Learning to live on a boomer’s budget

I spent three weeks in Puerto Vallarta. It started the day before New Year’s Eve. I loved it. I got back to Encinitas at the end of January. It was cold. It rained the day after coming home. But since then we’ve had that glorious San Diego weather that everyone comes here for.When people in Puerto Vallarta find out I’m from San Diego, they get a puzzled look on their face. The usual response is, “You already live in paradise!” True. But you know the storm tracks will open soon if not by the time you’re reading this. The cold will be upon us. I’m hoping to head back down in March. You know what they say about late winter, early spring in Mexico. John Denver had an excellent guitar instrumental on one of his first albums with that subtitle to it. It’s pretty nice down there. I’m looking forward to it.

I have to remind some that the reason my column began was because I was devastated financially by the recession. A net worth built up over a lifetime vanished like steam from a pot. Not that pot. OK, that pot too. I digress. So I’m basically broke and turning 62 and single. Obviously, not an envious spot to be in. But I finagled some cash and bought a great condo in Puerto Vallarta that pays for itself if I want to rent it out part time. If I do that, I live rent-free for about six months out of the year.

Flying there isn’t really expensive. It’s about $430 round trip from San Diego but sometimes out of Tijuana as cheap as about $150 to $200 round trip. I’ll write about it more after I actually fly out of there in the near future. I know several people that do and they say it’s a breeze.

Bottom line is, through me and my column, I’ll bare my soul, so to speak, to show you how I’m figuring out how to basically semi-retire and live on a social security income. I’m doing it. I’ve taken some chances though, like giving up health insurance. I pay cash now.

Medical costs here in North County coastal area are about 40 percent to 50 percent cheaper if you pay cash. My deductible was so high that I was paying cash anyway for my medical but about double what I should pay. In Mexico, I just had a root canal, a post and crown put in. I shopped around up here telling those that I was paying cash. The cost was anywhere from $1,300 to $3,000. Yes, you should shop around. There really is free enterprise in medical if you’re a cash payer.

Anyway, I got the dental done for $4,800 pesos in Puerto Vallarta (actually bucerias). At 13 pesos to the dollar, that came out to about $370. With the $30 tip it was $400. Now if I get cancer, even with my deductible before, it would still wipe me out whether I had assets or not. So, OK Lord, your ballgame, not mine. I’m going to go enjoy life. God only gives us one day. We don’t know when the last one comes.

Take advantage of life to its fullest without a whole lot in your pocket. If there are some of you out there with a pile of money socked away, God bless you. If you are just sitting on it, give some away to a charity that really needs it without telling anyone and watch how your life changes.

Alright baby boomers, whether you are a World War II baby boomer or a Korean War baby boomer, start being optimistic about the future. You lost most everything, but you have your health and vitality. Learn to live frugally and if you’re worried about what your family or friends will think of you, so what? Pride is a sin. Go out and live! Enjoy each day as a gift. Why waste it in worry and stress.

Be sure to take the time to enter the contest giveaway for a one-week stay in my oceanfront condo including airfare. Look for the ad in The Coast News. You’ll find it. Dean and Sue Henningsen are there right now. They were our first contest winners. They were just visiting Carlsbad, staying in a time-share, read The Coast News and entered. And, they won! They are going to write a testimonial on their trip when they get back. I sure hope it’s a good one but either way; I’m going to print some of it.

It will be fun to hear how they enjoyed themselves. Our next winners will be announced around Easter. I’ll be salivating then looking forward to spring.

Joe Moris may be contacted at (760) 500-6755 or by email at joe@coastalcountry.net.

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