Everyone says Mexico retirement is cheap. While this is definitely true, it's good to know exactly how it's cheap – i.e. for which items in your retirement budget will it save you money? While the savings start with one of the most significant points – your retirement property – there are many other items that will help you stay well within your budget and enjoy a few more luxuries.
The following are a few of the items where you can save money by retiring in Mexico:
Mexico real estate – Quality properties in Mexico are available for any budget. There are two important points here. One is that any given property would be considerably cheaper than a similar property in a similar location in the U.S. or any other place that offers the quality of life and services available in Mexico. The other point is that the lowest price available for a suitable retirement property in a warm weather location is simply that much lower than in the U.S. A cozy, 1 story home in a pleasant neighborhood, near services in an established tourist region can be found for $45,000 USD, as can a beautiful beachfront lot.
Many retirees also use their Mexico property only for the winter, and in the summer rent it out; this also allows retirees to keep their budget in tact, and afford a nicer property. In this case, retirees will want to make sure they choose a location and property suitable for their rental market.
Health care – This can be one of the most major expenses during retirement, and retirees need both accessible prices, and high-quality care. Mexico's private hospitals have been evaluated to be on par with good private hospitals in the U.S. Prices, on the other hand, are usually 50-70% cheaper. Visits to the doctor and medicine are also considerably more affordable.
People who live in Mexico also notice that it's much easier to stay healthy in the first place. The warm weather makes it easier to go for walks, jog, swim at the beach or in a pool or go for a bike ride. Fresh fruit and vegetables are also available.
Food & Groceries – Whether a retiree likes to buy their regular groceries at Walmart, or they prefer the locally grown produce from the local market, prices for fresh food are very accessible; many of the oceanfront locations offer freshly caught seafood at prices you wouldn't believe. Not interested in healthy food? Tacos, tamales, and a whole variety of other Mexican food, as well as American style fast food are available at nice little restaurants for good prices. American fast food chains are fairly common too, but after a while they stop looking cheap; the other choices are so well priced!
Household Items and Large-Ticket Purchases – Again, good prices can be found at large stores like Walmart, and the Mexican counterparts. There are a number of national chain stores which are dedicated specifically to household items and clothing. These combine Mexican made products with international brands at similarly low prices. Many little furniture shops also sell both in a rustic-style and cleaner, more modern finish for prices even cheaper than the big stores.
Bills – One important factor is that no heating is necessary! For the summer months, most people use air conditioners, but higher efficiency units allow residents to keep saving on electricity. The "normal" electricity rates aren't much different from standard prices in the U.S., but the first 300 kwh are heavily subsidized by the government – less than half the average rates in the U.S. - meaning that during the rest of the year, and for those who are already in the practice of cutting down on electric use, will see very, very low electric bills. Natural gas and water offer a very low, flat-rate price. Property taxes tend to be much lower than you would expect.
Going out – Of course, the first big point of saving money during retirement is just making sure that you stick the budget, but the next important thing is to go out and enjoy life. The savings in the basic, necessary expenses listed above mean that you as a retiree will not only find it easier to stick to your budget, but also to have more cash to enjoy life's little luxuries.
Going out and enjoying this part of life likewise costs less. Everything from going out for international food to going to the movies, to owning and maintaining a boat will cost less here than back home. Some of the international luxuries (top golf courses, 5-star gourmet dining, etc.) will have similar prices to back home, but it will even be easier to afford these with so many other savings. In any case, most evenings or days out will still be very affordable, and possibly even more enjoyable!
Tours and Sight-Seeing – Another important part of retirement is finally having the time to get out there and see places. Besides actually having a huge number of ancient pyramids, old colonial cities, museums, art galleries, nature reserves and similar places to visit, Mexico's tour prices are low, buses are comfortable and air-conditioned, and, in general, it's very convenient to take advantage of this rich part of Mexico's cultural heritage.
Trips Home and Travel – As mentioned above, many retirees like to live in Mexico for the winter, and return home for the summer. Mexico has a growing number of international airports with a growing number of direct flights to locations throughout North America. Direct flights are short – anywhere between 2 and 5 hours, making trips home easy and comfortable. While the short distances have already made flights accessibly priced, the growing demand has also brought discount airlines from the U.S. (such as Sunshine Express) and Canada (such as Westjet) which offer direct flights at a lower price than many of the stopover options.
But there's no reason to stay in North America. Airports like Cancun International are emerging as international hubs between North and South America, as well as Europe and other locations. This means that affordable direct or connecting flights to many other locations allow you to enjoy easy access to world travel during retirement. Many North Americans and even Europeans realize there's so much to discover in Mexico, that they seldom feel the need to pack up and see other countries, but the point is that the option is there, and you're still going to save some money (at least on the plane ticket!)
Live cheap AND enjoy life ...
What's important in retirement is not just living cheap and within your budget, but have a high quality of life, and enjoying yourself while doing it. Mexico retirement is one of the best options to combine these factors. Saving money always feels easier when you can have fun doing it!
TOPMexicoRealEstate.com; Mexico's Leading Network of Specialists for Finding and Purchasing Mexican Properties Safely
About the Author:
Thomas Lloyd, Founder and President of TOPMexicoRealestate.com
Originally from Indiana, and a graduate of Purdue University in the Krannert School of Management, he holds a degree in management with a speciality in finances. Lloyd has several diplomas and certifications in Mexico Real Estate topics and is one of only a few professionals to hold Mexico's new degree in real estate. This degree is accompanied by a Professional Identification Number, "cedula profesional," which is issued for trained professionals such as those in the medical field, or in law. He has over 15 years of direct experience in Mexico's business culture.