Doctor Love: Retirement

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Dear Doctor Love,
My wife and I have been looking for possible places for us to live when I retire in a few years. I will not be a rich man when I retire but I will have a comfortable, steady income. What I am saying is that, although money and cost of living are important, they are not necessarily the most important consideration in our decision.
We have some friends in Roatan, in Honduras, so we went down there and spent some time. My wife liked it, but I never really felt comfortable there. The local people seem to be nice enough, but the community that we were in seemed to be made up almost totally of American and European expatriates. No one said so, but I got the distinct feeling that the locals are not even welcome in the community.
In Mexico, we visited the retirement community in Puerto Vallarta. Once again, the community was mostly expatriates but it was certainly an inexpensive place to live. Then we came to San Pedro in Belize. I felt at home here as soon as I got off of the plane. As far as I can tell the local people and the expatriates are all part of the same community. Everyone here seems to get along well and I am ready to move here. My wife loves it too, but she points out that the cost of living is well over three or four times what it is in Puerto Vallarta.
We have narrowed our choices down to San Pedro or Puerto Vallarta. Since you obviously live here, what is your take on the difference between living here and in Mexico?
/s/ Almost ThereDr-Love

Dear Almost,
One of the most important things is that you cannot own property in Mexico. You can lease it, but it’s just not the same as owning it.
Money? Those who live here learn to manage it or they lose it all. You have already said it is not your most important concern.
The most important consideration about living in San Pedro is the sense of community. It is like no other. The closest you can come to it is small-town life where everyone pretty much knows everyone else. We have the good people and we have the not so good. We stand by each other in hard times and laugh together in the good times. We have to accept each other, warts and all.
It makes for a wonderful place to live.

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