Celebrating Four Years of Retirement in Mexico

It’s been four years since Linda and I arrived at the Cancun airport with all of our worldly belongings packed into four suitcases, all weighing under 50 lbs. We had just spent the previous year selling, donating or otherwise disposing of all of the ‘stuff’ we had accumulated throughout our lives.

When we got rid of our stuff, we got rid of the debt that came with it. No more mortgage or car payments. We were actually debt free for the first time in our adult lives. The key was to maintain that status while we built a new life in Mexico and learned to live on a retirement income that was only about 1/3 of what we were making when we were both working.

Our original plan was to try it for a year to see if we liked it and if we could afford to live in Mexico — and live well. One of the reasons that we decided to retire young was so we could enjoy it while we had our health, but ‘enjoying it’ meant having enough disposable income to travel, go out to eat etc. — otherwise, what’s the point?

After only two months into our one year trial period, we had already decided that Mexico was the perfect place for us. We loved the area, the people, the food, the healthcare, and most of all, the low cost of living. Not only were we able to live well on on our reduced income, we even put some money in savings each month.

That’s when the stars really aligned for us and the owner of the condo that we were renting, and loved, asked if we were interested in buying it with all of the contents included. We were able to do it without accruing any debt by using the money that we had made from selling virtually everything we owned back in the States. We were laying down roots!

We started this blog near the end of our first year in Mexico, so if you’re a regular reader of the blog, you already know how things have been going over the last four years. If you’re not, I’ll sum it up in one word: outstanding!

Let’s Wrap This Up

Linda and I are both thankful that we didn’t choose to stay in our jobs a little longer back in the States just to earn a little extra money toward retirement. We wouldn’t trade the experiences that we’ve had in Mexico over the last four years for anything.

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About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) to share their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

62 Comments on "Celebrating Four Years of Retirement in Mexico"

  1. Congrats guys!!

  2. Congrats, To many more! πŸ™‚

  3. Ross Guerrero | August 4, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Reply

    Awesome and congratulations!

  4. Huguette Van Sickle | August 4, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Reply

    we moved to Mazatlan 12 years ago and like you we do not regret it one minute

  5. Congratulations and happy anniversary to you and Linda! My husband and I are coming up on one year living (off and on … hopefully permanently soon) in Mexico. Your blog and our neighbors are helping in making this transition as smooth as can be (for two people who are beginner Spanish learners). Although we still have many, many questions … thank you for filling in a lot of the blanks. May the next chapter in your retirement (home) continue to be fruitful and enjoyable!

    • Thanks for the positive feedback and I’m so glad to hear that the information that we provide has been helpful in your transition to Mexican life. πŸ™‚

  6. That’s awesome!!! I dream that my husband and I can do this one day! Until then, all I can do is continue to visit every year! I love Cancun and the Rivera Maya!! Blessings to you both and continue to enjoy life in paradise!

    • Thank you, Veronica. We used to vacation here every year until we moved down, so I know what that’s like. πŸ™‚

  7. Rich Shipley | August 4, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Reply

    Inspiring! Congratulations.

  8. Michael Cadue | August 4, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Reply

    Congrats. We are retired snowbirds who bought a house in Q Roo 12 years ago. Still haven’t made that final commitment mostly because of family back home in Canada.

  9. Love this way of life that I can hope soon to start living.

  10. Congratulations you two. We have been living in Mexico off and on for over 20 years. Now we are totally on. I find you articles to be highly accurate, unbiased and informative. The only difference I find is differences in location. We live in Nuevo Vallarta. Keep up the great work you are doing and many thanks.

    • Thank you very much for the compliment, Martha. That means a lot coming from someone who has spent as much time in Mexico as you have.

  11. Jeffrey Stoeckle | August 4, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Reply

    Congratulations on your decision on retiring early.

  12. After travelling the Yucatan for several years I retired. After a couple of timeshare visits we bought a house in Bucerias in 2002 We live in Mexico for the winter months only. Our cost of living is about half of that for our other house in Florida. We sold the first house in2016 and moved into one built to our designs. In pesos we almost doubled our investment and was able to build the second one without a loan. Many of our experience s on the Pacific coast are different from those on the Carribean side, generally simpler and cheaper.

