People are living much longer these days so retiring in your 60s means that your retirement savings may need to last a lot longer than in the past. Are you sure that you have enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle on your limited income?
This is a challenge many Americans are facing these days as the cost of living is rising all the time. Either you have to go very frugal and really tighten the belt, or you try to find a place where the cost of living is low.
While there are many places within the US where you can go and enjoy a lifestyle that suits you, if it is a low cost of living area, then chances are it isn’t as nice a place to live as you would want.
Which is why Mexico should be on your radar. You can retire there and enjoy excellent weather, delicious food and a laid back lifestyle for a fraction of what it would cost to do so in Florida, for example.
In this article, I will give you some of the things you need to know to be able to retire in Mexico.
1. Know your expenses
The cost of living is lower than in the US, but it does highly depend on where you plan to live, what your lifestyle is like and some other factors.
Do research to find the right area that is going to be cheap, safe and have the infrastructure that you need to live a good life there. You may find an area that is very economical, but the health care services are lacking or it isn’t safe to live.
There are websites that can give you the breakdown of the cost of everything you need in a particular city. This is a good starting point to understand if it is going to be within your budget.
Then, write down all of your expenses. Make sure you include health insurance as you will be paying out of pocket for health insurance in Mexico. You can shop around for the best prices on sites like Internationalinsurance.com, but it’s up to you to find a plan. Also, any expenses you will be bringing with you from abroad need to be accounted for. These items include subscriptions for things like Netflix or loans that are still open from the US like student loans.
2. Get a visa
Luckily, for retirees, Mexico makes it easy to come and live without having to jump through too many bureaucratic hoops. There are different visas, though, so you need to know the right one.
If you are planning to come down to do a sort of dry run to see if you would like living there, then a tourist visa is for you. It allows you to stay up to six months which is enough time to judge whether Mexico is actually the right fit or not.
If you do decide to live there, then you will need a temporary resident visa which lasts four years. Before you leave the US you should go to your local consulate to apply as there are some requirements to qualify. For instance, you will need to show a certain amount of income that comes from outside of Mexico. This can be income from a retirement fund or if you work remotely and have a steady income from that.
Once you have been there for four years, you can then apply for a permanent visa so you don’t have to keep reapplying for a temporary one every four years. Once again, you will need to show that you have a minimum amount of money coming in and a certain amount of savings to qualify. If you get accepted then you will have the right to work in Mexico so you can add to your income locally if you can find a job.
3. Learn the language
Though you technically can get by with only knowing English, your life will be much easier if you learn at least some basic Spanish. Relying on locals to speak English can cause some problems especially when you are dealing with paperwork. And hiring a translator can be costly.
If you can speak some Spanish then you can navigate much easier and even integrate in Mexico instead of only having ex-pat friends.
It can also be something that gives you something to do. Learning another language is something that keeps your mind sharp so you are less likely to have a deterioration of your facilities as you age. Learning keeps us young so there is an extra incentive to learn the language as a retirement challenge.
Get a side hustle
This is one that may be in a grey area when it comes to your visa. Make sure that you are allowed to work without any issues as some visas are strict about you not taking a job from a local.
Since you are now a local, you can do things like help tourists that are visiting the region. As you speak English and have insider knowledge, then you could find yourself doing well working a few hours per week leading some food tours or something similar.
If you are not allowed to do that, then you can always do it online. Start a Youtube channel that focuses on this area and have it link to your own website. Then sell e-books as guides for the area. Or, similarly, you can also charge for itineraries that can be downloaded and printed out by the visitor to your site.
Take advantage of living someplace that people want to visit and give them an experience like a local.
There are going to be challenges to retiring in a foreign country, but luckily, Mexico has a lot of American retirees so the path has already been forged for you. If you’re up to some challenges, the rewards are much greater than if you chose to stay back home.