Unemployed 17 years

scene
Pastoral scene not too far from the Hacienda.

JUST EIGHT weeks shy of reaching 17 years of no paid employment. Me, that is.

If someone had told me at, say, the age of 40 that I would retire at 55 and, 17 years later, would be living in a lovely Hacienda on a Mexican mountaintop in good health with a child bride, speaking Spanish all day, I would have said:

Yeah, sure. In my wildest dreams.

Yet stuff happens. I would not have believed it, that such good fortune would fall atop my head, but it did.

One reads of people who retire, usually men, and then drop dead a year later, often out of sheer boredom, having lost their reason to live, their job. But I’m not that person.

I’ve never been bored in my adult life. Not a moment.

How does one survive that long with no paying job? I do it with a combination of capitalism and socialism. I profited from the roaring stock market of the 1990s, plus I have a corporate pension, although it’s a puny one.

And then there is Social Security, the socialist element.

None of the above would have been enough were it not for the final element: moving to Mexico. One reads that living in Mexico is not as cheap as it was “in the old days.” Maybe, but it’s sure way cheaper than living in the United States.

Seems like it’s every week that I read about the ever-soaring medical insurance premiums the Gringos have to pay for the ObamaCare scam, the “you can keep your doctor” and “you can keep your current plan” bamboozle.

And the taxes! Lordy, what taxes, especially property taxes in some areas, and paying taxes for those unionized schools that turn out young, brainwashed airheads.

I was sitting at a sidewalk table on the plaza yesterday with a hot café Americano negro, reading a book, when I paused and looked at the cobblestone street and the red-clay roofs, and I thought to myself: Boy, you’re one lucky sumbitch.

27 thoughts on “Unemployed 17 years”

  1. Having the capacity to think that there is more to life than sitting in the first house you ever lived in, in the town where you were born allows one to change the circumstances you are living in.

    Re-engineering your life seems to have put a smile on your face. Hope it doesn’t hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clete: Had Social Security not been available, I would have just made other plans, but it is, so I use it. Social Security should be reformed. It should be means-tested, of course. That Donald Trump can tap into the cash is absurd. And SS fraud is rampant. It is badly run, to put it mildly.

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      1. I didn´t know it was poorly run. That is news to me. I know that Congress can´t keep its mitts off the cash cow’s udders but I have never heard of rampant fraud. To me, the fraud lies by capping the amount of income that is subject to withholding. People with less earnings pay a higher percentage of their income than the wealthy. Talk about a rigged system!

        Now, I know you hate any kind of contradictory opinions but I have always felt that people such as yourself of the libertarian bent fail to live according to your beliefs when it comes to Social Security. You were obligated to contribute but no one twists your arm to collect. The justification always comes back to “well, I paid into the fund, so I will collect what´s mine.” Which is, of course, your right but also demonstrates a bit of hypocrisy.

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        1. Ah, Clete, once again you veer off onto the road of error. I do not hate contrary opinions at all. They simply have to be courteously stated. All opinions here must be courteously stated, even those I agree with. And we must not badmouth other commenters by name. It’s bad form. Had a little outburst of that recently. Wasn’t you.

          Yes, SS is rife with fraud, mostly people collecting who should not be collecting, often dead people. And you are right that Congress can’t keep its mitts off the money. There is no SS fund. It’s long vanished. SS payments come directly from the general government piggy bank.

          As for the righteousness of my collecting SS when I oppose most government handouts, I say this: It was promised me, so I take it. Had it not been promised me, I would have made other plans. Plus, I paid into it, so part of what I received was just my own money coming back to me. I say “received” instead of receive, present tense, because I imagine I have received all that I paid into it. Many old fogies maintain that their SS is just their money coming back to them, all of it, and it is up to a point. But we are living so much longer now that we usually outlive what we paid into it, and then we’re just getting government handouts.

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          1. I lived (and my wife) from our own means for 9 yrs. until we were eligible for our first payment. In Canada, we have two funds. One is tied to earnings, with a cap, the other is just for being 65, and you get it if you never worked. I disagree with the old age one, because immigrants get it even if they’re 65 when they arrive. We have a clawback at an income level, but l’m nowhere close to it.

            Same as you, it was promised to me, and just because we were sensible enough to plan for early retirement, we shouldn’t be left out to support the ones who blew all their money when they were young.

            I hear the ones that say it’s their own money they’re getting back, and figure that basic arithmetic is too much for them.

