Retired in Mexico: What I Miss from the U.S.

Source: Q-Roo Paul

Readers of the blog often ask me if I miss anything from the United States now that my wife and I live full time in Mexico.

I usually respond with a safe, socially-acceptable answer like “my friends and family” or something humorous like “the high cost of health care” – but today I decided to put more time into thinking of a better answer.

I settled into a comfortable chair at a restaurant overlooking the turquoise waters of Akumal Bay and I thought long and hard about what I missed. Do you want to know what I came up with? The answer is nothing at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the United States. In fact, we would visit it more often if we could – but we can’t. Uncle Sam gave us a big financial incentive to stay away in the form of hefty Obamacare fines.

In case you are wondering what I’m talking about, check out What Every American Living Abroad Should Know About Obamacare Fines. In a nutshell, if we spend more than 35 days a year in the United States, my wallet will get lighter to the tune of a couple thousand dollars.

I started asking other American expats what they missed from the United States and most responded by naming a certain food item or restaurant back home. Apparently, I hang around a bunch of “foodies”.

I couldn’t think of anything in this category either because the food has been amazing here in Mexico.

Friends and Family

Several readers have said that they would love to move to Mexico; however, they are afraid that they will miss their friends and family too much.

I used to think the same thing before moving here but this has not been an issue.

Since moving to Mexico, we have had a steady stream of visitors from the old country. We have had so many that we had to start a calendar just to make sure there is no overlap in visits. If anything, we are spending a lot more quality time with them.

As for those that haven’t made it down yet, we have modern technology to help take the sting out of being apart. Thanks to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter we receive continual updates about the actions, accomplishments, disappointments, political views and emotional state of most of our friends and family members

If I want to personally communicate with someone, I can use text, voice, or even video chat. In most cases, the person answers immediately because everyone carries their cellphone around with them. I texted three friends back home while I was writing this post.

So, that means that the only thing that I cannot do is touch or smell the other person. The latter is probably a blessing. As far as touching goes, except for a hug or handshake when you are saying hello or good bye, how much more touching is really warranted?

Let’s Wrap This Up

Linda and I took a calculated risk when we sold everything and moved to Mexico. We gave up our possessions and over 67% of our former household annual income. We weren’t sure at the time if we would be able to make it work out but we knew that we would regret it later in life if we didn’t try.

The decision turned out to be a great one. We now enjoy a laid-back, Caribbean lifestyle while easily living within our means. We find ways to save money without sacrificing our quality of life and happiness.

We both know that this lifestyle would never have been attainable if we had stayed in the United States. I guess that’s why I don’t really miss anything.

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About the Author

Q-Roo 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. In 2016, they started a blog called Two Expats Mexico ( sharing their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border. The blog has been viewed over two million times and the articles have been republished in numerous periodicals across Mexico.

42 Comments on "Retired in Mexico: What I Miss from the U.S."

  1. Bob and Patti Parigini | November 6, 2016 at 10:19 am |

    This sounds like us Paul! We can’t think of a better place to live than Mexico! Dream it, Plan it, Do it!

  2. The one thing we miss is good Leche lol can find any here yet 🙂 Any ideas on what kind taste the most like milk from home?
    That’s the only thing we miss so far.

    • Not a fan of the boxed milk? It is a strange concept whe you spend you life going to the refrigerated section of the supermarket to get milk back in the U.S.

      We don’t drink much milk so I’m not even sure which one is best. I do prefer the sour cream here in Mexico though. I put it on everything.

    • You might try looking at Dac grocery in Playa. They have some unpasturized drinks and a wonderful yogurt that is hormone free. It is strange seeing milk on the shelf! LOL
      Paul, we absolutely love your blog by the way!

  3. Marilyn Atkinson | November 6, 2016 at 11:18 am |

    I remember reading a few years ago that people who move to Hawaii have a 75% chance of moving back to the Mainland within 2 years because of children and grandchildren. Cost of living there wasn’t mentioned!!

    • That’s a high percentage.

    • The situation isn’t quite parallel (except in geographic latitude… ) precisely because of the cost of living, as well as the distance. Mexico is much closer.

  4. RodolfoHernandez | November 6, 2016 at 11:46 am |

    This was a great post…your open candor is welcomed and refreshing. I dream to give it a shot to live in the area where you are… I hope to visit your area in next few months.
    Keep up the good work.. I mean retirement!

  5. Andrea - Paamul | November 6, 2016 at 12:19 pm |

    I miss “running to the grocery store” and being able to get in, grab my one item and get out in less than 5 minutes. But, that is certainly not worth leaving. We love it.

    • Things do move much slower down here.

      • Wow, here in San Antonio TX I could never expect to get one item in a grocery store and be out in five minutes. A convenience sotre, yes, but aren’t there such in Mexico (OXXO’s)?

  6. Tricuits!

  7. What happens with taxes. Do you pay US as well as Mexico income tax?

    • I only pay income tax on the U.S. side because I don’t work in Mexico. However, I do pay property taxes on my Mexican condo each year and I may have to pay capital gains tax on the profits when I sell it unless I qualify for an exemption by then.

  8. My husband and I have been visiting a resort in Akumal for several years, and really the climate and the people we have come to know. We are within a few years of retirement, and have seriously considered, recently, selling our business, house, etc, and retiring there. We are happy to have discovered your blog. Thank you.

    • This is really a great place to retire. Feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance or if you have questions about moving here.

  9. Great blog and I read every post. Been coming to Akumal for 29 years and retired to Puerto Aventuras 2 months ago from just north of Toronto. I miss real Maple Syrup !
    We sold everything as well, fixed income and great healthcare in Canada but everything else is very expensive.
    Golf 365 ! Friendly people ! Sun almost every day, great beach, awesome food, still need the AC, learning Spanish.

