Retiring to Mexico The place to retire overseas closest to the US

The most obvious reason to consider retiring to Mexico, aside from it offering a great way to live cheaply, is its proximity to the United States and Canada. One can quickly get back to the US if you had to.

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Over 1% of the population in Mexico are Americans and Canadians.

That speaks for itself and makes Mexico one of the best places to retire for Americans.

Why do they find Mexico to be so appealing?

Why do more and more move there each year?

It's a feeling you get very soon after moving here. Something is different. It takes a while then you figure...

It's the pace of life...it is wonderfully relaxing ; a huge selling point to living cheaply in Mexico.

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Here is how to retire in Mexico.

Common objections to taking advantage of retiring to Mexico are:

  • It can't be that cheap
  • Its not safe, the crime rate is out of control
  • There is the language barrier
  • You would be isolated
  • It's too hot
  • The Mexicans don't like Americans

Let's take a look at these objections to a wonderful way to live.

Warning

Before we get started please don't sell your home, pack the car and head for the border. Times are very tough and people are considering or being forced to consider retirement options that have never crossed their minds before.

But there always will be time and you should take the time, for proper planning for any big decision.

Yes relocating to Mexico will put you in one of the best places to retire in the world...bar none. What we would do if we were you is plan a trip for a week or so in the place that has what you want, and you can find almost any climate, level of culture, cheap living and other Americans living there.

Pick the place go visit and if you decide to take the plunge...please, please rent first. As wonderful as Mexico can be it may not be for you...so please be cautious on such a big decision.

Retiring to Mexico cannot be all that cheap

Oh yes it can. You can live very well for $1000 to $2,000 per month or less for a couple. This includes rent and utilities of $400 to $800 a month.

Now this figure does not apply if you want to live in a high rise condo in Acapulco or Mexico City. I am making a basic assumption that you are looking for the best bang for your buck without sacrificing the things we desire in retirement.

This would be a good figure for someone living in The central part of Mexico, with a lot of American retirees to keep you company.

Here are some sample costs of what a couple might pay in Chapala

  • Dinner out with wine(nice place) $30
  • Drs appointment $30
  • Maid 4 to 6 hours $12-$24
  • Teeth cleaning done by dentist $20
  • Phone/internet/cable/month $95
  • Bottled water/month $12
  • Lunch with beer $9

As I stated in the Warning at the top of the page...please rent something first rather than buy your first week in Mexico. In fact it seems cheaper to rent in general. This certainly gives you the flexibility that owning a home does not have.

If a newer area becomes popular you can move. If you really don't adjust well you don't have to worry about trying to sell a home you no longer want in a bad market.

Take my advice, rent first...I retired from real estate and will not make any friends with this suggestion, but it is the best way to go for you.

Retire to Mexico...the crime rate is out of control

If you are talking about the border towns, you are right. Thanks to the demand for illegal drugs, those towns are not safe. However, since those are not considered retirement havens, I would not be concerned about safety in the areas where you would consider retiring.

In those areas it is much safer than the US and a plus for retiring to Mexico rather than a negative.

You will find the Mexican people very friendly and law abiding. The overall crime rate in Mexico is much lower than the US...I doubt this fact surprises anyone. In fact you are 20 times more likely to have an item stolen in the US than in Mexico (per Wikipedia).

We have used common sense in our 9 years living out of the country and have never had an incident of any kind that made us feel unsafe.

kids in MexicoMaking friends in Mexico

There is the language Barrier...I don't speak Spanish

If you move to the Lake Chapala area with so many ex-pats, you don't have to.

You can always be understood if you just try. A great number of Mexicans speak good English especially in the areas containing a lot of Americans.

If you don't want to learn the language that is up to you...however I think it is a very good idea to do so. Another plus is that if you choose an out of the way location that does not have any gringos, its a lot, lot cheaper than those areas that do. It's your choice.

Learning the local language is also just good manners, we are guests in Mexico, the least we can do is to try and learn Spanish. When you do try you will be surprised at the smiles on the faces of the natives. It doesn't matter if you butcher the language, the fact that you are trying is what is important to the locals.

If you want to brush up before you go I would try Rosetta Stone. I own it and recommend the product. If you really want to dive in there are immersion "schools" in almost every town with a large population of "gringo" retirees.

Frugal tip

if you do learn the language you will have so many more options to really live cheaply. If you speak Spanish, you can live anywhere you want in Mexico and not just in the gringo havens.

I would be isolated by retiring to Mexico

The US embassy estimates the number of Americans living in Mexico to be 600,000. I have heard estimates as high as 1,000,000 but the embassy figures are probably closer to the truth. There are also around 300,000 Canadians mostly seasonal visitors.

This should give you the confidence that you will not be alone.

The largest group of American retirees in the world lives in what they call "Lakeside" 25 miles south of Guadalajara the second largest city in Mexico. It's on the shores of Lake Chapala, Ajijic is one of the towns. About 40,000 Norte Americanos (gringos) live here. For some folks, being around other Americans is a big deal, here you go.

Remember Guadalajara is less than 1100 miles to Phoenix,Arizona. Mexicans don't like Americans

No one likes the ugly American, including this American. Unless you are fit this last category you will find the Mexican people to be very friendly, polite, concerned about family, and enjoying life at an unhurried pace.

If you are used to having things done your way and quickly, you should stay home and pay more. If you want to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle with other like minded retirees then you should by all means consider retiring to Mexico.

Retiring to Mexico...It's too hot

That depends on what climate you want. Guadalajara is at 4,000 feet giving it a spring like to warm feel all year. If you want hot, I would consider La Paz on the Baja. The ocean breeze keeps it from being stifling and you have some great fishing to fill your days.

The bottom line, retiring to Mexico offers beaches, Mountains, and deserts. You can literally choose the climate you wish to enjoy. Climate is what makes it one of the best places to retire in the world.

Retiring to Mexico...how about health care?

Why do we think people in other countries don't get sick?

People in Mexico need good health care just like Americans or Canadians or French.

In some places it is excellent in others it is very good. A lot of Mexican doctors and dentists have trained in the USA. And that goes for US doctors as well...Guadalajara has a medical School with many American students.

You can buy health insurance for $270 a year...that is no typo, $270 per year.

The doctors, including specialists, still make house calls in Mexico for around $30 about the same you would be charged in their office. If you are hospitalized a private room will set you back $50 a day including your meals.

Prescription drugs are half what they cost in the USA.

Health care should not be a deterrent to retiring to Mexico

Conclusion

Despite the fact that retiring to Mexico is a way of living cheaply, the number one reason that you should consider moving there is a slower more relaxing pace of life.

You can walk on cobblestone streets to a cafe to have your morning coffee, in beautiful weather...it is just too nice to expect or desire the hustle of NYC for example.

So retire to Mexico, spend half or less what you spend in the US, and enjoy a slower, healthier life style. 

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