There are many thrilling activities to do when you’re in the Riviera Maya. One of the most interesting and refreshing is snorkeling! And there is no shortage of places for you to indulge. Continue reading
As the years start rolling about faster and faster, boomers, who are now on the brink of retirement, start to wonder how they will retire and what they will do in their retirement. The truth is, there are no rules to this and each person decides what to do with their retirement time, money and plans. However, experts have panned out a retirement plan to make it truly golden and profitable. You may call them guidelines, rules, commandments, or whatever pleases you. But these rules have helped millions of soon-to-be-retirees understand what the golden years have in store for them.
Save, save and save some more
The first rule to retirement is saving money for it. Putting money into your 401(k) and IRA retirement funds is a great way to ensure you will have money to do what you please in your retirement. In fact, many people even put their IRA retirement funds to work prior to retirement by investing in vacation rental homes overseas. Any income generated from that property is put back into your IRA account, helping you create a steady flow of income that will come in very handy in your retirement. In the meantime, you can also create automatic deductions from your paycheck and join investment plans, which help put away money before you are able to spend it. Many retirees often just rely on their Social Security, which is a safety net, to say the least. It does not guarantee that you will be able to afford any sort of comfortable lifestyle. So, if you save – and invest – your money wisely, you’re ahead of the game.
Move away and find an affordable retirement spot
The reason why thousands of Americans and Canadians move to Mexico for their retirement is cost of living. Don’t be afraid to get up and move elsewhere. In Playa del Carmen, you can comfortably live for 50% less of the cost than you would in Sarasota, FL or Scottsdale, AZ, for example. And you might even be able to purchase a home for a fraction of the cost it would cost you back home. Mexico is the perfect spot for retirement due to its proximity to the US for quick visits back home, and it is the most culturally familiar country for those in the United States and Canada. So, get ready for that adventure abroad that retirement often promises.
Wait the correct amount to retire
You might hear of early retirement cases that are a huge success. A young man of 53 and his similarly-aged wife investing abroad and getting ready to retire after years of work. But this is not the case for everyone. Retirement should come at the right time for you. Early retirement is good when you have a fortune saved up and are certain that you have enough to live comfortably for the rest of your life. However, you need to measure your individual case. It’s quite simple. You need to give your money time to accumulate and multiply. Your Social Security checks will become smaller if your retirement is longer. So, make sure you give yourself time to fully prepare for retirement.
Think of no one but yourself
Downsizing is often a scary thought for people. But the reality is that you no longer need to shelter a whole family – just you and your partner. Think of yourself first, and everyone else second. Sure, you might want a guest bedroom in your Mexico home for whenever your grown children and grandchildren visit. Or if you have friends who are enjoying their retirement by traveling and want to stay with you. But there is no need to look for a 4-bedroom home with a studio, a TV room, a laundry room and all the big, lavish spaces you enjoy as a family. Retirement often means going back to basic. And that means you should think of your savings and your needs. Get rid of that mini van and switch out for a small car, or no car at all!
Plan to stay active, motivated and busy
Retirees often find themselves bored, not knowing where to go and what to do. If you’re used to a busy lifestyle, where you work 9 to 5, go out for business meetings or are often traveling, make sure to keep a fast-paced retirement. Except this time, there are no responsibilities, commitments or people depending on you. Staying healthy, active and busy during retirement is great for both your physical and mental health. So, make sure you plan your retirement with enough motivating activities. You might want to move abroad and spend your time traveling to nearby places. You might want to travel the world. Maybe your retirement doesn’t really necessarily mean you’ll stop working altogether. Maybe you open up a shop you’ve always dreamed of or join a club. The point is to keep yourself going and don’t let yourself disappear into your couch in front of the TV.
Make new friends and try new things
Retirement is a treat. It’s a reward earned from years of studying, working, caring, learning, stumbling and starting over again. So, don’t be afraid to do all those things you couldn’t when your focus was elsewhere. Travel, learn new languages, make new friends. Thousands of Americans and Canadians relocate to Mexico for their retirement and enjoy living a simple, laid back life surrounded by friends they never thought they’d have. Enjoy your retirement. You’ve earned it!
And if you’re keen on making that retirement money work for you, don’t hesitate to invest in real estate in the Riviera Maya!
The third in a series of topics: “What to do with your current home and belongings”
Before retiring and moving to Mexico from your present homestead, lots of difficult decisions will need to be made. One of many is what to do with all your worldly possessions. If this includes owning a property, you need to decide if you are going to sell, rent or keep it for when you visit family and friends. I would suggest to sell it, especially if you are looking at purchasing a home in Mexico.
If you’re moving to Mexico and you make the decision to sell your current home, then hiring a good realtor should be on the top of your list of ‘things to do’. Having a “to do list” is another highly recommended element for a successful relocation. Once you find a qualified buyer, then the real work begins. But first, you will need to place your proceeds from the sale of your property into an account that will guarantee easy accessibility. When you arrive in Mexico and your dream home suddenly appears and falls directly into your lap, your money will need to be readily accessible.
