A Mexican Retirement Home

Leslie wants to buy a condo in Mexico. It is a residence—not a timeshare—and they would be owners through a trust. In order to buy it, he would have to pay $309,000. Should he get in now or wait?

QUESTION: Leslie in Spokane has been out of debt for many years. He wants to buy a condo in Mexico. It’s being developed by a group in British Columbia. It is a residence—not a timeshare—and they would be owners through a trust. In order to buy it, he would have to pay $309,000. Should he get in now or wait? Dave isn’t sure this is a good plan right now.

ANSWER: To lose $309,000 completely in your situation would be a major hit. Assuming that this was a predictable situation, I don’t have a problem with it. The thing that scares me about it is that it’s in Mexico. What happens if this developer goes belly-up halfway through, and they’ve got your $200,000? What happens if the drug cartels decide that that town is where they base their sales out of going forward and the murder rate goes up? What happens if…? You’ve just got a much more unstable economic situation and governmental situation and crime situation there than you do in other parts of the world and certainly in the United States.

I was hoping you were going to tell me it was throwaway money. If you’d told me it was $100,000, you could throw that away and probably not wince too much. Start talking about $300,000 out of your $1.2 million, that starts to be an ouchie right there. I would have to do a lot of research and be a lot more comfortable than I am today to make that call.