International Living Quotes Sid Grosvenor… AGAIN!

June 22, 2016

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Hi Everyone,

International Living has done it again. They’ve taken the liberty to take a long quote from a post I wrote several years ago.
It does make me feel good that that they thought my writing was worthy of including a long quote in their publication TWICE. I would have liked it even better had they included my name instead of just my
description and words.

A while back they used this same quote. Here’s what they wrote!

“As a retired police officer and attorney from Dallas says about the Lake Chapala area (the most popular expat retirement enclave in Mexico) where he lives, if you spend wisely, you can have a “caviar lifestyle on a tuna fish pension.”

“For a couple,” he says, “I think if your home is paid for here you can live a very nice lifestyle on $1,500 a month. The more you have above this, the more luxury you will have. Remember, your property taxes will be a small fraction of North American taxes (mine have always been under $99), and you will likely save on utilities given the temperate climate, and the lack of crazy weather… no hurricanes, typhoons, floods or major earthquakes means you don’t need to insure again weather disasters.
“Very few people carry fire insurance given the near fireproof construction; and the homes are built with security in mind so many folks don’t carry break-in insurance either. I carry NONE of the above and pocket the savings.”
Best of all, Mexico offers a retirement discount program that offers all foreign residents some very nice discounts.
As our friend from Chapala adds, “With free discount cards for folks 60 and over you save on a variety of goods and services. Half price fares on the luxury buses allows you to have affordable vacations all over Mexico, and more…”

So, let me know when I can help you to discover our little slice of Retirement Heaven.

Siempre tu amigo (Always your friend) Sid Grosvenor

  • Katheryn

    Hi Sid,
    Very much considering the Lake Chapala area. Moving from the US. What is an approximate rental price for a nice, nicely furnished one bedroom near transportation?

  • Michael Goss


    You are a celebrity now!

  • Barry Eastwood

    Hi Sid:
    I have lived in Chapala for almost 5 years and I simply can’t agree with your suggestion that people can live “a very nice lifestyle” on $1,500 a month. Although property taxes are low, and many other items are very reasonably priced, it isn’t possible to live well on such a low amount. Things that should be mentioned and factored in are: health care, dentist, auto insurance, auto expenses, satellite TV and the cost of your visas. I also strongly disagree that houses are “near fireproof” concrete construction isn’t impervious to fire damage and neither are your furnishings, appliances, televisions, computers, fitted kitchens and bathrooms, personal items and just about everything else. The concrete construction won’t deter criminals either.
    I have always read your articles with great interest, but when it comes to the cost of living, you are way off base. On $1,500 a month people would be walking, or taking the bus and eating out would be a luxury. Finally; what happens if you or your partner has a serious health condition? Healthcare, although readily available, is not cheap. Even a modest insurance policy will cost at least $1,500, carry a large deductible and will require qualification.
    $1,500…..I don’t think so!

  • shawn Thomas

    Can you provide some breakdowns of costs? I find a lot of varying numbers, and a lot of “it depends” when asked about cost of living.

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Katherine. Not many one bedroom apartments for rent. I have friends
    who rent 2 bedroom apts in Chapala near the bus station, shops, a small restaurants for $300 a month. They pay electric, phone and internet.
    There’s a community on site washer and dryer and a small shared pool.

    San Antonio Tla, for the same size would likely be more and Ajijic still more.

    Check out the Lake Chapala Society bulletin board. You may be able to find someone with a large home that would be renting what at one time
    was a maid’s quarters which would likely be one bedroom and bath.

    Hope this helps. Tu amigo, Sid

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Barry, Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Everyone’s take, experience, reaction varies. There are free or nearly so Mexican government clinics for health care. Eating out at Mexican owned Mom and Pop places can save a lot of money and improve your Spanish.

    Many people here decide to forgo the expense of having a car and are happy taking the local bus or the occasional taxi.

    Used cars here cost about the same as they would in Texas and of course come with Mexican license plates.

    Car repairs (mechanical and body work) are very inexpensive if you go to a Mexican shop where little or no English is spoken.

    Take a bilingual friend . I use two different mechanics and 2 different body shops in Ixtlauacan (Just over the mountain on the highway that leads to the airport and Guadalajara.)

    I’m happy watching NetFlix movies on my computer or the occasional movie at one of our local multi screen theaters often in English with Spanish subtitles. So, I don’t want or need satellite TV.

    Most homes come with dead bolt locks and pretty iron window bars.

    As a former police officer in Dallas for 35 years I’m impressed with the
    response times by the local patrol force. Only needed to call once several years ago. I timed their response time (Just under 3 minutes).

    The homes here are made mostly of brick, concrete with tile floors and are as a result very fire resistant. I’ve only seen or heard of one house fire in my 15 years of living here. It was a vacant frame structure.

    The only wood in my beautiful 3 bed, 3 bath home is one interior door. door. All the other Interior doors are hollow metal made to look like wood paneled doors.

    Yes, of course furnishings can burn, but they do not self ignite. Most homes are very fire resistant being made of brick, cement, steel frame and cement.

    We do not have fire insurance, but keep a small extinguisher just in case of a kitchen grease fire.

    My wife and I have very low cost Mexican government hospital coverage referred to as IMSS (Instituto Mexicano Securo Social).

    Never had to use it so I can’t comment on the quality of care.

