Celebrating 5 Years of Retirement in Mexico

It’s been five 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 in the States 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 do fun things. Otherwise, what’s the point? Right?

Cutting the Trial Period Short

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 quite well on our reduced income, we were able to travel, eat out six days a week and even have some money left over each month to put in savings.

We ended up buying the condo we were renting and it included all of the contents — which was fortunate because we didn’t own much “stuff” at that time. The best part is that we were able to buy the condo outright without accruing any debt by using the money that we had made from selling everything we owned back in the States.

There is no way we could have lived this well if we had stayed in the U.S.

It’s been over a year since I published our household expenses, but it’s still pretty accurate, so if you’re curious, you can check them out here: Retired in Mexico: A Detailed Look at Our Expenses

If you’re interested about how we’re able to travel and vacation so much, you might be interested in this article: Mexico Life: Tips to Vacation Big on a Small Budget

Let’s Wrap This Up

With the exception of the last several months that the whole world has been dealing with COVID-19, retirement in Mexico has been pretty awesome. We’ve already done and seen so much that we both feel like we’ve packed two lifetimes’ worth of experiences into only a few years. We can’t wait to see what adventures lie ahead.

Well, that’s it for today. Take care and stay healthy. Hasta luego. 

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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.

42 Comments on "Celebrating 5 Years of Retirement in Mexico"

  1. ALREADY 5 years …. I love reading about your life in Mexico !

  2. I know what you mean Paul. We live half the year near Mazatlan. And although we didn’t get to retire young, we did get to scale back and enjoy these years so much more because of our life in Mexico as a part time resident. It is such a rich and full experience living with a different culture. It has added a much wider margin to our lives. It’s hard to say what this fall will bring but we know we will be there again before too long.

  3. Congratulations!

  4. Congratulations!

    • Congratulations! Those years went by in a blink?!? Just wait, it gets faster . Lucky you both started so young, you have so much to look forward to! ✈

  5. Fran Clark-Fiorentino | August 1, 2020 at 8:57 am |

    Congratulations on 5 years of retirement and enjoying life!! That is what retirement is supposed to be.

  6. Hey Paul,
    I am thinking about retirement in couple months. I am 66, if I move to México how does the health insurance works there? If I start collecting SS, I have 8 months to sign for health insurance. Otherwise, I will be penalized. I know for a fact that if I sign for health insurance this does not work in México. I hate to sign for an insurance in The States, if does not work there and I would rather use that money for an insurance in México. Could you be so kind in providing that info. Thanks,

  7. Way to go, you two! We’re coming up to our 4th anniversary here, in October! If you’re going to self-isolate, find a place with a view in Mexico, and you won’t feel like you’re in jail! (Well, not as much!) We’re a little concerned with the gang activity in Jalisco, and around the country, but self-isolation pretty much takes care of that, too. It seems that things have gotten weirder on your side of the country, too, (we’re in Nayarit, near Puerto Vallarta), so keep your heads down, and wear your masks, huh/! Thanks for all you do for us!

  8. John R Small | August 1, 2020 at 9:51 am |

    Congrats folks…I just celebrated 14! Coatepec, Veracruz…… never regretted one day…

  9. Dennis Neuman | August 1, 2020 at 10:16 am |

    Congrats to you both. What an inspiration you guys are to the folks who read your messages – both in terms of sharing your knowledge and experience as well as just plain being really nice people! I’m coming up on 2 full years of semi-retirement Mexican-style in Quintana Roo and I have no complaints, no regrets. With any luck I hope to get my official Mexican residency underway soon. Covid has screwed up a lot of plans for a lot of people! Gladis says “¡hola!”

  10. Ulises Zarate | August 1, 2020 at 10:38 am |

    Congratulations and I wish you’d upload videos a little more often because I enjoy them but hey, nothing wrong with taking it easy in the land of manana! : )

  11. Maria Cavendish | August 1, 2020 at 10:55 am |

    Wonderful reminder that we are in charge of creating our destiny…. I have a question. I. In the process of moving my life into a camper van and next year taking it to Mexico to travel and ultimately find MY spot. I’m mostly off grid and want to avoid camp grounds Any advice?
    Thanks to both of you!

  12. Congratulations and thanks for taking the time to share so much information on your blog and in your videos!
    We are almost at the end of our first year in Puerto Morelos. Love living here, despite the challenges of Covid.

    • Heide Cutler | August 3, 2020 at 6:28 am |

      Hello Vivian…. I follow the comments of Paul and Linda and my husband and I are contemplating to either moving to Mexico in about 2 years or at least living there part time. Puerto Morelos would be an area we are interested. Can you tell us a bit about that town and what real estate runs there. Would appreciate your reply.

  13. Roberto Rivera | August 1, 2020 at 11:18 am |

    Congratulations! Thank you!

