Moving To Mexico – Perfecto
A 2023 Update: The Moving To Mexico post below was written when I achieved my 2016 goal of moving from Portland, Oregon to Mexico. I’ll maintain the original post detail intact to keep Google’s indexing happy. But, here is an update.
I live in San Miguel de Allende a town Condé Nast Traveller named – get this – “Best Small City in the World” five times – not bad. SMA is in the middle of the country, (high desert), is known for its culture, old-world colonial architecture, music, art, gourmet & street food, roof bars, and wonderful people. Plus, it has two international airports each one hour away. The world-class Mexico City is less than four hours away by luxury bus.
To date, the original blog post has been read over 5,000 times. Based on this activity, I know I am not alone in thinking of moving to Mexico.
Interesting side note. My advertising agency business consultancy is based here. In the past couple of years, three of my clients have decided to either move to Mexico full-time or buy a second home. Let me know if you are interested. I’ll turn you onto the right people that can make that happen.
Why move to Mexico? Eight reasons.
- The cost of living is 50% of, say, Chicago.
- You can get a permanent visa. Not easy in most other countries.
- The right time zone (vs. say Bali or Portugal.)
- Easy flights to the USA and beyond.
- The weather is a wow.
- Remote work — works here.
- Your neighbor does not have a MAGA flag in their front yard.
- The people and culture.
Oh. Is it safe? Pleeeease. Read this from Newsweek:
According to data from the U.S. State Department, between January 2022 and June 2022, there were 115 deaths of U.S. citizens, of which 25 were homicides. The largest number of deaths in the time period was as a result of vehicle accidents, with unspecified accidents also accounting for 25.
25! Note that there were over 25,000,000 American visitors to Mexico in 2022. Do the math.
Yeah, you’ll read about crime in some Mexican states. Note that the cartel people kill each other. They are fueld by America’s drug-love. They do not want to kill foreigners. Bad for business.
Moving To Mexico Was a Good Idea
My wife and I are now seven-plus years in and live here full-time. Five years ago we built a house across from the neighborhood church in the Guadalupe neighborhood that is known for its murals (that’s our house in the picture). Well, it’s our old house – we sold it for a nice profit. We now live in a very modern house up the hill that has an amazing view. it is a ten-minute walk to Centro.
I am maintaining my global advertising agency consultancy (it helps that I can work digitally from any location), I recently finished a multi-year global photography project which I started when I arrived in Mexico. After shooting in San Miguel de Allende, I photographed communities in L.A., Selma, and worked across India. If I relaunch this project (Covid got in the way) I’ll go to Ghana (I think) to add Africa to my white sheet portrait and Widelux film camera series.
I am about to publish a new book. “How To Build A Kick-Ass Advertising Agency”.
Back to Mexico… I am convinced that I made the right move. San Miguel de Allende is endearing, culturally rich, and very visually stimulating. The people are wonderful and welcome gringos like me. As I’ve mentioned, our town has been named the best city in the world by Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Traveller. Yes, it deserves its “best“, but one does have to wonder who paid off the magazines for us to get signaled out.
By the way, check out my two-year San Miguel de Allende photography series, La Gente. Please pass it on, especially to Americans.
Side note: People ask me all the time about why and how I moved to Mexico. No, these are not just baby boomers – incoming people come from all sizes and shapes. It seems that a lot of folks want to get to either a “next” experience or sadly, just want to get the hell out of today’s USA. The work-from-home shift has made moving and living in Mexico easier for 30 – 40-year-olds, and we are seeing more young families come down.
NOTE: We did not move for political reasons. But, hey, living somewhere where lots of people smile every day and are not addicted to FOX, MNNBC, Google News, and Twitter is a ‘good thing’. LOL, sure we have news and social media addicts here. But, at least we do not have to see red political hats when we go to the tienda to buy a mango.
Side-side note: if you are interested in moving to Mexico, give me a shout. I’ll give you my perspective. I get a few calls a year.
My Original 2016 Blog Post About the Why and How Moving To Mexico
This post explains why I moved to Mexico, where, and how, and provides some details should you want to follow me.
