The Real Cost Of Retiring In Mexico

If moving abroad is on your retirement bucket list, Mexico should already be at the top. For years, destinations throughout Mexico have remained the most popular worldwide among Americans and Canadians who are planning to retire abroad, and for good reason.

As Latin America’s second largest economy and the closest geographically to the rest of North America, Mexico is able to provide easy access to friends and family back home, along with modern infrastructure and security. Combine this with a warm tropical climate year-round, a wide variety of thriving expat communities to choose from, excellent healthcare, a low cost (and higher standard) of living and affordable real estate, and it’s easy to see why Mexico was named one of the best places to retire abroad in 2015 and more people than ever before have been moving here permanently!

“It’s possible to retire in Mexico if you’re willing to live modestly,” writes Investopedia. “Alternatively, you could easily spend $10,000+ a month living large in an exclusive beachside community and taking full advantage of a myriad of fine dining, entertainment and travel opportunities.”

Of course, most people fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes and simply want to locate affordable real estate in a safe community in one of Mexico’s popular expat havens, such as Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Tulum along the nation’s only Caribbean coast, or Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific side. The good news is that it’s possible to affordably achieve a comfortable lifestyle on a reasonable budget – even one that includes three-times-a-week maid service and weekly visits from a gardener!

For a two-bedroom, two-person household with utilities (including electric, gas, water, local phone, cable TV and Internet), household help, groceries, dining out and entertaining, healthcare and $150 for incidentals, Investopedia and International Living estimate the average retired couple can expect to spend less than $2,500* monthly to live a more than confortable lifestyle.

“For roughly $28,000 per year, a couple could retire comfortably in Mexico,” writes Investopedia. “That puts it well within reach of many Americans.”

Since the average monthly retirement benefit from Social Security for Americans is around $1,294, a retired couple collecting this benefit would pull in a total of $31,056 each year, which is more than enough to cover a luxurious retirement in Mexico that far exceeds anything you could find in the U.S., Canada or Europe for the same amount.

A great way to control costs is to shop where the locals go. Get to know vendors and farmers, which can help expats learn where to buy at the local rate instead of the tourist rate. Also, anyone over the age of 60 who has a Mexico resident visa should sign up for the Personas Adultas Mayores (INAPAM) benefits program, which provides a 10-50 percent discount on a variety of things, including healthcare, cultural activities, transportation and hotels.

“Retiring in Mexico might be a good choice for those looking to enjoy new experiences and cultures, access to affordable healthcare, a change of scenery and a lower cost of living,” writes investopedia.

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ALFA Comments on Proposed Rules from Veterans Affairs

ALFA recently commented on proposed rules from the Veterans Administration on its Aid and Attendance benefit. ALFA members are honored to currently serve thousands of veterans and their spouses in our assisted and memory care communities. Those veterans who benefit from the VA A & A program have enriched lives through the opportunity to live in a social environment that provides the needed assistance with activities of daily living and enriched quality of care and quality of life.

ALFA applauds the VA for proposing these rules and agrees with most of the proposed changes. For example, we support the 36 month look back period, and the clarifying definition of net worth as income and assets. However, ALFA has suggestions for recommended changes to the draft rules as follows.

The definition of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) proposed in the rule is excessively limiting by eliminating two frequent reasons seniors move into assisted or memory care communities: the inability to ambulate on their own, and inability to administer their own medications. ALFA recommends that the VA use the definition of basic Activities of Daily Living as found in the Medicare Benefits Policy Manual, Chapter 16 Section 110 as follows: “Custodial care serves to assist an individual in the activities of daily living, such as assistance in walking, getting in and out of bed, bathing, dressing, feeding, and using the toilet, preparation of special diets, and supervision of medication that usually can be self-administered.”

ALFA’s second comment requests that the regulation address the  needs of residents that choose to live in independent living communities, and have care and services provided by the community or a third party provider separately contracted for by the veteran.