First, let's define Pre-Boomer; obviously it's before Boomer! The Baby Boomer Generation is defined as those born after World War II; generally between the years of 1944 and 1964. Consequently, the oldest of the nearly 80 million US born Baby Boomers are just now turning 65 years old.
The Pre-Boomer Generation is typically defined as those born during the 20 year period prior to the end of WW II or roughly from 1924 to 1944. There were approximately 50 million people born in the US during this time frame. These Pre-Boomers are considered to be of the Silent Generation (a bit of a misnomer!); sometimes referred to as the Luckiest Generation. Lucky because they were born immediately after the Great Depression, were too young to serve in World War II and probably the Korean War, and too old to serve in the Viet Nam War. Since 95% of these Pre-Boomers have already retired, they are also lucky to be reaping the benefits of Social Security and Medicare; benefits that may not be available to many of the younger generations. Unlike the Baby Boomers that have recently lost 25-50% of their life savings prior to retirement due to the current recession and mortgage crisis, the Pre-Boomers are lucky because in all probability, they were able to purchase their retirement residence and have conservatively invested the balance, thus preventing a serious depletion of their retirement savings (and they have fewer years to make their remaining savings last!).
Those lucky folks of the Pre-Boomer Generation witnessed the introduction of television, the development of new plastics and composite materials, high speed air travel, satellite and missile technology, space exploration, major medical breakthroughs, the development of computers and the Internet, cell phones, and microwaves for communications and quick cooking ovens. It seems impossible that future generations will ever see as many revolutionary changes in their lifetime.
Now that we've defined the lucky but not really silent Pre-Boomer Generation, we'll review the lifestyle of those very fortunate ones that have retired on the Mexican Riviera. We'll accomplish that by evaluating the living patterns of those that have retired in Puerto Vallarta, which lies virtually in the center of the Mexican Riviera.
Of the tens of thousands of US and Canadian retirees that call Vallarta home, the majority of them actually reside in Vallarta for only seven or eights months per year, returning to their family and friends back North of the border during the hot and rainy summer months. Many of them also use the summer months for cruising or traveling to new and different places throughout the world.
As an estimate only, approximately 70% of these retirees are from the US and 30% from Canada; however the percentage of Canadians seems to be increasing as the Canadian Dollar strengthens.
One personality trait that these retirees have in common is that they are all somewhat adventurous; otherwise, they wouldn't be living abroad! Being adventurous, they often take the various day tours that are available to area tourists and the cruise boat passengers; day tours that include whale watching, horseback riding, botanical gardens, jungle safaris, dinner boats, and trips to secluded beaches such as Yelapa and Las Animas. When they get a little more adventurous, they take longer trips to the surrounding old mining cities such as San Sebastian and Mascota or south to Barre de Navidad; the number of really neat places to visit in a day are too numerous to cover here.
To satisfy their cultural side, there are a number of different art walks through the myriad of galleries and a handful of theaters for the performing arts. Many special events such as the annual Gourmet Festival are on everyone's calendar during the "high season".
As they are accustomed to back home, they typically shop at Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, Costco, Home Depot, Office Max or Office Depot, etc., where most everything in the way of foods and other products is available. The main difference is that there's never any hesitance in stopping a North American (they're easily recognized!) stranger in the isle and striking up a conversation in PV, whereas back in the US you might be considered a bit nosey or forward when doing this!
These active Pre-Boomers in PV play golf, tennis and deep sea fish, belong to clubs and associations with friends of similar interests, and are very much involved in charities. They are very active socially and can be seen out and about town every evening in all the fabulous restaurants.
Medical care is the least of their concerns with the four beautiful, new, and modern hospitals in Vallarta. These facilities have all of the latest in equipment and are staffed with highly qualified and experienced English speaking doctors. Spas, health clubs, Yoga studios and home service masseurs are frequently used by these pampered retirees.
Many of these immigrants have learned to speak some Spanish even though one can easily survive in Puerto Vallarta with little knowledge of the language since the economy is based on tourism and therefore most of the local citizens have some degree of English fluency.
The majority of these retirees live in condominiums with full time security however a small percentage of them live in hillside villas within gated communities. It's fair to say that wherever they live, they have breathtaking views of Banderas Bay and they enjoy a perfect climate from November through May when the average daily temperature is 73°F with virtually no rain. They drive their US or Canadian plated cars without ever having to change plates. Also, no annual automobile taxes are ever paid and property taxes are only 0.12% of appraised value.
If you're a Baby Boomer and haven't yet lost all of your money in your 401k or IRA, it's not too late; come on down to Puerto Vallarta and join the Pre-Boomers. The luckiest of the Luckiest Generation are truly living "La Dolce Vita" or the sweet life in this part of the Mexican Riviera!
Jim Scherrer has owned property in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for 26 years and resided there for the past twelve years. The mission of his series of 60 articles pertaining to retirement in Puerto Vallarta is to reveal the recent changes that have occurred in Vallarta while dispelling the misconceptions about living conditions in Mexico. For the full series of articles regarding travel to and retirement in Vallarta as well as pertinent Puerto Vallarta links, please visit us at PVREBA.
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