Meet Kristie Scivally from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma!

As part of our Livin’ Playa Series we are showing and capturing the real life of expats and snowbirds in Playa del Carmen!


We had the lovely opportunity to talk with Kristie Scivally from Oklahoma City Oklahoma!  We were interested to talk with Kristie because she is a die-hard Playa fan who chooses to spend all of her vacation time here in Playa.  We wanted to find out why!  So this is her story!


(To see more real-life stories in YouTube, click here.)


Kristie lives a normal life back in Oklahoma City.  She raises a 10 year old boy and works very hard.  She has been coming to Playa for the past 10 years, right around the time her son was born. She likes to take any chance she can take to be here.  She visits approximately 4 or 5 times per year and by this time has become a Playa expert as she has watched this lovely beach town evolve and grow without ever sacrificing its charm.


Kristie usually spends a bigger chunk of time, of about a month, here during the summer since her son is free from school during that time.  Throughout the year she takes smaller trips of about a week or so whenever her son gets a break from school! And when she is not here, she is always planning and looking forward to her next trip!


So we wanted to know, Why Playa?
If you get the chance to take 4 or 5 vacations every year then why not change it up a little? This is an easy question for Kristie to answer.  She simply loves Playa!  We all know that when you love something you should stick with it.  Kristie comes to Playa for a wide scale of reasons.  The atmosphere, the beach, great food, the family friendly environment and also because of safety!


Some of her favorite things to do here are to go to the beach, lounge by the pool, take her son for a ride in the go karts or other fun kids activities, walk on the 5th Avenue, socialize with friends while enjoying nice dinners and wine!  She also loves the fact that you can come here and still escape to other beautiful gems such as Tulum, Chichen-itza and many other paradise locations all within the Riviera Maya!  This is all a part of the life in Playa!


Good Friends
Over time Kristie has made good friendships with expats who live here year round and she looks forward to spending time with them each visit.  Playa del Carmen is, in fact, a home away from home for Kristie and her son!


At this point in Kristie’s life she is not prepared to live here full-time but knows that once here son is out of school, and she can retire, Playa is the place she wants to be!  For now she will continue to escape to Playa for vacation and keeping dreaming that little dream of one day living here!


To hear what Kristie has to say please click on this link for her testimonial on You tube!


We love our town of Playa del Carmen and we want to get the word out that this is a great place to live, retire and vacation!  What better way to do that than by letting you meet people who can give you the real scoop!  Stay tuned for more testimonials for our Livin’ Playa series!


-by Thomas Lloyd


My real estate - Mexico real estate buyers tools

Cathy Tells You about Life in Playa del Carmen! (Video – Livin’ Playa)

Do you ever imagine what life in Playa del Carmen would be like? Walking on the beach, yoga, Spanish classes, martini’s at the poolside, relaxed expat clubs …

Sounds almost too perfect, doesn’t it?

Well, people who live here can tell you that that’s what life is actually like.  We have another video in our Livin’ Playa series, this time an interview with Cathy Morrison.  Cathy is a past client of ours – we helped her and her husband find their ideal condo in Quadra Alea.  And guess what life is like for her:

(If you can’t see the video, click here.)


Walking on the beach, yoga, Spanish classes, martini’s at the poolside, relaxed expat clubs …

Life in Playa is relaxation!

-by Thomas Lloyd

Pyramid Marketing or Relaxing Retirement on Mexico’s Beaches?

The word is getting out there; more and more Americans are worried that they won’t have enough money to retire comfortably.


Wall Street Journal has taken notice.  Yahoo News did too.  It’s becoming common place to see articles analyzing the situation and offering advice for those who are approaching retirement with lower funds than they would ideally want or need.  Solutions are being offered up that include anything from even more frugality to elaborate savings and tax strategies.


This guy is even suggesting that the best solution is to join an internet based pyramid marketing program. (He’s the CEO, so no surprises …!)



Now, I have nothing against how people make a livelihood, but let’s just get right down to a simple, basic question:


How would you prefer to spend your retirement years?  Trying to sell products to your family, friends and neighbors, or simply enjoying a relaxing life on the beach?


I think even JR Ridinger would choose beach.  (He’s so rich, he doesn’t have much to worry about, but if it came right to down to it …)
The point is that if you retire in Mexico, you won’t have to become a pyramid salesman in your free time to make ends meet – or, if you do, that money will sure go a heck of a lot further.  This true of any part time job.


And what about those elaborate savings and tax strategies?  Go for it!  No one will complain about having too much saved.  But why not take some of the pressure off and enjoy the hard work you’re putting into those savings a little more?


-by Thomas Lloyd


Awa Condos Playa del Carmen

How Does Mexico Compare to the 10 Best U.S. States for Retirement?

What’s the best place to retire in the U.S.?  A recent slide show at visualized and summarized the findings of a recent Bankrate survey.

You can go take a look at at, but a quick glance will show you that the results are … surprising.  The empty badlands and sprawling wheat fields of the Dakotas, the plains of Nebraska and the hills of the Appalachians – beautiful places, to be sure, but not exactly the sunny retirement that most people imagined.

So, what happened in this rating?  Is Bankrate just trying be counter-culture and shock people?  Actually, if you read the stats, they are just being realistic.  The classic favorites in the Sunbelt are simply too expensive for the average (or even above average) American.  To find a good balance of cost of living, health care, low crime and good services you have to look northward.

