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Mexicans have less debt

De La Rosa argues that the U.S. holds people hostage in the shackles of debt, while that’s not the case in Mexico since most residents own their homes and cars outright.

According to OECD data, this is somewhat true. Mexico has the lowest household debt of all its 36 countries, whereas the U.S. is firmly in the middle, at 19th lowest household debt.

De La Rosa also adds that most Americans can’t cover an unexpected $500 expense. And here he’s right again, a 2023 survey found that a whopping 67% of employees couldn’t afford an unexpected $400 expense.

Probably, because as he points out, many Americans are stuck living in a paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. As of November 2023, LendingClub, the parent company of a digital bank, discovered that 62% of credit card holders do in fact live paycheck to paycheck — including nearly half of those making six figures.

“Living paycheck to paycheck your whole life and being in debt your whole life should be considered poverty, but it’s not,” De La Rosa says. “At least here in Mexico, we own our things. We own our houses. We own our cars. We’re not in debt.”

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America has become unlivable

De La Rosa points out that the American way of living isn’t the only option.

“The U.S. system wants you to spend every waking moment of your life working and paying into a system that will never benefit you,” he says. “Slaving away your whole life just to be retired for a measly 10 years.”

Some Americans are starting to come to the same conclusion. Many are taking to TikTok to wonder if the new American dream is to leave the U.S.

Adalia Aborisade did just that. She moved from Houston to Mexico City to live the more relaxed, less expensive life that De La Rosa speaks about in his video.

Though Aborisade makes $38,000 a year in Mexico — only about two-thirds of her $60,000 salary as a teacher in Texas — she tells CNBC’s Make It that she doesn’t regret it.

“I work fewer hours, I am less stressed and overall my life is just filled with much more positivity and joy,” she says.

Mexico has its challenges

Even though the U.S. isn’t looking so hot right now, moving to Mexico is no piece of cake.

The number of Americans who applied for or renewed residency visas increased by approximately 70% from 2019 to 2022, according to CNBC, citing figures from Mexico’s Migration Policy Unit.

This means that U.S. residents moving to Mexico may face similar problems as they do at home: high housing prices.

And increased migration to Mexico has contributed to an increase in housing prices. The International Monetary Fund reports that the country saw the second-largest housing increase from 2023 to 2024 at 4.72%. The U.S. saw a 2.39% decrease in the same time period.

To keep up with the growing population, Mexico will need to build more than 800,000 new houses a year for the next 20 years, according to estimates from an MIT study published in 2022.

— with files from Serah Louis

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Sabina Wex is a writer and podcast producer in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Fast Company, CBC and more.

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