Single. Canadian. Looking for a secure future in Mexico?


 cvillic “Estrella de Belén” vista la tarde/noche del 21 de Diciembre 2020 desde el cerro de La Cumbre en #Colima.
La Cumbre en #Colima by Christian Villicaña

Since my move to Mexico mid pandemic, I've been receiving a lot of letters asking me about all the usual questions. Since you may have similar questions, I felt it best to begin to share the correspondences, to offer you some insight. This letter is from a single woman who is approaching retirement and is currently living in Ontario, Canada.


Janet -

Hi Kitty. Thank you for offering to share your experience. As you know, Ontario is unaffordable for a decent life - even with working. Can I ask where you are in Mexico?


Kitty -

I moved to Colima, Colima. It's 2.5 hours south of Guadalajara where I flew into. It's a little know place, almost zero expats at the moment but such a lovely city with all the familiar comforts of home and none of the expense or rudeness. Plus it's close to so much beauty. Volcanoes, forests, and the ocean are all 30-60 minutes away.


Janet -

Sounds gorgeous. What about internet? Is it reliable? And the cost of rent.


Kitty -

With work, I usually have about 20-30 tabs open. No issues. No power outages. My furnished place is $550/m plus electricity but I haven't received that first bill yet. It was included in my initial months rent that I'd arranged through AirBnB. I don't expect it to be much. The entire years water bill was $2200 peso.... $150. give or take (and included in my rent).


Janet -

Ok..that is doable. Did you become a permanent reisdent?


Kitty -

That takes about 5 years, so no, not yet but I plan too.


Janet -

It makes so much sense, why stay here in Canada to simply survive, when a life must be lived.


Kitty -

Seriously Janet... I was half expecting to have to live off of cat food by the time I hit retirement. I have a full time gig that pays pretty well and was approved for a mortgage but couldn't find a house to match the value. The cost of living in Canada is outrageous. I don't know why anyone stays or doesn't look to find a way out. I know many feel trapped, as I once did.


About 6 years ago I took a bunch of digital marketing courses and then Covid aligned everything for me to work remotely so I jumped on a plane after a month of updating my location research.


Best decision ever! I feel at peace because there's money left at the end of the month and I'm not scared about my future anymore.


Janet -

That's so uplifting, Kitty. It's nice to know it can be done And me too...I have NEVER felt a secure future. Since I became single 25 years ago, I have had no interest in marrying again, so as you know, it is tough going alone.


Kitty -

Oh I do... it's been 10 years for me on my own. I get lonely sometimes but keep on pushing through. We can do it, we can live an easier life and here it's so nice. Even at Christmas in line at Walmart, no one looked edgy or impatient. People here are sweet. Not many speak any English and my Spanish is very limited... but we all make a kind effort to figure it out.


Janet -

Yes...I have travelled to Cuba many times, and I find the same wonderful people there. I love Cuba, but the infrastructure is not there. And it is expensive comparatively. I have never been to Mexico. I am looking at Merida. I was to have flown last Tuesday, but Trudeau put a stop to that.


Kitty -

Merida gets very hot and personally, I don't want to deal with the AC/electrical bill. I have heard it's also a wonderful town with many, many benefits.


You may choose to look at AeroMexico. I think Prime Minister Trudeau dropped the resort destination flights but maybe the Mexican airlines are still moving families and business folks around. If you're planning to fly back to Canada, there's that $2000 hotel bill for the mandatory 3 day government facility quarantine.


Start looking at getting your paperwork in order for your temporary residency. The Mexican consulate is in Leamington, Ontario.


Janet -

Your Spanish will come. I too can only make myself understood, but I would like to get to know the people more deeply. I am taking classes, but it is best to be immersed. About the finances - I can work online for a lawyer, but I never know when that job could end. Then I would only have 1,200 CAD/mo to live. Very tight.


Kitty -

Oh, no... you can do it here for $1200. My rent is expensive by Colima terms.


Janet -

I have been looking into the paperwork, but I don't fit the financial criteria. That's why I believe I must maintain my apartment here.


Kitty -

Hmm.... Per the Canadian government, you need to maintain an "address/permanent residency" not an apartment. Change your address to a friends place and get them to take pictures of your mail and text or email it to you.


Janet -

Nice work-around :)


Kitty -

I will have to do the 180 day border bounce. I had intended to fly back at the end of my visitors visa but not if its going to cost me thousands.... so I'll probably head up to Texas or Arizona. One of the Mexican consulates there processes Canadians.


There is alway a way. But if the repetitive tourist card is needed you can literally walk through customs and turn right back around to come back in for another 180 days at this time.


Some people never leave... no one comes looking for us to say, "hey ... it's been 181 days..."


Janet -

Can I get a bank account or do I just use my CAD account a take out cash as needed?


Kitty -

I use my Visa card for almost everything I purchase in grocery stores or restaurants. Rent is paid with TransferWise online money transfer. This way, I don't have to walk with a stack of cash or see the owner of the house more than necessary. It's preferred by us both.


Another benefit to the money transfer is only costs $6 which I believe is much less than the local ATM fee plus the charge from my own bank.


I just found out that as a tourist I may be able to get a bank account with my lease, electrical bill (which is not in my name but does have the house address) and my passport.


Janet -

I have Trasnferwise account. And Visa - I'm almost there, the more we talk!


I will check the airlines. No reason for me to suffer this winter. I won't be coming back for a long time.


Kitty -

If you qualify for temporary residency status - $2800 CD (ish) per month gross income, then I recommend you get that done before you fly. You have to show 6 months of bank statements and paystubs to a Mexican consulate where you live.


Janet -

So are you saying to just come to Mexico without papers - with little or no risk of the governement interferring with my normal life? Do I need to show any documents (residency/visitor) to rent apartment or things like that?


Kitty -

I'm not sure what you mean about the government interfering with your life, so I cannot speak to that.


Each rental situation may be different and there are options.


What I am saying is that life is easier if you come in on a temporary residency .... assuming you in fact want to live here. If there's any chance at all you don't want to live in Canada or can't afford to return, then do the paperwork in advance. It has to be started outside of Mexico, typically in your country of birth or residency. Otherwise, the visitors visa is what it is, good for 180 days.


I secured a six month lease to rent the two bedroom home I am in with first/last/security deposit. We signed a lease agreement that I had translated into English and made changes to. I then translated it back to Spanish and we signed.


Janet -

What do you do for health care?

Kitty -

Though I purchased six months of full coverage traveller insurance for major events, I have been paying cash or on Visa for the services I've used.


I pay the doctor at the pharmacist $3 for an examination to look at my tonsils when I had strep throat. The exam, prescription antibiotic and over the counter medicine came to $30.


Recently I inquired with a vein surgeon about a consultation for my circulatory issues. The consultation fee is under $100. Another thing I took care of here was a new pair of glasses and my bifocals were $100.


Janet -

Ok Kitty...you have really got me thinking. I won't take up much more of your time, but I do appreciate you so far. I will keep in touch. You should write a blog or something on this.


Kitty -

Maybe I should ;)





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