Montreal, Quebec June 2, 2010 Baby boomers retiring in Mexico may find it's cheaper to live there than in Canada or the U.S., however, a study suggests retirees are often isolated both from their families back home and from the mainstream of Mexican life.
The study, by Jesse O'Brien of the University of Calgary, will be presented at the 2010 Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences taking place at Montreal's Concordia University. O'Brien's study looked at how Canadian and American retirees in a small, unnamed town in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula have adapted to life as expatriates.
"It's an extremely important topic as baby boomers come of retirement age," says O'Brien, adding that many people will want to retire somewhere warm and cheap. He adds that living abroad will become especially attractive if the value of people's pension plans drops. "Moving to a cheaper place like Mexico is going to become a viable option for some people," he says.
But moving to a new country even if it's an inexpensive tropical paradise is never easy, and O'Brien says people go through several phases as they adapt to their new life. They start out, he says, by thinking they're going to be living like kings in paradise; eventuality, reality sets in.
For most expatriates, reality is that they end up living in a pleasant but isolated enclave.
O'Brien says the expats in the community he studied had essentially recreated a North American lifestyle in one small corner of the Yucatan. "They are living exactly the same life they'd live at home, but in a different location," he says. Most "absolutely love" the life, but his study showed some problems.
The first, he says, is that the expat community is negatively affecting the local population "even though they don't notice it themselves." For example, he said the expats often make no attempt to learn Spanish, and expect to be dealt with in English. And their relationships with
|Contact: Ryan Saxby Hill|
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences