Giving Back in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Observations from a resident living in SMA

Hey Akaisha and Billy,

Happy December in the tropics. Were headed to Zihua soon for some warm weather and beach. It gets nippy at 6500 ft in the winter. We also like Caleta de Campos, a true cartel town that you turned us on to where we now have friends.


I always appreciate how you inspire and give folks the tools for a more satisfying life. You certainly did us. Now, seven years after retiring at 58, we haven’t touched our investments and are able to save money from our Social Security. We’re living better than we ever could in the US or Canada and loving the weather and our volunteer work.

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You guys didn’t talk much about San Miguel de Allende Mexico even when you spent more time in MX. There’s an estimated 18,000 expats here in the high season and nearly 8,000 year round. Also low (visible) cartel action. But we still found a super-cheap apartment in 2013 which we remodeled and leased long-term. There is affordable housing in SMA still. I know folks who pay less than¬† $300usd/mo for reasonable housing in good neighborhoods tho $4-500usd is more common. Also SMA is a compact walking town so no need for a car (not to mention $2usd taxis or 25c busses).


But besides world-class art, music and culture, there are over 100 non-profits doing incredible things for the less-affluent here in the 4th poorest state in Mexico. Which makes Mexicans see us as something other than a cash machine. Literally thousands of volunteers from both cultures make it all work.

Our local Rotary club recognize a SMA “Citizen of the Year” every year.¬†These average people are doing extraordinary things and loving their meaningful lives. Many of them with no savings and $700/mo Social Security checks. Others are Mexicans making $100usd/wk and still others are generous 1%-ers. Check:

Being around a community that values helping others so much is what has made ex-pat life so good for me. Thanks for your example.

Your old high school buddy,

Tom S.

Rotary San Miguel de Allende Midday

VP Programs and Peace

For more information on Volunteering, click here

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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