180 DAYS: LIVING PART-TIME IN MEXICO

By: Mexperience.com

 

There is a growing trend among foreign residents worldwide—including those who reside in Mexico: staying home for six months.

Some people want to leave behind the cold winters in their home country.  Others living in Mexico like to return home during the summer to avoid the sultry humidity that is prevalent at most of Mexico’s beach locations between May and October. Some enjoy Mexico for part of the year, and return to be reunited with their friends and family at home, or to take care of work or business matters there.

For Canadians and Europeans, maintaining a ‘legal residency’ in their home country gives them access to healthcare schemes provided to them by their welfare systems. Some expats prefer their home country in small doses, and love Mexico most when they only live here part-time.

Whatever the reason—they are too numerous and diverse to document in any meaningful way—part-time residency in Mexico is a growing trend among foreigners.

Mexico has long been a popular country for expats; it’s always had its mix of transient visitors and long-term residents who moved here and stayed for years—and even for life.

Today, foreign residents in Mexico appear more transient than in decades past; a trend that is perhaps being driven by affordable access to long-haul transportation, commercial trends (such as short-term and temporary work contracts), and technological shifts—in particular, the advent of independent ‘knowledge professionals’ working online: people who can ply a living by trading know-how, without having to be constantly situated in one specific place or office building.

For those who want to explore the opportunity to live in Mexico part-time, 180 days is a key number for several reasons.

If you’re planning to be in Mexico for this amount of time—or less—and don’t intend to participate in any remunerative activities that generate an income inside Mexico, then you needn’t apply for a resident visa: you can live here on your visitor’s permit (FMM) for up to six months.

If you want to maintain residency status in your home country (sometimes referred to legally as ‘being domiciled’), you usually have to be physically present there for at least 180 days in a year. Check your home country’s residency rules for precise details of how it defines ‘legal residency’.

There are other advantages to splitting your year into two equal parts.  You can get better deals in Mexico when you rent property for at least six months and, if you rent your principal home to help fund your six months in Mexico, a six month tenancy is usually the practical minimum you’d rent for. This is also true if you own two homes—one in your home country and one in Mexico—it’s easier to rent out the one you’re not using for six months.

Many part-time residents—particularly under-insured Americans—also use their extended stay in Mexico to undertake healthcare procedures at a fraction of the price that hospitals back home are charging for the same treatments. Even some Canadians and Europeans, whose publicly-funded healthcare systems don’t cover all bases—for example, dental care or cosmetic surgery—make use of their extended stay in Mexico for the same purpose.

Whether you’re exploring your options for living in Mexico full-time, part-time or for a fixed term, our guides to Living and Lifestyle in Mexico provide you with a comprehensive online resource to help research the opportunities, prepare yourself, and realize your plans.

 

http://www.mexperience.com/one-hundred-and-eighty-days/

 

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WINTER IN THE TROPICS WITH A PORTABLE INCOME

By: Allyson McQuinn | InternationalLiving.com

My husband, Jeff, and I get up early to cycle—in our flip-flops—to the local juice bar about 25 minutes away…along a bike trail next to the turquoise shores of the Caribbean. We stop to snorkel around the pier for an hour before getting back to connect with our patients online in the early afternoon and evening.

We’re in Cancún, Mexico. We need decent internet and a tourist hub like this has good infrastructure for us.

We found a sweet condo to rent on an Island called Pok-ta-Pok, a total Spanish-speaking enclave. Our one-bedroom suite faces the lagoon situated across from the more raucous hotel zone where the tequila pours liberally in the dance clubs until all hours. We’re usually both in bed by 10:30 p.m., falling asleep to the distant sound of the bass beat.

We love our lives here and count ourselves truly blessed to live in such a way for our physical and mental health—biking everywhere, snorkeling several times a week, unlimited vitamin D, and a healthy, more vegetable-based diet works for us.

When folks find out that I’ve tailored my life to live in Mexico and Central America while writing, editing books, and serving my patients online, they want to know how I got to be so lucky.

