28 July 2020 by Published in: Uncategorized 12 comments

It’s been exceedingly difficult to get into writing, with the virus calamity and the projects I’ve been working on, but I’m chipping away at a new JET, and making slow, if steady progress. You would think things would have slowed while in quarantine, but nothing could be further from the truth.

One of the projects is a new “Retirement Secrets of Mexico” book wherein I reveal what I believe are the best buys South of the border. Taking into account housing prices, crime, cost of living, taxes, banking, health care, lifestyle, infrastructure, visas, weather, amenities, proximity to cool stuff like beaches or other wonders, etc. I’ve already finished a companion book that came in at 180 pages, titled “Escape to Baja,” that highlights the charms of Baja, Mexico, but the more complete tome will take a while. I think it will be of value as folks age, tire of being taxed to death, and want to live out their lives in locales that are affordable, safe, and generally chill. I’ve got properties in three of the five areas I plan to highlight, so I put my money where my mouth is.

Obviously I consider these the best places I’ve found because I could live anywhere but chose them and remain in them, although there are other locations in Eastern Europe and the Far and Near East that also are strong contenders, as well as a few in South America. Perhaps those will the the topic of a third book. Remains to be seen. But for now, my focus is Mexico, where I’ve lived for 16 years, have started or bought into six businesses, and where I’ve had the time of my life. So whether it’s toes in the sand beach living, European style cosmopolitan vibe, golf resort lifestyle, expat haven immersion, or a combo of all these, I’ll have something for everyone, although for my money there are a couple of clear winners, with one that 99% of Mexicans, and 99.999% of Gringos have never even heard of, being a top standout.

Another of the projects taking up my bandwidth is a chain of Argentine style gelato stores in Mexico, where there is a massive Argentine expat population, thousands of Argentine restaurants, and no Argentine gelato outlets. I plan to change that. But there are a lot of moving parts – sourcing a master chef, buying the equipment for a manufacturing hub, writing an operations bible, etc. I’m in the headhunting stage, but have a business plan that’s both aggressive and unique, and I have high hopes.

So not enough hours in the day between all this, and writing, and designing and building homes.

I should probably feel blessed at the embarrassment of riches life has dealt me.

But sometimes I just feel like a 30 hour day would be more practical than one with 24 hours. Oh well. Be careful what you wish for!



  1. Zarayna Pradyer
    Tue 28th Jul 2020 at 6:23 pm

    A really uplifting and inspiring update – thank you.

    I may not be able to afford a house but I’m saving up for gelato.

    Wishing you well with all your projects.

    • Kirk Alex  –  Fri 31st Jul 2020 at 7:15 pm

      Good to see that you’re truly happy where you live, my friend. Sounds like paradise. ;=)
      Got a question: How many gringos, who don’t make the kind of bread you make (say, folks existing on social security) actually live in your hood––or is it even possible?
      Just asking.

      Would love to read those books on the region. Awesome ideas. Does this mean that you’re dropping that one book on the con-artist you had a run-in with and started writing about a month or so back? (I do hope you finish it.)

      Gotta tell ya, I’m amazed at all the stuff you’re into. Don’t know how you do it.


      • Russell Blake  –  Fri 31st Jul 2020 at 7:25 pm

        I will be including locations for every budget. Places a couple could live large on $2K a month, $3K a month, $4-$5K a month. That’s the entire point. And I will only spotlight locations that are safe, have good infrastructure, good health care, and warm weather. So far six locations qualify for the book, and I think that’s enough for one tome.

        Ironically, even the most expensive areas are ones where a couple could live extremely well for $50K a year. And the most reasonable (at least 4 of the 6) wouldn’t really require more than $30K a year. So something for everyone.

        I decided not to rent any of my mental space to child molesting losers. So that book is as stillborn as the scumbag’s chances of success.

        • Kirk Alex  –  Fri 31st Jul 2020 at 9:14 pm


          Your positive nature is priceless. We know it’s not always possible to keep smiling, but you manage so often that, well, can’ help but look forward to the blogs.

          RE: That other idea for a book that you had, the downer one. Absolutely right.
          Stay happy & productive.

        • Esther Biermann  –  Thu 17th Sep 2020 at 2:46 pm

          So if you are a solo, wanting to retire on not much, you would just have your budget suggestions?

          • Russell Blake  –  Thu 17th Sep 2020 at 2:55 pm

            I cover places where you can live well for anywhere from $1500 a month to $3500 a month, depending on what you want out of a location. The lesser known places are obviously far cheaper than those known to many gringos. The trick is identifying those that are safe, have good infrastructure, modern health care, are inexpensive, have reasonable rents, good restaurants, and high quality of life. I’ve done that. A typical couple could live well for $25K a year, which just happens to be the minimum required for a temporary residence permit. That won’t go far in tourist areas, but in places off the beaten path, can provide a quality of life equivalent to more like quadruple that in the U.S.

  2. Tom S
    Thu 06th Aug 2020 at 6:58 pm

    Looking forward to checking out the new book!

    When does “Escape to Baja” come out? And do you have a timeframe for the longer “Retirement Secrets” book?

    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 09th Aug 2020 at 6:38 pm

      I decided to consolidate the two books into one tome. I am targeting Oct-Nov for release. I’m almost done with first draft, and will need to do a second polish round, then have it edited, the proofread, and try to find images I can use that are public domain. It’s pretty comprehensive, and I think many will find it eye opening. I chose seven locales, three in Baja and four on mainland, all of which I cover well enough for the reader to get a good idea of what they’re looking at. Stay tuned, and I’ll send out an alert when it drops.

      • Tom S  –  Fri 14th Aug 2020 at 11:45 pm

        Thanks man, definitely appreciate you writing this. I’ve been looking to retire down south for some time, just don’t have very many ideas where to set up shop! Excited to pick this up.

  3. Fri 07th Aug 2020 at 6:25 am

    Thanks for the update, Russell. Having lived in Mexico, now for 24 years I can attest to the many advantages of the good life down here.

    However, I suddenly have a desperate need for good. gelato.

    I await its arrival in Tulum.

    I wish you all the best in all your projects, as always.

  4. Teri Babcock
    Thu 20th Aug 2020 at 1:25 am

    All the gelato places in my hometown are Italian. Is Argentinian gelato superior in any way to Italian, or are you just playing to the local crowd?

    • Russell Blake  –  Thu 20th Aug 2020 at 1:28 am

      It’s richer, thicker, and generally better in just about every way I can think of. Once you’ve had a really good Argentine gelato, all other gelatos are dead to you.


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