Retiring in MexicoAsk the Guru! Click here to take the test to see where you should retire.
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Why retire in Mexico? One obvious answer: it's cheaper. While prices vary from one place to the next, it is still possible to live modestly on $700 a month in some areas without having to move into someone's garage. For those on a more extravagant budget, you might be able to buy your dream home on the beach for $500k instead of $2 million. Electronics tend to cost the same or more as in the US, but the cost of housing and eating out is usually much cheaper. Utilities are cheaper and property taxes are very low. Quality clothing is hard to find; most people (Mexicans and foreigners) who have the opportunity splurge on clothing while on trips abroad. Your grocery bill will be modest if you stick to basic supplies, but the range and quality of products is much less than in Canada, the United States, and Europe.
Another advantage of retiring in Mexico is the low cost of labor. It is easy to find help, whether you are looking for a maid, a gardener, a caretaker or someone to help with your home repairs. I might add that like everywhere else, home repairs are not likely to be without some problems and cost overruns, but the handicrafts, tiles and artwork in Mexico are so attractive that remodeling and decorating a home is a real pleasure.
Living in Mexico brings me back to a simpler lifestyle --- more like when I was young. People are not afraid of each other and will always help you. It's ok to talk to children and they often come up and practice their English or ask questions. In fact your neighbor's children could become a big part of your life and you might end up with a few adopted Mexican grandchildren.
Need to change the date of your airline ticket with a Mexican airlines? Many of them allow changes for a minimal fee. Need to make a phone call? Chances are someone will answer the phone. Plus, you really don't need a car to get around. And, no one will ever refuse to let you use their bathroom. Things like that just don't happen in Mexico.
There don't seem to be so many rules in Mexico. You can take your dog almost anywhere, even into many restaurants. My Mexican friend told me, "Oh, we have rules. We just ignore them". My friend went to take a test for his Mexican driver's license. When he got there at the appointed time there were many people waiting to take their tests, but no officials. An hour later the official arrived and declared "You all passed!" and issued the new licenses.
If you are living in Mexico with an FM3 (residency visa), you can sign up for IMSS medical insurance for about $250 a year. At least one private insurance plan allows for treatment in the United States for a range of the most serious medical problems, including cancer and heart disease. Prescription drugs are cheaper, and many drugs do not require a prescription. For minor ailments you can ask the advice of a pharmacist. Some Americans do prefer to get their medical treatment in the states.
There are about 250 nursing homes in Mexico ranging from independent living to Alzheimer's care facilities.
The cost is about 1/10th of the cost in the US, and many retirees enjoy the good climate and
casual atmosphere. The Lake Chapala area is popular due to its mild climate and proximity to excellent medical
care in Guadalajara.
Alicia's Convalescent Complex in Ajijic is quite nice. The costs range from $1000 to $1200 depending on the level of care. The units have less than 10 people each. There are no planned activities but for those able to get around there are many activities at the Lake Chapala Society. See this article in USA today for more info.
So, where should I retire? There are many things to consider. Do you need to be close to the border or a major airport for frequent visits
with the grandchildren? Do you like large cities, or living in the country? Do you need to be close to the best medical care? Steamy jungles or dry deserts?
What are you hobbies? Do you like water sports
or do you prefer art museums? Take our test and let the Guru help you
decide the best spot to retire. You just check off the answers on our questionnaire.
Where to retire in Mexico
Here is a list of rankings for some of the places we cover in Mexico.
Acapulco, Ajijic, Aticama, Bacalar, Barra de Navidad, Batopilas, Bucerias, Campeche, Cancun, Chacala, Chapala, Chetumal, Cholula, Colima, Copper Canyon, Cozumel, Creel, Cuernavaca, Dolores Hidalgo, East Cape, El Rosario, Ensenada, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Guayabitos, Huatulco, Isla Mujeres, Ixtapa, Izamal, La Manzanilla, La Paz, Loreto, Los Cabos, Mahahual, Mazatlan, Merida, Mexico City, Mineral de Pozos, Morelia, Mulege, Nuevo Vallarta, Oaxaca, Patzcuaro, Playa Del Carmen, Progreso, Puebla, Puerto Escondido, Puerto Morelos, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Banda, Real de Catorce, San Blas, San Carlos, San Cristobal de las Casas, San Miguel de Allende, San Pancho, Sayulita, Teacapan, Tijuana, Todos Santos, Tulum, Valladolid, Veracruz, Xalapa, Xilitla, Zacatecas, Zihuatanejo,
Ask the Guru what is the best place to retire in Mexico.