Back in the late 90s, I felt I was trying to keep my stress levels under control while working as a financial adviser and looking after my son, who has autism. Back then, January to May were brutal…often with a dedicated 12 to 14 hour-days.

Looking back, I’m not sure how I ever managed working in my corporate garb of heels and stockings, with feet still sopping wet from trudging through six-foot-high snow banks just to be sequestered for many hours…alone, plugging in Excel formulas in an 8 x 11-foot cubicle.

Thankfully, while off on maternity leave with my daughter, I did some major soul searching. I started to study alternative medicine and write about it. With those two small steps—studying and writing—my whole world changed.

I became a physician, based out of Canada, with a mostly international practice working by Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts or by phone, three days a week. I’ve penned thirteen books and I write monthly for half a dozen publications related to my field.

My husband does the same work I do and he runs the publishing arm of our holistic clinic.

Now, we enjoy living and working in Mexico or Central America during the winter months. All I need is a really stellar upload speed in the same time zone as our North American clients.

Given the portable nature of my work, I can move south every winter to live in Panama, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, or Mexico.

Next year, our goal is to become full-time international nomads joining the ranks of the few other suitcase entrepreneurs that we’ve had the pleasure of meeting in our travels along the way.

https://internationalliving.com/2016/04/winter-in-the-tropics-with-a-portable-income-fyl/

RETIRING IN MEXICO, IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE?

By Guest Guest | PabellonInmobiliario.com

Let’s face it, no matter how much we save or how much we work, it sometimes is

just not enough to fund the retirement we’ve always envisioned. Rising costs of

living, medical expenses, and care costs have pushed many baby boomers to think

outside the box when it comes to where they’ll spend their later years. More

American seniors than ever before are flocking to Mexico to spend their retirement.

Not too far from home, Mexico offers an affordable alternative to the United States.

There are many types of care available, ranging from independent living to receiving

care full time.

Places like Puerto Vallarta or San Miguel de Allende already have established expat

communities so the transition is not difficult. Mexico’s lower cost of living means

that a comfortable retirement costs a fraction of what it’d cost in the States. Retirees

can still receive Social Security checks internationally and in order to receive a

temporary Mexican resident visa, hopeful residents must have a net income of about

$1,553/month plus $520/month for each dependent. The average retired American

worker receives $1,294/month so retiring as a couple in Mexico is definitely doable.

With a temporary resident visa (good for four years), you can bring a foreign

registered car and keep the home plates on it. You can also get a Personas Adultas

Mayores (senior citizen’s) card at age 60, which provides discounts on: dental work,

hospital visits, doctor visits, pharmacy costs, lab tests, cultural activities,

transportation, hotel stays, and many other things. If you are 50+ and have a fixed

income, obtaining the necessary paperwork should be a breeze. Even without a

temporary resident visa, an American can spend up to 180 days a year in Mexico

with only a visitor permit.

It’s important to note that most U.S. insurance plans do not cover their customers if

they choose to live abroad in Mexico. Just as in America, it is more expensive to get

insurance coverage after 65 so it pays off to plan ahead. Obviously there are Mexican

insurance companies and oftentimes they have lower premiums than American

companies. Usually the only time insurance becomes overly expensive is if you are

living part-time in more than one country and paying for two plans.

If you do decide to live part time in two countries, it could be a good idea to rent the

house in your home country to help fund your living expenses abroad. Likewise, if

you own a home in each country then you could rent whichever one you are not in

at that moment. One last thing, if you do decide to buy a home in Mexico, it is usually

less expensive to finance your Mexican home from a U.S. bank.

 

http://www.pabelloninmobiliario.com/retiring-in-mexico-is-it-really-possible/

MOVING TO MEXICO ALLOWED ME TO QUIT MY JOB AND RETIRE EARLY

By: Marcia Gage | internationalliving.com

After nearly 10 years of marriage, my husband and I decided it was time for a change. We’d lived in a Minneapolis high-rise apartment with spectacular views of the Mississippi River and downtown for seven years, and while we loved our apartment, we didn’t love the weather (for six months of the year anyway). And I didn’t love my high-stress job or the fact that our cost of living seemed to be getting higher.

