I've been away for the weekend, and I was happy to come home and find comments on the site. I was particularly interested in Doug Bower's comment regarding my "not so cheapo" post. His book (co-authored with his wife Cynthia), The Plain Truth about living in Mexico is a comprehensive guide to relocating in Mexico. His response to my post is that it is that is it possible to live cheap in Mexico, provided you're willing to "go native." If you want to recreate your American life in Mexico, he notes, it's possible, but you will pay well for the privilege.
I know Doug is correct, at least in theory. I've seen Mexican families, and Americans who have married into Mexican families, live adequately on $1000-1500 pesos (about $100-150 USD) per week. Assuming you own a house or have a small rent payment, it is completely possible. But is it realistic? And is "going native" really what American or Canadian retirees really want to do? After all, one can leave pretty inexpensively in some parts of Mississippi or West Virginia with many of the same limitations as one has in Mexico (no cable internet, in fact, no cable for that matter).
I guess I'm not convinced that most American expats want a "native" experience when they retire in Mexico. Of course, I can't be certain of this. That is why I am doing a long-term study. I'm still intrigued by the fact that living well is not so inexpensive in Mexico AND many U.S. publications are still touting that as a major selling point. My question is why? Aside from selling a book, what is the point of promoting retirement in Mexico? Who benefits when Americans retire in Mexico? And is this something that expats consider when they make the move south?