Retirement Around the World – Mexico

Published on October 8, 2013

Mexico is our neighbor to the south and many Americans enjoy moving there for retirement because of its climate, culture and proximity to the United States.  Mexico offers everything from big cities to small towns to everything in between.  The country has a long and interesting history making it a fun country to explore.

Retirement for Mexicans

In Mexico the normal retirement age is 65, although a person is able to receive reduced benefits at age 60.  Under Mexican law, all salaried employees are covered under social security; this means that people in the formal sector are covered but people who are in the informal sector would have to opt in and then they pay not only the employee portion but also the employer portion.

Under social security in Mexico, those covered receive medical care, disability and survivor pensions, and maternity benefits.  While some companies do offer defined contribution plans and other forms of long-term saving programs, they are not common and many companies don’t offer any pension besides social security.

There is a program in Mexico called “The 70 and Over Program”, which gives a stipend to those 70 and over who live in a town with up to 30,000 people.  Participants in this program receive information about health services as well as their stipend of 500 pesos per month ($39.38).

As of 2012, Mexico has universal health coverage; so, all Mexican citizens are covered and are able to go to the doctor for their medical needs.  Prior to 2012, health coverage was mostly for people working in the private sector or for the government; it is now afforded to all citizens.

Americans in Mexico

As an American retiring to Mexico you will have a lot of options. The country has many different and distinct areas to choose from – mountains, beaches, cities and small towns. Depending on where you decide to live in Mexico will affect the type of life you lead.  Spending time exploring Mexico and its different areas is extremely important; getting to know the area that you want to live in may mean the difference between truly enjoying your retirement and wishing you were elsewhere.

Once you have found the perfect place for your retirement, it’s time to decide if you want to rent or buy.  If you are planning on living in one of the major cities, like Mexico City, home prices will be more expensive than in other parts of the country.   In Mexico City, rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the city center for around $1,000 per month; while in Guadalajara, a three-bedroom apartment in the city center is about $600 per month.

When traveling to Mexico you are able to stay in the country for six months if you don’t work.  If you plan on staying year round you will have to apply for a visa.  The visa you would need if you want to stay longer than six months is either the FM – 3 Non – Immigration Visa or FM-2 Immigration Visa.  These two visas will allow you to stay in the country longer and with the FM-2 Immigration Visa you will be able to have the rights of a citizen (minus voting) and be able to work.

Another thing to consider is that you will have to buy health insurance.  Mexico’s health care system is very good and much cheaper than in the U.S.  If you obtain a FM- 2 or 3 visa then you will be able to take part in the Mexico’s universal health care coverage for about $300 per year. You will be able to get many of your prescriptions and visit the doctor for a fraction of what it would cost in the United States.

Aside from health care, in general everything is more affordable.  You can live very comfortably in Mexico for under $2,000 a month.  Depending on the lifestyle you want to lead, you may find yourself spending less or more than $2,000 a month but this is a good benchmark.

A Slower Pace of Life

On top of all of these things traveling to Mexico is very easy.  With major airports throughout the country, getting back to the U.S. is only a matter of hours.  This is one of the big reasons that retirees are flocking there.

With the increase in expats moving to Mexico, many retirement communities have begun to spring up, leading to a higher standard of living in these areas.  If you choose to live in a retirement community, you will have the comforts of home as well as many English speakers surrounding you.

Your day-to-day life will slow down considerably when you move to Mexico and adjusting to this is half the battle.  Once you become accustomed to the slower pace of life, the real fun begins.  Some of the most popular activities in Mexico are: exploring ancient Mayan sites, water sports, jungle excursions, golfing and going to local fairs and festivals.  These are just a few of the many things that you can do throughout Mexico.

Living in Mexico gives you the opportunity to experience many new things.  The Mexican culture is rich with tradition and meaning, and the beauty of it can be seen in everyday life.  You will also be able to learn about the Mexican culture through its food.  Many Americans think they know what Mexican food is, but there is so much more – complex sauces and dishes leave your mouth watering and the love that they are made with fills your heart.

Life in Mexico is different than in the United States and it will take some getting used to, but if you go in with an open mind and heart you will find that Mexico is a very warm and inviting country.  It is always a good idea to learn the language of the country you are moving to and this is especially important if you plan on living in a small town or village.  While some Mexicans do speak English, you should never assume that they do.


The resources below contain useful information:

Health Care and Social Security in Mexico

Universal Health Care in Mexico

Social Welfare Programs in Mexico

Mexican Pensions

Mexico Country Study

Mexican Employee Benefits

Cost Of Living


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