I returned from Puerto Vallarta on April 23. For the first few days you can imagine what it is like after being gone for five weeks. You’re kinda here and kinda there. Plus, I’m still trying to get used to retiring; well, semi-retiring. But like I’ve said in previous columns, I positioned myself to have a place that pays for itself in Puerto Vallarta. And then with the help of family and some ingenuity, the ability to live basically rent-free here, too. Live free.I knew when I hit 60 I didn’t want to keep doing the same thing the rest of my life. I started putting priorities in order. The kids were long out of the household. That led eventually to my spouse and me sort of looking at each other with blank stares.
Eventually I was a single man again after almost 30 years. I went a little manic in the dating department at first, eventually I met someone and spent almost four years with but even that went south a few years back when the other guy appeared better.
So, I was stuck with living without a net. I had been self-employed my whole life in real estate. That is one of the hairiest rides anyone can take when choosing that industry for a career. I’ve had millions, lost millions, made it, and lost it again. It’s crazy — extremely humbling.
At 60 I set a goal to be debt-free by the time I was 62. If that meant losing what I was pouring thousands into every month, well, OK. Done. I was thinking priorities. I really don’t care if my real estate will be worth millions in 10 years. I can’t sit here today worrying about the past and betting on the future and working myself to death trying to pay for it all.
I decided I would be debt-free and live like I was 22 again when the world was open to doing anything — being free as a bird. I’ll be 63 in November. I’ve shed the debt and the cloud over me. I weaseled enough to put a chunk of money down on a beachfront condo in Puerto Vallarta that, again, pays for itself by being rented when I’m not using it.
I only paid $135,000 on a 100-year Mexican trust that cost $7,500. I just paid my property taxes for the year. It was a whopping 918 pesos. That’s about $75. No zeros added.
I am close to my daughter Marisa and her soulmate Jeff. To add the word “semi” to my retirement, I have real estate agents working for me who don’t make me rich but pay the bills for break-even on an office here and an office down there.
I am living on Social Security of $1,406 per month to prove that it can be done. I’m an open book. I pay as I go medically and have three years before Medi-Cal kicks in. Even on such a small budget, I belong to Shadowridge Country Club in Vista and play limitless golf which by the way also keeps me healthy.
Every time I play a round I walk six miles up and down hills soaking up Vitamin D. I take my showers at the golf course locker room or at the gym when I don’t golf.
I have an office in Punta Mita next to the Four Seasons and St. Regis and meet the most eclectic mix of people you can imagine. I use my office primarily so I can change into my trunks and walk the 75 feet to 80-degree water and two- to three-foot perfect rights at a place called Mexican Malibu for stand up or conventional longboard surfing.
I can meet lots of people in my trunks and flip flops sitting in my office afterward. No suit and tie required. My work there is my hobby. It also lets me stay mentally active.
Now I’m working with my spiritual intuitive daughter writing a book. Just picture sitting on a balcony collecting your thoughts for a spiritual book while overlooking the Bay of Banderas to Old Town Puerto Vallarta and the Sierra Madre mountains as a backdrop (Santa Barbara on steroids). So peaceful and so calm. How cool is that? I am so blessed. Now if I can do this, anyone can do this.
My second contest winners (look for my ad) are just in heaven right now. Ervin and Debbie DuCommun were winners in my second contest giveaway. There are no rules in the entry and I’ll be giving another vacation away soon.
Between myself and my two agent/partners in Mexico we look for the contest entrant who seems to touch each of our hearts. Please read the letter in my ad by the DuCommuns. One side effect of being in the position I am means I can also be gracious to people.
I sprung for an extra nine days for them because I didn’t have it rented anyway so they’re just loving it. This other side of owning such a beautiful yet inexpensive place in such beauty is the ability to offer it to loved ones and close friends to use when it is sitting empty. It’s called spreading the love when you have the ability to do so.
I have found that life can be really good again. God is good. I pray too that you boomers can find your peace too. It’s not that hard. Just lose the pride.
Joe Moris may be contacted at (760) 500-6755 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.