Friday, September 5, 2008

Power of a Generation - coming to Lake Chapala, Mexico

By Marie Dwyer-Bullock

The boomers have significantly influenced just about every market they’ve come into, and the coming wave of Baby Boomers will continue to influence the expatriate community in Mexico’s region of Lake Chapala in the coming years…


They’re coming. You can hear the thunder - not too distant, deep and closing fast. Soon they’ll be on the move in droves as 77 million baby-boomers stampede into retirement. When boomer demand slams into markets, prices often soar (until the herd passes, and that will take some time). Nothing can stop them. And if you find this prospect disquieting, remember there is a bright side. If you can get yourself just a little ahead of the boomers then you will be in an excellent position to be a winner in your retirement years. You can be there if you know where they’re going.

In the past, people looked at retirement as a nice, tranquil place where they could stretch out and take it easy. Today’s retires are much different. As they journey from the dawn of the ‘Age of Aquarius’ into the sunset, from rocking the world to rocking chairs, Boomers expect to get what they want. “At the top of the agenda is financial security and health care”, says David Foot, University of Toronto professor of Economics who has studied demographic trends in Canada and around the world. (Foot is the co-author of the bestselling books Boom Bust & Echo 2000: Profiting from the Demographic Shift in the New Millennium and Boom Bust & Echo: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Shift (with Daniel Stoffman, Stoddart 2000, Macfarlane, Walter & Ross, 1998, 1996)

Is it any wonder that financial security is a major concern for boomers?

2005 White House Conference on Aging – Dec 2005

“… within the next 2 or 3 decades, with advances in medical and related sciences, human lifespan will increase to an unprecedented length. Not only will it be relatively normal for people to live to be 100, but also, they may live to reach the “natural cap” of about 120 years and up! Generally, boomers will have better health as they age and the aging process may be notably slowed.”

With 20, 30 or more healthy years to plan for, boomers are conscious of stretching their retirement dollars; they want to live life to the fullest, and they don’t want to run out of money before they run out of life. This is one of the big attractions to Lake Chapala, Mexico. No matter where you live now, chances are you can live better for less in Mexico. The exchange rate from dollars to pesos is very favorable. Property taxes are around $100 U.S. per year. Maids and gardeners for $2.5 U.S. an hour. No heating or air conditioning costs. Real estate prices, although not cheap are still very reasonable and offer excellent value for your dollar. For a number of reasons we don't seem to be subject to the bubble/bust of real estate. One important reason is Mexican people tend to put their money in land, sometimes holding it for generations. Another reason is because we only recently have had financing come into the area, we haven't had and still don't have flippers - people who come in and buy up multiple properties to flip for an immediate profit. We also have somewhat of a shortage of rental accommodation, especially in our high season. Many Canadians and Americans are making the move to Lake Chapala or buying a second home here in the sun. Our real estate market on the Lakeside is steady as she goes and provides for a continual healthy growth.. Although the cost of living in Mexico is in pesos, most housing is priced in U.S. Dollars. This is an added benefit because it protects us from any peso devaluations.

Note: In a recent email from Paul Jackson,Calgary Sun (former Focus client) he mentioned the condo he purchased in Ajijic (currently valued around $135,000 U.S.) would be worth around $400,000 Cdn in Calgary. In his words, "Real Estate in Lake Chapala is a bargain.

Americans living in Mexico can live much cheaper than most places in the US. And even better for Canadians who plan to spend at least 183 days out of the Country each calendar year (as Snowbirds), they can enter the Canadian non-residency tax system. This can be an enormous tax advantage because of the Canadian/Mexico Tax Treaty which can reduce their taxes on pensions and most investment income down to 15% and reduce all future capital gains taxes to 0%. An example offered on the "Focus on Mexico Programs" demonstrates a possible savings over time of up to $300,000 - enough to buy that dream home in the sun. This is a tremendous advantage and smart tax planning.

Secondly, Health Care in Mexico is excellent by international standards and extremely affordable. IMSS, the national health care system is available to foreigners at an annual cost of approxiately $300 U.S. equivalent. There are also a number of private (both local and international) insurance companies available to us. Many of the local doctors have training in the US or Canada, speak English, have no waiting lists and are able to get their patients the required medical treatment within days. Brand name prescription drugs are readily available and on average cheaper than in the US or Canada. Often, prescription drugs back home are available here, over the counter. Generic drugs are available at a fraction of the cost. One tidbit that is kind of interesting is the fact that many people tell us that after living here just a short while they find they don't tend to need or take as many drugs as before. They feel better and don't seem to have the same aches and pains as they did back home.

So making the move to Mexico, and having access to excellent, very affordable Health Care is a major advantage.

“…living here is much less expensive than Florida , and lastly, we feel safe in Ajijic and can get along speaking only English.” Sam & Eileen Cotter

Right up there beside (if not ahead) of financial security and health care, Boomers are looking for a warmer climate to spend the best years of their life. They plan to live longer and be more active than yester-years retirees. ‘Live Younger Longer’ has become the motto for today’s Boomers. This adds another check mark for the Lake Chapala area, reported by National Geographic Society as the 2nd best climate in the world. Temperatures average about 74o F year round, and being 5200 ft above sea level, we have virtually no humidity.

International Living E-letter – 19 Feb, 2006

Mexico is one of the world’s last great ground-floor retirement opportunities. Here, you can afford the luxuries that you weren’t meant to live without – like a maid, a gardener, a cook.

In addition, Mexico is a vibrant country, full of color and music and young people. The foreign community in Lake Chapala of 12,000 to 18,000 (no one knows for sure) represents the largest concentration of Canadians and Americans outside of Canada or the U.S., and for good reason. This community takes being active several levels up. The Lake Chapala area is alive with activity. (You’ll hear people remark that there may be older people living here but no ‘old’ people). We speak of re-engagement instead of retirement. In fact most people, when speaking of age refer to themselves as being so many years young.) We also have a very large single community. This is probably one of the best places in the world to be single. It is easy to get to know people, so many activities to get involved in and people will go out in groups so individuals feel comfortable on their own. With over 50 English Speaking organizations to join or belong to, golf or tennis year round, fitness clubs, yoga, tai chi, six English service churches of most denominations, Computer Club, Writers Club, Art Classes, Line Dancing to Ballroom Dancing, tons of great restaurants, nightly entertainment, and so much more; there is something for everyone. But, you may ask: “Can I get the cultural quality I am accustomed to?” The following is a sample offering from a wide variety of quality entertainment organized by our local ‘Music Appreciation Society’ (run by volunteers).


Lake Chapala Auditorio de la Ribera 19th January 2006 at 7:30 P.M.

300 Pesos (above $30 U.S.) for Non-Season Ticket Holders.

Four of the top woodwind players in the United States, who regularly give Concerts at Carnegie Hall, and other prestigious venues in New York City. These performers are members of top Chamber Groups, teach at the Julliard School of Music, and/or perform, as soloists with the top musical organisations of the World.

The program includes works by Mozart, Stravinsky, Villa-Lobos, Debussy and other well-known composers. An opportunity to hear Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet and Debussy’s Syrinx played by the top performers.

Yes, I think you will have to agree, Lake Chapala gets full check marks on everyone's Wish List.

Now is the time to take control of your retirement – whether it be immediate, or in the coming few years. If you wait, you’ll find yourself being pulled along with the herd. And that may not be the best place for you to be.

Dan Burrus says it best in an Excerpt from “The Baby Boomer’s Future: Crisis & Opportunity”

“Real Estate Boom and Bust. When people retire, do they typically stay in their big houses? Many do, but history teaches us that millions move; they sell their big homes and move into smaller homes or condos. And, as we all know, retirees usually prefer a city in a warm climate.

The Baby Boomers have been the most mobile of all generations having lived in several locations. They have also traveled more than any other generation and during the past decade they have been keeping an eye out for that perfect retirement spot. They plan on living long, and living their dreams.

Today, Baby Boomers are pouring millions into real estate. Many are buying their retirement home in a warm climate ahead of time to beat the boomer rush and living in it whenever they can or renting it out until they can retire and permanently move. Some see it as a better investment than the stock market. This trend will accelerate as Boomers try to lock in their retirement dreams before they become too expensive.

The hard trend is that millions will move to what is perceived as a healthy, warm location and the impact of the baby boom retirement migration will cause a real estate bust in many areas and a real estate boom in others. Remember, there was a baby bust after the boom, so the numbers of eligible buyers will not be there to buy all of the large houses that will be up for sale.

Planning Ahead

Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail. The opportunity for you is in knowing the difference between trends so you can take the appropriate action and shape the best possible future.”

Note! The New York Times has referred to Daniel Burrus as one of America’s top three business “garus” in the highest demand as a speaker.

