The Expat Forum in México City

December 9, 2011

I’ve been home from the 1st National Forum on the North American Retiree Community: Expectations & Options for Living in Mexico since Sunday, so it’s high time I report out to all of you!

Thursday evening we all gathered for cocktails at the hotel and got to know each other.  It was great to meet so many people who make México their home. There were people from Puerto Vallarta, Mérida, Los Cabos, La Paz, Ensenada, Mazatlán, Colima, Acapulco, Rosarito Beach, Ajijic, San Miguel de Allende and others, I’m sure. Many of the people have businesses or run volunteer organizations. It seems pretty much everyone has outside interests to which they devote their retirement energy. It was a very interesting group, and I enjoyed getting to know most of them.

At dinner that night ICFDN’sPresident, Richard Kly, and Senior Advisor Anne McEnany spoke about the previous studies they’d done and what they learned.  You can read the studies here. There are a few things that stood out for me and I think you’ll find interesting:

  • They estimate that there are approximately 2 million Americans living in México, some of whom are here illegally as they have overstayed their visas.
  • 79% have lived in México three years or longer.
  • Retirees are young – 53% are under 65 years old
  • Retirees are well educated – two-thirds have at least a college degree and 31% have a masters or doctoral degree.
  • The biggest reason most chose to move to México is for its lifestyle. (79%)

These studies also revealed what retirees were looking for:

  • Access to long term care.  Retirees want to be able to “age in place.”
  • Green options were important to 63% of respondents. Recycling is desired.
  • Retirees would be willing to pay higher property taxes if they could be guaranteed better municipal services such as zoning enforcement, water, police, and fire.
  • Retirees want to be able to participate in local charities, and 60% already do.  70% contribute financially to Mexican nonprofit groups.
  • Retirees are not interested in more golf courses.  Birdwatching and fishing scored higher on outdoor activity preference lists.

gloria guevara

Palacio de la Autonomía right downtown. Gloria Guevara Manzo, México’s Tourism Secretary spoke, among others.  There were several videos showing current tourism programs aimed at Americans and Canadians.  The picture at the top show Gloria Guevara (in the white jacket) after this segment of the forum, and after she was interviewed by the press.  It is also proof that all of us were actually dressed up – I’m sure some of you think I don’t wear anything but shorts and sandals!

Breakout groups followed, with various regions combined.  Our group was Baja, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán,  Acapulco, and parts in between.  Tourism, ICDFN, retirees and a facilitator discussed what we consider the major issues that need consideration.  After each room discussed their concerns and ideas each breakout group elected a representative to report to the whole.

The main issues that were discussed in all of the breakout sessions were:

  • The need for regulation of real estate and zoning.
  • The barriers to volunteering because of visa regulations.
  • The need for easier access to information about what is needed to relocate to México, hopefully online and in English.

My notes petered out about then, but we’ve been told we’ll be receiving the official notes on each meeting at some point in the future. Basically we all agreed that this was a great introductory session and that we can should get back together at some point – possibly in groups that include representatives from immigration, real estate among others.

It was very positive to hear that the Méxican government is pleased that so many of us have chosen México for retirement and they want to do what they can to make our time here as pleasant as possible. It would have been nice to come up with some serious take-aways but for a first meeting I think it went very well.

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More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. Excellent information! I could tell from the first photo that you were were in Mexico City, everyone dresses there.

      1. Contessa, It was freezing cold in the mornings, too. Took a bit of getting used to!

    1. It was such a pleasure meeting you, after enjoying your blog for several years! I’ve been writing up my thoughts about the conference, and will try to remember to send you a copy when I get everything down.

      1. Viki, It was great to meet you, too! I’d love a copy of your notes when you get to them, too!

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