    • That’s very interesting. I’m sure you have a lot of valuable advice and experiences to share. Ever thought of starting a blog? I can say from experience that it’s not a bad expat hobby.

  13. So happy for you, Congrats!

  14. Excellent. My wife and I have done the same with a few differences. We still have a 10×15 storage unit in the US. Other than that we have cut most ties, except for the family remaining in California. We started out in the Chapala area and we love it. I do believe I will begin missing the ocean. How are the summer months for you? Do you stay in Q-Roo in August or vacation somewhere else?

    • Congrats on your move south.

      As far as the summer months are concerned, we do plan some trips to escape the heat for awhile. We’re headed to San Cristobol de Las Casas in Chiapas in a week.

  15. Cathy Steele | August 4, 2019 at 4:38 pm | Reply

    I’m so happy for you both! I’d say, “just do it”, is your motto! You did it, and reading your blogs have been all inspiring!! Congrats!!

  16. mounddweller | August 4, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Reply

    Paul and Linda,

    We’re right behind you. Next month we’ll be celebrating our 2nd year anniversary of full-time living in Mexico. Our path has some commonality with yours. Like you, we sold everything we owned and arrived in Mexico with 4 suitcases, two carry-ons, a back-pack, and a purse. Life without a bunch of stuff has been incredibly liberating. The biggest difference between your story and ours is that we’re a little bit older, we retired at age 55 and we chose to live in the central highlands of Mexico as opposed to the beach.

    We love it here and we have not one regret for the decisions we’ve made.

    Regards,
    Troy

    PS. I’ve been following your blog since well before you got “famous”. It was and remains one of the best sources for concise and accurate information about life as an expat in Mexico.

    • Troy,

      Congrats on your two year anniversary in Mexico! Our stories do sound similar and the best part is that it appears to have worked out well for both of us.

      Thanks for continuing to follow us all these years and thanks for the positive feedback.

  17. Congratulations and we hope to join you one day soon.

  18. Congratlations and “Happy 4th anniversary!” Continue to enljoy and make memories; no one has promised us tomorrow.

  19. I’m glad it has worked out so well for you both and you are happy with your decision. I’ve followed you on your blog for several years and am so thankful you decided to share your honest assessment of your new life and so much other practical information via your blog. You both feel like old friends to me now, even though we have never met! Wishing you much continued happiness and many more blog posts. Also, your Spanish lessons are awesome, thank you so much for them!

  20. Paul and Linda, so happy for you! You have found your paradise!! Evelyn

  21. Congratulations on another year of a life well lived!
    We are two years away and I have one question for you.
    What is your recommendation on selling your β€œstuff”? I know what will be tossed, donated and given to the kids, but wondering what is the best way to sell things to get the best price. (I shudder at the thought of garage sales) Auction perhaps??
    Thanks!

    • We didn’t do a great job at getting the max value for things because we hate garage sales too. Some of the other expats that we know said they did well selling things piece by piece through Facebook, and a couple of them even hired companies to have an estate sale.

  22. Joseph Binef | August 4, 2019 at 8:16 pm | Reply

    Blessings, and many more good things to you both, I’ve been thinking of doing that jump that makes you very nervous of all the unknown. as they say no guts no glory. thanks to your blogs it all seems possible. thanks

    • We were nervous before we did it too and that nervousness hung around for the first six months or so. Everyone goes through that.

      As long as we’re mentioning motivational sayings, don’t forget “Fortune favors the bold.”

  23. Thanks! That’s what I was wondering.

  24. Ron Tracewell | August 4, 2019 at 9:52 pm | Reply

    Love your blog, Paul! Lynda and I moved from Alaska to Baja Sur (Los Barriles, on the Sea of CortΓ©z) ten years ago, trading shoveling snow for shoveling sand. We love it, best decision we could have make. Thanks, Paul and Linda.

    • Thanks for following the blog! One day we’ll make it over to your side and check it out. There is just so much to see and experience in Mexico. I know we’ll never get to it all.

