Americans moving south of the border has become a big business. Some areas of Mexico attract so many American and Canadian retirees they become gringo colonies, for example the beautiful central Mexican colonial town San Miguel de Allende, the subject of a new book, Expat Life: At Home in San Miguel de Allende. But the journey south isn’t always a choice. Many move because they they can’t afford life in the U.S., where the elites are busy Electing a New, Impoverished People, and the economy is forcing middle-class Americans to seek refuge elsewhere.
Thus, a whole genre of how-to books suggests the business of moving south is booming. Here are four of at least nine titles at Amazon:
One man you might want to consult, if you can tolerate his irascible temper, is Fred Reed, the Ernest Hemingway wannabe who frequently fires off strange screeds about VDARE.com (and Ann Coulter) from the picturesque lakeside town of Ajijic in West-Central Mexico, and never answers our rebuttals.
But why do people move South? Peter Brimelow’s old rag MarketWatch explored this in a story about a woman who retired in Mexico:
Janet Blaser knows a thing or two about reinvention. Once a food and restaurant writer in Santa Cruz, Calif., the now-63-year-old struggled to find work roughly a decade ago as journalism increasingly moved online. She lost one beloved job, got her hours cut at another, and ended up working odd jobs, including one in human resources at an amusement park. With little savings and a low salary, the single mother of three struggled—even as she watched friends buy million-dollar homes and pricey cars. “I constantly felt like I wasn’t ‘enough’ and didn’t have ‘enough,’ ” she writes in her new book, Why We Left, which profiles 27 expats in Mexico.
[She’s 63 and living by the beach in Mexico on $1,000 a month: ‘I can’t imagine living in the U.S. again,’ by Catey Hill, August 15, 2019]
When Blaser hit those rough times, a visit to Mazatlán, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, persuaded her to move:
“I fell in love, I felt this heart connection somehow—there were beautiful old buildings, cobblestone streets, plazas with wrought iron and the beautiful glittering Pacific Ocean, warm and swimmable It just felt deeply healing, friendly and welcoming.”
She also espied an economic opportunity, since "there was almost no information in English about Mazatlán's many
So in 2006, she moved there by herself, then started an English-language magazine the following year. She also pioneered an organic farmers market.
She misses the kids and grandkids back in the States, but she “can’t imagine living in the U.S. again.”
The key reason she moved, and stayed: “I couldn’t afford to live in the States again.”
Of course, it’s not simply the money. Her new home’s beauty attracted her, and as with many expatriates, she has grown attached to “the more easygoing Mexican lifestyle.”
I’ve heard that a lot from gringos, although I never thought my life when I was there was particularly “easygoing.”
Blaser likes the “different vibe”—
It’s just a different understanding of what’s important in life, and a more relaxed, live-and-let-live attitude. If something doesn’t get done today—there’s always tomorrow, or the next day. What’s the big deal?
Yet Blaser, now a permanent resident, “lives on about $1,000 a month.” That’s pretty cheap living.
Living in Mexico has “has some significant downsides,” such as the “extreme poverty in some parts,” [which doesn't affect her] and Blaser “laments being unable to find the underwear and organic body products that she likes, and that she finds some store-bought products like kitchen utensils, towels and sheets to be of low quality.”
But that said, life’s good.
Marketwatch didn’t delve into Blaser’s former spouse or spouses, sisters or brothers or their families, or her relationship with her children and grandchildren. Did they want her to move to Mexico? Did any of her children offer her a chance to reside with them, or to set up a living arrangement to allow her to stay in the United States? Does she plan to die there, far from family? Has she thought about any of this?
Moving that far away is more than an economic question or personal enrichment program. It affects the family back home.
That said, let’s get to one of Blaser’s main points: She can’t afford to stay in her own country because she doesn’t have enough money to retire and live comfortably.
The United States is the richest country in the world, but its middle class lives precariously. About 40 percent of the population lives paycheck to paycheck, which makes retirement more than difficult. Even the Washington Post has noticed. [Living paycheck to paycheck is disturbingly common: “I see no way out.” by Danielle Paquette, Washington Post, December 28, 2018]
For too many Americans, financial guru Dave Ramsey says, a worry-free, comfortable retirement isn’t in the cards.
According to the Federal Reserve, 40% of workers aged 55 to 64 have no retirement savings accounts at all. Of those who do have retirement accounts, the median balance is $100,000—not enough for most people to maintain their standard of living over decades of retirement.
For people who are already retired, 20% of married retirees and half of single retirees rely on Social Security for the bulk of their income, according to the Social Security Administration. The average monthly income for a 62-year-old is $1,992 this year.
[The Truth About Retirement in America, DaveRamsey.com]
As if that weren’t bad enough, toss in the high cost of health care and the debt load way too many carry into their sunset years.
Studies show that workers aged 55 to 64 are spending 22% of their earnings on debt payments. That’s a 69% increase in less than 20 years.
These debt obligations keep workers in this age group from saving as much as they can for retirement. With their incomes going to cover their bills, few are able to take advantage of “catch-up” savings opportunities available to the 50-and-over crowd.
So why do our elites, even under President Trump, want to import a million legal immigrants a year, many if not most of whom will use welfare, Medicaid, and public schools that will drive up the tax burden on the middle Americans already under financial stress?
A majority of today's immigrants aren't really paying their own way, so how are they going to fund retirement for us?
Immigration had a small impact on the working-age share because immigrants arrive at all ages, grow older over time, and have children, so they added to both the working-age and those too old or too young to work in nearly equal proportions. … In terms of using immigration as a way to pay for entitlement programs, it must also be pointed out that a large share of post-1990 immigrants and their children struggle, living in or near poverty and using welfare programs at relatively high rates. This makes it difficult for them to generate a fiscal surplus that can pay for social insurance programs.
[Can Immigration Solve the Problem of an Aging Society? By Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler, July 15, 2019]
Our elites and kritarchs emote about illegal-alien “DREAMers” and “family units” and so-called refugees who wait “too long” for papers to stay in the country. Meanwhile, millions of Americans, not least veterans, are saddled with debt and can’t save for retirement because they spend every penny they earn.
With all these problems, isn't it obvious? We don’t need more immigrants, and our government and economy should work for Americans, not foreigners.
More to the point, the economy shouldn’t be so unfriendly that older Americans are pressured to move to another country. And the reason for that goes beyond the mere hardship of a big move in old age. It's not all about them.
When those folks leave, their grandchildren lose the intergenerational bonding that only close contact can provide. Children and grandchildren alike lose the stories and memories that parents and grandparents tell and retell at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other family gatherings.
Children have a right to know their grandparents, who pass down not only the practical lessons of a life long lived, but also the customs and culture they inherited.
As a high-school teacher, I can tell you that today’s adolescents need a strong link to an earlier America, a link to the historic American nation. Grandparents provide such a bridge. As Cicero told us, “Not to know what happened before you were born is to remain a child forever.”
A nation is an extended family. Let’s take care of our own, and keep retiring Americans where they belong. In America.
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) moved back to the U.S.A. in 2008 after many years residing in Mexico. Allan's wife is Mexican, and their two sons are bilingual. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.