Reader Question: We are moving down to Playa del Carmen next month. This is a huge decision for us since we won't be working and have to live off investments from in the U.S. to provide a comfortable living. I think the smart thing to do is to keep our house here and try it for one year and then weigh the pros and cons of living in Mexico. We are only looking into long-term rentals at this point and wondered if you had any suggestions on places to look online that are more reasonable than the tourist sites ?
Manny's Answer: Hi Paul,
To find a rental, I would suggest renting on Airbnb for a month or so, then going down and actually searching on the ground. There are tons of scammers online, and a huge number of scammer rentals exist on Craigslist. Don't wire money to anyone for a rental. Airbnb is safer because you can use a credit card (which gives you protections and also allows you to reverse the charges if the property turns out not to exist). I would just go down and enjoy it, walk around and look for signs in the windows. There will be many, many rentals advertised this way. We saw literally dozens of rental signs in windows last time we were in Playa del Carmen (see just one of many examples above), and in La Paz it was the same thing.
You can use Upwork and work online on other freelancer websites, as well as live on your investments. We still earn revenues off our U.S. investments as well, but we also continue to work online. If you plan to keep your house for a year, you can choose to rent it, too.
It is much cheaper to live down here, most Mexican families live off an average of $500 USD per month so it is easier to live off less if you stay away from tourist zones. A lot of expats also open small businesses catering to tourists in the tourist zones, (which Playa Del Carmen and Cancun basically are).
As for keeping your house, that is a good idea, we did something similar and waited 6 months or so before getting rid of our stuff and our cars, although in the end, we transferred our residency from California to Nevada (no state tax in Nevada).
Good luck on your move. I hope it works out for you and your family.
Just a middle-class dad and mom with three young kids, looking to escape the rat race. This is our journey!
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