    Thanks again for your input. Reasonable minds “CAN” differ,

    Tu amigo, Sid

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Shawn, Not trying to dodge your question, but it really does depend.

    Where you shop, how often do you choose to eat out and where?. Do you buy more expensive private health care insurance or choose to use the almost free clinics or enroll in the Mexican government health plan for hospitalization..

    Do you feel you must have a car?

    The more Spanish you learn the more you can save because it get’s easier to shop and buy at places where little English is spoken.

    Come for a check us out visit. Worst case scenario you will have had a nice vacation. Talk to retired expats. Visit both the Lake Chapala Society in Ajijic and the American Legion in Chapala.

    See my comments above to Barry which may also answer some of your questions.

    I have a very large lot with large lovely gardens, and fruit trees. I pay my gardener 500 pesos ($ 29.41 USA at current exchange rates).

    He works about 9 hours a week or about $3.26 USD an hour.

    Our maid earns about the same per hour. She sweeps, mops, cleans windows, dusts etc.

    We choose to wash and dry our own clothes mostly on two outside clothe lines. The clothes dry quickly given our elevation and smell wonderfully fresh. We have a propane gas backup dryer.

    All for now, Tu amigo, Sid

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Thanks Michael. There have been times when I’ve felt like one.

    On several occasions I’ve had visitors walk up to me on the street or in a shopping center and say something like, “Excuse me sir, are you Sid Grosvenor?”

    I reply in the affirmative and they either knew of me by being a subscriber to my website, have ordered my book about Lake Chapala on Amazon, or heard me on my former internet radio show on the Overseas Radio Network .

    I admit It’s a real “kick” when that happens.

    Thanks again Michael, Tu amigo, Sid

  • shawn Thomas

    Thanks for the reply. I am actually coming to PV this september. I wanted to check out the “hot season” to see how it was. I hear it is miserable. Being a fellow Dallas area resident (Collin County), I suspect it isn’t too far from what we are used to. Anyway, In doing that research I stumbled across the Lake Chapala area. I’ll have to add it to the list of places to go “research”. Who knew “research” could be so fun.

    Anyway, to answer your question, I suspect we would want a car. In fact in the beginning, I’d rather assume we’d be on the high side of what it would take to live there. Always assume the worst………. The biggest thing I can find rock solid info on is housing. I see what you can find on the internet but I know that is going to be the higher priced stuff. We’d probably look for a 3 bedroom house to rent.

    We’d probably eat out a few times a week. I am fine with Mom and Pop. I have some basic spanish but am willing and excited to learn it some more where I can actually use it.

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Shawn.

    Thanks for your response. Glad you’d like to learn more Spanish. The Mexicans really ike it when we
    do our best to communicate in Spanish.

    Spanish is supposed to be one of the easier languages
    to learn. I’m at advanced beginner. I’m basically functional in the language. I met my Mexican wife about
    14 years ago, I was her first English teacher. I’m still teaching her English.

    Look me up when you arrive. I want to gift you a local area Map Guide Boooklet whihc will make it easier to get around.

    All for now. Tu amigo, Sid

  • OneFly

    I’m with Sid here. For about a year south of Vallarta paying $500 a month plus gas and electric,buying a recliner and propane grill plus a few beers and many many excellent inexpensive lunches for me and friends I am able to break even on $1273 plus paying expenses for my place here in Colorado.

    Granted I did not have a car and need little but I lived and live now a rewarding lifestyle. You can do a lot with that. It is veeeery expensive back here with a $350 increase in car insurance and just now a $100 increase in home insurance. This will be the first time in five years I will not break even. Plus the food is not near as good and cannot afford to eat out often anyway. It’s generally a disappointment.

    it’s kinda like Willy Sutton when asked why he robbed banks he of course responded “Because that’s where the money is.”. When asked how do you do it I say you just don’t spend much money plus I do little if any touristy stuff.

    Almost certain I’m coming to Chapala later in the year for six months anyway.

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi OneFly,

    Thanks for your interesting post. There are less expensive places in Mexico than Lake Chapala- Ajijic, but not with the amenities we have here, the various gringo clubs, our beautiful lake, great weather all year long, and 126 restaurants to choose from listed in our local English language telephone directory to choose from.

    Thanks again, Tu amigo, Sid

  • Katheryn

    Thanks Sid. What suggestion do you have for a reasonably priced hotel nearby to come for a visit? I want to move by September at the latest.

  • Nan Calloway

    I stayed at the Hotel Casa Blanca last November and really enjoyed it. I think it was in the $50-65 range and included continental breakfast. It is in a nice quiet area about two blocks from the lake and close to everything in the village.

  • Katheryn

    Thanks Nan. Have you already or are you planning on living in the Lake Chapala area?

  • Kim Evans

    Hi Sid,
    My fiancé and I just came back from Lake Chapala and Ajijic. We love it there and plan on retiring in about 18 months. We want to buy a home but we need financing from a lender. From what we understand a American must go through a US lender. Do you have any suggestions on how to find a honest and good lender in the U.S who specializes in international home purchases?

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Kim,
    Thanks for your note. I’ve loved it here for 15 years
    and counting. Don’t forget, I’m a “Buyer’s Only” Realtor.

    I just represent buyers so there’s no conflict of interest
    for me. Let me know when I can help, Tu amigo, Sid

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