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Not everyone who moves to a foreign country ends up dying there. I planned my retirement abroad for many years and read a lot about it, and thought it would be worthwhile to summarize what I read for others considering living overseas to read and for everyone else on the forum to argue about, er, discuss.

One statistic I found striking isn't directly applicable - it was that of the non-US people from outside the US who move to the US, half ultimately return home. I believe that the statistic excluded those who enter the US illegally or for seasonal work. The measured population all intended to live in the US indefinitely, and half ultimately changed their minds.
It would be interesting to see if that also applies to US natives that decide to live outside the US.

Of course there are some people who move overseas and realize in rather short order that it was a horrible mistake. So there is a good chunk of people that last one year or less.

But the other thing I read was that there is a spike in the percentage of people who return home at about the six year mark. Someone who has been living in a country for seven years is significantly more likely to live there forever than someone who has lived there only five years.

I have a theory on why this is so. When moving to a new country, there are differences. Some things seem better. You think, "Why don't they do it like that in the US, it would be so much better?". Those cost you nothing to adapt to. Some things are worse. Of those, some you can accept with an "Oh, well" attitude, but some register as annoyances. Little niggling PITA things that bug you. Over time, annoyances like that seem to bother a person more and more. My theory is that six years is about the amount of time it takes for things like that to hit the boiling point for a lot of people.

I've only been here one year, but kind of figure myself as being a six-year type guy. We'll see.

The last reason a lot of people move back to the US is health care. Hitting a particular age like 65 when they want to see doctors under Medicare, or 70 when they can't get coverage in the foreign country, or just when health deteriorates below a certain point and they feel they can't handle it any more. I don't think people who move back for health reasons contribute to the six-year spike, I think every year a certain percent move back for health reasons, just due to the effects of time on health.

I think it's important for people considering a move overseas to understand that, statistically, there's a high probability they will end up being ex-ex-pats sooner or later and to plan accordingly.
 

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That's an interesting theory and I bet you're onto something.

With Mexico, I never had the culture shock and adjustment I was expecting to have. I know a lot of that has to do with being able to speak Spanish, which means that things that seem convoluted to some folks don't do me because I understand the process and can usually reduce the number of steps, but I had a huge culture shock in Spain so it's definitely not just a linguistic thing.

I've been in Mexico the equivalent of just over a year now (two six-month stretches, plus I've been here a month now on my RT). The rare time something genuinely annoys me, I remember how much worse that thing would be in the part of Canada where I grew up (Quebec) and I calm right down, whether it's dealing with red tape (which Mexico has nothing on Quebec) or terrible drivers.

I think I got to the point where so much was intolerable to me in Canada that Mexico just has to work because there is no going back for me at this point. I keep reminding myself that I have an infinitely better quality of life on a fraction of the money it takes me to scrape by back there. At this point, I'm committed to staying until I get citizenship. But having such nomadic blood, I could see myself then only living in Mexico part-time and going somewhere else the rest of the time, just to discover yet another different culture.
 

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That's an interesting theory and I bet you're onto something.

With Mexico, I never had the culture shock and adjustment I was expecting to have. I know a lot of that has to do with being able to speak Spanish, which means that things that seem convoluted to some folks don't do me because I understand the process and can usually reduce the number of steps, but I had a huge culture shock in Spain so it's definitely not just a linguistic thing.

I've been in Mexico the equivalent of just over a year now (two six-month stretches, plus I've been here a month now on my RT). The rare time something genuinely annoys me, I remember how much worse that thing would be in the part of Canada where I grew up (Quebec) and I calm right down, whether it's dealing with red tape (which Mexico has nothing on Quebec) or terrible drivers.

I think I got to the point where so much was intolerable to me in Canada that Mexico just has to work because there is no going back for me at this point. I keep reminding myself that I have an infinitely better quality of life on a fraction of the money it takes me to scrape by back there. At this point, I'm committed to staying until I get citizenship. But having such nomadic blood, I could see myself then only living in Mexico part-time and going somewhere else the rest of the time, just to discover yet another different culture.
You are not going to like this - but - what exactly are your accomplishments in life ? I'm not passing judgement (I can't) - just trying to understand better your sentiments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Maybe I'm unknowingly plagiarizing something I read that sat in the back of my head until it popped out just now. I've never made any money from writing and don't expect to start, too much paperwork involved.
 

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I think it depends on the people who move and why they move. Many return pecause of family and health problems..many die here as well .
Here in the Chapala area I know many people who have been here for a long time and have no intention of going back.... For me going back would be going back to France where I have not lived for 50 years and that would put me over the hedge.. or staying here and see how thing go.. I cannot imagine moving back to the States where I do not have any roots or family although I lived there for 30 years.. so really after a while you really do not have any place to go back to if you do not have kids..
You cannot tell after 1 year what you will do.. going back after many years is difficult and you go through culture shock as you remember the place like it used to be but it has changed bid time and you were not part of that change.
My biggest culture shock was England followed by the US.. Mexico was home, I had zero culture shock here.
 