We are avid travelers who’ve been all over the U.S., to Alaska, Canada, Europe, and Asia. But a place we vacationed in many times was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We kept going back for the incredible weather, proximity to the U.S. (we can fly directly from Minneapolis in under four hours), and the very reasonable prices for accommodations, food, and the all-important cervezas so decided it’d be a good place to retire.

Originally, we planned to retire to Mexico when I started collecting Social Security at age 62. But my stressful academic-advisor job was wearing on my physical and emotional health. With my husband, Judd, almost 70, his part-time job as a bouncer was also uncertain. So, we decided to take the plunge and leave shortly before my 61st birthday.

Now, we rent a condo about a 15-minute walk from the center of town and Puerto Vallarta’s Bay of Banderas for $800 a month. We have a spectacular mountain view from our rooftop, and get to enjoy the parade of butterflies and hummingbirds on our balcony. This spring we’re planning to move closer to town for the shopping convenience and proximity to the ocean and beautiful malecon.

Our cost of living in Puerto Vallarta for things like groceries and eating out is about half what we paid in Minneapolis. We’ve even discovered that we can manage living on our Social Security. We spend about $10 a month on our Mexican cell phones and our rent includes water, internet, gas, and garbage removal.

At the grocery store, we buy local brands which are cheaper than imported U.S. items and often nicer. We often pick up fresh fruit at the little fruit markets. A couple of bananas, a pineapple, and a jicama (a root vegetable you can eat with lime and salt, or you can add it to fruit salads) generally costs less than $2. We’d have been lucky to get one pineapple for that in Minneapolis.

Another thing we love about Puerto Vallarta is the excellent food. There are plenty of upscale restaurants here, but we have eaten some of our best meals in the local eateries. Finding where the locals eat is always a good choice for tasty, inexpensive food. One of our favorite places is Travisio’s where you can get two big fish tacos for about $3 and a hamburger for the same price. Add a couple of beers and we get lunch for just over $10…including the tip.

It’s easy to make friends here too…both with expats and the local people, who are genuinely warm and friendly. Even the teenagers greet me with a “Buenos dias, senora.”They’re also very patient with us and our broken Spanish. It’s almost impossible to not make friends here.

Moving to Puerto Vallarta allowed me to quit my stressful job and retire early. Now I have time to indulge in my passions for writing and reading, and enjoy all that this beautiful beach town has to offer.

http://internationalliving.com/2016/02/moving-to-mexico-allowed-me-to-quit-my-job-and-retire-early/

SIMPLE, SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES IN MEXICO

By: Mexperience

Along with the current trends of seeking healthier ways to live, some people are discovering how Mexico offers choices for living simpler and more sustainable lifestyles.

Mexico is already host to a strong contingent of expats, and the influx of foreign residents choosing to live here full or part-time continues to grow.

Improved transportation infrastructure and access to information via the Internet is also causing off-the-beaten-track places in Mexico—some of which were completely unheard of just a decade or two ago—to emerge as desirable destinations for people seeking alternative living styles.  And it’s not just the retired who are seeking change: we’re receiving interest from people in their middle-ages, and even some younger working-age people whose skills enable them exercise their talents in various areas of the ‘knowledge economy’.

Locations in Mexico which offer potential for foreign residents seeking simplified and sustainable living choices in the years and decades ahead include:

Morelia and Patzcuaro in the state of Michoacan;

San Cristobal de las Casas in the state of Chiapas;

Merida on the Yucatan peninsula,

Veracruz and Campeche on the Gulf Coast,

Mazatlan and Manzanillo on the shores of the Pacific,

Guanajuato, Queretaro, and Aguascalientes in the colonial heartland; and

San Felipe, Loreto, and La Paz on the Baja peninsula.