The move has been a two-year process for my wife and me to decide to make the move and then choose where to live. We selected San Miguel de Allende (for its culture and high-altitude weather) over Puerto Vallarta (too beachy); Baja (too close to California); the Yucatan (way too humid); Oaxaca (a close second); Mexico City (too big); or Lake Chapala (boring – though near Guadalajara).
I like moving to new places and do so about every 7 years. The upside is living an adventure and having to creatively deal with unknowns. The downside is leaving friends behind. But, some visit and Zoom plus Facetime keeps everyone face-to-face.
In addition to pure wanderlust, there are other factors that seem to make me move around. Here is a new one. I recently read the Wall Street Journal article, Nature or Nurture? What Makes You an Expat? Is a lust for travel, adventure and new surroundings built into your DNA? The article covers the idea that moving and living in a foreign country might be, partially, a function of your DNA. My kids are in their twenties and they now live in Buenos Aires and Budapest. Is the Levitan DNA responsible? Who knows. But, this is an interesting concept to digest.
OK, so why am I moving to Mexico?
I grew up in New York City. Went to college in Boston and San Francisco. Then moved back to New York, to Minneapolis, to New Jersey when we had kids, to London, and back. And, 15 years ago my family split from post 9/11 New York metro to go to Bend and then Portland, Oregon. Was it genes? Wanderlust? Career building? I think all of the above.
We love Mexico and Mexicans. And, I can run my consultancy from anywhere, so why not head south?
We are not alone. Mexico has the highest number of American expats. The actual numbers are a bit flaky but the U.S. government estimates the number at over 1.5 million. These include people working in Mexico, folks just hanging out, Mexican Americans, and a very large number of American retirees.
But, hey, this blog post is about me.
- Numero uno: Adventure (life is short.) See David Bowie for inspiration. ‘”Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange) Turn and face the strange. Ch-ch-Changes”
- Our new home is San Miguel de Allende a town in the middle of the country. That’s one of its most famous scenes in the picture. SMA is one of the coolest towns in the world (yes, the world.) Here is what Huffington Post says.
- If you don’t mind skipping heat and humidity, San Miguel de Allende’s weather is perfect (high desert at over 6,000 feet.) See the map at the bottom for its location.
- The people in San Miguel are always smiling. OK, an overstatement but kinda true.
- It’s safe. Please stop the silly ‘gringo’ question… “Is it safe?” Get this: most of Mexico is safer than New Orleans and Detroit. And, you know that if Americans stopped doing tons of coke, meth, and fentanyl, we’d help to solve the cartel problem. The key is that you don’t go hang out where the bad guys do business because that is where the crime is.
- Mexican culture combines indigenous and Spanish influences. There are endless street, art and music festivals, and a very vibrant art scene.
- The cost of living is about 60% or less than living in the USA. In our first ‘test’ year, we are renting a fully furnished 4-bedroom house with 3 days of housekeeper service and a gardener for $1,500 per month (this is considered on the higher end). At over 18 pesos per dollar, the dollar is as high as it has been in years.
- San Miguel has the second-best restaurant scene in the country. It has become a major weekend destination for people living in Mexico City.
- Surrounding towns deliver sweet day trips to visit hot springs, local ice cream meccas, and university towns. And… truly exciting things like a Costco and the largest shopping mall in Latin America. I haven’t been there yet but will avoid a Chili’s if they have one.
- I can easily fly nonstop to L.A., Dallas, and Houston out of two local airports and internationally from Mexico City.
- Getting a long-term visa is easy. Try living long-term in the U.K. or France or Thailand. Not going to happen.
- I avoid CNN and FOX and MSNBC.
- Oh, and I can work from anywhere I have a laptop and WIFI. Plus, my town is conveniently in the central time zone.
Have you considered living in Mexico?
A recent research study I did testing Google Consumer Research focused on where Americans want to retire. My findings show that 13% (13%!) of Americans between 45 and 65 “have considered retiring in Mexico”. By the way, you do use easy-to-use-super fast Google Research in your business development program, right?
Who will thrive in Mexico? [Read more…] about Moving To Mexico