The time has come for you to choose what or what not to keep. This includes, but is not limited to furniture, housewares and other miscellaneous items. Economically speaking, shipping furniture abroad usually doesn’t have any financial advantages. If you have any heirlooms of substantial size, it is recommended to pass them onto family members. You will most likely want to purchase stylish furniture that will coordinate with your newly acquired Mexico home.
Many of your kitchen ware and cooking aids that you are currently using in the United States aren’t always readily available in Mexico. So keep this in mind when selecting certain items like specialized utensils, thermometers, and pots and pans. I would suggest to pack and ship most of these types of things. But don’t go overboard by taking everything including the kitchen sink! If you have taken the time to shop in or around the Playa del Carmen area, you should have a good idea what is available.
If you are moving from a multi seasonal climate and have an abundance of cold weather clothing, leave it at home or get rid of it all together. Playa del Carmen has two temperatures and they are warm and hot. Heavy footwear or boot type shoes are also not necessary. A pair of tennis shoes, casual dress shoes, and plenty of flip flops and sandals are the norm. If you do get chilled in weather that dips slightly below 80 degrees, then a light hoody will be more than adequate for those ‘cooler’ tempered nights.
There are always a few knick knacks, personal pictures and crafty hobby materials that mean more than life to you. If they fit into a suitcase and stay within the given weight limit, then pack it and take them with you. You will probably have a surplus of inventory that needs to be transported. Take time to decide which items have first priority and take them on the first go ‘round. Usually 4 to 5 pieces of luggage per trip are manageable. Most people normally have to return back to the states for one reason or another. During this second trip, have your remaining items either boxed up or in suitcases and bring them back with you. Always check with your airline to be sure you know the exact size and weight limits. Just don’t stand there, get packing! Your new life is waiting for you!
Don’t forget to read our second series of topics “Making sure all your paperwork is in order”
The second in a series of topics: “Making sure all your paperwork is in order”.
When retiring to Mexico, it’s highly suggested to have all your affairs in order and that includes paperwork. We aren’t just talking about passports, immigration papers and other legal border crossing documents. The postal service in Mexico is much different than it is in the United States. There are really no mailboxes or daily postal service. The post office is usually located in town and will accept letters and packages that need to be sent. Plan on the items being mailed reaching their destination in three to five weeks. Courier services such as UPS and Federal Express are your best bet for sending and receiving packages or other needed correspondences.
Of course you will need immigration Visas, resident permit(s), work permits – if applicable, and other documentation which you should have researched ahead of time. It is a very good idea to still have an address in the US where miscellaneous mailings from your financial institution(s), tax purposes, applicable insurance companies or other necessary correspondences can be delivered. We would suggest that you forward your mail to an immediate family member with the same last name. You just never know what might show up in the mailbox.
Call you credit card company(s) and give them the new address where you will be receiving any paper documents. You can pretty much do everything online that involves any of your accounts. With some companies like banking institutions and your cellphone provider, you can actually have a ‘Live text chat’ with a representative online. Arrange to receive paperless invoices and/or statements with the companies you deal with frequently. This is especially advised for all your financial institutions. Receive any monthly statements via your email. You can pay bills, receive direct deposits, and transfer money from one account and/or bank to another if set up ahead of time.
If you keep any policies regarding health, vehicle and/or property insurances, make sure the companies know that you are out of the country. Tell them you need to receive statements, policy changes and new cards via your email. It is always recommended to take several copies of all your important documents with you. In the same token, also have “original copies” put away somewhere that can be easily accessed in an emergency and sent to you upon request.
Other possible paperwork needed would be pet certificates, children’s birth certificates, and any United States bank issued letters and/or information that will help you open a new account(s) with a Mexico bank as well. When dealing with so many on-line accounts, always have your passwords with you and tucked away in a safe place. Getting locked out of accounts when you are living abroad can sometimes create a problem when recovering and/or resetting passwords.
Once you make sure all your paperwork and important documents are in order, this will make your transition into living in Mexico more easy. Also, knowing your documentation is straight will let you have a relaxing retirement in Mexico! Don’t forget to read our first series of topics “Preparing yourself physically and mentally”.
We have written a lot about retiring in Mexico, but what about just living here part-time?
Recently we got in touch with Tony Scopel, an American traveler and creator of the website You, Me and the Dock, who chose Playa del Carmen as a temporary home. We wanted to know why he chose this destination and his answers are very interesting.
Even when he’s not retired yet, his lifestyle allows him to spend extended periods of time in this area, and we’re sure that his experience can be helpful if you’re planning to retire in the Riviera Maya.
Continue reading to learn more!
We have on several occasions visited many destinations up and down Mexico’s beautiful Riviera Maya. Places like Puerto Morelos, Puerto Aventuras and Tulum are very picturesque and each has its own charming qualities. But now living in Mexico and specifically in Playa del Carmen, is a dream come true!
