Boomers on the Fun Side of the Wall


I’ve always liked being at the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation.  Loosely defined, to be a Baby Boomer means your father came home from World War 2 and, with your mother’s help, made you and you were part of a groundswell in the youth population.

Being at the end meant when I hit an age when I needed or wanted certain things, be it hair color, blood pressure medicine or a vacation home, a lot of the kinks had already been worked out.

In December of last year 500 ex-pats all over Mexico were surveyed on why as many as ten thousand Baby Boomers moved to Mexico in retirement daily, before the virus.  Much of survey’s finding went into the book, The Fun Side of the Wall by Travis Luther and I thought it interesting to compare and contrast how much of the survey’s findings apply to San Miguel ex-pats.

Survey Says on Money and Culture –

Not surprisingly, saving some money attracts most Baby Boomer ex-pats, but once they get to Mexico they find it’s the culture that keeps them here.  Basically, they trade the grind of an extended career into a better lifestyle centered around Mexican culture.

San Miguel Says –

Here in San Miguel I don’t find that to be true.  If you’ve arrived just to save money you’ll be disappointed. We are an expensive Mexican city.  It’s like if you were told New York was the cheapest state to retire in so you moved to Manhattan, one of the most expensive cities in the world, when what the author meant was Albany or White Plains.

As for the appeal of Mexican culture to Boomers, I rarely find a fellow pasty person at our cultural events.  An exception being free, public dancing in centro, but, by and large, resident ex-pats simply don’t appear to be much interested in what is going on around them often taking an odd pride in not knowing.

Survey Says on Ex-pat Profile –

The profile of the typical Boomer expat in Mexico is a married person in their late fifties, highly educated, upper income, liberal leaning, Democratic voting Caucasian who values a slower pace of life and are shown respect. Boomers do not believe Americans respect older people, but found the exact reverse in the culture of Mexico.

Plus some Boomers are semi-retired and still working remotely thanks to generally solid internet. But those who have completely retired were able to fulfill their dream, on average, five years earlier than those retiring in the U.S.

San Miguel Says –

Here in San Miguel that profile is partially true.  I find part-time residents tend to be the more educated and higher earners than many residents on government pensions from a lifetime spend in the classroom or post office versus the board room or corner office.

There’s also a fair amount of starving artists who came to town feeling the artistic vibe would provide the opportunity to sell their autobiography, paintings, jewelry or quilts.  Simply put, that doesn’t always pan out.  Few are as talented in their senior years as Grandma Moses.

Survey Says on Safety –

Personal safety issues impacted retirement in Mexico.  The number one consensus was 90% of Boomers felt safe and protected from terrorism more so than in the United States.

San Miguel Says –

Hmmm, I honestly never thought of being in a terrorist attack anywhere in the world so I haven’t had that discussion with fellow ex-pats here.  I’m surprised the survey didn’t approach safety from a more local level like home theft, muggings and such.

Survey Says on All the Single Ladies –

My most unexpected finding was the rate of single women Baby Boomer retirees moving to Mexico on their own. The data shows that women are almost twice as likely as men to arrive in Mexico single and that there are actually more single women than married couples.

San Miguel Says –

I can see that, here, or most anywhere in the world.  Women live longer and are often more comfortable living alone than men are.  It reminded me of being on a cemetery tour with a senior women’s group when a lass asked “Where are all the single men in town?”  All I could think to say is “You’re standing on them”.  Assuming, in general, women date about 10 years older than themselves it is hard to find a man that has lived beyond 70, is healthy, interested (much less interesting) and single.

Survey Says on Other Country Options –

One of the more interesting findings shared in the survey was the lack of Boomer interest in other countries as places to retire.  Proximity to the U.S. combined with less expensive healthcare, good internet connectivity and relative ease in getting a visa, were major factors.

San Miguel Says –

For San Miguel’s Baby Boomers I would also factor in weather.  Not for me, as coming from a long line of intermarrying Gaelic vampires that never left the village looking for love, I despise these endlessly sunny days.  However, other Boomers seem to thrive in sun.

So are Boomers in San Miguel like expats all over Mexico?  Yes and no.  Money motivates most but if that is your prime motivation there are much less costly areas of Mexico.  It appears in other areas Boomers are more proactively participating in local culture than we do here.  Pity as we teem with cultural opportunities!  However, we’re on the nose for having more single women than men.

All things considered, I plan on staying put.  At least until Millennials retire and Lord only knows what they’ll be in to then!

Joseph Toone is the Amazon bestselling author and Historical Society’s award winning short story author of the San Miguel de Allende (SMA) Secrets book series.  Toone is San Miguel de Allende’s (SMA’s) expert and Trip Advisor’s top ranked historical walking tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s San Miguel de Allende.


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