  25. If it were up to me, my wife and I would hightail it out of San Diego and down to Puerto Vallarta (her favorite) or Zihuatanejo (my favorite) in a heartbeat. Although she loves Mexico, too, my wife does not want to leave our family and friends. She also does not speak the language. However, having taught for over 36 years at a community college near the Tijuana border (Southwestern Community College, Chula Vista) where Spanish is spoken by many of the students, I have spent the last 25 years studying Spanish and finally can carry on a conversation for more than 10 minutes. Personally, I now much prefer the Mexican culture to the culture in United States. We routinely hop across the border and eat and shop in Tijuana, Rosarito, Tecate, the Guadalupe Valley (great wineries!), and Ensenada. Luckily, we have SENTRI passes so we can cross quickly back into the States.

    For those folks who are on a very tight budget and would have trouble affording one of the beach cities by the oceans, check out Morelia. It is the capital of Michoacan in central Mexico. It is like going to Europe! In Morelia, at the Baden-Powell English/Spanish intensive language institute (http://www.baden-powell.com/home), I met several ex-pats from the States who were living quite comfortably only on their Social Security. Michoacan is one of the most beautiful states in Mexico. Plus, Zihuatanejo is only about a 4 or 5 hour bus ride and a favorite destination of the locals.

    Mexico is not perfect. They have many problems and sometimes we UnitedStaters (estadounidenses) simply shake our heads and wonder why they put up with such nonsense. However, if you take the time and patience to learn the culture and language, you will find that there are many good things about Mexico. A mi me gusta Mexico, warts and all!

    • It sounds like you have the best of both worlds right now. And as far as the language is concerned, that naturally improves due to the constant exposure and necessity.

      Thanks for sharing the tip about Morelia. There are always thrifty retirees looking for a great new place to call home.

  26. Vince Fraumeni | August 5, 2019 at 6:28 am | Reply

    Congrats to both of you.
    Thank you for all the work you do. They say when you retire is when your life get to be the busiest.
    Looks like your proving that point but with Margaritas and Taco’s.

    My wife and I will be staying at TAO Akumal 08/28- 09/08. Hope we can connect.

    • Thanks, Vince. You’re right, we stay super busy in retirement. We will probably run into you while you’re down unless Linda has some last minute trip planned. She’s always looking for a deal.

  27. Congratulations! Our dream is to do the same. We are actually making tracks toward that dream and even have our nest already built in your neighborhood. How about a topic concerning nursing home care for Expats in Mexico.. I like to think it would be, or at least COULD be, much better in Mexico than it is in the USA, at least for average folks. In the USA, they just can’t find quality people to work in nursing homes as costs are so high which leads to low salaries.. and let’s just face it, there aren’t too many USA American’s kicking down doors to get a jobs helping elderly people… Put it this way, it takes a special person. It’s not for the faint of heart for sure..

    • I actually have nursing home options on my list of possible future topics and I’ve already completed some research on it. I would like to visit a few in person too.

    • AH HA!! I was hoping you’d say that.. πŸ™‚

  28. We both offer our congratulations as we too find ourselves at almost 3 years doing the same. A day late with these wishes as yesterday just happened to be a day at the beach club with new friends here in Playa Del Carmen! Thanks as well for so many helpful hints, enjoy the next years here~

    • Thanks! Don’t worry about being a day late because you were at a beach club with friends. You have to have priorities! haha

  29. Dia Olga Flores | August 5, 2019 at 11:21 am | Reply

    So inspiring!! My husband and I been talking about him taking a year or so off of work , maybe start next summer ,but there’s so much I have to figure out I still have two teenagers to worry about ,pretty sure things can get done i want him to be happy and enjoy himself regardless where we go ,and still be there for my kids !! Any advice??
    Hope you have an amazing week !

    • Taking some time off sounds great! The teens can have an international adventure. One of our neighbors moved here with a 13 and a 17-year old. The 13-year old attends a bilingual school up the road and the 17-year old finished her high school online and now attends LSU.

  30. Genevieve Chapman | August 5, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Reply

    Very informative blog. Thank you. My husband and I go and spend our winter in Puerto Morelos and we absolutely love it. We are from Canada.

  31. I am very impressed with your site ! Its full of valuable information whether still in States or in Mx. Concise, accurate and obvious that your really trying to help many people achieve the happiness in mx that you have πŸ™‚
    May you and yours have many more wonderful happy years there is my wish!

  32. Congratulations! Thank you for your fabulous blog. You are an inspiration to many. Thank you for providing such great content for the past three years.

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