Celebrating Two Years in Mexico

Source: Q-Roo Paul

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been in Mexico for two years now. It seems like only yesterday we were stepping off of a plane at the Cancun airport with 99% of our remaining belongings packed into four suitcases, determined to make a new life south of the border.

The other day, Linda and I were lounging around the pool at a nearby resort here in the Riviera Maya when I asked her if she ever regretted the decision to move to Mexico. She took a sip of her Margarita, smiled and responded, “Nope.”

Of course, I knew the answer before I even asked the question.

Linda and I both agree that the last two years that we’ve spent in Mexico have been the best of our lives. We’ve traveled, met wonderful people, had amazing new experiences and we did it all on a fraction of what we used to spend each month when we lived in the U.S.

Choosing Experiences Over Money

When we made the decision to retire young and move to Mexico, we knew that we would be giving up a substantial amount of future income.

Linda had a successful career and wasn’t eligible to retire yet. In my case, I was eligible to retire; however, I was also had the option of participating in a deferred option retirement program (DROP). The second option would have substantially increased my retirement nest egg over the following five years.

With DROP, I could have continued to work, collect a salary, and my monthly retirement benefit would have been placed into an account that accrues interest. So in essence, it’s like earning two checks for five years.

We walked away from all of that potential income and moved to Mexico to live on only the modest pension of a public servant. We decided that experiences were more important than money and we wanted to enjoy a new adventure while we were still fairly young and healthy.

Although we lost 67% of our annual income, our quality of life is better in Mexico than it was in the U.S. The low cost of living here means that we have enough disposable income each month to go out and enjoy life to the fullest. We couldn’t be happier.

Let’s Wrap This Up

We wouldn’t have traded the last two years for anything in the world. The best part is that the second year was even better than the first. If this trend continues, we’re optimistic that the third year will be absolutely phenomenal. We’ll keep you updated via the blog.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About the Author

Q-Roo Paul

Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years and retired at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He moved to Mexico with his wife six days later to enjoy a laid-back, Caribbean lifestyle on a tight budget.

In 2016, Paul started a blog to share information with other people who may be thinking of making the move to Mexico. The blog, Two Expats Living in Mexico (qroo.us), has been viewed over a million times and Paul’s articles appear in periodicals across Mexico.

66 Comments on "Celebrating Two Years in Mexico"

  1. Do you have any kids?

    • Yes, a 24 year old who lives in Florida. The flight is only 1 Hr and 25 minutes.

      • Juan Blacutt | August 5, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Reply

        I ask that because of course children are great motivators to keep going. But of course yours is grown and probably independent by now. A caveat for those who choose to retire early as I speak from experience. The sun, sand and water enticement goes only so far before you start to question your sense of purpose. I own property in Mérida (Yucatan) and have met a few U.S. and Canadian citizens who after a couple of years sold everything and moved back. When I asked why?, most of them said “boredom”. But of course it is not boredom. There is plenty to do and see and learn. What I saw were people who still had some productive years in them and the retire lifestyle did not fulfill their need to feel accomplished.
        My humble advise for those prospective retirees. Don’t sell anything back home. Rent for a year in México and live there as if you had nothing back home. Go through the motions of starting a new life, making friends, absorbing the culture… etc and if after that initial year you feel that is for you then start the wheels moving toward a permanent retirement. It would not be nice to list negative aspects but be aware they are there and only experiencing them in person can help you decide if this is for you.
        As for my experience; I spent six months (age 52) in Mérida before returning to Virginia and continue to work. I only sold my vacation home in Orlando to move there but kept my other properties and business in Virginia. It was an easy call for me when I felt I wasn’t ready to retire yet. I continued to build (now finished) what will be my home when I retire in Yucatan.
        Having said all that, I also know many expats who are happily living in the Yucatan for many years and would not trade with anyone back home.

  2. Michel Bertrand | August 5, 2017 at 11:10 am | Reply

    Happy anniversary

  3. Excellent! Good for you 2. Enjoy!
    We are still trying to decide what we want to do/where we want to be.
    It’s a tough call.
    ¡Saludos!

    • Thanks, Lewis! It is a tough call because there are so many great places down here to choose from.

      • Thanks Q Man. We’re also looking at areas close to striking distance to Merida. We love that City. We love your area too. We will probably be down in a couple of months, and would love to hook up. The beer is on me.

  4. You both definately made the right decision! No amount of money can compare to the riches of a simpler life amoungst lovely people , local and foreigners. Oh and of course the daily rituals that are much more enjoyable than back home. It can take 1/2 a day to do stuff we’d do in an hour back home. All in the name of “simple”

  5. Hi Paul. I have lived in Mexico for 8 years and have not one regret. Cost of living is so little compared to Canada. Yes, there are things I miss, not living in Canada, however, I can fly or drive up and get my fix anytime 🙂 I spend more quality time with my sons and friends who come and stay with me a lot!! Congrats on your move!

