Americans live a a variety of settings, from border cities and resorts to big cities and Spanish colonial towns. There are over one million US citizens living full-time in Mexico; no one knows the real number, since there are thousands “living” in Mexico but under a tourist (temporary) visa.
What are Mexico's key advantages compared to other countries?
Mexico living embraces a unique combination of lifestyles and experiences, found nowhere else on the planet. We call it “foreign and familiar”, referring to the easy living assets only found in Mexico (Connectivity, Community, Care, Climate and Costco!). You can search the world, and not find another land as rich culturally and yet is so accessible and filled with ‘back-home’ comforts.
Is it safe to live in Mexico?
In a word, yes! Personal safety means taking certain extra precautions, especially when driving or as a pedestrian. Capital crime against foreign residents is extremely rare. Regretfully, narco-police encounters have led to tragic outcomes for Mexican society; however American retirees are quite safe when avoiding certain places and situations. Choosing Mexico can help you understand these issues and personal safety measures.
Do I need a Visa?
That depends. Since a standard “tourist card” (normal entrance protocol for vacationers) allows six month stays, many enter and depart using this 180-day window. There are specific benefits tied to becoming a ‘residente’ and these procedures have been greatly simplified for American citizens and others.
Choosing Mexico can provide time-saving guidance to understand and secure visa documentation.
Can I live on $1,000 a month?
Well, not really. Mexico has been promoted for decades as the “cheap living” destination, a distinction that does not reflect reality. Yes, there are significant savings to be realized when compared to US cost-of-living. If you rent an apartment or home, you’ll find that services are drastically less expensive (repairs, housekeeping, gardening, pool service), as are prescription medications, doctor visits, lab testing, internet, cel phones, insurance and dining out. The closer to a border or major tourism center, the more you’ll pay, but still find significant reductions compared to US costs. Same is true for home/condo rental costs.
What about medical care?
Mexico’s private medical care system offers high quality care. Americans with private insurance (purchased in Mexico) are resolute in their pleasure with this system, including its doctors, labs, clinics and hospitals. Non-private care is broadly praised, however highly dependent on where you live in Mexico. In January 2019 Mexico replaced its public health insurance (Seguro Popular) with a new institution known as INSABI. Expats are encouraged to visit a local INSABi office and inquire about signing up; it’s free for MOST (not all) services and medications. However, there are regional variations regarding what’s available and rationing is the model’s baseline.
Private insurance is available for residents up to age 65. Short-term (less than six month stay) programs are sold via private insurance providers. Medicare and US private insurance is not accepted, except in certain circumstances.
Should I bring all my stuff?
That depends. There’s not an expat resident who does not regret bringing certain household items to Mexico (in my case… pyrex dishes!). The arrival of American box stores (Costco, Sam’s, Walmart, Home Depot, Pottery Barn, etc) and home-delivery from Amazon Mexico means there’s a plethora of ways to get familiar brands and products.
Importing your belongings can be facilitated by move-to-Mexico relocation providers who are located across Mexico. But you’re likely to spend thousands of dollars, and come away wondering if there was an easier solution.