Retirement: Year One

I have procrastinated on this long enough, in part waiting for immigration news that I now have, so here comes the brief review of our first year of retirement in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico.

The Move and Housing

At the end of January, 2014 we flew down with three suitcases, two backpacks, a 21.5″ iMac, and our cat.  Tom Kuhn, the now famous Burgerteer and all around good guy picked us up at the airport and, along with his lovely wife, Debi, provided us with cat-friendly lodging on our first night here.

The next morning we met the rental agent / property manager at the house we had rented sight unseen for 3 months.  Lynn was great and I highly recommend her!

At the end of that short-term lease, we moved to a longer-term rental.  Tom and Debi are friends with the owners (who now live in the USA) and the house was becoming available.  Debi connected us with the owners and here we are.  We signed a one year lease on a lovely home in a great location and plan to renew it for at least another year.

Transportation

The first three months or so we lived without a car, and that can certainly be done for far longer than that.  Taxis are plentiful and reasonable and there are a variety of bus routes.  In addition, almost any product or service you need can be delivered to your home.  Nonetheless, it is very nice to own a car and have the freedom to take day trips, drive to the Campo Deportivo Salvador Alvarado and walk on their one kilometer track, and it is far easier for Kathy, who is legally blind, to get around with her seeing-eye husband behind the steering wheel

Immigration Matters

I came down on a residente temporal visa affixed to my passport, a temporary resident visa good for one year and renewable for three more.  Kathy got a 180 vistante visa (those who tend to be technical about such things may point out that it is not technically a visa).  Within 30 days I started the in-country part of getting a residente temporal card.  Once that was processed, Kathy became eligible for the same status as my spouse.

This week, after the first year of temporal status my application for a change in status to residente permanente was approved.  I will no longer have to go through the renewals.  On Friday I will take in my new photographs and get fingerprinted and about a week later will get the card.  After two years of being married to a permanent resident, Kathy will be eligible for the same status.

We used a facilitator for these processes.  When we first arrived we used Yucatan Expatriate Services.  The staffer who helped us there left that company and started her own, and we used her for the change in status to Permanente.

Life Activities

We typically go to the sports complex in Merida (Salvador Alvarado) and walk a few kilometers in the morning.  We come back home and do a few light housekeeping things (like pool maintenance and keeping the patios clean), I spend some time on the internet – mostly looking at the markets and communicating with other investors.  Early afternoon is usually time for some sun and/or pool time.  We have lunch around 2:00.  Kathy does a  round of pool exercises after that and I typically take a siesta.  We do shopping, a little volunteer work, communicate with family and watch a little TV.  We take occasional day trips and explore new areas of Merida on Sundays.

We have gone over to the Caribbean coast every couple of months for two or three nights.  We have had company from the states  a few times and taken longer vacations around the Yucatan with them.  Last November I officiated a wedding vow renewal ceremony for friends and we spent a few days with them and a large group of people who flew down for that.

Last Sunday on our explorations we found the Yucatan Leones baseball stadium and plan to attend a few games in the upcoming season.  We also plan to attend some symphony concerts and take advantage of other cultural events here in Merida that we missed during our first year.

Travel is a part of retirement for many people, and we will be taking a longish trip to Spain and Portugal this spring.  Other than periodic trips to the States and one to visit friends who are retired on the Virgin Islands, we plan more travel in Mexico.  Pre-retirement we visited Guadalajara, San Miguel de Allende, Lake Chapala, and Guanajuato, which leaves a lot still to explore!

Finances

I guess I should post a bit about this.  Between pensions and Social Security we are doing fine.  I manage our investment accounts.  It does not take a lot of time – they are not very big – but it makes for a nice hobby for this retired research analyst.  The exchange rate has moved to our personal benefit this year due to the strong dollar, but I imagine at some point in time it will move in the other direction.  The cost of living seems reasonable and our resources seem to be adequate to provide us with a comfortable if somewhat frugal life.  That is fine with us, because that is how we roll.

I have not kept detailed records of our expenditures or how much we spend per month on regular expenditures.  I will do a blog post on that later, but we typically have a little left at the end of the month and I can’t complain much about that.

Wrap up

This could be more detailed, but we are headed over to Puerto Morelos tomorrow to meet friends from MA.  I will try to be more regular about posting, but no promises.