Mexico is the next destination of the Baby Boomer generation. And ‘Focus on Mexico’ is the best way to get there. Whether it’s real estate, immigration advice, legal matters – or just about everything and anything else, the friendly Focus on Mexico group can provide these services with expertise and at a ridiculously low cost. Canadians and Americans couldn’t hope for better.”

Paul Jackson, Associate Editor, Calgary Sun

Let’s examine the facts:

Fact: Right now the prices of real estate in Canada, the U.S. and Europe are at a peak – that makes now a good time to sell.

Fact: Many people nearing retirement live in the largest house of all their years.

Fact: A wave of Baby Boomers will be stampeding into the market, many putting their houses for sale at the same time.

Fact: Consider Dan’s comment: “there was a baby bust after the boom so the numbers of eligible buyers will not be there to buy all of the large houses that will be up for sale”.

Fact: Now is the time to take control of your destiny. Get ahead of the Boomers. Plan your life instead of being pulling along with the herd.

The Baby Boomer Contradiction

We are retiring earlier. We are living younger longer. The bag of cash we have acquired has to be spread over a longer period of time. In order to maintain the quality of life we deserve, it is clear that many of us will choose (some out of necessity) to find an alternative location that will allow us to live well and fulfill our dreams:

  • Financial Security
  • Excellent and Affordable Health Care
  • Lower Cost of Living
  • Warm and Temperate Climate
  • A bit of Adventure, but in a Secure (Safe) Environment
  • Lots of activities to enjoy while we ‘Live Younger Longer’
  • Good Communications (all the TV channels you are used to, in English, High speed internet)
  • 30 minutes from an international airport
  • Vibrancy of Life
  • A new Culture
  • English speaking community (plus an infrastucture including many others from back home that you can make friends with)
  • Modern infrastructure
  • Beautiful lake and mountain scenery
  • Favorable immigration policies

This check list aptly describes Lake Chapala, Mexico!

Don’t you owe it to yourself to get an early start and find that alternative location for you to spend the upcoming ‘best years of your life’.

Our "8-Day Focus on Mexico Programs" will guide you through the maze and help you Discover for yourself ‘One of the Last Best Places on Earth’. Join us on a program and experience the ‘Magic of the Lakeside’. Check us out at

Pat and Dave Barker, Grimsby, Ontario

“In conversations with other tour members, many of us wondered how so much value for our money was possible. We highly recommend the Focus on program and the Lakeside area of to anyone. It must be truly gratifying for Focus to observe their guests, to see what tends to happen about the third day of the tour. That is when your whole mindset about seems to change and you suddenly become aware of how incredibly beautiful and special your surroundings are. That was our experience – and we weren’t alone.”

Ross Cheney – Torrance, Ontario

After 2 previous trips to Ajijic ( Lake Chapala ) to get an education about investing in , finally your Focus program provided me with the necessary information. Couldn’t be better! Excellent program from beginning to end.

Marlene Robertson, Calgary, Alberta

Just over 8 years ago I made a decision that changed my life forever, and not for one minute have I ever regretted it. I knew that I was too young to retire. I mean, whoever has enough money to actually quit working and start living? But I was not happy with my job, was ready for some adventure and a real life change. What to do? After attending a presentation on ‘Retiring to Mexico ’, I immediately signed up to take the 10-Day tour. It was love at first site. Ray and Marie took the time to give me all the information I needed to make an informed decision on whether or not Lake Chapala, was for me – financially, emotionally, and forever. It turned out it was and by the end of October I was living in , in my very own home. The very things that drew me to this part of in the first place, are what keep me here. The lovely people, totally awesome weather, the short 3-hour drive to the beach, the affordable cost of living, the beautiful city of Guadalajara just a scant hour away, an international airport half an hours drive, and did I mention the awesome weather. I just love the feel of the place and couldn’t possibly live as well in for what it costs me to live here. And live is the key word. Life is good. In fact, life is great and I thank God every day that I chose . It’s truly home.

So, what are you waiting for? Isn't it time you too decided to get a New Lease on Life? We invite you to join us in Lake Chapala, Mexico and of course the very best way to do that is come with us on a Focus on Mexico program and let us show you our little pocket of paradise.

If you are interested in living in Mexico, I wholeheartedly recommend the Focus on Mexico 8-day Educational program. We have expert speakers who come and teach about real estate, health care, insurance, cost of living comparisons, US Taxes, banking and immigration law and more. We also manage to pack a lot of fun into the equation! Many people feel like they’ve been on vacation after they leave here, even though we give you a lot of information. By the end of the program you’ll have all the information necessary to decide if Mexico is for you or not.

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