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The Best How-To Book on Moving to Mexico is Now on Sale! 

The Best How-To Book on Moving to Mexico and Living Your Dreams is now available on Amazon.com as well as on the "Our Bookstore" page of this website. It is also in Tecolote bookstore, the Biblioteca gift shop, and La Conexion Aldama 3 office in San Miguel de Allende.

We already have seven five-star customer reviews on Amazon.com that agree, this IS the best how-to book on moving to Mexico. The complete Table of Contents is below.

From the back cover: Thinking about moving to Mexico but don't know where to start? Begin with in-depth answers to your most likely questions--is Mexico really cheaper? Will I be safe? What about health care?

Then study the regions and lifestyles of expatriates already living throughout historic, spectacular and always invigorating Mexico.

Find out how to make the move--how most expats navigate the complex laws that are often applied differently from one office to the next, one official to another, one day to the next.

Learn what daily life is really like for expats in Mexico--keeping a car; renting, buying, building or remodeling a home; working; schooling your kids; learning Spanish; cooking with new ingredients; making friends; staying in touch with family and friends; and adjusting to cultural differences.

Co-author Rolly Brook has been the definitive resource for thousands considering a move to Mexico. He's the only gringo in the town of Lerdo (Durango), and his experiences are quite different from those of Carol Schmidt and Norma Hair, who live in the 80,000-population San Miguel de Allende (Guanajuato) among 12,000 other expats.

Their first book, Falling...in Love with San Miguel: Retiring to Mexico on Social Security, shared a calendar year's personal experiences, adjustments, discoveries, problems, and joys living in their new home. They've been answering questions and helping people understand the life of an expat in Mexico for years with this website.

Carol, Norma and Rolly bring it all together here with a friendly and informative style to help you make your move to Mexico and live your dream.

Even expats who have lived in Mexico for years will learn a lot from this book: upgrading and renewing visas; going for inmigrado status or dual citizenship; getting a work permit; starting a business; navigating Mexico's labor laws; teaching English; mastering the Mexican bus system; and more.


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Falling...in Love with San Miguel: Retiring to Mexico on Social Security has helped thousands discover the joy of living in Mexico while earning critical acclaim, such as by the Miami Herald Mexico/El Universal:

"....you’re getting nothing but the honest truth, an unvarnished guided tour through the minds of a retired couple in a Guanajuato town who do batik and write and participate in a reading discussion group. A thousand New Yorker short story writers try to get at what these two tell us directly. The authors don’t shy away from discussing the controversies."

The Midwest Book Review raved: "Falling... in Love with San Miguel: Retiring to Mexico on Social Security is a simple testimony to the joys of retiring in San Miguel de Allende, an art and cultural center 165 miles northwest of Mexico City, named one of the top ten cities in the world to retire by Money Magazine. Written by Carol Schmidt and Norma Hair, two women who came to escape the sweltering Phoenix summer and stayed when they became captivated by the joy of daily life, Falling... in Love with San Miguel is part memoir, part practical guide, as it details the first year of the authors' retirement life in San Miguel, including their expenses on the costs of average Social Security, the problems they encountered and the adjustments they had to make, language issues in a Spanish-speaking country, the excitement of celebrating the fiestas of the Mexican calendar, and much more. Enthusiastically recommended for anyone considering vacationing in or moving to San Miguel, as well as for armchair travelers." 

More than 40 customer reviews on Amazon.com give Falling a five-star reader rating.

From the back cover: Looking for a place to retire on Social Security? Consider Mexico. Come to learn a new way of life from a culture that goes back centuries before Columbus and Cortez. Find a way to enjoy life more fully and explore all the possibilities of your future. Follow the story of two women who overcame their fears and found a new life far better than they could have experienced anywhere in the US on Social Security.

Carol Schmidt and Norma Hair investigated many cities before discovering breathtakingly beautiful San Miguel de Allende. They came for three months and fell in love with San Miguel de Allende within three days. Carol also fell literally her first day on the irregular cobblestone sidewalks and streets--San Miguel is nicknamed "the city of fallen women." In vivid detail they describe their first year experiencing all of the fiestas that fill the Mexican calendar. They share the problems they ran into, the adjustments they learned to make, what they pay for almost everything, and their new outlook on life. And they're doing it on average Social Security in one of Mexico's most expensive cities. This book is their love story to San Miguel de Allende, and your window into a new way of looking forward to retirement.



TABLE OF CONTENTS for The Best How-To Book on Moving to Mexico and Living

Your Dreams


1. Why we say this is The Best How-To Book on Moving to Mexico

In this chapter: The attraction of a new lifestyle and culture. The decisions you’ll face. Our experience helping others make the move. A predictor for your happiness in Mexico. We tell you both the laws and what we and many expats have experienced dealing with these laws.

2. You really are considering moving to a different country

In this chapter: a brief geological and historical look at Mexico to give you some perspective on the forces that have made Mexico what it is today. You are joining 10,000 years of complex history and evolution, not a static postcard Mexico.