Mexico City remains a popular choice for those who like living in an urban setting, and working foreign residents are particularity taken by neighborhoods like Condesa, Del Valle, Napoles, and Roma—as well parts of the refurbished Centro Historico.

Outside of Mexico City, the places mentioned above offer rural or semi-rural settings with good road and/or air connections. Although most of them are some distance away from the urban buzz of Mexico’s three big cities, they nonetheless offer key services foreigners seek like healthcare, good transportation links, and reliable internet connections—as well as ready-access to modern amenities foreign residents tend to use on a regular basis.

Another attraction for people seeking an alternative lifestyle here is the lower cost of living in Mexico—which translates into things like more retirement savings for those still in their working-age, and more sustainable living standards for those on fixed incomes in retirement.

Sustainable life styles are about living materially simply and taking responsibility for the choices we make, for example, by taking into account our consumption habits and how we plow value into the local communities we adopt.

We predict that Mexico will become one of the world’s top destinations for people seeking ways to simplify their life styles: moving here to live well, but live more simply.  The questions we get asked by email, the guides people are reading on Mexperience, and the eBooks people are downloading reveal trends that indicate people are actively considering how they can live differently—and they’re considering how Mexico could be part of the changes they seek.

http://www.mexperience.com/sustainable-living-in-mexico/

GETTING TO MEXICO

By: Mexperience. com

This detailed guide explains how to get to Mexico and what onward ground-transportation choices you have when you arrive by airplane.

Getting to Mexico from the USA and Canada

Flying to Mexico

Flights to all of Mexico’s main airports are available daily from the United States and Canada. The main carriers include Aeromexico, Mexicana, American (Canadian), United, Continental and Delta flying primarily from Dallas, Houston, Miami, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, Vancouver and Toronto into Mexico.

Most flights arrive in Mexico City, although flights from the USA and Canada direct to: Monterrey, Guadalajara, Leon, Aguascalientes, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Morelia, Los Cabos and Acapulco are also common.

Flight times to and from US-Cities to Mexico’s capital vary from 2-6 hours, depending on how far north you are traveling from. Flight times to Cancun are  4-8 hours; Flight times to Puerto Vallarta and Baja (e.g. La Paz, Los Cabos) 1-4 hours.

For some years now, private jets haven’t been permitted to land at Mexico City’s airport, due to air traffic congestion. They must instead land at nearby Toluca, on the outskirts of the city—about a forty-five minute journey into the center of the capital.

Note: U.S. Passport Card NOT Valid for Air Travel to Mexico

If you are a holder of a U.S. Passport Card, please note that this is NOT valid for air travel to Mexico – you can only use this to cross the border between the United States and Mexico by land. A passport is required for air travel to and from the the United States.

Driving to Mexico

Taking a foreign (US or Canadian-plated) car into Mexico, beyond the 22 mile (35 km) “border zone”, requires a fair amount of paperwork, permit arrangements and planning. If you’re renting a car in the United States and want to cross over the border into Mexico, you must also make sure that the insurance is valid in Mexico. It is very likely that you will have to buy Mexican automobile insurance separately.

 

Getting to Mexico from the United Kingdom and Europe

Flying to Mexico from Europe

Daily flights operate from various European capital cities to Mexico City.

You can fly direct to Mexico City with British Airways from London (not every day), or connect via the USA with one of the American carriers (see above), or go via another European city such as Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid or Frankfurt.

There are some direct flights from Europe to Cancun and you may also find some direct flights from Europe to places like Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco in peak vacation periods. However, these routes tend to serve the vacation market and have a habit of being introduced and withdrawn at short notice, depending on market conditions.

By flying to Mexico from Europe via the USA, you will be able to travel from the States directly to locations in Mexico outside of Mexico City which are not served directly by European carriers.

Flight times to Mexico City from European Cities average 11-12 hours traveling west and slightly shorter traveling eastward (due to the trade winds).

Getting to Mexico From Australia and New Zealand

Flying From Australia and New Zealand to Mexico

There are no direct flights from Australia and New Zealand to Mexico. Most travelers go via the USA, often Los Angeles. The best US cities for international through connections to Mexico are: Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Chicago and New York. Check to see which route offers the best fares.

