By Billy and Akaisha Kaderli, RetireEarlyLifestyle.com
Special to the Financial Independence Hub
According to the Mexican Government, around 1.1 million expatriates lived in Mexico as of 2020. Of those, about 700,000 were from the United States, making Mexico the #1 country worldwide for American Expats.
We have listed a dozen reasons below why Mexico is attractive to those with plenty of money, and also to those who don’t have that much.
While there are many reasons to move to Mexico, the Number One reason people come here is for the freedom they experience.
With less regulation on all fronts, critics might think that Mexico is a lawless frontier.
Mexico is still a place where one can walk the beach with a beer in hand. We can give a homeless person food without filling out countless forms to gain permission or explain if there is mayonnaise on the sandwich or have the food rejected because it’s not in a paper bag. While we personally are not smokers, an individual who chooses to smoke can do so without being read the riot act or be subjected to invectives about their personal worth as a human being.
Many medications can be purchased over the counter without a prescription. One can afford medical care and not be forced into buying an expensive health insurance policy that doesn’t coincide with their personal health approach. Homeopaths, Naturopaths, Chiropractors and those who practice acupuncture or massage can be found easily and their services are affordable. One can walk into a lab and order an x-ray or a blood test on their own without a prescription.
There is respect for the elderly and those over 60 are not invisible. People who are chubby are not judged and can easily find someone to date or marry. People on the street say hello and good morning to complete strangers, and men still tip their hats to women. The young offer their bus seats to those of us who have more years than they do.
People say “excuse me” when they walk in front of you, and it’s perfectly safe to walk through a group of teenage boys without fear.
Common sense is common.
Some are moving due to political climate at home
The world is changing, no doubt. Many have chosen Mexico to get out from under the tense political climate back home.
Mexican culture is lively and accepting and it’s a breath of fresh air to live here. Smaller towns, especially, are like Norman Rockwell paintings.
But bigger cities offer fabulous diversions away from home country political pressure. There are museums, international dining, hiking, cultural events, music, art and volunteer opportunities too.
The caution here, is to not bring the “old” political attitude with you when you move. Grow into the easy and into the pleasantry here in this country.
Having money or not, your quality of life should expand over what you are experiencing now in your current home town. The cost of living is such that you will get more for your money and your nest egg will go farther.
Truthfully, depending on where you might choose to live, purchasing a home can be expensive, but rents are cheap. And if you are at retirement age, you might find that putting your money into “living” versus “housing” might be the better choice, anyway.
In either case, gardeners, housekeepers, maintenance people and supplies are all cheaper than you will find in the US or Canada. In Chapala, Mexico, a housekeeper runs about $6USD for 2.5 hours. In Ajijic, Mexico – another popular Gringo town – it is twice that price, but still not outrageous.
Legalities of permanent status are easier
Getting a permanente or a temporada card is easy to do. While some choose to fill out the paperwork themselves, having a lawyer arrange for this is also quite affordable.
Qualifying for residency is based on your annual income and/or net worth, and the threshold is easy enough to meet. The requirements for getting a temporary card are lower, and after renewing annually for 5 years, the temporada moves into becoming a permanente.
If you have your own state’s driver’s license, you can use that here in Mexico, but if you are not able to renew it, you can obtain a Mexican driver’s license in its place. So long as your present driver’s license is still active, you will only need to take the written exam of 10 questions. You won’t have to perform a driving test in the parking lot.
One can live on Social Security alone
While it’s always great to have more money, one can easily live comfortably on Social Security. The average [monthly] SS check as of 2021 is US$1,658. Rents are available for $300-$600USD per month for a one bedroom or a casita. So, those who are on a limited income can readily find a comfortable place to live and still have money left over for a social life and medical expenses.
For those who actually are millionaires, one can live like royalty in homes with lake views, swimming pools, 3- and 4 bedrooms, plus house and garden help: and they can still keep their millions.
Yes, Mexico is a foreign country. However, our ability as Norte Americanos to adapt to these perspectives can be far smoother than with cultures with which we have less in common.
Celebrating many similar holidays, perceptions and values run concurrent with those we already have. The time zones are also similar to the US and Canada, making contact with family members on Zoom, Facetime, or Skype a breeze.
Weather is better: geographic choices
No matter if you enjoy having four seasons or prefer a tropical climate, Mexico offers it all.
There are beaches, international cities, small towns, and mountain areas. There is something for everyone.
Variety in food choices
We have traveled around the world, and some countries cannot really brag about their style of cooking. There are regions that boil everything and don’t add a sauce, herbs or spice to make any distinctive flavor. Then there are other countries that overdo it with spices and culinary heat so one must be careful what you order.
In the Goldilocks version of food choices, Mexico is just right. Contrary to what one might think, not all Mexican food is spicy, and the variety is astounding. Not only that, but international restaurants are ubiquitous.
Flights within the country of Mexico are very affordable
One can purchase a one-way ticket to fly to just about anywhere in Mexico. For instance, we’ve gone to Puerto Vallarta for $35 USD, and to Merida for about the same. With these prices, travel throughout this large country is within reach.
Also, the first-class bus system in Mexico is clean, affordable and on time. With air conditioning, reclining seats and your own private entertainment system, bus travel is very comfortable. With the INAPAM (senior discount) card, (you must be a resident and 60 years old) bus tickets are half-price, and many museums, aquariums and tourist sites are free or at a discount.
International airports make it easy to travel back to visit family
Cancun, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey, Los Cabos, Tijuana, Toluca, and General Heriberto Jara are all international airports. So, if you want to travel to other destinations in the world these accessible airports make that easy to do.
Flying to visit family is convenient as well with travel being only several hours instead of overnight trips with three connections.
Fresh food is cheap and available
Mexico produces a lot of food for its inhabitants.
Whether it’s chicken, beef, pork, seafood or tropical fruits and vegetables, delicious fresh foods are abundant, affordable and accessible.
This reason to move to Mexico is very attractive.
Larger cities such as Guadalajara, Mexico City, Morelos, Merida, Puerto Vallarta, Puebla, Morelia and Oaxaca have modern hospitals and equipment. Westernized medicine is top grade with human care being an emphasized feature that has been lost in the States.
There are government insurance policies that one can qualify for if you are a resident, but for most things, paying out of pocket is affordable and won’t break the bank.
No country is perfect, and Mexico isn’t for everyone. However, with the reasons listed above, perhaps there are enough of them for you to take a chance and make the move!
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.
One thought on “Why are Millionaires flocking to Mexico? (and Non-Millionaire Retirees, too!)”
I think Mexico is an excellent choice, and there is a huge expat community.