I am an ex-pat and proud of it! I just wanted to get that out of the way right up front.
I can't begin to tell you how many family and friends had asked me, "Why? Why would you move outside the U.S.? Why would you move to a country where they don't speak English? If you want to go where it's warm all year round,why not go to Florida?"
To answer those questions,let me tell you a little bit about my background. I am a retired career police officer from New Jersey. I spent 30 years on the job,and the last 15 years was spent in the Major Crimes Unit as a detective. So,when my wife Rosie and I decided that we wanted to explore the possibility of living outside the U.S.,I decided to handle it as I would any investigation.
We began by doing a broad search and finding locales that appealed to us and met our parameters: We knew that we had to have a country that was,first of all,safe. It had to have a stable government,with an economy that would stretch our retirement dollars further. We are both beach people,so we were looking for great beaches with blue,not brown water,and had to have a mild year-round climate. We also wanted a laid back lifestyle,but with quality healthcare and all the creature comforts that we had grown accustomed to in the States. Finally,we didn't want to be too far away from our family in New Jersey.
Quite frankly we weren't sure if we would be able to find a location that had it all,but after some preliminary searching we had narrowed our list to four locations: Panama,the Dominican Republic,Belize and Mexico.
Now,the next step I liken to doing one of my criminal investigations. I start with a list of possible suspects. I then eliminate my suspects one by one until I narrow it to my prime suspects. Now the real work begins: I do the legwork,check backgrounds,gather the facts and learn everything I can about them. This will then lead me to my perpetrator,or in this case our new home.
After several months of digging we eliminated all of the original 'suspects' except for one- Mexico. Our investigation had revealed that the Riviera Maya has several of the most beautiful beaches in the world,and as anyone knows who has traveled to the Mexican Caribbean,the water is the most incredible shades of blue. The weather in Mexico is sub-tropical with annual mean temperatures in the low to mid 80s. Mexico has a stable democratic government,and except for the towns along the U.S. border it is a very safe environment in which to live.
In the midst of this global economic downturn,Mexico's economy is thriving and on the verge of exploding. Billions,with a B,of dollars are being invested in Mexico real estate from all over the world. Don't take my word for it,check with the people in the know on CNBC,MSNBC,The Wall Street Journal,The Financial Times of London and more.
Our primary physician makes house calls,yep comes right to our home. We have three quality medical facilities within twenty minutes of our home that are staffed with specialists who are mostly U.S. trained. And the costs of healthcare are 70% less than what we paid in the States.
As far as the comforts of home,Rosie and I go to first run movies,in English. We shop at Walmart,Sam's Club,Costco,Sears,just to name a few. And to top it all off,though we are about one hour from Cancun International Airport,soon we'll be able to travel through the brand new international airport in Tulum,which is about 1/2 hour away.
So after conducting a complete investigation,those are my results. Now I want to know why?
"Why would we want to live anywhere else? And why would you?"