Let’s face it, no matter how much we save or how much we work, it sometimes is
just not enough to fund the retirement we’ve always envisioned. Rising costs of
living, medical expenses, and care costs have pushed many baby boomers to think
outside the box when it comes to where they’ll spend their later years. More
American seniors than ever before are flocking to Mexico to spend their retirement.
Not too far from home, Mexico offers an affordable alternative to the United States.
There are many types of care available, ranging from independent living to receiving
Places like Puerto Vallarta or San Miguel de Allende already have established expat
communities so the transition is not difficult. Mexico’s lower cost of living means
that a comfortable retirement costs a fraction of what it’d cost in the States. Retirees
can still receive Social Security checks internationally and in order to receive a
temporary Mexican resident visa, hopeful residents must have a net income of about
$1,553/month plus $520/month for each dependent. The average retired American
worker receives $1,294/month so retiring as a couple in Mexico is definitely doable.
With a temporary resident visa (good for four years), you can bring a foreign
registered car and keep the home plates on it. You can also get a Personas Adultas
Mayores (senior citizen’s) card at age 60, which provides discounts on: dental work,
hospital visits, doctor visits, pharmacy costs, lab tests, cultural activities,
transportation, hotel stays, and many other things. If you are 50+ and have a fixed
income, obtaining the necessary paperwork should be a breeze. Even without a
temporary resident visa, an American can spend up to 180 days a year in Mexico
with only a visitor permit.
It’s important to note that most U.S. insurance plans do not cover their customers if
they choose to live abroad in Mexico. Just as in America, it is more expensive to get
insurance coverage after 65 so it pays off to plan ahead. Obviously there are Mexican
insurance companies and oftentimes they have lower premiums than American
companies. Usually the only time insurance becomes overly expensive is if you are
living part-time in more than one country and paying for two plans.
If you do decide to live part time in two countries, it could be a good idea to rent the
house in your home country to help fund your living expenses abroad. Likewise, if
you own a home in each country then you could rent whichever one you are not in
at that moment. One last thing, if you do decide to buy a home in Mexico, it is usually
less expensive to finance your Mexican home from a U.S. bank.
Max Gottlieb is the content manager for Senior Planning in Phoenix, Arizona. Senior
Planning is a free service that helps seniors utilize available benefits and make the
transition into new living arrangements if necessary.