After Three Years in Mexico, Still No Regrets

It’s been three 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 two years or so. If you’re not, I’ll sum it up in one word: outstanding!

Let’s Wrap This Up

The last three years that we’ve spent in Mexico have been some of the best of our lives.

When I think back, I’m 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. I wouldn’t trade the experiences that we’ve had in Mexico for 20 times that amount.

Still no regrets.

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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. 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.

47 Comments on "After Three Years in Mexico, Still No Regrets"

  1. Paul and Linda….you are an inspiration to many many people. My wife and and I have been purging and purging as we prepare for our own move to the Chuburna/Chelem area.
    Thanks so much for all the Qroo information and huge congrats on 3 yrs.
    Cheers!

  2. Patricia Armstrong | August 7, 2018 at 8:33 am |

    Congrats u two, What a awesome story

  3. Robert Considine | August 7, 2018 at 8:36 am |

    Hope we’ll get there in time to buy you folks a drink at the closest beach cabana…

  4. Tom & Linda Cox | August 7, 2018 at 8:38 am |

    CONGRATULATIONS to both of you on your 3 successful years in Mexico!!!

  5. Pam Cameron | August 7, 2018 at 8:40 am |

    We looked into it 2 years ago – spent 4 mos in Ajijic, renting a house. BUT healthcare is a HUGE concern for us, at the ages of 73 and 71. Yes, there were good doctors, and an average office visit was not expensive, nor dental — but, should there be hospitalization, and it’s on your dime, wow, not fun. Which means, do you hope you can fly to the states, or is it an emergency and what do you do? You don’t qualify for any insurance down there, and to buy international insurance is so costly, any savings living in MX is shattered. So, no one we talked to could offer us any other info. What will you do, or do you do?

    • Paul can give you much more specific facts regarding insurance for expats here in Mexico. Briefly it can range from about $900 US/year per couple for IMSS up to about $2,500 US/year per couple with Novamar a US based company that writes insurance in Mexico. We too are in our 70’s and it works for us.

  6. We did the same 8 years ago now, never regretted a thing. 4 suitcases and a bright future ahead! Good luck with the coming years of enjoying this beautiful country.

  7. Laura Wiig Hoffman | August 7, 2018 at 8:48 am |

    Thank you guys very much!

  8. Just curious you say you’re living on about a third of the income you made in the states. Approx how much $$ is that. If you didn’t outright own your condo could you still do it with a monthly rent payment.

  9. Hola amigos. Love your blog.
    We are recent “political refugees” to Merida from Jensen Beach FL.
    Done with the red tide and blue green algae, political stunts of our governor cum wanna be senator, crook of the highest degree, not to mention Trumpistan. So strange to see and hear our news from afar. We are with like minds here. A breath of fresh air and sanity in a mad mad world.
    We are loving Merida and wish we’d done it sooner, now 61 and 66.
    Viva la Vida. Viva Mexico.

    • Hi loved your reply. Just a question.what made you choose Merida? I am contemplating a move but having only been to Mexico twice to th PA area, I am leaning toward that area.

  10. Janelle DeStasio | August 7, 2018 at 9:03 am |

    Congratulations! Looking forward to patterning your story when we arrive next year. See you then, if not sooner.

  11. We have been living happily in Puerto Vallarta for going on 7 years. We have also had several hospitalizations amoung our family of 3 seniors. That includes an 88 year old lady who had a pacemaker installed this year. No hospitalization has been expensive compared to the cost of medical insurance and deductible in the US. The care has been outstanding. Drop your useless US insurance and put the money in a medical saving account for yourself. We have certainly come out ahead this way.

  12. Annette OBrien | August 7, 2018 at 9:11 am |

    Congratulations to the both of you. I envy you so much. That area of Mexico is my husband and my favorite. I would love to do as you have. Enjoy and much luck to you in the future. Annette O’Brien

  13. How great were those Tacos at El Torito? Ricardo does some great stuff!

  14. Martha Narvaez | August 7, 2018 at 9:25 am |

    Congratulations – here’s to your good health, happiness and wonderful life together in Mexico, Salud!

  15. Congrats on three years! I’ve been loving your blog for at least the last two. Keep it up, and I’m sure you and Linda will find a great way to celebrate!