3. Is it really a quarter to a third cheaper to live in Mexico?

In this chapter: It’s mostly true, you can live 25-33% cheaper in Mexico, depending on how you choose to live. What costs higher and lower? Property taxes of a few hundred dollars a year are your biggest potential savings, followed by cheaper and tastier local fruits and veggies. Very little heating, A/C is rare. The minimum monthly income for an FM3 residential visa. Living like a middle class Mexican family versus importing an upper class US or Canadian lifestyle. Sample budget for a single person living on $1,350 USD/month income. Housing costs in Lerdo, Durango, compared to those in more expensive expat haven San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. Comparison chart of 28 sample grocery prices in similar Dallas and San Miguel de Allende supermarkets.

4. Health care, most likely your main worry

In this chapter: Cost of doctors, ERs and hospital care. Differences in health care in Mexico. Medical tourism. Medicare and Canadian health care programs. Keeping Medicare Part B. Varying quality of care. The two government hospital systems and private hospitals. Applying for IMSS. Private insurance plans. Medical evacuation companies. Different attitudes toward prescription drugs. Hospices, living wills, medical power of attorneys, prepaid funeral plans. Living in Mexico with disabilities and with HIV/AIDS. Allergies, amoebas and food poisoning. Dentistry. Vision care. Alternative and holistic medicine. Rolly’s experience in a Hospital Angeles ER. Carol’s detailed report on having two knee replacement surgeries in Querétaro.

5. Staying Healthy in Mexico

In this chapter: Careful walking. Turista. Water safety. Purifying produce. Street vendors. Immunizations. Mexico’s response to the flu epidemic.

6. Crime and Personal Safety

In this chapter: The drug wars and will they involve you? Expats usually feel safer in Mexico than they did in much of the US. Putting crime in perspective. A few border cities versus the rest of Mexico. To pay or not to pay a traffic policeman a mordida (bribe) in the rare case you may be asked. Differences in the police and judicial hierarchy and in the underlying legal principles in Mexico. The most likely crimes you might experience—“mustard” bandits, pickpockets, money scams. Taxis. Cultural differences and special issues of gays and lesbians, women, and people of color. Common sense preventions for street safety and home security. Don’t let stereotypes and fears prevent you from pursuing your dreams.


7. What’s your closest fit?

In this chapter: Figuring out what you really want in a new home location. How Rolly and Carol and Norma made their decisions. The varied kinds of lifestyles you can live in a city with many expats, compared to how you might live in a town where you are the sole expat. A trip around the country looking at potential relocation areas in all of the 31 states and the Federal District (Mexico City). Special cities: the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mexico, and Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Cities)


8. Visas, pet permits

In this chapter: What is a visa and which one is right for you? How do you get one? Meeting the financial requirements. If you think you might want to make the move permanently and perhaps eventually become a dual Mexican citizen, what should you do differently? How do you bring your pets, whether driving or flying? In Mexico will you be able to get your pets’ favorite food, vet care, boarding? Finding a pet-friendly hotel on the road. “No tell” motels. The Mexican consulates in the US and Canada. The Canadian and US consulates in Mexico.

9. Moving your “stuff” isn’t easy

In this chapter: To use a menaje de casa or not. Bringing all your household versus having a garage sale and buying new in Mexico. Dealing with a moving company. What you can’t include in your packing for a moving company. Duty-free items. Prohibited items. Passport regulations. Which lane to choose at the border if you’re driving—to declare or not. Customs brokers if needed. Should you take a chance and drive through the Nothing to Declare lane? Shipping by sea. Rolly’s sample menaje de casa.

10. Bringing in your vehicle legally

In this chapter: Only one vehicle is allowed in your name. 10-year permits for RV motor homes. What you need for the Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit of a foreign-plated vehicle. Getting the permit online. Article 106, in English and Spanish, to carry with you in your car. Emissions testing. Crazy not to get liability insurance. Getting Mexican plates (nationalizing) your car. Should you buy a Mexican-plated car when you arrive instead? What should you consider for a car to use in Mexico? Do you really need a car? Different rules for Baja.


11. Keeping a Car in Mexico

In this chapter: Driving is different in Mexico. "A day without a car" policy in Mexico City. Car insurance. What to do in a car accident. Some insurance companies. Motorcycles and RVs. Rental cars.

12. Your new home

In this chapter: Some new terms—fraccionamientos, ejidos, fideocomisos, notario públicos. How to find an inexpensive apartment. Buying, building and remodeling. Overseeing employees and the construction process.

13. Employee Law

In this chapter: Hiring a housekeeper, gardener or other employees. Work permits for yourself. Renting out property. Starting a business. Teaching English.

14. Fitting in

In this chapter: Learning Spanish. Banking and ATMs. Phones. Internet. Mexican cable and satellite TV. Educating your children. Dealing with poverty around you. Stray animals. Shopping. Cooking techniques and food substitutions. Staying out of politics. The peso mentality. INAPAM card. The Mexican bus system. Cultural jolts. Differences in holidays and celebrations. Getting married. A final love story to Mexico.


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