Expat living in Baja and Mexico
More and more people are asking about relocating to Mexico these days. To live as an expat in Mexico can be very rewarding and here is an article to help you see if Baja or Mainland Mexico is for you.
Whenever I travel to the U.S. or Canada and tell people I live in Baja California Sur, Mexico I have people ask me why, where and how do I live as an expat. ?
Lately this question has come up a lot more with the Americans and Canadians that are tired of living in the north with the higher costs of living and evidently a lower quality of life. I explain relocating to Baja or anywhere in Mexico is not for everybody but it has been a great home to me for more than 25 years.
I originally moved to Baja and became an expat living in Mexico not because I had a problem with the U.S. I just liked the weather, the water sports like sailing, windsurfing, diving and surfing and the cheaper costs of living. I realize today that people say that I’m lucky because they are not happy in their home countries due to changes in laws, taxation, violence and many other factors.
Let me address the violence issue right off. While of course Mexico has problems, crimes and many times violent crime related to drug trafficking, it is not the norm in most of the country and definitely not in Baja. Yes Tijuana is still considered a place with some serious problems and yet it is not the entire city (see Travel Warning in Perspective) There is much more of Baja where people live in peace and safety than not. The point is, that in most cases if you are not a part of the or in areas of the drug trade then you will not likely experience this violence first hand. That’s not to say there isn’t other forms of crime like robbery which is on the rise just about everywhere there is a poor economy.
Not everything is cheaper or better in Mexico but in general most of us that live here will tell you the quality of life is worth any costs, inconveniences or problems associated with life in Mexico. So if you choose to live in an area like Ensenada, Rosarito, San Felipe, Mulegé, Loreto, La Paz or Los Cabos to name a few you can find a peaceful place to live with all the amenities you could want. (please go here to see a review of Baja California and Baja California Sur.
In the U.S. and Canada many of the Baby Boomers are taking early retirements because many say to keep working and pay the taxes just isn’t worth it. They already have enough to retire if they can lower their costs of living and even better if they increase their quality of life. Whether you are retiring early or not, Baja has been the choice of thousands of retirees for many years. Here is an article from a survey of retired U.S. citizens in Mexico.
Now not all the people wanting to move to Baja are ready to retire and they either may be able to work with the advantage of the Internet or they may be looking to work. You can work as a foreigner and it has become easier over the years with foreigners being able to open their own businesses as sole proprietors and eliminating the need to create the Mexican Corporation to hire yourself. In order to work in Mexico you will have to obtain a Temporary or Permanent Resident card from immigration with specific information on where and what work you will be performing to obtain a work visa. For existing professionals that would like to continue to work as they have but in Mexico they may be required to have their professional license approved to work here.
For those that are considering work in other areas many of the common jobs are in timeshare sales, real estate, hotel administration, chefs, massage therapist, musician, photographer, writer, computers, consultants, resort activities and many others. There are some restrictions on where you cannot work such as a captain of a charter boat, commercial pilot, bartender, taxi driver but there is less protection of these jobs it seems every day.
Keep in mind living in Mexico is different and is not for everyone. People recently have emailed with problems of corruption while driving or worse in real estate transactions. Yes, there is corruption in Mexico and while it has gotten better in most areas, it still exists and the process of suing someone in Mexico is difficult at best even for the Mexican citizen.
All I can say to this, is the old sayings of do your homework and cross those “t’s” and dot the “i’s”. It is very important, especially if you do not speak and read Spanish to rely on someone you trust as well as use bilingual lawyers and professional translators to be sure you know what you are getting into.
So, if you are interested in becoming an expat and live in Baja or Mexico mainland be sure to visit first and figure out where and how you may live in what many of us believe to be paradise. You can read a lot of the BajaInsider.com site as well as many others and investigate what choices you have depending on the amenities you wish to have, the climate and type of work if necessary that is available. There are also many forums on the net where you may ask questions for people that live in the specific areas of Mexico you are interested in.
Life in Baja and Mexico in general is a slower pace with the mañana, mañana syndrome prevalent as in other Latin American countries. While mañana, mañana translates to tomorrow, tomorrow it really means “Not Today” without confirming when in the future when. This can be frustrating to those that come from other countries like the U.S. or Canada for example but if you can get use to it you will really love life south of the border…