Retiring in New Mexico
This article will take you through the main things you need to consider if you are retiring in New Mexico.
New Mexico, located in the southwestern United States, is a popular retirement destination for many Americans seeking a diverse and peaceful environment with access to outdoor activities, cultural events, and a moderate climate. With its stunning desert landscapes, mountains, and rich history, New Mexico offers a unique retirement experience that attracts many retirees every year. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, New Mexico had a population of approximately 2.1 million people, with over 17% of the population being over the age of 65, making it one of the top states with a large retirement population.
What age can you retire in New Mexico?
Like many states, New Mexico has no specific retirement age that is mandated by law. This means that individuals are free to retire whenever they choose, as long as they are able to financially support themselves. However, there are some age-related benefits and considerations for retirees in New Mexico:
Social Security benefits: The earliest age at which you can begin receiving Social Security benefits is 62, but if you delay taking benefits, your monthly payments will increase. Full retirement age (FRA) is between 66 and 67, depending on your birth year. Delaying benefits until after FRA can result in even higher monthly payments.
Medicare eligibility: Medicare eligibility begins at age 65, regardless of retirement status. However, if you choose to retire before age 65, you will need to find alternative healthcare coverage until you become eligible for Medicare.
Age discrimination: It is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees or job applicants based on age.
Retirement savings: Regardless of retirement age, it is important for individuals to start saving for retirement as early as possible. Many financial experts recommend saving at least 15% of your income for retirement.
However, like any location, there are both pros and cons to retiring in the state.
Why do people retire to New Mexico?
Diverse environment: New Mexico is known for its diverse culture, from its vibrant cities to its scenic natural areas. Retirees can enjoy living in a diverse environment that offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and cultural experiences.
Moderate climate: New Mexico's climate varies greatly depending on the region, but many areas have a moderate climate with mild winters and warm summers. This makes it an attractive destination for retirees who want to avoid harsh weather conditions.
Outdoor activities: New Mexico is home to numerous national parks, forests, and wilderness areas, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing.
Cultural scene: New Mexico has a rich history and vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and performing arts venues. The state hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the Santa Fe Indian Market, and the Roswell UFO Festival.
What puts people off retiring to New Mexico?
Cost of living: New Mexico's cost of living is generally lower than the national average, which could be an advantage for retirees on a fixed income. However, housing and healthcare costs can be higher than in some other states.
Natural disasters: New Mexico is prone to natural disasters such as wildfires, droughts, and occasional earthquakes, which could be a concern for retirees living in certain areas.
Isolation: New Mexico is a relatively sparsely populated state with vast stretches of desert and wilderness areas, which could be a concern for retirees looking for a more connected and urban environment.
Best places to retire in New Mexico
If New Mexico is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in:
Santa Fe: Known for its art galleries, museums, and stunning architecture, Santa Fe is a popular destination for retirees. The city has a mild climate and offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking and skiing.
Taos: Located in northern New Mexico, Taos is a small town known for its unique culture and stunning natural beauty. The town offers easy access to outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, and fishing, as well as a vibrant art scene.
Las Cruces: Located in the southern part of the state, Las Cruces is a growing city with a low cost of living and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The city is home to several parks and nature preserves, as well as a vibrant downtown area with shops, restaurants, and cultural events.
Alamogordo: This small city is located in the southeastern part of the state and is known for its beautiful desert landscapes and mild climate. The city offers plenty of outdoor activities like hiking and golfing, as well as cultural attractions like the New Mexico Museum of Space History.
Silver City: Located in southwestern New Mexico, Silver City is a charming small town with a strong arts community and easy access to outdoor activities like hiking and camping. The town is also home to several historic sites and museums, making it an ideal destination for history buffs.
In conclusion, New Mexico offers many benefits for potential retirees, from a moderate climate to great opportunities for outdoor activities. However, it’s also important to consider the state’s isolation and sparse population. Always seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in New Mexico, including property taxes, insurance, and living expenses, in order to make an informed decision about whether the state is the right choice for your retirement.
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.