16 October 2007

Never say never!

Now that I have been living and working in Mexico almost nine years many people ask me when I am coming back to live in the United States. I tell them that I am very happy living in Mexico and that since I am nearing retirement age I have no plans to return to the U.S. to live. They almost always say something like, “Oh, I could never do that”. Well, maybe not and then maybe so. In the next couple years many of the people born just after World War II are going to start retiring. In about five more years it will be a flood. They will combine their savings and their Social Security and the millions of those who have no other equity or source of income are going to have a hard time. That is when retirement in another country might become an attractive option.

Right now there are retirement homes for the aged being planned in Mexico for elderly Americans and I understand they are also being considered in places like India, Asia and Africa. Where the cost of a decent home for the elderly including nursing care would be prohibitive in the U.S., it could be very affordable in other places. There is nothing to be scared of either. I have personally received in-hospital care after major surgery twice in Mexico and I was cared for equally as well or better than the hospital treatment that I encountered in Chicago. Many Americans don’t understand what is happening and won’t until it is too late.

The time to start planning is now. Living in another country is not as bad as it sounds. It isn’t unpatriotic or shameful either and it can be very rewarding. For one thing, I don’t have to shovel snow. My flowers bloom year around. I live in a city of 465,000 people and yet rush hour lasts all of about 10 minutes if you could even call it “rush hour” because nobody rushes. I live only a few blocks from Walmart, Sam’s Club, a major supermarket called Comercial Mexicana, Homemart, Office depot, and Office Max. Bus service around town is convenient and cheap and first class bus service between cities is inexpensive and luxurious. You can go anywhere in town that you need to go for about two dollars in a taxi and they are everywhere. There is a hospital, a fire station, and a police station close by to where I live. I am 30 minutes from an international airport. There are restaurants everywhere and the food is plentiful and cheap. I have satellite TV with HBO, CNN, and all the rest. We have cinemas with all the major Hollywood films in English with Spanish subtitles.

In short, I think it is time that older people take a look around them and instead of saying “Never” they should start thinking “Maybe”.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.