  14. CONGRATS!!! Go on with the good work!!! 🙂

  15. Does your Condo have an ocean view?

  16. Helene Guillemette | August 1, 2020 at 12:41 pm |

    Congratulations!!! I always enjoy reading your blog….we did the same 2 years ago but we are in Puerto Morelos. You worked hard for that, it wasn’t free: well deserved. I hope we meet one day.
    Have a nice day

    • Heide Cutler | August 3, 2020 at 6:32 am |

      Hello Helene……. saw your comment on Paul and Linda’s. My husband and I are looking into Puerto Morelos as a possible retirement town or at least part time. Can you tell me a bit about that town and how life there is.

  17. Hi Paul,
    I’ve been reading and enjoying your blogs for years. I’m a retired school teacher and my wife and I moved down here 4 years ago under similar circumstances. Your stories mirror much of what we have experienced and felt over these years. We are going through the Temporal to Permanente thing right now and are hoping for a faster turnaround than what you went through – jajaja. Regardless, thanks for sharing your stories. They have been enjoyable and helpful to many!

  18. Marien Kaifesh | August 1, 2020 at 3:43 pm |

    Congratulations! Wishing you many more happy years in Mexico!

  19. Congratulations!

    You said, “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 do fun things. Otherwise, what’s the point? Right?”

    The same reason I retired early. I can’t imagine retiring at 70+ for example and not having the health or money to do everything want. You made a good decision.

  20. Joe Dominguez | August 2, 2020 at 12:37 am |

    Congratulations! That is our dream also soon. Stay healthy.

  21. I was 33 when I packed up everything in my car and moved to Mexico. 14 years now. Got married to a little mexicanita. Things are wonderful. It brought me blessings I didnt think I needed nor wanted. I fell and broke my arm here in 2015. No insurance. Emergency room trip ….xrays, consultant with doc, pain shot and temp cast. 70 american bucks. How much would that be in the good ole fascist USA? 4k. So yeah Mexico is awesome.

  22. FredinMotul | August 2, 2020 at 7:40 am |

    Because Hubby is 9 years older than I am, I got to retire at 54!! We did in 2007 after selling everything except what we could fit in our trusty Toyota Tacoma, and headed here. Never want to go back! Congratulations Paul and Linda! Be Well and Stay Safe!!

  23. Tamey G Harper | August 2, 2020 at 1:52 pm |

    Hi Paul,
    I am following your example of savings/reward club memberships for travel savings. How do I give you credit for referring me to Rakuten?

    • I think we would have to email you a link or something but don’t worry about it.Thanks for thinking of us. 🙂

  24. I’ve been in Mexico full time for almost 19 years, and would not go back. Admittedly, Baja California is not the same as Mainland Mexico, but still, it is south of the border. My husband passed almost 5 years ago, and I would not even entertain the thought of going back north. I’m here to stay!
    Congrats, and I rally appreciate your blog.

  25. Susan E Mccrary | August 2, 2020 at 2:46 pm |

    Congratulations. I find the information you post very helpful.

  26. Hi Paul, I too am an avid reader of your journey and have benefited greatly from your valuable information (especially the monthly budget reports). We had a time, but landed safely yesterday on the Pacific side after multiple cancellations by airlines. So we are now were you were 5 years ago and hope to be as successful 5 years hence!! Congrats.

  27. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the great inf.

  28. Trisha Downey | September 4, 2020 at 9:53 pm |

    Hi Paul and Linda, my husband and I just purchased a condo in N Akumal on Half Moon Bay, for now it will be our get away vacation home. However the plan is for hubby to retire in 2-3 years and we will then forge ahead full time more or less. Would love to meet up with you two to learn all we can from your experiences etc. We will be back in Nov. 🙂

  29. Christian Boily | September 6, 2020 at 6:34 pm |

    Your blog is awesome. Tons of useful information. How was your Spanish skills before moving to Mexico? We are Canadians. We are not as exposed to the Spanish language as you are in America. I just counted the Spanish words that I know and i stopped at 10. Don’t get me wrong, if we move to Mexico, my plan is to learn Spanish ASAP but how would I fare in the day to day life in Mexico before I can be comfortable in Spanish. Thanks!

    • My wife and I already knew how to speak Spanish when we moved but the majority of our neighbors from either the U.S. or Canada don’t speak very much at all. You’ll get by fine, especially if you’re in an area with some experienced expats to help you get things done.

  30. My only hold back is family & crime,, whats the scoop with gringos and cartels? I hear some rough stories…
    (apologies for the negative question)

  31. How do you do your banking? I recieve a monthly retirement check into my checking account, do I want to transfer money from here to a Mexico bank or do they take their cut which is a lot of money or just use a debit card wherever I go to buy?

    • I deposit my retirement check into my U.S. bank account and then wait until the exchange rate is in my favor to move a few thousand at a time to my Mexican account. That allows me to make my money go much farther.

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