"Live Large - Live Abroad"

06/23/2015 03:40 pm ET | Updated Jun 21, 2016


Ever since I married a Mexican girl, with true ties to Mexico, not the typical Southern California Mexican, with no ties to Mexico. Who just as my friends in San Francisco, New York and Los Angles, continue to ask me, "Is it safe?"

I was even once told, "I'm afraid Mexicans would kill me." Don't flatter yourself as you're not worth going to jail.

I have now lived on and off in Mexico for the past 15 years. It has mostly been part time, but now it is teetering towards close to half of my life being lived south of the border, and the other half in my native San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In my case, Mexico just seems like the right place to live outside the United States, a mere three hours from San Francisco and Los Angeles. Mexico's proximity to California makes it a no brainer. For anyone living in the western United States, Mexico is a closer, warm weather destination than Hawaii or Florida.

I once surfed in Puerto Vallarta in the morning, and attended a San Francisco Giants baseball game in the evening. How cool was that!

Travel author, blogger and web entrepreneur, Tim Leffel, like myself, has chosen Mexico as his base outside the U.S. Tim and I live fantastic lives living in the land of the mariachis and the home of Tequila.

As Tim points out in his book, A Better Life for Half the Price, you can cut your expenses in half by living abroad, or, as I like to call it, you can be "living large". Imagine if you could keep or make the same salary as in the U.S., Canada, Northern Europe or Australia, but double or more your buying power, you would be spending less, but living a more fulfilling life. Depending on the country you migrate to, your disposable income and lifestyle will change dramatically.

In the case of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, one can live in a condo overlooking the Pacific Ocean for around $800.00 a month. A maid will clean your place for as low as $8.00 a day. A freshly squeezed carrot and orange juice combo costs $1.00, a filling Mexican lunch entrée costs around $5.00, and to get your car cleaned with some detailing, $7.00. To ride a bus into town costs only $.50. Now, tell me that life is not better south of the border.

As Tim points out, the average median salary in the United States is somewhere around $50,000. Instead of struggling in the U.S. bring that money to Mexico and you're upper middle class. The same amount of money in expat favored nations such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal, Ecuador, Belize, deems you royalty. You live like a king. Take that money to the "next Costa Rica", Nicaragua, and you just might think you're Richard Branson.

Of course, you will need a job that allows you to make your living in dollars or Euros, and in today's internet age, this is more realistic than ever before. There are many jobs one can do on a computer. In the internet world, many entrepreneurs can even work remotely from the beach.

An even better example are retirees. In the case of Mexico, there are many elderly American and Canadian snowbirds spending the winter months in a warmer paradise.

If you've spent the majority of your life in harsh, cold European and North American winters, living abroad on a fixed income not only allows you to live better, but as you are moving to a warmer climate, the chances are that you might even live much longer. Where do you want to be in January, shoveling snow out of your driveway in Toronto, or sipping a rum and coke or margarita in Jamaica or Mexico?

Another consideration is health care. One of the fastest growing sectors in travel is medical tourism, and for a good reason. I'll use the example of my Mexican world. In San Francisco, my dentist reminded me that I have been procrastinating on a necessary crown. Since, we are friends, and share a "Greek connection", I was offered a discount. The price would be $1500.00. I was not impressed. Now, I know why my dentist has a view overlooking Union Square. In Mexico, I paid $250.00 for the same crown. Most countries that would be on your list of suitable nations to call your new home, have perfectly fine doctors, who were probably even trained in the U.S. or Europe, plus the newest medical equipment.

Imagine how your life would change if you had more money to spend. How would your life change if you woke up every day and the temperature was warm enough for you to spend your time swimming in the ocean or relaxing by the pool? Suppose that your buying power rose? You could be ordering a drink on the beach, eating out at the best restaurants in town, traveling within your newly discovered homeland, and have money left over.

Live a better life, by living abroad....

Learn More: www.cheaplivingabroad