How much money do you need to retire comfortably to Mexico and what are the pros and cons of retiring in Mexico?
Depending on your lifestyle and what you need to live a happy life, you might be able to live a comfortable life in Mexico for as much as 1500US$. This includes everything, even participation in the Mexican Health Insurance IMSS.
It also includes your rent for a 2 bedroom house and all its utility bills and taxes.
Depending on where you are going to live in Mexico you might need a little more or less. If you plan on living in an area without tourists and in a rural location, you might be able to live for just over 1000 US$. If you move to a tourist hotspot you might need to add as much as 500-1000US$. For in those areas everything is more expensive, like taxes, prices for food and entertainment and even utilities.
Although people believe you have several visa options to retire in Mexico, this is no longer true. The Mexican Immigration Department (INM) has become more strict to revisiting the country on a regular basis. So the tourist visa upon arrival is not an option anymore. (read also: More strict visa rules for Mexico)
You better consider applying for a resident permit, either temporary with he option to extend, or a permanent and be over and done with for good. Since that resident permit has no expiration date. (read also: Applying for a temporary resident visa for Mexico) But the easiest visa is the temporary Resident visa, with the easiest financial requirements.
But to retire in Mexico might not be for you, and it is my advice to consider it well before burning your ships back home.
I give you a list of pros and cons on living in Mexico, for you to consider
1. You are going to love the weather in Mexico
Because Mexico is so divers, you can pick your climate. You can either live up in the cooler mountains, or near a beach in the hot humid sub tropical climate of the Yucatan Peninsula, or the more moderate climate of Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Escondido or settle down in one of the many bays in the Baja California Peninsula.
Mexico has a climate zone for everyone.
2. Your healthcare options in Mexico are good
Mexican healthcare system is improving year by year, it still is under the world’s average rating by a few points.
But because it is improving it is also more and more available even in more rural areas. Some healthcare procedures may be more affordable in Mexico but others might not be. Overall the price for medical care and medicine in Mexico is about the same or just a little lower as in the United States and Western Europe.
You will notice your grocery bills and eating out receipts to be much lower than you are used to. Although in 2022 prices are rising due to inflation, world economics and recuperation from the pandemic, it is still pretty affordable to live in Mexico when it comes to daily spendings. You will notice that in supermarkets eand farmers markets fruits and vegetables follow the seasonal changes with low prices and great availability.
But also beverages and alcohol will be much lower in price than you are used to.
4. Getting around in Mexico is an easy proces and very affordable.
Mexico has good intercity connections through intercity busses, and airlines. And it is very affordable, reliable and safe.
So, when you can no longer drive your own car, you still can get around easily. In your city or residency there will be local taxis, or Uber/InDriver available, and the city busses and collectivo’s that will only cost a few peso.
And if you do want to drive yourself, there are car rentals everywhere, but you also are allowed to buy a car, register it and insure it in your own name once you have a resident permit.
5. There is a lively expat community in Mexico.
If you become a little more dependable on contact with others or support you can join one of the many lively expat communities in Mexico. Mexico also offers the ability to groups of people to share land and build a community. So there are communities in the areas of Oaxaca and around Puerto Vallarta, that offer care and attention to retirees that share the same life philosophy and want to live closer together.
In the cities you can meet-up with active expats in coffee shops and during activities, most of them are announced on bulletin boards and in local Facebook groups.
Things to consider that are not so good in Mexico are:
A. Mexico tends to be a noisy place especially in the cities and in tourist places
I remember living in downtown Playa del Carmen, with the baker on a bike coming by every 20 minutes honking away to demand attention for his bread, and he was not the only one. After a while you know all the tunes off the sales vans and people: “El panadero con el Pan….Soni Gaz…….Agua, Agua”
The pro is that almost everything is delivered on your doorstep with only a few peso extra costs. The downside is that it can be very noisy during daytime and in the early evenings.
Add to that barking dogs, traffic noise and neighbours having a soundblaster or a fiesta and you have lost your quiet spot.
Most tourist areas are reconsidering volume and times for beach parties and life music and only allow a certain decibel and have a mandatory cut-off around midnight.
And even in rural areas during weekends and public holidays it can be very loud.
B. You’ll need to be aware of the crime situation for your area.
Crime is part of every day live everywhere int he world. But when you are a foreigner living abroad, you might be easier to victimize. Especially in areas where local people are poor and struggling.
But do not get blown away by all the badd news in the newspapers and on the internet, shared by others. Those are incidents. Thousands if not millions of people, both local and expat live here in peace and never see anything violent or never are victims to crime.
Incidents happen, same as back home. Yet it will not hurt to know that Baja California Sur and Yucatan are among the safest state in Mexico to live. (read also: How safe is Cancun?)
C. Piped water is not guaranteed everywhere in Mexico.
There are areas in Mexico that struggle with water shortage. And it is becoming a problem. Many states have 1 day on, 1 day off the piped water programs, especially during periods with less rain.
There are also rural areas that have no pipelines, and use wells. If you are buying land make sure you know how the water rules are in your State when you want to drill for a private well.
Many people use cisterns, and have them filled by water-trucks.
Drinking water comes in bottles and barrels.
Water might be more expensive than you are used to.
D. You will need to plan extra time for everything in Mexico
Whether it is a delivery guy sending you a text your parcel is on its way, or going to a government office. You need more time than you plan, always. Even in supermarkets time is a different concept. One thing you learn is patience. And if you are an impatient person, Mexico might not be the best country to live.
You will be stuck in a lot of bureaucracy, inconsistency and ignorance from employers when you try to get something done in Mexico. (read also: Waiting time Resident Permit Cancun)
E. Traffic in Mexico can be challenging.
Every Western country knows rush-hour, those peak hours when businesses start and finish when roads get congested. In Mexico there are no set times for this to happen. It can even happen when drivers spot a police car and do not want to risk a ticket.
Cattle on the road, public works, checkpoints, but also road conditions all work against you and traffic is chaotic to say the least. Overtaking where you cannot, speeding while texting, trucks loosing rubber and failing brakes, it is daily life in Mexico when you participate in traffic. (see also: Checkpoints in Mexico)
The pros versus the cons when retiring in Mexico
There is a lot of positives in this country, the picturesque villages, the scenic landscapes, the intens blue Caribbean Sea, the happy hours and endless tequila shots. You will all do this under a lovely sun and probably near a coast, where most retirees seem to end up.
You will discover challenges, but what country does not have those?
The fact is that you are looking for a better lifestyle, more affordable, and more comfortable. It is up to you to decide whether or not you can achieve that in Mexico.
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher, and iPhone photographer. Always horizon bound preferably on a motorcycle.
Currently, she lives in a desert village in Baja California Sur in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.
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