    • The key is to befriend expats that go back and forth. They can bring you fresh maple syrup…haha.

  10. I appreciate the time and thought you put into your blogs! Seems like you always hit on a topic just as I am thinking about it. This was one that was on my mind… I’m sure it’s different for people, but good to know your opinion.

  11. We thought long and hard before deciding to move down here upon retirement. There were so many uncertainties, but we knew we would always regret not at least giving our dream a try. That was three and a half years ago. (Paul, we are sort of neighbors). I have never been at such peace in my life. No regrets.

    • I’m always glad to hear from other people who have been here longer than we have and still love it. It is very encouraging.

  12. Ten years ago I moved from northern California to Baja California and I have absolutely nothing that I miss at all. Life is simpler, lighter, fresher, and far more fun. It is absolutely beautiful in this part of the Baja. In thirty minutes I can get to Cabo and Costco if I need to get supplies, in 15 minutes I am in the Pueblo Magico of Todos Santos, which is lovely and which provides the opportunity to hang out with great friends. El Pescadero is less than ten minutes away. My little village has a few families and many great friends. It’s lovely.
    At one point I wanted to develop my property for casita rentals at the beach, and that has worked out great. In fact, I may be selling my property soon and building across the road, so anybody who wants to move and needs income can contact me if interested. Life is is absolutely easy and wonderful, and with three casitas my friends and family visit all the time, and I can rent them when I want to.
    I have seven miles of deserted gorgeous beach with great fishing and amazing sunsets, and plenty of friends and family come here to Baja Beach Oasis for visits…..cant get all that in the States!

    Elias Calles
    km 79, Hwy 19, Baja California Sur

  13. I enjoy reading your very informative posts. Thank you very much. I am just turning 75 years young and living in Florida. I have been considering a move to Mexico and been researching different locations for some time. With not speaking Spanish, would that be a problem in your area of Mexico? I know that in Baja area (Rosario) that English is widely spoken due to its proximity to the United States.

    • Thanks for reading the blog. Although it is beneficial to know some Spanish to live here, it is not necessary in my area. Only two of my neighbors speak Spanish. The rest are originally from the U.S. or Canada and they get along fine with just English. That is a benefit of living in an area where the economy depends primarily on tourism.

      If you would like some detailed information about the complex where I live, feel free to send me an email at

  14. Not sure what the Live Music scene is down there, but I’d probably miss live Blues bands!

    • There is live music all through the area. In fact, last night we listened to a Canadian singer with an acoustic guitar while we ate coconut shrimp. I haven’t heard any Blues bands though but I will keep my eyes open.

  15. Enjoy reading your blogs. We lived in Pinellas County, Florida before moving here to Mexico. My husband and i did the same thing you did. Sold the house, gave away most of our belongings, visited our children. We loaded the SUV with the few thing we wanted with us and drove through mexico. We focused on Puerto Morelos as the destination. But temporarily ended up in Chan Chemuyil for a few months before moving into Puerto Adventuras. I love to read about people who feel the same way we do. We have experienced the same things as you and your wife. I too have a blog that tells people about how great it is in Mexico and it also keeps my family updated on what I have been up too. Maybe our paths will cross — its such a friendly area.

    • Thanks for sharing your story! I’m sure that we will cross paths at some point. I occasionally go to Puerto Aventuras.

  16. Paul,

    I know this is an older thread but tell me something. You mention “We gave up our possessions and over 67% of our former household annual income”. I looked in your links and also the post but perhaps missed it. How did you give up 67% of your income? I know the St Of FL gives us 80% when we retire but is this in taxes or what?

    Jeff O’Dell

    • Hi, Jeff. I took a slightly lower pension percentage so my wife would continue to get it if I die first — so I lost some there. The rest of the money comes from my wife’s lost income. She left a good paying job to follow me down on this Mexican adventure.

  17. Richard Morrison | March 26, 2017 at 3:00 pm |

    Hi Jeff,

    I am heading to a beautiful resort in Cancun, Excellence Playa Mujer. We are considering retiring there in Cancun within a year. We will be looking at condos for a morning while there. Does your area offer condos near water for $100,000.-200,000? Any recommendations and insight on the differences in areas.

    We are expats living in Panama as residence from US.

    Your blog is fantastic! It has clarified so much.


    • Q-Roo Paul | March 26, 2017 at 4:09 pm |

      There are options like that near the water (a few minutes) but not right on the beach. Send me an email and I can give you some contact info for people we trust:

  18. I so enjoy reading your blogs. I am a retired officer, currently working as a Deputy, and have been traveling to/visiting Cozumel for about 28 years. I have often believed that when I retire I shall spend my winters in Mexico. Not sure right now that I would live there full time, but who knows ? My father has actually lived in the Lake Chapala area for about 20 years now. I love the information you share.

    • Q-Roo Paul | March 27, 2017 at 2:56 pm |

      Thanks for following the blog, Carol. You retired once and then got back into it? Lots of my friends have done the same thing. So far, I’m resisting the temptation 🙂

  19. Paul, don’t the Obamacare fines apply only to those who have *not* established bona fide residence overseas? Not just those who spend 330 days out of the US?

  20. I’m always in Akumal. I stay at Secrets Akumal. I’m retired living in LA. I’d love to come and stay a month. Rent. Do I have to be a Ex-Pat to hang w the Ex-Pat community? My husband was in the Navy and my father and Uncles in the Army and Marines. But me, no military history. You all seem like a lovely bunch to get to know. Thank you

    • You don’t have to be an expat to get to know the expat community at all. There are several Facebook groups from the area where you can find out about gatherings etc. Several expats get together at Lol Ha Restaurant on Akumal Bay on Fridays from 5:30 – 6:30 too.

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