Recently I responded to a query on a subscription blog asking if anyone had a Mexican passport. This person was interested in options for overseas expat living. I responded as follows:
My wife and I have lived in Puebla, Mexico for 13 years. We opted for a permanent resident visa. It gives us nearly all the rights of a citizen. You can’t vote and you have to ask permission from the state department to buy property. No big deal.
We’re retired but are here as missionaries. Three years ago we started a kind of home school coop we call the Learning Center. There are 87 students in the Learning Center from preschool to high school. Just last week we enrolled 4 students in the Ron Paul Curriculum. It’s a calling. We don’t plan to give it up until we can’t walk anymore.
We love Mexico and Mexicans. After 13 years we have roots here. As a military family we never lived in one place for so many years.
Puebla is a great place to live once you get used to the altitude, 7000 feet. The population is about 5 million but Puebla still has the feel of a colonial town. We’re about 2 hours from downtown Mexico City. When we feel like we need an “I love America” xenophobic moment we drop into one of the many US businesses here: Wal Mart, Sams, Costco, Chili’s, Tony Roma’s, McDonald’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Papa John’s Pizza, Dominoes (yes they deliver), Pizza Hut and Starbucks. We grocery shop at Superama, owned by Wal Mart – like an upscale Wal Mart neighborhood market.
Living costs here are not that much less than in the US but medical care is very good and much less expensive than in the US. Puebla has a good reputation for medical care. Medical technology here is at most 3 years behind the US. Last summer I had a stent and a pacemaker installed for a total cost of about $20,000 US. My doctor in Dallas told me it would have cost $65,000 to $100,000 in Dallas.
The major industry here is the Volkswagen plant. It employs about 12,000 plus all the sub-contractor workers. When you see a new beetle, think Puebla. Last I heard it’s the only VW plant that manufactures them. They also manufacture most of the other VW models.
We feel as safe or safer in Puebla than we do in Dallas but we don’t drive to the border anymore. Not worth the risk. There is an expat community here but we don’t have much contact with our fellow US citizens. We probably see more Germans and Koreans than Americans.
Something to consider. I suspect a retired person will live longer wherever he or she ends up with a productive calling to keep you busy and engaged. It’s priceless.
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