    Henry

  16. Great post! I would also second the question on your overall annual spend in Mexico. I have seen your post about annual expenses, but that appeared to be the bare-bones expenses required to live – not sure that “fun” stuff was included. In addition, the other travel blogs I read tend to be focused on people who are absolutely minimizing expenses – which is fine, but just not the way I’d really prefer to retire. I could probably go down there and spend up to $50K/yr indefinitely from passive income for my family of 4, excluding rent which (like you) I would budget for separately. Curious if there was a range that makes sense for younger retirees that would like to do more than just sit at home?

    Also curious about how you handle the heat in the summer there? I have been there in summer before for short periods (ie a week at a time) and was surprisingly not really bothered much by the heat and humidity. However, I would be concerned about whether I’d continue to be able to handle it for months and months….is it an issue for either of you?

  17. Your story is very inspiring. Last year, I was looking at 7 more years of work until retirement so I could afford a mobile home in Arizona. This year, I’ve calculated that I can retire in only 2 years and live quite comfortably in Mexico. I’m beginning the slow process of purging, but it’s difficult. I can easily part with the furniture, car and dishes, but I’m finding it hard to part with photos, paintings (too large for a suitcase) and books. There are so many memories tied to those items. Maybe it will get easier. Thank you for writing this blog – the information you provide is invaluable!

  18. Mark Wheeler | August 7, 2018 at 9:42 am |

    Outstanding also applies to your blog and the helpful advice you so freely offer. Just shy of 2 years here and we can attest to your enjoyment here as retired folk. Thanks !!

  19. Love your blog,congratulations,good for you!

  20. Kelly (Gordon) Roscoe | August 7, 2018 at 9:55 am |

    Congratulations Paul and Linda! You’ve been a huge inspiration to Ed and I and a wealth of information along our adventure in getting us to the same point. Today we leave for Las Vegas to secure our visas. Our retirement date is the end of this month and our official move date is September 17th. We are giddy with excitement! Thank you for your blogs and the wisdom you’ve taken the time to share.

    Best wishes, Ed and Kelly

  21. I love your story about how you made your quality & fun retirement living really reality. My hubby and I live in Phoenix & he is close to retirement so we are exploring options. He likes big cities like Buenos Aires, Argentina (been there 4 times). However, I love the beach and would love to explore your area. Love your blog

  22. Paul and Linda… congratulations.

    Five years ago, we started coming to Cuernavaca (inland) for the winters.

    Last year, we decided to sell everything (in Canada) at retire here.

    Best decision ever.

    We’ll have a toast for you later in the day! It’s only 10 A.M. haha

  23. Rich – if you dig around on the site, he posts his spreadsheets, every expenditure tracked. It’s very helpful if you’re considering a move down there!

  24. Roberta Strand | August 7, 2018 at 10:27 am |

    After 1.5 years living in Mexico full time, we are still thrilled with our decision to leave the US as well. We split out time between Lake Chapala and Puerto Vallarta, where I am writing this from now. God willing, I hope I never have to go back to the US to live.

  25. Amen!!! Congratulations on your third! We’ve been here for almost a year now, and wouldn’t trade it for anything! Great life, great people! Who could ask for anything more!

  26. Patrick Haffey | August 7, 2018 at 11:45 am |

    Congrats you 2. I’ve been following your post for over 2 years(and it is thee best blog anywhere) thanks for all the straight foreword info.Enjoy……

  27. How’s the seaweed disaster on the beaches down there?

  28. AWESOME,HERE’S TO ANOTHER 3 YEARS…

  29. Marian and Grace Glaz | August 7, 2018 at 12:47 pm |

    Congratulation to both of you.
    Keep up the good work.

  30. Chris y Monica Brittain | August 7, 2018 at 1:45 pm |

    Thank you both for the wealth of information you have provided. We have read all of them.in preparation for a full-time move to Ajijic, Jalisco in October., Residente Permanentes in hand. (along with four suitcases and our Mexican rescue dog Rrosa”.

  31. I am so happy for you both. I’m just a few years behind you so please keep this blog going as I need the help and advice. Many blessings to you. You’re making life better for many people.