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I think it depends on the people who move and why they move. Many return pecause of family and health problems..many die here as well .
Here in the Chapala area I know many people who have been here for a long time and have no intention of going back.... For me going back would be going back to France where I have not lived for 50 years and that would put me over the hedge.. or staying here and see how thing go.. I cannot imagine moving back to the States where I do not have any roots or family although I lived there for 30 years.. so really after a while you really do not have any place to go back to if you do not have kids..
You cannot tell after 1 year what you will do.. going back after many years is difficult and you go through culture shock as you remember the place like it used to be but it has changed bid time and you were not part of that change.
My biggest culture shock was England followed by the US.. Mexico was home, I had zero culture shock here.
When the only reason you return 'home' is for food you like and shopping - does that tell you something ?
 

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You are not going to like this - but - what exactly are your accomplishments in life ? I'm not passing judgement (I can't) - just trying to understand better your sentiments.
What do my accomplishments in life have to do with my feelings about how long I think I'll be in Mexico? :confused:

And how do you define "accomplishments"? Because if building the life of my dreams fits the definition, then that's one of them.
 

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It reminds me of a movie too . The seven year itch. It's the little things that just keep getting more and more annoying. Actually divorce statistics back this up .
 

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I see many expats with one foot in the US and one foot in Mexico, they never really adjust and keep going back for stuff , favorite food, medical family and so on, I bet the large part of the people who go back are from that group. Many of them live in a expat-bubble and if things starts annoying them ..it grows and grows.. the grass is always greener on the other side and after a while people go back , they just never really adjusted or never planned to stay forever...That is the way it goes people come and people go..
 

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I see many expats with one foot in the US and one foot in Mexico,
For me, the break with Canada is definite, but on advice from a tax accountant, I'm keeping my property and bank accounts in Canada, at least for the time being. I've always felt like I was living between two worlds because of the vast gulf between Quebec, where I lived for 25 years years, and the rest of Canada, where I lived in several provinces and the Yukon territory before settling in Saskatchewan, so to me being in Mexico is the same thing. I accept that I'll always have one foot back north, hence why I think of myself as an expat and not an immigrant.

But I'm committed to being here, making do with what I find here, and hoping family and friends will take my invitation to come visit so I don't have to go back north too often. I've travelled and/or lived all over all ten provinces and two of the three territories (plus 45 of the US states, including Alaska). So I'd really rather focus my travel and vacation funds to exploring my adopted home of Mexico.
 

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I have been living in Mexico since 2012 and, even though I have not yet hit the six year mark, I definitely do not see myself moving back to the U.S. To replicate in the U.S. the lifestyle I have here in Mexico, I would need four or five times the income I can expect when I retire. There is just no rational reason I can fathom that would compel me to move back to the U.S.

Of course, if you had asked me six years ago if I would ever move to Mexico permanently I most likely would have scoffed at the idea. So, you never really know what you're going to do (or not do) until you do it (or don't).
 

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Currently we are living up in the mountains at 5800 ft. At some point, depending, we think we would like sell our house and relocate perhaps to Cancun - to a condo. If something were to happen to my wife - I might consider relocating to St Croix USVI (which is where we married and IS a US territory).

But I don't see us ever moving back to mainland US.
 

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In August, my husband and I will have been here for 13 years, settled into activities we enjoy and made good friends. Due to hearing loss, my Spanish conversational skills are very limited, but am getting by with "Spanglish" and am doing okay with reading.

When we first moved, we decided to adapt to those things which were different, so we haven't felt the need to go on shopping expeditions to the States. Our adult children know they need to come visit here if they expect to see us, so they do fly down and they have a fine time. They're always surprised at how different Mexico is from their expections; in a good way.
We lined up the health care, the lawyer, the "facilitator", the transportation when needed, and what began as a bumpy road is smooth enough.
We've only traveled back to the U.S. once: for a family funeral. Stayed four days and were eager to be "home" again, in Mexico.
 

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You just do not know until you go through being an expat if you will be good at it or not..other people´s experiences mean nothing, they are not you and everyone is different, things will bug you that do not bug other people and then it is all about how you react to your missing your friends, family, home.. etc..
Good luck and have fun finding out.
 

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I think more and more expats are getting out because of crime - from our area anyway. Although expats themselves are not the direct target, there are a very high number of kidnappings and murders. My wife and I are not going anywhere - but I read an article this week that the expat community in our area is down substantially from what it once was.

Used to be I thought you would be immune to crime if you stayed out of bad areas and didn't go out late at night. Now, every week I read a police report with a story like - 3 armed gunmen entered restaurant X at 2:30PM and robbed the clients of their wallets and phones. They left in the two cars they stole. There are definitely a 'rash' of people being robbed after withdrawing money at a bank.
 

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I think more and more expats are getting out because of crime - from our area anyway. Although expats themselves are not the direct target, there are a very high number of kidnappings and murders. My wife and I are not going anywhere - but I read an article this week that the expat community in our area is down substantially from what it once was.

Used to be I thought you would be immune to crime if you stayed out of bad areas and didn't go out late at night. Now, every week I read a police report with a story like - 3 armed gunmen entered restaurant X at 2:30PM and robbed the clients of their wallets and phones. They left in the two cars they stole. There are definitely a 'rash' of people being robbed after withdrawing money at a bank.
I have read these news stories too, but don't know anyone who's been affected by this criminal activity. I wonder if there has really been an increase in crime or if it's just being reported more.
 
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