Being somewhat a spoiled American, Playa as it is known to the locals, offers many of the amenities we graciously enjoy back home. One of the many advantages we looked at was the cost of living in Mexico. It is approximately a third of the cost of United States. With that said, all the other benefits make this a perfect utopia for extended stays. When we were looking for places to stay for lengths of time, there had to be certain necessities that needed to be present, and one of those particulars is the need for sufficient and affordable healthcare.
Mexico’s health system has made great strides over the last decade. Merida, the capital of the State of Yucatan, is ranked number one in Southeast Mexico for healthcare services and medical research. I also have personally experienced medical and dental treatment in Playa del Carmen, and it was just as professional as anywhere in the States. Playa’s doctors speak multiple languages and have their doctorate degrees and credentials posted in plain sight. Their staff are courteous, professional and very knowledgeable. The part that makes this even better is that it’s about a quarter of the cost compared to the US… All this gets two thumbs up on my list of musts!
One of my favorite things to do during the day is to walk up and down the beach and watch all the activity going on. There are people kite surfing, playing paddle ball and performing tricks with a soccer ball. You can also take a chair, an umbrella, your favorite beverage, and a good book and just relax. With the turquoise Caribbean water and blue skies above as a backdrop, there isn’t any place else on earth I would rather be.
We spend several days a week enjoying the many restaurants, cantinas and beach bar & grills. The cuisine here in Playa is some of the best I have tasted throughout our Latin America travels. The seafood is in abundance and is cooked in so many different ways to choose from. There are plenty of places to eat traditional Mexican food and it is made with the freshest ingredients. On certain days we order tacos, tostadas or empanadas from small cart vendors scattered around town. There are also other authentic cuisines represented here in Playa del Carmen from such countries as Italy, Cuba and Thailand to mention a few. Food is so affordable that there should be no reason why you have to cook and do the dishes every night.
Shopping is a whole new experience here in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. There are name brand stores, department stores and my favorite, the homegrown shops. You can find just about anything you want, and then some at the best prices. I like going into stores and shops to browse and see what the latest Latin trends are. There are stores filled with appliances, home furnishing and electronics. We sometimes walk to a park where there are farmer’s markets filled with fresh fruits & vegetables, local crafts and food carts. It is amazing the things you can find that you can’t get back home. Not to mention the grocery stores and there are plenty of them. Shopping in Playa is an enjoyable experience and not a job.
When we decided to plant ourselves in Playa del Carmen for a year, we looked at all the nearby towns and islands as well. We are an adventurous couple and like to take day trips or spend a night or two somewhere close, but far enough away to consider it a brief getaway. Playa has several nearby destinations that offer easy day trips: Cozumel and its great snorkeling is a 35 minute ferry ride away, Puerto Aventuras and its aquatic attractions and town center is twenty minutes away via car, bus or taxi. Tulum with its Mayan Ruins and beachfront eateries and hotels is 40 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. The sleepy little beachfront town of Puerto Morelos is a 25-minute bus ride north of Playa. These are just a few of the places that can be visited in a day’s time.
The attractions offered in and around Playa del Carmen are countless. You can visit Playa’s new indoor L’Aquarium. This is a great way to marvel and learn about many of the ocean’s inhabitants. You can take a walk down the beach and schedule a fishing, snorkeling or dive trip. Another exciting day tour is to explore a cenote. These below ground caverns of crystal clear fresh water are a great way to spend a hot day cooling off.
If you just want to casually stroll around and see what’s going on in town, then set out with no particular destination in mind. We have done this many times on a lazy day. You never know what you might stumble upon. Sometimes you can find a festival or cultural event happening in a local park. If you get bored in Playa, then it’s your own fault.
An important line item on my list was to have great weather, beautiful beaches and fabulous water. Mexico’s Riviera Maya has all that and more. Playa’s beaches and turquoise waters can only be explained visually. When we turn the corner and the beach comes into view, it takes our breath away. I think to myself, “I am living a post card dream”. The summers get a little hot and humid here for sure. But a trip to the beach and the cool tempered Caribbean water cures that in a heartbeat.
In summary, all the information provided above are things that are readily available for us to enjoy whenever we want. But there are other important reasons why we chose to be retired in Mexico. Life is simple here. People are genuinely sincere and friendly and always willing to help you in any way they can. It reminds me of the way it was when I was a kid and I walked or rode my bike everywhere I went, when the local stores and eateries were friendly and filled with charm. People worked hard to make an honest living for their family. In Playa del Carmen it’s the same: we meet people on the street and talk about anything and everything. The Mexican culture is a simple one and that is to enjoy life and what is around you. What you don’t have, you don’t miss!
This magnificent bird was caught by Shane Wilcox while doing a morning walk on the beach in Playa del Carmen; and found out that this pelican was enjoying the sunrise as much as he did! This picture was a late contestant of our Dream a Little Dream of Mexico photo contest! The whole 13 winners will be announced November 1st in our Facebook Page.