Relocation before expatriation

It’s been a little over a month since I’ve posted an update and a lot has transpired in that time. The result has been many, many piles like this one currently consuming our living space (most much larger). After reading this some will say, ‘um, duh!’ and they would be correct. Even so, let me explain our path.

Our original idea was to sell the RV and remain in our current home until our place in Puerto Aventuras was ready two years from now. After that we would split our time with the majority being down in Mexico. We built our home in 2009 and got great rates so when we ran the numbers we felt the continued mortgage could be justified – at least short to medium term. We thought of using our current home as a US base for family visits, resident address, storage for all our junk but importantly, an insurance policy if things didn’t work out we’d have a place to return to immediately. Although we loved the Two Expats story of basically selling everything but the clothes on their back, it seemed too big a first step for us.

We briefly looked at the possibility of Air B&B to cover some of the expenses while away but after researching found that was much more involved than it seemed so probably not for us initially. The alternative was ‘drain and lock’ with some upgrades to our security system which we agreed might be just fine for a while. So it was settled, until…Tracy did some deeper diving into exactly what full time RVers as well as many ex-pats do. That research led to a chain of events resulting in the small representative sample of endless junk piles depicted that we are frantically sorting through now (technically, at the moment I’m writing while Tracy sleeps since she would not appreciate me packing at 4am!).

In short, she found many/most people relocate to one of a handful of states that are shall we say, more “free-spirit friendly” including Florida, Texas and few others. There are pro’s and con’s to each but the primary reasons are state taxes, convenience of vehicle registration and residency. When we ran the numbers again but this time factoring in annual state income and other taxes and our previous case evaporated. This is where some readers may say to themselves, “um, duh!”, to which I would reply, “agreed but hey we’re new to this, give us a break!”. Buckle up, the rest moves quickly.

In the span of just a few days we went from simply considering the potential of an eventual move to Houston in maybe 18-24 months to our house being listed for sale with a hard move-out date of May 1! How did this happen? We say fate. I happened to mention we were considering relocating to Texas to the company I now work for. Coincidentally, they had just won a major project in Dallas and unbeknownst to me were in need of more boots on the ground. So by adjusting the time-line and city of the plan we had conceived just a couple days previous, we were looking at a win/win opportunity with even more financial justification. Within hours we had committed with no turning back. Crazy right?

The plan went from selling the RV and keeping the house to the exact opposite.  We’re now keeping the RV to be used as a sort of rolling home base to be closer to whatever family we happen to visit when back.

Now I realize I’ve used a lot of words to describe our personal thought process and our circumstances are somewhat unique. However, when planning a move south of the border some may not consider the entire financial picture of holding on to your current place and/or state of residency. Even without the added perk of a job offer, when you run the numbers you may find relocation before expatriation is a good option for you as well.


[Update: As of 3/2019, our plans have once again been modified some.  Turns out we’ll be relocating to Atlanta, GA before our final relocation to TX.  There’s a story, maybe for another time.]

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