only a new environment but also a new culture takes a flexible and adaptable personality type. So if you are the type that loves routine and predictability, you’d need to consider long and hard whether retiring abroad is for you.

Medical Care:
A resource to determine the quality and eligibility of medical care is to ask the expats that live there and are using the medical system. Look for expat forums such as the Future Expat Forum on LinkedIn .

Economic Stability/Inflation:
It is prudent to choose a country with a relatively low inflation rate or at least not one that is higher than ours.
Davidson has links to sources for this information.

Personal Safety:
Start with the U.S. State Department. Their website offers reports on terrorism as well as crime rates by country, broken down by counties. You can also post questions on some of the many expat blogs to gather the word literally from the street – Expat Exchange has hundreds of expat blogs.

I am interested in Mazatlan and am a member of the Mazinfo expat group and can ask any question about living in Mexico of the expats and always get good answers

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Travel To Los Osuna And El Caliete

We've been back from Mexico now a week and I will not forget our trip to the Los Osuna tequila Factory and El Queliete about 30 miles northwest of Emerald Bay. We hired Fernando who works for Avis. The van for six of us and the driver was 1,000 pesos plus gas.

We left at noon headed for Los Osuna. Along the way some scary marines were randomly stopping traffic. They carried automatic weapons and were dressed in jungle camoflage. Their faces were covered to protect their identity. We were not stopped, maybe because Fernando was a marine.

The tree pictured here at the factory is over 220 years old!

Tequila is made from blue Agave. We were told by comely Marina that the workers in the field slice off the leaves and then dig out the root, which is about the size of two bowling balls.

First the root is chopped in pieces and steamed to soften the root. 

In the early days a horse pulled a rock grinder around in a circular pit . 

Now the agave root is ground by a large circular rock.The juice is then drawn off and fermented in oak casks.

Just look at that ceiling, all hand made and the building was cool on that 95 degree day.

After the tour, for 25 pesos, we could sample the tequila. I don't drink, but took a small taste on my tongue. I'd forgotten how much alcohol is in the taste of tequila. It was not as good as my cup of tea.

We all jumped back in the van, foregoing the zip lines down the road, and headed for El Quelite. 

Before going into the town itself, we parked and took a short hike up a prominent hill that looked over the valley. It was all very dry as was the river. The Sierra Madres loomed in the distance. Fernando wanted us to arrive at the restaurant El Meson in time for the entertainment.

Not only is there a great view, but a shrine on the top, maybe to thank God we didn't have a heart attack hiking up.

The restaurant is El Meson. We had heard great things about the restaurant and we were all starved. 

Oddly, we all ordered Barbecoa. We wanted to sample what Taco Bell has been advertising so frequently on TV. Barbecoa is beef that has been cooked until it's well done and stringy. In flour and corn tortillas it was very good and spicy.

After lunch we were entertained by two couples showing us traditional dances. Then native Mexicans danced a dance that told the story of the Eagle pictured on the Mexican flag killing the snake.

Finally, we paused to reflect on the wonderful food and entertainment on the front porch in the setting sun.

We were gone about five hours. If we had chosen to go on the zip lines, we would have returned much later. In the end we tipped Fernando 600 pesos for his tour and safe driving. Bev brought home her bottle of Los Osuna tequila for her margaritas.

Mexico Calling

This post is a repost from Mover Mike:

Well, we found the place to move to in Mazatlan for at least six months a year: Paraiso Costa Bonita!

...where we can see the sunset from our living and bed room:

...and this floor plan:

It was 82 degrees and sunny with a gentle breeze off the Pacific! I read that it was 36 degrees in Portland this morning. Why would I want to live in Oregon in the winter?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Crime Comparisons by Country: U.S. and Mexico

When I told my friends I was vacationing in Mexico, they looked at me as if I were nuts. I always kidded them by saying I was going to be ok. I would wear my Kevlar vest! The truth is I've never felt that it was unsafe to travel to Mexico. Recently, a study was released that compares crime rates in the U.S. and Mexico. Here's what the study shows:

The U.S. is 8th in the world in total crimes at 80.0645 per 1000 residents, giving you an 8% chance of being a victim in the U.S.

But here is the real clunker – Mexico — the country the U.S. government tells you not to visit, and the U.S. media has a field day reporting any crime, be it significant or not, to further put the fear of God into staying away from, well, Mexico ranks 39th in total crime in the world with a per capita of slightly less than 13 crimes per 1000 residents… That is a 1.3% chance of being a victim of crime in Mexico.

According to almost every measure, Mexico is much safer than the U.S.:

Assaults — the U.S. ranks number 6, Mexico number 20

Burglaries — the U.S. ranks number 17, Mexico number 34

Car thefts — the U.S. ranks number 9, Mexico number 22

Fraud — the U.S. ranks number 18, Mexico number 29

Rape — (Canada number 5) the U.S. ranks number 9, Mexico number 17

For me, it's the perfect place to be a snowbird. I enjoy the warm days, perfect sunsets and soft evenings in the city of Mazatlan on the Pacific Ocean as far south as Cabo.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mexico's President Felipe Calderon Speaks About Safety

Just days before Mexico's President Felipe Calderon is scheduled to arrive in the United States to meet with President Obama, ...Calderon speaks candidly with Gabriela Zabalua-Goddard, vice president and editor of AARP VIVA, the organization's bilingual publication for Hispanics, about safety for tourists and retirees in Mexico, the graying of his nation and how U.S. retirees in Mexico are having an impact in his country.

