SHOULD YOU RETIRE IN MEXICO?
Test yourself, amigo
- How familiar are you with Mexico?
- I’ve visited more than once, traveled widely beyond the tourist areas, read history, cultural and guide books, know or want to learn Spanish, saw Y Tu Mama Tambien.
- I’ve been to Mexican resorts several times, traveled a bit, read a guidebook, have Mexican friends, know a bit of Spanish, saw Like Water for Chocolate.
- I’ve crossed over the border for shopping, restaurants and nightlife, which I enjoy. I’ve spent time with Mexican-Americans, I can speak some Spanish phrases, I saw Frida.
- I went to Cancun once but can’t remember it. I eat Mexican food, try to talk Spanish with the waiters, I read a used book called Mexico on $400 a Month, I saw Treasure of the Sierra Madre on TV.
- How would you characterize your main purpose in moving to Mexico, full- or part-time?
- I want to find a mostly pleasant climate, change my life, live a bit more affordably, adapt to a new culture, and settle among both Mexicans and gringos.
- I want terrific weather, not too much change, am willing to get a taste of a new culture, to live well on a lot less, and to settle in a gated community with like-minded people.
- I want a fantastic year-round climate where I can live much more cheaply among fellow gringos, and have inexpensive Mexican maids and gardeners.
- I want to go where the weather’s perfect, live like a prince on my Social Security check, and the fewer locals, the better.
- What are your greatest concerns about Mexico?
- The usual suspects—crime, corruption—but I know it depends on where, and how, you choose to live in Mexico, as it does in the States. I choose to believe people are honest and well-intentioned unless they prove otherwise.
- Well, I’m dead certain I’ll see my share of petty crime and corruption, but it’s no big deal, I’m prepared for it and I’m willing to roll with the punches.
- When I get asked for a payoff by a cop, I’ll refuse and take him to traffic court. If I catch a burglar, I’ll press charges. I don’t bend the rules at home, I’m not bending them here.
- I have little or no confidence in the Mexican police, the courts, or public officials. I fully expect I’ll have to bribe them all.
- A Mexican makes an appointment and shows up three hours late. You:
- Shrug and get on with it.
- Ask him to be more punctual in the future.
- Tell him you’re upset, and that he has no respect for your time.
- Order him to be punctual, and wag a finger in his face to make sure he gets it.
- Your next-door neighbor has frequent loud fiestas. You:
- Shrug and enjoy it.
- Ask him if he can turn it down.
- Order him to turn it down.
- Threaten to call the police.
- You’re a woman in a Mexican town (not in a border city), taking an early evening walk. Two Mexican men are coming toward you. You:
- Nod and say “Buenas Noches.”
- Stare straight ahead avoiding eye contact.
- Move to the opposite side of the street.
- Walk quickly back in the direction you came from.
- The waiter at an upscale restaurant pours you a glass of water with ice in it. You:
- Drink it without concern, knowing ice is made from purified water by Mexican law.
- Drink it with some concern, and don’t suck the ice.
- Send back the water and ice and ask for a sealed bottle of mineral water.
- Pour the ice into the potted palm and order a tequila.
- You are ready to consider buying real estate in Mexico. Your first steps are:
- To resist buying at all. Rent a place, talk to people over time, get to know the lay of the land. Refuse to get caught up in real estate fever.
- Wait till you get down there, rent for a while, but be ready to make a bid on a property before the price goes up.
- Before you go, check out real estate on the Internet; when you see photos you like, email the broker. When you get there, if it looks as good, contact a lawyer and offer a deposit.
- Before you go, check out real estate on the Internet; when you see photos you like, email the broker; he tells you properties are going fast; you wire-transfer payment to him.
- You come down with flu-like symptoms. You:
- Ask friends about the best doctor in the area, Mexican or otherwise, and pay a visit.
- Ask friends about any English-speaking doctors in the area, and pay a visit.
- Ask if there are any American doctors in the area, and drive as far as it takes to be certain you’re getting American medical care.
- Call in the chopper and evacuate.
- Your attitude toward Mexicans can best be described as:
- A hard-working people with a rich culture and strong family ties living in a beautiful country with significant economic problems but a rising middle class. Luckily, they are more welcoming toward gringos in their country than we are toward them in ours.
- A hard-working people with a rich culture and strong family ties living in a semi-dysfunctional society with widespread poverty. I like the Mexicans I’ve met, and I look forward to teaching them how we do things so they can improve their lot.
- A hard-working people ready to flee north at the drop of a sombrero. Their economy is a mess, as is their government. I think Mexicans are all right, but I hope they’ll be grateful for the money and employment we retirees will bring.
- I like Mexico, except for the Mexicans.
Key: Give yourself 5 points for every a) answer, 4 points for every b), 3 points for every c), 2 points for every d), and 0 points for every d.)
40-50 points: You’re a thoughtful, open-minded and promising candidate for moving to Mexico.
30-40 points: With a bit more study, visits, and on-the-ground experience, you may become a candidate for moving to Mexico.
20-30 points: You need to learn a lot more before you consider doing anything more permanent than visiting Mexico as a tourist.
0-10 points: Stay home.