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            1. Kris: Since I moved south at 55, I was not eligible for SS, so I lived on my puny corporate pension ($540 a month), and the rest I took out of savings, about $10,000 a year for the seven years. Total is that I (and then we when I married two years later) lived on about $16,400 a year during that long spell. Now that I get SS, we live on just over $24,000 yearly. Would be dang hard to do that in the U.S.these days without living like a snaggle-toothed Hillbilly.

              Your Canadian system of giving a pension to anybody who hits 65, including immigrants who just arrived on the boat yesterday, is beyond stupid and a classic case of leftist government ineptitude. I’m surprised you mentioned that. I would be embarrassed. Kudos for your bravery.

              As for those who insist all their SS is their own money paid back to them, no matter how long they get it, you are right. They cannot count, but it’s usually because they simply prefer thinking that way.

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              1. I wanted you to know where I stand. I believe that you should work for what you get, and welfare is something to tide you over. Unemployment payments are to help between jobs, not a career. A friend once said that 3rd generation welfare recipients should be sterilized, and although I have to disagree due to humanitarian reasons, the rationale makes sense.

                Strange where this discussion went from your original post, Felipe. Firestarter!

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                1. Kris: Your devotion to leftism is clearly weak. You have too much good sense. Perhaps you voice it so you won’t be thrown out of Canada.

                  Sterilizing third-generation welfare recipients makes perfect sense to me.

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            2. PS: My head is still reeling with that info that anybody can move to Canada just before turning 65 and be guaranteed an income. This is so boneheaded that it’s hard to wrap one’s mind around it. This is akin to waving a red (appropriate color) flag over your nation signalling to the world that if you move here we’ll give you money we’ve taken from the pockets of our hardworking citizens and give it to you, a gift.

              Come live here, no work required, income guaranteed. Socialist lunacy at its peak.

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              1. The amount is about $350, but still, not something that we should pay. If an immigrant brings in an elder relative, they should absorb the cost.

                The threshold for immigration has been raised, but in my opinion we could bring in people with education and skills needed here instead of parents.

                Liked by 1 person

        2. PS: Like Social Security, Medicare is also rife with fraud and waste. Fact is that government does not run most things well or efficiently because there is little incentive to do so. Private enterprise is the best route most of the time.

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  2. At what point did the worm turn? What caused you to retire at the age of 55? Was it a planned exit or an impromptu adios? How did you decide upon Mexico, rather than say Philippines or some other English speaking country?
    None of our business, but we are curious.

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    1. Señor Gill: None of your business? Have you not noticed my tendency to say or reveal just about anything, personal or not? I am an open book.

      My exit was planned, but neither very well nor extensively. When I was 54, a light bulb lit above my graying noodle. It said: You are divorced. You have no debt. You will be eligible to retire at 55. You are an adventurous fellow, and if you want to have another big adventure, you better get off your butt. I had a Mexican girlfriend I had met online, so that, combined with a lifelong interest in Mexico, put Mexico in my crosshairs.

      I never even gave a moment’s consideration to going anywhere else. The Mexican girlfriend didn’t last till the end of my first year here.

      I chose my destination quickly. I looked online for a language school and decided on one in what is now my nearby state capital. Though my online girlfriend lived in Mexico City, I did not want to live in that conflicted place. My state capital is about four hours from Mexico City. She would visit me now and then when she could get away from her two kids.

      Were I to start from scratch now, I would choose Chile. But Mexico turned out great.

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  3. I personally expected to work until I died. I was traveling on the bus to my office an hour in the morning and an hour and half home. If I had to stay late, I wouldn’t get home until 8 PM. Worse, the bus was always loaded with obnoxious kids.
    One night, I asked myself “Why am I doing this?” I didn’t need the money.

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  4. I was not as brilliant as you in choosing a retirement date. I waited until I was 60 to retire. Coincidentally, it was the date that two of my pensions would kick in. But I had no desire to leave one of the best jobs I ever had. Until one weekend.

    Over those three days, Tim Russert died, my brother had a cardiac incident, and a friend’s father (whose was younger than I was) died of a heart attack. I had noticed for a couple of years, over half of the people listed in the bar’s obituaries were younger than I was. I started reconsidering whether my plan to die at my desk might come a lot quicker than I had thought. So, like you, off I came to Mexico. And I have had every bit as much joy here as you. You made a wise move.

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    1. Señor Cotton: We are both wise men. However, people dying around me — because they were not at 55 — was not a part of my decision. And, had it been doable, I would have retired at 21.

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