Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Don't Fear Choosing the "Wrong" Retirement Destination

From International Living comes this timely piece: Don't Fear Choosing the "Wrong" Retirement Destination By Edd Staton Couple friends we've known for several years unexpectedly announced to my wife and me recently that they're leaving Cuenca and relocating to a different part of Ecuador. A week ago another friend said she and her husband are going back to the States after 10 years here. We're aware of several other people who are presently looking to move from one part of Cuenca to another.

What's going on, you might ask? Life is going on.

When you're thinking about relocating abroad it all seems so...different (it is)...and permanent. (That's not necessarily true.)

People have asked me many times, "So, do you think you'll live in Cuenca forever?" My standard reply is, "I have no idea what forever means."

Who really knows what the future holds? In my case, I can honestly say that 10 years ago I had no thought of living in Cuenca. Heck, I'd never even heard of Cuenca!

Once you arrive in a new location, health conditions can change. Unforeseen family matters may surface. Or perhaps what you thought would make you happy just doesn't.

It's not constructive to put unnecessary pressure on yourself when the thought of moving to another country is daunting enough already. We knew a couple who decided to move back to the U.S. six months after they arrived here. They said to us, "Hey, we learned this isn't our thing, but you know what? We had a great adventure!"

But, unpredictable circumstances aside, there is a crucial question to ask yourself that will dramatically increase your odds of making a great initial decision:

What do I want?

People sometimes write to me and say they are coming to Ecuador to decide whether to live in Cuenca or on the coast. I always tell them they don't need to go to all that trouble—you've been to the beach, and you've been to the mountains—what do you want to wake up to every day?

After deciding where to relocate, I've seen so many people relax and let their guard down. I encourage you to keep asking that same essential question.

You fall in love with a particular residence. The view! The layout! The kitchen!

All those things matter, but what's more crucial is what your life is going to look like outside those walls 24-7-365.

Is the building in a desirable area? Will you be convenient to public transportation if you aren't purchasing a vehicle? What's going to happen with that vacant lot next door? Are there dogs/roosters/partiers nearby that will drive you nuts?

Be aware that what you want now can change over time. You always dreamed of living at the beach. You move there. You love it for a while; then you think maybe you'd like to try living in the countryside. Nothing wrong with that. Go for it!

Understand that your initial choice of a new destination isn't a prison sentence. If things don't work out for whatever reason, that doesn't mean you made a huge mistake. Or that you are a failure or a dummy.

Do the internal homework to provide your best possible chance of success with moving and living abroad. 

Then be kind to yourself if life throws you a curve ball.

Because it probably will.

Editor's note: A few years ago, Edd Staton was in the same situation as a lot of IL readers. He and his wife Cynthia had both lost their "secure" jobs...and with them, the nest egg that they were looking forward to using for their retirement. So they decided to make a change—the same one you're thinking of—and move overseas to find a better retirement.

Edd will tell you what they learned...and how you could follow in his and Cynthia's the 2014 Fast Track Your Retirement Overseas ConferenceYou can reserve your place—with a $200 Early Bird discount—here.
Or, to find out more about this massive event, click here.

Surviving Yucatan

I just added an exciting blog to my Blog Roll. Surviving Yucatan is just packed with information for expats or people thinking about becoming an expat. Here are just a few of posts I recommend:
  1. ACA - Obamacare's Effects on American Expats Living Abroad
  2. 1 What Can I Bring into Mexico: Mexican Customs Rules - The Article
  3. ~ Current Rules and Procedures for Immigration, Visiting, and Staying in Mexico
  4. How to Move Money from the USA to Mexico: Checks, Wire Transfers, ATMs
  5. New 2014 Tax Laws for Mexico that Affect Expats and Foreigners
  6. Importing & Driving a Car in Mexico
  7. New Immigration Law Published for Mexico - The Article

  8. I will be following this blog closely from now on. I hope you check it out

    Monday, July 21, 2014

    Living in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

    For many the thought of living in - or even near - a major tourist resort is about as appealing as a buying a condo in Disneyland. But here in Vallarta, the incredible natural beauty, combined with a small town atmosphere and the inherent warmth and friendliness of the local people, attracts foreign residents who enjoy the good life.

    With a colorful blend of the old and the new, the Banderas Bay region offers an unrivaled combination of simple pleasures and sophisticated charms. Fine dining restaurants, art galleries, upscale shopping centers, internet cafes and nightclubs peacefully coexist alongside taco stands, street-side vendors and open air markets selling Mexican handcrafts, and strolling Mariachi bands.

    But much of Puerto Vallarta's magic is in the hearts of her people. Often described as "one big, happy family," Vallartenses are known for their hospitality and for going out of their way to welcome foreign residents. And, since the Mexican people are extremely tolerant of different lifestyles, international residents and Mexican locals can live side-by-side in harmony - provided that the expatriate can learn to be creative and adaptable.

    Puerto Vallarta is an unhurried refuge for people seeking more than just a beautiful beach. Those of us who choose to live here embrace the challenge of learning patience and understanding. Taking the time to "stop and smell the roses" along the road to becoming bicultural gives us the opportunity to grow - and to enjoy a more relaxed way of life.

    Sunday, July 20, 2014

    TRAVEL + LEISURE Best Places to Travel in 2014

    Playa Carrizalillo, Puerto Escondido, Mexico

    Trujillo-Paumier Photography

     Pro riders arrive in this town along the Oaxacan coast and make a beeline for Playa Zicatela, a.k.a. the Mexican Pipeline. But Playa Carrizalillo, a quiet cove accessible via a 150-step stairway, has waters gentle enough for the rest of us; take a dip, snorkel, then down oysters from one of the handful of beach shacks. In recent years, Puerto (as the locals call it) has been upping its hip factor: case in point, the just-opened Hotel Escondido, a 16-room, oceanfront oasis from the cult-favorite Grupo Habita brand. —Jeff Spurrier

    Punta Mita, Anyone?