It’s also possible to fly to Japan (Tokyo) and connect to Mexico from there, or else fly to a European capital city and connect through there to Mexico City (see Flying to Mexico from Europe, above).

Flying times will vary depending on which route is taken; Dallas, Miami and Los Angeles offer the quickest 2nd-leg flights to Mexico via the USA.

Arrival in Mexico and Getting Around

Arriving in Mexico

Once you have arrived in Mexico, there are numerous options for getting around efficiently and affordably.

Read the guide to Getting Around Mexico (see below) for full details, and links to our extensive guides about flying, traveling by bus, driving, car rental, and using taxis and public transport in Mexico.

Arrival at the Airport in Mexico

If you arrive by airplane, then once you pass through immigration and clear customs, you will probably need to arrange ground transportation to your hotel or other abode.

Airport Transfers

If you are staying at a major resort in Mexico, you may have arranged to be picked up at the airport by the hotel, using an airport transfer service.

Authorized Taxis

Every airport has two authorized taxi booths; they charge identical (high) prices based on a zoning charge system. Look for the words “Taxi Autorizado” as you exit the customs area, or ask one of the local staff for help.

Suburban Vans

At Mexico’s principal tourist destinations, including Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, Los Cabos, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo there is an option to ride to your hotel in a suburban van. The vans fill up with passengers and make a round of local hotels depending on where the passengers in the vehicle want to be dropped off. It takes a little longer, but the ride is comfortable and you pay a fraction of the price a taxi will charge you for taking you direct to your hotel.

National Buses

If you arrive at Mexico City’s airport, you can connect direct from the airport to a number of popular cities including Cuernavaca, Queretaro and Puebla. To go by bus to cities not served directly from the airport, you will need to take a taxi to one of the capital’s bus stations and connect to your destination from there.

Local Buses or Metro

If you’re traveling light, you may want to use the local buses or, in Mexico City, the Metro system. Buses and the Metro (in Mexico City) are not recommended if you are carrying baggage or valuable equipment (e.g. expensive cameras, laptops, etc).

Note Airport Pick-Pockets / Bag Snatchers

Gangs of pick-pockets and bag snatchers operate in most bus stations and airports world-wide, and Mexico is no exception. When you arrive in Mexico, keep your personal items in sight at all times; keep valuables well stored inside hand-held bags, and stay present to your surroundings. Leaving an item unattended for a moment, or losing attention of your surroundings, can provide a ‘golden’ opportunity for a bag thief or pick pocket to steal from you.

International Flights

International Airlines Serving Mexico

Most of the world’s major airlines serve Mexico City, and many US carriers also serve principal provincial cities from destinations in the USA.

Domestic Flights

Airport Transfers

If you arrive from an international destination and plan to connect (usually in Mexico City) to another location in Mexico, you will need to clear Mexican Immigration and Customs before traveling on to your final destination.

Build-in extra time between your flight connections, as immigration and customs procedures have become more time-consuming in recent years.

Domestic Flights in Mexico

Mexico has an extensive network of national airports and domestic airlines, including low-cost airlines.

 

http://www.mexperience.com/lifestyle/mexico-essentials/getting-to-mexico/

 

RETIRING IN MEXICO: MORE AFFORDABLE THAN EVER

  • Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher  | HuffingtonPost.com

If you’ve been to Mexico, it probably was to visit some of the country’s beautiful beaches.

But there’s much more to Mexico than beaches. It’s one of the biggest and most culturally and geographically diverse countries in the world… and it’s right on your doorstep.

And today, with the Mexican peso hitting record lows against the dollar, there’s not been a more favorable time to stretch your retirement budget.

As of March of 2016, the exchange rate was 17.34 MXN: 1USD. A plentiful sit-down lunch yesterday in Merida, Yucatan, where we write to you from, cost less than $8 for the two of us. And $25 buys two entrees, a bottle of wine, and dessert at an upscale restaurant.

