I am going to begin this post by defining the word “expat” for those readers who are unfamiliar with the term:
An expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing, as an immigrant, in a country other than that of their citizenship. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (“out of”) and patria (“country, fatherland”). – Wikipedia
My wife and I became expats in August of 2015. We sold, donated or gave away the majority of our possessions and moved to Mexico with only four suitcases. If you want to know why, you can check out my previous post Starting Over From Scratch in Mexico.
When we originally moved to Mexico, the deal that we made with each other was to try it for a year. If after one year we decided it was not right for us, we would move back to the United States. It will be one year in less than a month and we are not going anywhere. Our new life in Mexico has exceeded our expectations and we both agree 100% that it was the right decision to move here.
Over coffee this morning, I started to think about all the benefits of moving to Mexico. I decided to do a quick blog post listing just a few of them.
1. Improved quality of life
This is always the first one that comes to mind when someone asks me why I would move to Mexico.
Every single day we feel lucky to be living in a beautiful resort community located five minutes from a Caribbean beach. We take mini-vacations to other breathtaking locations in the Riviera Maya and eat out at amazing restaurants six days a week. On the seventh day we usually cook something just to make sure the stove still works.
We would never be able to live like this in the Unites States unless we were fortunate enough to win the lottery or continue to both work. The thing to point out is that we live like this on 1/3 of the income that we had in the United States.
2. Lower healthcare and insurance costs
The cost of health and dental care in Mexico is far lower and it is possible to pay for most procedures out of pocket without insurance. I listed some prices in A Look at the Costs of Medical and Dental Treatment.
As far as insurance premiums are concerned, they are much lower. My wife’s expat health insurance costs 86% less than the price I was quoted to keep her on health insurance in the United States.
In case you are worried about the quality of care, don’t be. I talk about this topic in my post entitled What Impressed Me About Doctors in Mexico.
3. Improved safety and security
As a retired law enforcement officer, crime and safety are very important to me. I keep up with crime trends and important news stories in my area of Mexico. I can honestly say that I feel safer here in Akumal than I did living in Central Florida.
Don’t get me wrong – there are dangerous parts of Mexico, this just isn’t one of them. Of course, crime can touch us anywhere and it is still a good idea not to leave belongings on the front seat of your car while you go shopping. Some things are just common sense.
4. New challenges and adventures
Moving to a new country is a good way to keep your mind sharp and avoid the boredom commonly associated with retirement. You will be learning a new culture, language, and monetary system. Even going to the grocery store can be a new experience as you look through products that you have never seen before.
5. Improved social life
Our social life is far more active than it was in the United States. The expat community in this area is full of outgoing, friendly people who are eager to live life to the fullest. We have already made a lot of great friends.
One of the reasons that we have been able to meet people so quickly is because where we live. We have a condo inside a community that fosters positive interactions between the residents. There are yoga classes, Spanish classes, drink making classes (my favorite), social events, volunteer events, and even group trips to cool locations both in Mexico and abroad.
Update – Since publishing this article, several readers have requested to know where I live. I do not want to make that information public; however, I will share the information on an individual basis. You can contact me via the Contact Page and I will email you back.
6. Far from the politics and problems of the “old country”
This has been an unexpected plus of living in Mexico — especially in recent months. If I avoid Facebook posts and American tourists, I rarely know what is going on in the United States. This helps me preserve my peace of mind.
7. Laid back lifestyle
A stress free, laid back lifestyle spent on Caribbean beaches has done wonders for my overall health. We are both happier, healthier and more relaxed than we have ever been in our lives.
8. Close proximity to the U.S. (just in case)
Just in case we have to go back to the United States for a family emergency — or just to get really good hot wings, we can get there quickly. The flight from Cancun to Orlando averages about 1 hour and 25 minutes.
9. Mexican culture and its people
Linda and I have both fallen in love with the Mexican culture and we feel very at home here. The Mexican people that we have met over the last year have all been hardworking, positive, patient, caring, appreciative, helpful and most of all — friendly. We are making friendships that will last a lifetime.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Becoming an expat does not mean giving up your citizenship or your allegiance to your birth country –It only means that you have chosen to live in another country. You can even have the best of both worlds by dividing your time between paradise and your previous home.