    "If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that living the good life is the best way to keep up with the Joneses. The best possible one-upmanship. The best revenge. Or at least that's what I told myself when I headed to Mexico on a whim a few weeks ago to teach a certain someone a little lesson in how not to treat a girl, or else said girl will fly to Mexico without said certain someone and live in the lap of luxury, if only for 48 hours, at the beachfront Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, located at the southwest point of the Riviera Nayarit. It was 55 degrees in San Francisco when I left, and a comfortable 79 degrees in Puerto Vallarta when I landed. Amazing what a little humidity, a little sun, a little warmth can do to flush the discontent from your bones."

    Read more at Live the Good Life at the Four Seasons Punta Mita in Mexico

    Friday, July 18, 2014

    The Faded Glamour of Mexico's Merida

    DILAPIDATED BUT STILL GRAND, the colonial city of Mérida was once home to the greatest concentration of wealth in the world. It was the sisal barons of the 19th century who hired Parisian architects to build the opulent villas along Paseo de Montejo, a wannabe Champs-Elysées. Yet Mérida, the inland capital of Mexico's beach-famous Yucatán, is not an Important City and herein lies its charm. It is not packed with visitors.
    Read more at Condé Nast Traveler

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    TRAVEL + LEISURE World's Top New Buildings

    No. 6 Museo Soumaya, Mexico City

    Benedicte Desrus / Alamy

    Fernando Romero’s amorphous, aluminum-clad modern art museum, opened in 2011, rises like a glistening 64,583-square-foot sculpture out of Mexico City’s Polanco district.

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

    9 Reasons Why Single Boomer Women Should Relocate To Mexico

    Kerry Baker is a fundraising professional and development consultant currently living in Mexico who is researching and writing about topics related to single women dividing their time working and living in Mexico and the U.S. Her U.S. home is Denver, Colo.

    She wrote a article for Forbes listing 9 reasons why single women should relocate to Mexico:

    1. Life is more interesting here. I think living on the beach and taking a water taxi to the gym is way better. I still have a lot of adventure left in me.
    2. You can make your nest egg last longer. Once I found a place I liked on the beach, I calculated I’d cut my monthly expenses by half. Once I learn my way around, I bet I’ll spend even less, which will help make my savings last longer.
    3. Technology has made connecting with people in the U.S. easier than ever. Long-term friendships, a lifeblood for most women, are much easier to maintain abroad than even five years ago.

     Read the article for the other six reasons why a single woman should relocate to Mexico.

    Five Types of Global Minds You Meet Abroad

    From InterNations, the first international online community for people who live and work abroad, comes this article about the five types of global minds you'll meet:

    The Explorer - Explorers are like nomads, roaming the globe because there is so much to see, learn, and experience, with each trip or stay abroad an adventure to somewhere new.
    The Escapee - The escapee is less driven by a love for the unknown, and more by a desire to flee their home. I would fit here, wanting to escape the cold and rain, and the high costs.
    The Foreign Partner - The foreign partner is living abroad not because of a love or hate for one country, but simply because of love, period.
    The International Local - They may hunger for familiar accents and opportunities to speak the language, keen on sharing experiences, news and stories about the former host-country, or simply hoping to get back this feeling of travelling and experiencing foreign cultures.
    The Classic Expatriate - There are three kinds: The alien sticks out in his host country and culture like a sore thumb, whether by choice (e.g. culturally insensitive behavior), or by circumstances (e.g. outward appearance). The elitist similarly does not integrate in the local culture, but spends most of his time, both at work and at home, with fellow expats. The assimilator, on the other hand, does their best to blend in by speaking the local language and adhering to local customs.

    These are broad catagories. People you meet abroad may share characteristics of more than one type.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

    Freak Hailstorm Slams Puebla, Mexico

    Freak hailstorm hits Puebla, Mexico according to Jon Erdman at the Weathernews.

    Hail covers streets in Puebla, Mexico on July 8, 2014. (Carmen Salyastep Sanchez via The Weather Channel Facebook page)

    Photos submitted to The Weather Channel Facebook page by Carmen Salyastep Sanchez shows streets covered in accumulated, small hail. According toEl the city's municipal department of civil protection urged residents to avoid driving, if possible.

    Cars are submerged in a combination of accumulated hail and flood water in Puebla, Mexico on July 8, 2014. (Carmen Salyastep Sanchez via The Weather Channel Facebook)

    Thursday, July 3, 2014

    Mexico’s Cristero War

    It's easy to be a fan of Carmen Amato. She has written a number of books about detective Emilia Cruz fighting murder, corruption and the drug wars in Acapulco. Amato's novels are addictive. She has been described as a writer who "...knows this territory like a jaguar!"

    Her latest book "Diablo Nights" incorporates the Cristero War the story of the priests who’d been executed or driven out of Mexico in the late 1920′s and early 1930′s when the Mexican government decided to get rid of the Catholic Church.
    Miguel Juarez Pro was a Jesuit targeted by the government purge of priests. For months, as he was hunted throughout Mexico City, he employed disguises, safe houses, and quick thinking to stay ahead of the army troops on his tail. His story sounded like something from the annals of the French Resistance.
    There was a movie made about the war. Here's a trailer: