Michael Zenn – BoomersAbroad.com
‘Reports of violence have only reduced the frequency or duration of trips to Mexico for only 7 percent of Americans… and remains retirees’ No. 1 travel destination.’ – ABC News
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – Recent reports strongly indicate that the highly televised Mexican drug war has not stopped most Americans from traveling or moving South of the Border. In fact, according to an ABC News report, of the 5.25 million Americans living in other countries, the vast majority (over 1 million) live in Mexico, and many more may be on their way. A number of Mexican communities now virtually look like U.S. suburbs and in some cases American and Canadian property owners outnumber locals.
No Fear Here
In areas far from US border towns, such as Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Mexico’s drug war is a distant and far away place. In fact, when surveyed, most Americans living here feel that they are much safer than in cities like L.A., New York, Chicago, Atlanta or Miami. Indeed, recent statistics prove them to be right.
According to a report last year by the LA Times, tourist areas in Mexico are 12 times safer than Tampa or Honolulu, 17 times safer than Dallas or West Palm Beach, 26 times safer than Orlando or Houston and a whopping 39 times safer than the U.S. capital, Washington D.C., and Americans and Canadians are coming in droves.
Why Here, Why Now?
Americans and Canadians are sneaking South of the Boarder for all the usual suspects: tropical weather, pristine property, tree-lined beaches, white-sand, warm turquoise water, crystalline coastlines, the beckoning beach lifestyle, and a litany of other adjectives. But perhaps this time they are descending on magical Mexico for a compelling new impetus altogether.
When the global recession hit, many retirees and investors were driven south where life is cheap and the living is easy. A dollar down here buys roughly 30% more, taxes are negotiable, and the economy is rebounding at a rapid pace. Personal debt and the credit crisis are virtually non-existent since Mexicans do not generally use credit to buy things.
That could explain why the Mexican economy is surging (not sputtering) out of the global recession, recording a 4.3% growth rate in the first quarter of 2010 alone (much faster than the U.S.) And if you had invested $10,000 here in 2000 you would have witnessed a 232% gain in your bank account.
Perhaps the biggest bonus for retirees and investors in Mexico has been their opportunistic purchases of homes, condos and real estate property. In key areas, real estate in Mexico is far outpacing growth in other countries. For example, Playa del Carmen was named the fastest growing area in the world just a few years ago and Tulum, just to the south, is poised to grow even faster in the next 5 years.
The other goldmine that Americans and Canadians are getting in Mexico is the veritable healthcare jackpot they enjoy that includes full medical, dental and vision coverage for about $400 a year. This government run healthcare plan (IMSS) was created for Mexican employees but is also open to legal foreigners. Imagine a healthcare-fantasy world where there are no deductibles, no co-pays, no limits, no prescriptions to pay for and even pre-existing conditions are covered after 1-2 years. No small reason to make your way to Mexico.
There are now over 18,000 major American companies currently investing and operating in Mexico and it is estimated that over 1 million Americans are buying, building and or retiring here. In truth, no one knows exactly how many American or Canadian retirees, entrepreneurs, and families are now traveling or making plans to relocate to Mexico.
One thing’s for sure, it’s not a few, it’s not slowing down, and there seems to be no end in sight. And for those who might doubt it, just ask the Mexican locals and they will quickly remind you “they’re moving in all around us!”