But Mexico has far more attractions than just affordability.

Today’s Mexico is not only amazingly diverse and exotic; it’s also far more modern and developed than it was 15 or even 20 years ago. And it’s far safer than news media would have you believe.

No question, some parts of Mexico are dangerous. These are, mostly, isolated areas. But Mexico is a huge country…three times the size of Texas…and much of it is safe.

Tourists to Mexico, of course, know this. This country is a top destination for U.S. and Canadian tourists. But tourists aren’t the only ones packing up and heading for Mexico. It’s been a top retirement destination for at least 100 years now.

We’ve lived in Mexico ourselves over the years, in the Lake Chapala area, in San Miguel de Allende, and in Mérida, where we are now, visiting friends. Today, more U.S. and Canadian expats live in Mexico than anyplace else in the world.

The convenience factor is undeniable. Many of Mexico’s top retirement destinations can be reached with a couple of hours’ flight time from the U.S. or even a day’s drive from the border. And Mexico offers all the modern amenities that make life comfortably easy.

You’ll find fast internet and first-run films—in English. You can shop at big-box stores and eat at chain restaurants like Chili’s, Applebee’s, Burger King, and McDonald’s if you want. But with Mexico’s culinary reputation, it’s doubtful you’ll care much about chain restaurants.

Mexico is home to some of the world’s tastiest and most exotic foods. Chilies, chocolate, vanilla— all this and more comes from Mexico. There’s even a burgeoning wine industry. And you’ll find regional cuisines here as varied as the country itself.

If you’re looking for an affordable retirement destination that’s close to home, now’s the time to check out Mexico. Come and stay for a while. Mexico makes it easy for you to do that. You can get a tourist visa for up to 180 days at a time— that’s almost six months. It’s also twice as long as most countries allow. So, many expats never bother with a resident visa, although those are easy to obtain.

Should you decide to buy a home in Mexico, that’s easy to do, too. In the country’s interior, you can buy a property with a “direct deed” title, same as in the U.S. or Canada. Along the coast or close to an international border, you’ll buy property either in a local corporation or via a fideicomiso (often referred to as a bank trust)— a very safe trustee vehicle that gives you the same ownership rights and obligations given to Mexican citizens.

Properties aren’t as inexpensive as they once were (unless you find a local selling in pesos and can take advantage of today’s favorable exchange rate), but $150,000 to $200,000 will still buy you a nice, comfortable home in many markets.

In general, Mexico’s real estate market is one of the most sophisticated in Latin America, as far as dealing with foreign buyers. There is a clear buying process, it’s safe to buy, and foreign buyers have the same rights as locals under the law. In most expat havens, you’ll even find several real estate agencies with English-speaking agents.

Holding costs for properties are low— it’s rare to pay more than a few hundred dollars a year in property tax.

Best of all, you’ll find lots of choice, too. Mexico has over 5,000 miles of coastline, much of it lined by those beautiful beaches Mexico is famous for. There are also safe, modern cities and plenty of Spanish-colonial towns where you can buy a romantic colonial home or build something new and modern.

Long-term rentals start at about $400 a month and go up from there. It really depends on what amenities you want and where you’re looking. For example, two-bedroom furnished apartments with an ocean view in a popular beach resort like Puerto Vallarta start at about $1,000 a month. Prices drop for less space or if you’re farther from the beach.

San Miguel de Allende is another popular expat haven. Fully furnished rentals start at about $1,500 a month for a one- to two-bedroom in the central historic district. But if you’re willing to be a 20-minute to half-hour walk from Centro, you can find two-bedroom apartments in the $800 a month range, or sometimes even less.

Note: In popular expat destinations, rentals will most often be quoted in dollars. Go off the expat trail where rentals are quoted in pesos and you may find some real bargains, but don’t expect to renegotiate if exchange rates become less favorable.

Daily living expenses are about half what you might spend in the U.S., especially with the favorable exchange rate. Fresh fruits and vegetables are cheap. In the local mercados, or farmer’s markets, you can fill a shopping bag for $10 or less.

