Mexican life

My credit report

new-imageMY LATEST credit report arrived in the Yule email.

Mexico has a credit bureau, and it’s totally disconnected from credit bureaus in the United States. When you move over the Rio Bravo, you leave your credit history behind.

Depending on your deadbeat quotient, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. For me, it was bad.

Unlike above the border where credit bureaus are a dime a dozen, there seems to be just one credit bureau in Mexico, which makes more sense to me.

That’s my latest credit score above from the Buró de Crédito. I am more reliable than 85 percent of other Mexicans. That score should have me tying with 100 percent because I have never missed a payment here or paid late.

I would have a higher score were I addicted to debt, if I made car payments, had a mortgage, etc. All I have is a couple of Visa cards. Both are paid in full, monthly.

For my first 14 years in Mexico, I had two U.S. credit cards that were paid automatically in full every month via a connection with my U.S. bank, Banamex USA, the American outpost of the Mexican financial behemoth Banamex.

In 2014, a U.S. law known as FATCA caused Banamex USA to unceremoniously cancel my checking account, leaving me with no way whatsoever to pay my U.S. credit cards.

I opened accounts at HSBC-Mexico and BBVA Bancomer. I now have credit cards from both. Getting one from Bancomer was easy. Getting one from HSBC was like pulling teeth.

I use credit cards 99.9 percent for online purchases, and my credit score is inching up slowly. For easy access to your credit bureau score, the Buró de Crédito requires an account with them, which costs about 200 pesos a year.

After a few weeks of sleepless nights after Banamex USA zapped my only U.S. bank, I was back in business with the Mexican banks and credit cards.*

FATCA also threw a wrench into my PayPal account.

PayPal is not the same everywhere. Previously, I had the U.S. version. I canceled it and opened a Mexican PayPal which, like Mexican credit cards, works anywhere.

Again, everything is back in order, working smoothly, and I now have almost no financial ties with the United States, which puts a smug smile on my Mexican mug.

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* We have three credit cards. One with my name from HSBC. Another with my name from Bancomer, plus a third, piggybacked on my account, with my wife’s name and a different card number. She’s never used it. She’s as averse to debt as I am and has never used a credit card in her life.

(NOTE: The United States is the only nation in the world that wants to  suck tax earnings from what its citizens earn in other countries while living in those other countries. In other words, if you move to Ghana, open a store, earn a few Ghana bucks, Uncle Sam wants a cut! Freaking incredible.)

The Odd Pot

Gone fishing — for good

fishing

LOTS OF PEOPLE dream of early retirement, and some even plan for it — giving the middle digit to The Man.

The traditional age is 55 because lots of corporations will start a pension at that point just to get rid of you. Retiring before 55 is possible, sure, but only if you’re fairly rich and have planned well.

Due to the aging of the Baby Boomer Generation, magazines and newspapers frequently run articles about retirement in general and even retiring early. These articles often say how difficult it is, that you gotta have 10 million bucks under the mattress. Baloney.

Even though I did little dreaming of early retirement and even less planning (think zip), the stars aligned, and I bailed at 55.

It was the best move of my life. The year was 1999.

And I’ve earned nary a penny or a peso since. At least, not from any effort on my part. Capitalism is a godsend. You stick five bucks in an account, and later you have seven bucks — or sometimes four, depending on which way the wind blows.

Lots of those magazine and newspaper yarns tell you the best towns in America to retire. And they can be great places, but not if you are living on my income, which is about $24,000 a year. That’s just $8,000 over the 2015 official poverty level in America for a two-person household.

Living in the United States these days on $24,000 wouldn’t be much fun.

Doing it in Mexico, however, is easy as pie.

So here is my recommendation if you want to leave the workforce at 55: Have no debt and enough money to make it to 62, praying that Social Security will not increase that age before you get there.

Probably won’t.

When you hit 62, start Social Security payments, which will likely be more than enough to live sweet in Mexico. An additional corporate pension, even a puny one like mine, is even better.

So come on down. The fishing is good.

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P.S.: Contrary to what’s been hammered into you, living in Mexico is safer than today’s United States of America. Plus, Mexico doesn’t do Big Government, disruptive diversity-worship, #brownlivesmatter, high taxes, and you’re not called racist every day by stupendously silly people.

We’re mellow. Bring a hook, line and bait.