  6. Your articles are exceptiinal, it deals with real life move and great facts. In the US we seem to focus on the money not the dream… as I approach retirement, I ponder your blog a lot. Thanks for this resource.
    Heath

  7. Maria K Cavendish | August 5, 2017 at 11:27 am | Reply

    Experiences are more important than money. My thought as well. This should be taught in schools.
    Happy anniversary!

  8. Love your posts. Three and a half years for me Still loving it.

  9. Alpa and Sanjay | August 5, 2017 at 11:31 am | Reply

    Congratulations. 2 down, many more to go…..

    Linda and you played a role in Alpa and me making the choice to come live in Mexico.

    Enjoy, and say hello to Linda for us

  10. I enjoy your blog immensely and have started a “M2M” (moving to Mexico) file that includes many of your suggestions and insights. I’m still in planning phase because although living in a condo or closed community has many advantages, I have 2 GSDs so roomy exterior or yard is a definite must.

    • Thanks! It is possible to live inside a gated community and have a small house with a yard. Anything is possible in Mexico 🙂

  11. Patrick Haffey | August 5, 2017 at 11:50 am | Reply

    Congratulations you 2! I enjoy your adventures,which we have a made a decision to start out your way within a year…I love Mexico.

  12. Hi Paul,and congrats on your milestone. My husband and I are both retired,but young at heart and wanting to escape the winters. It’s overwhelming to try and pick where you want to start the journey. We are looking,at least to start with,to be able to walk or bus where we need to go so being close to amenities,and of course the water,is a must. Is that possible on @ $2,000 or less a month? Thank you

    Karen

    • Hi Karen. You should be able to find places that fit your needs near Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen or even Tulum. You can always contact people through vacation rental sites and then negotiate a lower price for a longer stay.

  13. Tracy and Glenn McDougall | August 5, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Reply

    Happy Anniversary you guys and here’s to hoping you have many, many more happy years in Akumal! See you in February! Tracy and Glenn, Ottawa, Canada

  14. Thanks for all your hard work on this blog, Paul. Mi esposa and I have our visas and a place to live in Mazatlan (her dream for years and years) beginning 10/1 and my business in the US should be completely wound down by mid-September.

    Your descriptions and all the information you share is real life, is very valuable to say the least and it is comforting to know that someone has been there, done that and is happy about it.

    Thanks again.

    • Congratulations, Larry! Let us know how you like it over there. It’s on our list of places we would like to visit in Mexico.

  15. Bill Reynolds | August 5, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Reply

    Love your blog and insight Paul, I vacation many times a year in Isla mujeres Mx and plan to move there in the next 12 months! Salud.

  16. Kaye Richardson | August 5, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Reply

    That’s fantastic! Congratulations on your first two years!

  17. Congrats! Was in your neck of the woods on Thursday. Sherri gave us a tour. Fantastic. Soooo close to making the move. Would love to pick your brain….
    Robert

  18. Congrats to you guys!! When our house sells, we are on our way.
    What development did you end up in?

  19. I’ve moved up my retirement date partially as a result of reading your blog, just had a conversation with my financial advisor yesterday which brought on a whole new round of doubts… but I love Mexico and I know I can do this so please don’t stop posting I love your blog and it’s inspiring me.

  20. You guys are such an inspiration! I enjoy reading your blog and just hope one day I’ll be there too! I hope you never stop writing about it!

  21. Here in Ajijic…five years 9/15/17….and yes, every year gets better! Pat

  22. Congratulation Paul
    Both on your 2 years and on having made a great decision. We left Canada in 1999 with the plan of owning a B&B and we opened it in 2001. At one point prior to moving, I asked my husband “Can we afford to do this?” His reply was, “We can never afford to do it but we are doing it anyway.”. All the naysayers thought we had lost our minds but seventeen years later, we have absolutely no regrets. We may not be wealthy but we are happy… and in spite of a few health issue, I think we are heather than if we had stayed in Canada where for half the year it is freezing cold and all the produce is either imported or frozen.

  23. We r renting a house near Progressco in Jan and excited to live the life. I am learning Spanish which I think is a plus.

  24. We also chose experiences over money and have been in Mexico for four months. I also have a blog about our experiences so far. How did you get your following up this high? It is amazing! Love your Spanish lessons and learn a lot from them.

    • I was just reading through your blog, you’re a good writer.

      As far as our blog following is concerned, I guess we’ve just been lucky. When we started out, we were only getting a couple of hundred views a month but now we get as many as 160,000 a month.

      I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that several newspapers across the country republish our articles. We don’t get any monetary compensation for that, but it does help people find us.

