May 27th, 2009 by David

I got my yearly Social Security statement a few days ago. Retiring at 62 (this August) I’ll get something like $1150. Les is already getting around $1375, so between us, we should be getting around $2500/month. That sounds pretty good. If the cost of living in Mexico is a conservative half of what it is in the States, and many say it’s more like a third, the we should have the equivalent of $60K to live on. That’s fantastic! We sure couldn’t get by on only $30K in the States.

But the numbers can be deceiving. We have debts back here in the States, car loans, credit cards, etc., and they have to be paid in US Dollars. So, for every dollar we have to pay in the States, we effectively lose two dollars of income in Mexico. I’m trying to get those debt payments down before we go.

6 Responses  
  • tony writes:
    December 20th, 20094:26 amat

    My suggestion is that you travel around In Latin America rather than ‘retire’ in one spot to begin with. Makes sense, don’t you think? You’ll do fine. Try out Boquete in Panama, Antigua in Guatemala, Costa Rica and anyplace in Nicaragua, and Medellin Colombia for starters. Have a good time, too! Best wishes.

  • Nancy writes:
    May 28th, 20093:49 pmat

    Everyone has their individual preferences of course, but we decided against Lakeside because it had way too many expats for our taste. But proximity to Guadalajara and the beach is pretty good and the weather is more moderate. Plusses, minuses, over and over.

    There are plenty of minuses here in Mazatlan, one being the humidity in summer and the graffiti. And every person you talk to you will have different preferences. I guess that’s a good reason to just go check out places, everyone responds to a place differently.

  • David writes:
    May 28th, 20093:26 pmat

    I knew that about the lienholder on the car. I haven’t talked to them about it, though. I wonder how difficult that will be to obtain.

    thanks for the info about getting a rent quote in pesos. great idea. Jen’s place looks great! No wonder she is so pleased with it. At $4000 pesos, it’s a steal compared to the lake area. my mind keeps going back and forth between the two.

  • David writes:
    May 28th, 20093:14 pmat

    Thanks for the updates, Beth. I’m leaning more and more towards the lake because of my asthma. when i was there in april, i could breathe better than i’ve been able to in some time. but that was at the end of the dry season. it could be worse now that the rains have started. it took me close to a year to get used to all the stuff in the air in Hawaii.

    I’m pretty sure les and i will find a way to live contentedly wherever we choose.

  • Nancy writes:
    May 28th, 200911:41 amat


    I look forward to reading about your explorations, and of course if you come through Mazatlan, let me know, we would love to get together.

    You probably already know that you need to bring a letter from your car lienholder if you don’t own it free and clear in order to pass into México…

    I think a lot financially will depend on how much you spend per month on housing. In Mazatlan for a decent non-view Centro rental I would expect to pay from $3000 to $5000 pesos per month, somewhere around there. Check out Jennifer in Mazatlan (my blogroll) for photos of her new rental, I think it is around $4000 per month. I would try to get a rental quoted in pesos, makes it challenging when the dollar/peso fluctuates.

  • Beth writes:
    May 27th, 20099:35 pmat

    Well, David, you all live in Dallas and we live in the midwest, in northern Indiana, where the cost of living is fairly reasonable, especially housing. For example, we have a single story ranch, ten years old, 1400+ sq. ft. with 3 BR and 2 baths, eat in kitchen, great room, laundry room, attached 2 car garage, well landscaped, large stone patio, stone front walkway, large yard, corner lot, vaulted ceilings in master BR, great room, kitchen, one fireplace. Our house appraises at 138,000. Our property taxes are under control…with homestead exemption we pay a total of $800-850 per year, homeowner’s insurance about $450.

    From what we’ve been able to ascertain from a fair amount of investigation, including conversations with people we have met there, you indeed can live in Mexico for less than the U.S. HOW you live is what determines the % as compared to your US living expenses. Some books will say you can live on 50% of what you live on here (housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, medical, entertainment, miscellaneous), but that is if you wish to live “mexicano”…lots of fruit and some vegetables, little meat, some chicken/pork, lots of rice, and sit at home most days. In the lakeside area, rental housing will cost you anywhere from USD 600 – 1,200, depending on number of BRs, baths, square footage, location, etc.

    Kevin and I are thinking that we should be able to live well on 2/3 of what we spend to live here….but northern Indiana is relatively reasonable. That includes going out to eat some, gardener, maid, a flight back to the States once or twice a year, one car (down from two here), and some traveling within Mexico. That percentage might be less for you who lives in Dallas.

    No matter where you end up (we’re sold on Chapala area due to the climate….Indiana summers are often 90 with 90%+ humidity), I wish you well.

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