In my opinion, a much better solution would be to look southward – to Mexico that is.  Of the factors Bankrate considered, many locations in Mexico excel:

Cost of living – Mexico tends to be about half that of the U.S. on average.  I’m sure this means that most nice places in Mexico are noticeably less expensive than the states on that list.

Health care – Mexico’s healthcare has modernized significantly, and now has hospitals on par with private hospitals in the U.S.

Retire in Mexico Beaches

The beaches of Playa del Carmen

Modern services – Banks, supermarkets, transportation, etc. – these will be well run, modern and comfortable.

Crime rate – Surprisingly, many parts of Mexico are safer than many parts of the U.S.  Yucatan, for example, has a crime rate as low as Wyoming, one of the safest states.

Sunshine & warm weather – Many parts of Mexico enjoy sunshine over 300 days a year.  This includes beachfront areas and small lakeside towns in the hilly central highlands.

And … we can’t forget that with all this, you can still be on a beautiful beach, or perhaps a charming lake front if you prefer.  So, you can go digging up nice retirement towns in South Dakota, if you like.  I’m sure the people will be friendly and the landscapes will be beautiful … during the 3 months of summer, at least.

Or you could come down to Mexico and enjoy even lower cost of living, sunnier weather with most of the same benefits.  The beach will be much, much closer.

You choose.

-by Bea Lozano

Awa Condos Playa del Carmen

You Want to Retire in Mexico, But She Doesn’t …

On Thursday, The Huffington Post has a great article about what to do if you are in love with Mexico and planning on retiring here, but your wife (or husband) does not.  Here’s an excerpt with the main points of advice:


1. Involve them in the planning.

This is a big decision. And it deserves careful thought and planning by all involved. Talk, talk and talk some more about it. Make sure you’re both as informed as possible and involved in the decisions about where to move, how to live, and so on. Spend time together and separately, perusing online forums and other resources. If your motivation is economic, make sure you both understand what’s going on with your financial situation.


2. Compromise with a “no strings attached” test drive.

Nothing is scarier than cutting the ties completely. If your partner is reluctant to do that, consider giving the new life a test drive. Before you sell your house or buy that one-way ticket, rent an apartment in the new locale for three months or more.


3. Don’t sugarcoat the challenges.

Discuss the difficulties you’ll face along the way, and work together on solutions. For instance, you may want to take some foreign language classes before your move. Try out voice- and video-over-internet (VOIP) technologies so you can easily stay in touch with family and friends. If you’re retiring, do some budget planning. There will still be unexpected challenges, but by working together, problem-solving can be part of the fun.


4. Help ease the transition.

Once you’ve moved, take an active approach to learning as much about your new community as you can. Be sure your partner has an opportunity to meet other expats and locals with similar interests. These days, you can do this in advance of your move through online blogs, forums, and websites. And keep busy — this is the perfect opportunity for you both to try something new. Fortunately, in most expat communities, you’ll find your new social life is more active — and more enjoyable — than ever.


5. Remember that attitude is everything. When challenges do arise, maintain your sense of humor and look on the bright side: this experience will likely strengthen your relationship. (And it will give you great stories to tell later.) So support one another and make a point to have as much fun as possible on this adventure.


The writer than goes on to address the question; after all that, what happens if he/she doesn’t fall “in love with Mexico? Well, don’t think of your move as a one-way ride or as the last move you’ll ever make — if it doesn’t work out, you can always move on or even go back home.”


I would just add that you can always do the snowbird plan (winters here – summers there) or move back and forth.  You’re retired after all!


-by Thomas Lloyd


Awa Condos Playa del Carmen

Looking for a Retirement Job? Why Not Your Dream Business in Mexico?

Retirement in MexicoFinally you’ve made it to that big day when retirement begins, so you can … compete in a struggling job market to make ends meet?!?


It may sound absurd, but more and more retirees are finding themselves in this situation.


Pressures on Retirees

“‘Retirement job seems like an oxymoron,” observes a recent article in USA Today. “And yet a growing number of Americans say that they plan to continue to work during their retirement years.”


The article goes on to list all sorts of fun things like:

  • harder times making retirement budgets work
  • difficulty finding jobs
  • employers’ adversity to hiring workers in retirement age
  • higher unemployment in the 55+ group
  • etc.


Of course, for professionals, the pictures is a little different.  But the bottom line still is that it’s becoming harder and harder to just forget about work and enjoy life during retirement.


Have You Thought about Mexico?

People who find themselves in this situation would do very well to look south. First and foremost, the cost of living is so low in Mexico, that it solves the problem for most people.   The stress of wondering if those retirement funds will go far enough is removed and people can relax and live well.  Most people could easily afford a nice Mexico property, leaving their savings in tact, or even boosting them if they sell a more expensive property back home.


Starting a Business

Some people would still need a source of income.  In Mexico it’s much easier to invest in a rental property or open that business you’ve always dreamed of.  Many retirees are living in Mexico, and gaining an income here.


But it’s not that they’re working that same office job that they’ve been waiting to be rid of for so long – they’re working their dream business – a restaurant, cafe, sailing tours, yoga, decoration,  dog kennel – whatever is their passion is.  And they own it.


Even people of modest resources can start a business in Mexico.


Working for Enjoyment

There are also many retirees who keep working in Mexico, even though they don’t have to.    Why?  Because they enjoy it.   But there’s a world of difference between working  because you like it, and working because of financial pressures.  Working because you enjoy it is also a nice luxury even back home, but in Mexico add to that the comfort of living better on less money, warm weather, beaches, great food and – best of all – relaxation as a way of life.


-by Thomas Lloyd


Awa Condos Playa del Carmen