  25. Congratulations you two!!!

  26. Gerald Bourhis | August 5, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Reply

    Congratulations to you and Linda on 2 years!! I enjoy your blog and Spanish lessons and always appreciate that you are taking time away from your own personal retirement to do these for all of us. Your first hand real life experiences and the detailed information you are providing for many is invaluable.

    Gracias!
    Gerald

  27. Susan Castro | August 5, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Reply

    Paul, we also gave up a chunk of income when we retired. We’ve lived down here four years, four months and five days and it’s honestly been some of the best days of my life. Even though we cut our monthly income by about 60 percent, we really haven’t missed it. Our decision to sell everything and build a house here in the Riviera was a good one. And a big part of of our happiness is meeting great folks like you and Linda. Thank you.

  28. Congratulations to you and Linda on your anniversary! I begin my journey in November and can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it. Hope I can be so happy with my decision.

  29. Congrats! Getting our perm residence visa approval in December while home for the holidays. We plan to travel around Mexico for awhile to explore more, but the Riviera is on the list! Thank you for your blog and all of the time you put into it. It is so helpful and informative!

  30. Were reading in the press again about increase in crime (murders) including Tulum and Playa….and also the poison alcohol
    at resorts???/ True/False??? are you concerned about increase in crime

    • I’m working on some posts to address issues like crime and the claim that alcohol is adulterated at resorts.

      Keep in mind that the second claim was made by a single journalist who took a statistic about adulterated alcohol and, without any proof whatsoever, made a claim that it was being served in resorts. In police work, we call that an extremely poor investigation, but I guess that’s what passes as journalism nowadays.

      I would have addressed these topics sooner, but I was risking my life visiting two different all-inclusives in the area. 🙂

  31. JOHN SPAHLINGER | August 6, 2017 at 8:51 am | Reply

    Retired to Mazatlán 9 years ago with no regrets…..love it

  32. Saludos from Ca I was born in Mexico City been here since I was 17 working very hard all this time to support family with 4 kids but very very tired of the rat race it’s funny that I read your blog today since yesterday me and the wife were at Starbucks talking about getting out of here early mi son still 3 years in college and that’s what is holding us here but we want to move to playa my wife is scared cause all this crap we hear about this freaking narcos and also afraid of failure we’re going to visit this winter but we only have 1 week any particular area you recomed ? To look for a place to move by the way love your blog ..
    Art

    • Don’t be afraid to go to Playa del Carmen. It’s important to keep in mind that PDC is a fairly large city with an estimated population of around 220,000 people. In similar size cities in the U.S., drug dealers and gang members still shoot/kill each other. The difference is that in the U.S., those things may not even make the local paper, depending on the jurisdiction. I used to work shootings and never see any mention of them. However, where they happen down here, suddenly it becomes international news.

      I’m working on a post now that addresses safety/crime in Mexico.

      We don’t live in PDC because 200,000+ people is too big a city for us. That being said, we still go there regularly to go shopping, eat or visit a quality medical facility. We always feel very safe there.

      If you only have a week here, I would recommend staying somewhere between Puerto Morelos and Tulum. Spend some time driving around, talk to locals and expats alike, and really see if you could see yourself living there.

  33. So happy for you both! Want to try out living there and your blog is my connection in

  34. Anne DeChelbor | August 6, 2017 at 10:44 am | Reply

    Love your blogs Paul and Linda and enjoyed your lessons – Happy Anniversary and I hope you have many more years to celebrate your life together in Mexico. Heading there next year for a few months as I think about retirement
    . All the best to the both of you!

  35. Congratulations on your two best years !! We retired early and lived our first 6 months in beautiful sunny Puerto Vallarta this past winter season. We will still spend our summers in Canada but looking forward to heading South again early October where life is much simpler and cheaper !! Love your Blog and the way you two think !!

  36. Hey Paul! House sale is pending- visa appointments in 2 weeks – purchasing new car for the drive down – life as I knew it is ending and a new life abput to begin at 66!! Excited & scared all at once! Viva la Mèxico!

  37. I hope “Francisco” is going easy on you. Congratulations on your milestone! Great Blog!

  38. Sorry – your storm’s name in Franklin. I like Francisco better!

  39. Congrats on your 2yr anniversary and fantastic info sharing. Juan makes a good point about the number of people who seem to go abroad with the full intent of living out the rest of their days somewhere different and often return after a few months or a few years. It might be an interesting idea for another article Paul- surveying the other retireds and semi-retireds to see what they do to keep them selves “occupied” and engaged (of course this would also be true if one just retired stateside). I guess it’s a bit of my own fear as I approach something similar to your plan in the next few years in MX and I don’t want all the upkeep of a blog or really to keep working at all……..

  40. Ethel aka Fran | August 8, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Reply

    Paul and Linda, Happy Anniversary!! So glad you are enjoying life! Fran

  41. Doreen Helrinsky | August 9, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Reply

    Congrats. Wish I had the guts to do it now rather then later.

Leave a Reply