What about other expenses like utilities and communications?

Again, thanks to the favorable exchange rate, these, too, are bargain priced today.

You can get combined telephone-plus-wireless Internet plans with Telmex—the largest telephone and internet provider in Mexico— starting at about $35 a month. Cell phone charges, on the other hand, can be steep, approaching 75 cents a minute if you pay as you go. Reasonable service plans are available, however.

As for utilities, most people use gas for cooking and for heating water, and it’s also inexpensive— a couple could expect to spend $30 to $50 a month for gas.

The most expensive utility is electricity. And if you use it a lot— for instance, for air conditioning— you can run up bills of several hundred dollars or more a month. So definitely keep electricity use in mind if you’re considering a hot, humid area. (More and more of our expat friends in Mexico are installing solar panels. It just makes sense when you live in a place with abundant sunlight.)

This is just an idea of what the monthly expenses for a couple living in Mexico might amount to today:

Monthly Budget (for a couple)
Housing (rental of a furnished two-bedroom): $900
Utilities (electricity, gas, water, phone, cable TV, Internet): $130
Groceries: $300
Entertainment (dining out and other activities): $200
Household help (maid once a week): $70
Incidentals: $100

Total: $1,700

Everyone’s needs are different, as we’ve said. You could spend more…or less. If you don’t need cable TV or Internet, you can save on those expenses. If you live in the Sierras, in the higher-elevation interior of the country, you probably won’t need heat or air conditioning, a big savings on utility bills.

If, though, you like to eat out frequently, travel, play golf, scuba dive, and so on, you will obviously spend more money. But still, all these costs are much less than you probably would spend for a similar lifestyle in the U.S. (And with much better weather!)

And what we haven’t included here are healthcare costs, including some kind of health plan. If you opt for a private insurance plan, this can add as much $250 a month for a retirement-aged couple or even more.

Fortunately, you’ll find Mexico offers—overall—first-rate healthcare. You’ll find adequate-to-good care even in smaller towns. But large cities tend to have at least one excellent hospital, and often more. Practically nowhere in Mexico are you more than two to three hours from a top-notch hospital. For instance, the superb Los Angeles hospital chain has hospitals in 13 Mexican cities. The top-rated Star Médica has hospitals in eight cities.

While healthcare costs in Mexico are rising, especially for hospital care, in general you’ll still pay one-third to half of what you’d pay in the US. Doctors’ visits, lab tests, prescriptions, and other health maintenance costs are still low enough that many expats pay in cash.

As for transportation costs, taxis in Mexico are reasonable. Standard fares run $2 to $4 a ride in most places. That fare can go up to maybe $8-$10 if you’re crossing a major city. City buses typically cost less than 35 cents a ride.

If you don’t have a car, Mexico’s long-distance buses are a great way to cross the country. They’re modern, clean, air conditioned, comfortable—and economical. For example, a trip by bus from Cancún to Mexico City—that’s over a thousand miles—costs about $100.

Many expats do have cars in Mexico, which is a major car manufacturer. Most of the big companies have factories here—so you’ll see plenty of familiar models on the roads. Prices are often similar to what you’ll pay back home, although some models may have fewer safety features, such as side airbags, as a cost-cutting measure.

Gas in Mexico is sold by the liter, and the price is about $3 a gallon right now. The cost of auto insurance can vary, depending on the provider and where you are. For instance, expats who live in Baja California, near the US border, may have policies that cover them for both countries. But a policy just for Mexico can be as low as $250 a year. Maintenance costs, too, can be less, as labor costs are low.

Granted, life in Mexico is not for everyone. There can be some challenges, and you’ll want to speak at least a bit of Spanish. But for hundreds of thousands of foreign retirees and others who come to work, open businesses, or just enjoy the ideal climate and modern conveniences, there’s rarely been a more affordable time to be in Mexico than right now.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/suzan-haskins-and-dan-prescher/retire-in-mexico_b_9593710.html