  32. Mark in Merida | August 7, 2018 at 3:31 pm |

    I would totally agree, best decision we ever made was to move to Mexico. We just passed our 1st year anniversary. August 1; we sold everything we owned, packed two bags, bought airline tickets for the pets and made our way to Mexico. And, it seems like just in the nick of time — before the “Wall” got built and Mexico was able to secure its borders from the rapist, gang members and crooks among us. I am proud of my newly adopted country, as a landed immigrant to Mexico; the maturity of the government and humane approach they have taken in dealing with the US.

  33. @ Pam Cameron: I agree with Sandra. I’m 64, my wife, 61, and Aug 1st marked our second year in Puerto Vallarta, selling everything and moving with three suitcases to a furnished Old Town apt two blocks from the beach. Like Paul and Linda, our expenses are 1/3 those in the U.S., including healthcare. My wife was hospitalized here for 3 days in May for asymptomatic pneumonia. We pay $275/mo for combined coverage with Cigna Global, including a $10,000 annual deductible, given office visits are so cheap here, usually much less than a US co-pay (e.g. $25 to see a specialist). Underwriting was five phone questions. (Do you smoke?) We have a $275 global medivac rider, we pay $550 for coverage in 150 nations. Her care here was first-rate by doctors and nurses in a private room of a modern, private hospital. Food was MUCH better than US hospitals. Total charge for EVERYTHING — hospital, doctors, meds, followup — was $2100 USD, probably 1/2-1/4th a 20% US deductible. Last week, I had an overnight stay in a different private hospital for emergency laproscopic surgery of a interstitial hernia and out-the-door was $4000, again a fraction of what the US deductible will be. I was in a private room, doctors and nurses were great, modern technology, super clean, too. Of course, you can buy down your annual deductible by paying more monthly premium, but a $5000 annual max would’ve cost $7200 more a year, so we’re still ahead by $1,100 with four months to go. I know that may sound like a lot to some on fixed incomes, but its not a whole lot more than Medicare supplemental plans and Part D mandates. FYI, I grew up in a teaching and practicing doctor’s family and worked my way through college as an orderly in a 600-bed public hospital in Ohio and can tell you US healthcare is hugely overrated and obscenely expensive, only gotten worse in the past 40 years. The system there is totally profit driven and totally broken.

  34. Carolyn Major | August 7, 2018 at 6:26 pm |

    We did a similar thing and moved to Ajijic, Mexico 4 years ago!… No regrets ever, and we have had the time of our lives! I am happy you two have found your dream retirement also!

  35. You must not have grandkids…we live in San Carlos, mexico and we love it but our grandkids are 10,7,4 yrs old and we spend summers in California but we miss out on so much. It’s never perfect but we try.

  36. Dana Kerby | August 7, 2018 at 8:46 pm |

    Congratulations. I love your blog. I have lived in Punta Banda, Baja Mexico (just south of Ensenada) for over 16 years, and do not regret a minute. Of course we are close to San Diego, so make use of our Medicare there, but we have great doctors and dentists here in Ensenada. Keep up the great work. I look forward to your blogs.

  37. Good job! I’ve so enjoyed this last year issues since starting our own sailing journey. Very informative, thank you.

  38. Paul and Linda, so nice to know you are happy and enjoying your retirement. You earned it and deserve it! Looks like I will be closing on my townehouse in Lakeland on Friday. I like living in Ocala because it is much quieter, but Bob and I are looking at perhaps moving to Texas so maybe one day we will be closer to you and could plan a visit to Mexico. It would be nice to see both of you. Continue to enjoy your life and retirement!

  39. Q-Roo Paul | August 8, 2018 at 6:51 am |

    Thanks for following us and good luck on your future move/adventure! 🙂

  40. Congratulations Paul and Linda!
    As always very inspiring, thank you:)

  41. Nora Alvarado | August 13, 2018 at 12:15 am |

    I’m always day dreaming when I’m reading your blogs, trying to convince my hubby is the hard part. I’m Mexican-American and lived in different parts of mexico before but he hasn’t. Anyway congrats on your 3 years and I hope one day soon be an expat.

  42. Felicidades Pablo y Linda! Congratulations to both of you! May you continue to enjoy retirement in the land of my ancestors!

  43. Greg Brueck | August 19, 2018 at 5:13 pm |

    Hi Paul we met last St. Patrick’s Day in the pool in Cozumel. Well you be in Cozumel for the Tall ships this week?

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