Retiring in Mexico: a complete guide

1 min readLast updated June 18, 2024by Rachel Carey

This article takes you through how you can join the nearly two million Americans living in Mexico and what you need to know if you plan to retire there.

Summary

  • Mexico attracts Americans for retirement with its warmer weather and lower cost of living, with nearly two million already residing there.

  • A couple would need an estimated $2,500 per month to enjoy a comfortable retirement in Mexico; however, the final amount will depend on your location and lifestyle.

  • If you want to stay in Mexico indefinitely, you must apply for a permanent resident visa and meet the income requirements.

  • A financial advisor can help you plan for retirement and meet all the financial requirements you need to meet your goals.  

Is Mexico a good place to retire?

If you see yourself enjoying your retirement in Mexico, you’re not the only one. With nearly two million Americans having made the move already, the draw of Mexico ranges from warmer weather to a lower cost of living.  

Want to retire in Mexico?

A financial advisor can help you plan and realize your dream retirement.

Choosing where to spend your retirement is a big decision, and Mexico has many attractive positives for retirees.  

In many ways, Mexico is a home away from home. Sharing a border with the US means it retains many stores and brands you’ll know and love. Plus, there are plenty of retirees and expats from the States across the country, making the move a little bit easier.  

If you decide to make the move, there are other important factors you need to consider, including choosing the right location, the cost of healthcare, and visa considerations.  

Match with a financial advisor and get expert retirement advice

Planning for retirement takes a lot of strategizing and saving, especially if you plan to move abroad.

A financial advisor works with you to develop a retirement plan that will help you achieve your goals and realize your dream retirement.

Match with a financial advisor best suited to meet your needs by answering a few questions below:

How to retire in Mexico from the US? 

If you’re serious about settling down in Mexico, you must ensure you have the right visa.  

If you’re heading to the country for less than six months to find out if it’s the right place for you, then a tourist visa will suffice. However, if you have more concrete plans to stay in Mexico in the long term, you must apply for a resident visa. 

Alternatively, you can apply for a temporary resident visa, which will last for up to four years.

If you wish to remain in Mexico indefinitely, you must apply in person for a permanent resident visa at the Consular Office closest to your place of residence.

To get this visa, you must have proof of legal status in the US, an application form, the original and copy of your passport, and evidence that you meet the income requirements.

What are the income requirements to retire in Mexico?

When applying for your visa, there are a number of checks you need to pass, one of which is about income.

According to the Mexican consulate in Houston, if you’re applying for a permanent resident visa through pension or retirement and are older than 64 years, you must prove financial solvency through either of two options.

You must prove you have either:

1. Investments or bank accounts with a monthly ending balance of at least 20,000 days of the current general minimum wage in Mexico City. This is approximately $293,000.

2. Pension that yields a monthly income of at least 500 days of the current general minimum wage in Mexico City after taxes during each of the previous six months. This is approximately $7,300.

How much does it cost to retire in Mexico? 

“How much money do I need to retire in Mexico?” is a big question for many people considering retiring in the country.   

It is estimated that $2,500 per month for one couple would afford a very comfortable lifestyle, covering your home, transport, and private health insurance.  

Of course, costs will vary significantly depending on where you settle down. For example, one of Mexico’s vibrant cities may be more expensive than a rural location.  

Choosing a rural setting will cost you far less, but it will mean you have less access to the culture and amenities that the country’s urban hotspots can offer. However, this might be what you’re looking for in your retirement.  

Where are the best places to retire in Mexico? 

The best place to retire in Mexico depends on what you’re looking for from your post-work life.  

Kicking back on the beach? Roaming the mountains? Or drinking in the culture among the hustle and bustle of big city life? The options are plenty, and each holds its charm.  

The below locations are widely considered to be some of the safest in the country and are popular with both retirees and expats: 

  • Puerto Escondido 

  • Puerto Vallarta 

  • Riviera Maya 

  • Lake Chapala and Ajijic 

  • San Miguel de Allende 

  • Guanajuato 

  • La Paz 

  • Santiago de Querétaro 

  • Mérida 

Safety should be a priority, and there are certainly places in Mexico that are considered safer than others. A handy place to check this out is the US State Department website, which gets updated regularly with areas that are deemed unsafe.

What are my healthcare options in Mexico? 

Mexico has a first-rate healthcare system that is also reasonably priced.

This makes it a premium destination for healthcare, making up more than 40% of all medical and dental tourism trips worldwide.  

So, what can you expect from Mexican healthcare? Well-qualified and experienced doctors, advanced technology, and well-maintained hospitals in most cities and towns. 

Of course, this comes at a price since the Mexican healthcare system is privatized. But if you’re paying, it’s worth noting that Mexican healthcare is approximately 50% cheaper than in the US.  

The IMSS system (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social) is generally offered to Mexican employees as part of the country’s national Social Security program, but retirees can apply for this, too. However, participation cost rises with age. You may also be able to use your own private healthcare insurance, but this may be limited if your cover policy is not based in Mexico. 

What is the housing market like in Mexico?

Like anywhere, the cost of housing in Mexico varies depending on where you live. However, the strength of the US dollar against the peso creates great opportunities for US citizens who want to retire to Mexico.  

Renting in a city can cost as little as $400 per month, while buying a home would start at around $200,000. This cost may be even lower if you opt to live in a more rural area. 

Buying a home in Mexico can be undertaken with a direct deed involving a local bank trust or corporation. This is a safe way to purchase a home and ensures you are granted the necessary homeownership rights.  

What happens to my retirement benefits if I retire in Mexico?  

Your retirement savings and benefits will be necessary to finance your retired lifestyle in Mexico.  

The good news is that you’ll be eligible to receive your Social Security payments from the US government as long as you would have been eligible while living in the US.

However, it’s also important to be aware that US citizens and permanent residents are taxed on their worldwide income — so you’ll still need to file tax returns as you would if you were retired in the US.  

What type of lifestyle can I expect from retirement in Mexico? 

The two important things you need to consider when choosing where you retire are the kind of lifestyle you want to lead as a retiree and how you will afford that lifestyle. 

As well as being a place offering home comforts, Mexico offers a broad range of lifestyles for retirees. Whether you want to live an urban lifestyle in one of its bustling cities or enjoy the seclusion of small-town life, there’s no shortage of options.  

There are also plenty of places for adventure, from jungles to deserts to snorkeling hotspots, and those looking for culture will find Spanish colonial cities and vibrant cityscapes rife for exploration.  

Other pluses include the country’s warm climate, a low cost of living, and the nation’s famously delicious cuisine.  

There’s a reason why so many American citizens move to Mexico. There are many financial and lifestyle benefits, from the low cost of living to the warm weather, great food, and beautiful locations. As long as you do your research and ensure you can fund the retirement you want in Mexico, then it’s certainly a viable option.  

Get expert retirement advice

It’s always worth consulting a financial expert when making significant life decisions like moving abroad – so why not speak to a financial advisor and get their take?

A financial advisor can help you plan and realize your dream retirement.  

Find your financial advisor with Unbiased today.

Frequently asked questions

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.

Want to retire in Mexico?

A financial advisor can help you plan and realize your dream retirement.