The First Decisive Step

2015 August 2015 Living in Mexico Suzanne A. Marshall

By Manzanillo Sun Writer  from the August 2015 Edition

Putting what one theorizes into practice has turned out to be a significant challenge. As I wrote last month in my article, “Give Me the Simple Life”, I now know firsthand that achieving a simplified life is truly not that simple.
Basically, our grand scheme is to sell our house and call Manzanillo ‘home’ since we already have lived our winters there for the past seven years and return to Canada in spring and summer. This decision is largely based on the fact that keeping a second home that sits empty for more than half the year has become a burden for us and others. Not only is it expensive, but we must continue arrangements for security, taxes, phone and internet, ask friends to collect mail, have them check up on the house once a week to ensure heating is on (otherwise our insurers won’t cover unforeseen damages) and because of our climate, help with snow removal so that the house does not appear vacant. We are forever grateful for having the friends that we do have and who were willing to assist us all these years. How wonderful they have been.

Some would say just rent the home while you’re away. But our location does not support this option well and assuming the role of absentee landlords comes with a whole other set of challenges. These include: the need for a manager, moving and storage of personal goods and valuables in and out twice a year, and finding respectable renters who only want a big lofty house for six month a year during the winter and won’t do any damage. It might

View from our Manzanillo balcony

work perhaps in the summer. Yes, since we live very near a lake. However many of the same worries still exist. (And then of course there are income tax laws too complex to cover in this article.)
So it was decision time. Since we are both retired, do we give up the extended winters in Manzanillo and sell our condo or keep the place in Canada and have shorter exotic vacations? In the end, we just couldn’t give up Manzanillo. With glorious heat and sunshine, beachside living, wonderful friends (both expats and local Mexicans), great solid inexpensive dental and healthcare services, lower cost of living, direct flight access (and grown children living far away from us anyway) the decision was made. Manzanillo here we come!

Now some people who have not experienced Manzanillo might ask: “Aren’t you concerned about safety?” (Like my family) In a word, no, we have felt very safe in Manzanillo and in fact some time ago I shared a story about just how safe this location is. Of course the news media pick up on the odd story of a tourist crime elsewhere in Mexico at some resort and then hammer it to death. But the truth be told, Manzanillo is one of the safest locations in the world and statistics show that more crime occurs in the USA to travelers in vacation areas than in our chosen destination. Just listen to the news about local crimes taking place in Canada and the USA: drug busts, rapes, murders, gang slayings, bomb scares, renegade gunmen, police brutality and so on. We don’t seem to pay as much attention to the local news as we do when it’s elsewhere. The fact is that no matter where you live you need to stay away from risky neighborhoods, risky lifestyles, and take precautions with your wallet and vehicles just like you would at home and be mindful. I don’t believe any of us can escape the unexpected tragedies of daily life such as being in the wrong place at the wrong time, auto accidents, drunk drivers, and health issues, no matter where we live. Manzanillo is in a lush mountainous southern tropical zone and far away from the USA/Mexico border where most of the drug trafficking and criminal activity occurs.

So the decision having been made. We listed our home with a friend and realtor and lo and behold we had an acceptable offer within two weeks. Of course the stress begins as it took another three weeks to complete home inspection, bank approvals and final documentation. Now we contemplate everything we must accomplish before we leave. We must liquidate our furnishings and personal effects, apply for our permanent Mexican visas and streamline a whole new approach to banking and residency. Yikes.

I am now in the middle of clearing away the accumulation of a lifetime. This involves shredding taxes and papers and hauling out stored boxes full of memories, photos and souvenirs. It’s a daunting task and an interesting experience as you revisit all of the old ‘passages’ of your life. You have to wonder where on earth the time went. But still, one must be grateful that there is (hopefully) some time left to savor a simpler life on the gorgeous shores of the Manzanillo bay. It’s definitely going to be the experience of a lifetime. I’m pretty sure I’ll have some interesting information to share in the near future for any of our readers who are considering the same decision.
We’ll be visiting the Mexican consulate in Canada soon. Stay tuned.

By Suzanne A. Marshall

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