After a tumultuous year of being in the headlines for the violence and drug trafficking running rampant throughout the country, and at a time when the U.S. continues to warn its citizens against traveling to Mexico, the country's leader offers his views on hot-button issues. In this rare interview, he insists that Mexico is not a dangerous country.

Translated Excerpts from the Interview:
His Personal Message to Tourists
"They shouldn't worry. Obviously, there are problems, but these are associated with certain places and to conflicts within criminal elements. Over 2.5 million U.S. citizens live in Mexico--half of them retired--and they live very peacefully. For them, Mexico is a safe country, and we are always very alert to any incidents that may occur."
"Mexico welcomed over 20 million international tourists last year, 49 million tourists from across the border, 6 million tourists by cruise ships, and there were no real major incidents. I can assure you that Mexico is a peaceful, safe and pleasant country. We have lovely retirement communities: San Miguel de Allende, Chapala, Morelia, Vallarta; we're very happy with them. Mexico is a great place to live and enjoy, so, come with peace of mind, feel safe. We're also working to improve the living conditions of our people in Mexico."

Changes Taking Place In Mexico
"In Mexico, we are carrying out a very important transformation of our infrastructure, of its economic, social, educational and health areas. Mexico is a vibrant democracy where people live within the law. Where human rights are respected; a society where there's freedom, you can have your opinions and vote in absolute freedom."

On Financial Security and Poverty in Mexico
"In 1997/96, there were nearly 40 million people in Mexico still living in extreme poverty. And that figure has decreased considerably, to approximately 18 million now, even with the severe economic crisis we had. And we're doing even more. Mexico has a program, Oportunidades, that has been copied by many countries, especially in Latin America, where we provide financial support to mothers with the condition that they take their children to school and to the doctor. This is a way of breaking the cycle of poverty. This program has been able to get millions and millions of Mexican families out of poverty."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Two Weeks To Vacation!

We are down to the final two weeks before leaving for two-week vacation in Mazatlan starting March 6th. We check the weather forecast every day and it clings to 80 to 85. Here in Portland, we are expecting snow on Thursday and then an extended stretch of 13 days with temps below freezing and snow almost every day.

I have lost almost 15 pounds and can fit into my new red and white swimming trunks with only a little "dunlop." I go to sleep thinking of sitting in my lounge chair looking out over the pool at PBEB, sipping a smoothie or cold beer sin alcohol.

I saw an ad today for a fourth floor two-bedroom condo that looks out over the Mazatlan marina for $250,000. Sight unseen it looks pretty good. However, we need to visit a number of Mexican places for at least a month before deciding to put down roots.

This week I started throwing out junk that clutters our home thinking, "Would I take this Mexico?" If the answer is no, then out it goes. It's just junk that no one would want.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Am I Being Naive?

The question always comes up, "Aren't you worried about living in Mexico?" Frank Holmes,chief executive officer and chief investment officer of U.S. Global Investors Inc. that manages approximately $4.8 billion in 13 no-load mutual funds and for other advisory clients, has written an article titled Is Mexico a Country on Fire? Is the country going to the hell of drug dealers kidnapping for ransoms? Actually, Holmes says that as the economy in the U.S. goes, the Mexican economy is leveraged to ours. If the U.S. grows at 3%, Mexico will grow at 4.5% to 5%.

The Mexican BOLSA is up 20% in the last three months, total monthly exports are at a new record high, and "retail sales as of October,  posted a 4.4 percent year-over-year change—more than twice the level seen in July."  Mexican GDP is upwards of $1 trillion  and public debt is about 25% of GDP as opposed to the U.S. of almost 100% of GDP.  Bill Gross of PIMCO, the largest fixed income investor, advises buying Canadian and Mexican debt and selling U.S. debt.

The one major negative is that "2010 ranks as the deadliest year yet in Mexico’s war against the drug cartels, with 11,041 drug-related deaths as of mid-December, representing a 385 percent increase since 2007, according to global intelligence firm Stratfor."

The high number of deaths is likely a result from the capturing and killing of several kingpins which set off a power struggle among the remaining crooks. You might think this has created a modern-day Tombstone but the law enforcement captures have left many of the cartels significantly weaker.

Am I being naive and overlooking the risk or is Mexico poised to expand and carry its citizens to higher standards of living?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Where to Go in 2011

NYT picks Loreto, Mexico as one of top 41 places to go in 2011:

Loreto, Mexico
A hideaway with empty beaches, historic architecture and sport fishing gets a luxury resort.

Credit: Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times