Whether you are just starting to consider the idea of retiring to Mexico, you have been researching it for quite some time, or you’re about to close on your new home in the Caribbean, we want to say congratulations! It takes courage and an adventurous spirit to think outside the box and realize there is more than one way to retiree! Here are our most helpful tips for retirees who plan to make a home with us at Selva Escondida in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.
- Start downsizing now.
Even if you’re just in the planning stages, try to begin downsizing now. Chances are throughout your life, you have raised a family, moved several times, and acquired quite a bit of stuff along the way. Moving to Mexico is not going to be like moving to another city or state. In some cases, you may even have to pay import fees of up to 16 percent of the value of your possessions. To make it go as smoothly and stress-free as possible, we recommend bringing just what’s most important to you. The good part? We hear over and over that people don’t miss or remember what they got rid of. They have no regrets over choosing a life of experiences over things.
- Make a plan for your retirement.
Retirement is a big change in life! Start thinking about what you like to do with your extra time in your new life in Mexico. Do you want to travel and see other parts of the country? Do some research and see what’s out there to be explored! Or maybe you are looking forward to volunteering your time. Puerto Morelos has quite a few charitable organizations who would be happy to have your support! Whatever it is that you’re looking forward to, Why not make a list now? It will keep your goal in focus and motivate you to keep checking things off your ‘Moving to Mexico to-do list’.
- Start Learning Spanish.
Download an app, start watching some videos on YouTube, or sign up for a class. Don’t wait until you’re physically here in Mexico to start learning some basic greetings and simple terms. While you can get along just fine without learning the language, your experience here is sure to be richer and more interesting if you’re able to communicate a bit in Spanish.
- Start your residency process.
Some people we talk to are under the impression that you can only get your Mexican residency once they have arrived in the country, but that is not the case. You’ll want to apply for either temporary or permanent Mexican residency at a Mexican Consulate or Embassy in your home country before you arrive in Mexico. You will then need to schedule an appointment with immigration services here in Mexico to complete the process. There are many benefits to having residency, including being able to open a bank account, acquire a driver’s license, register a car, and participate in the public healthcare system. You will have to prove that you meet the financial requirements to live in Mexico – which means that you have to show that you have so much income, savings, or investments such as property.
- Have confidence and patience.
Our list so far has been things you can do before you make the move. Next, we’ll be moving on to things you’ll want to do once you land in the sunny Caribbean, but this one applies while you are still in your home country, and once you get to Mexico as well. Be confident in your decision to make Puerto Morelos, and Selva Escondida Residencial your new home. We chose the home of our development carefully, and work with a carefully chosen team – everyone from our contractors, lawyers, and sales agents. We’re all here to make sure you feel at ease with your decision. While you take on the steps towards the purchase of your home and setting up your new life, there will be some things that take time and patience, but don’t forget why you started: To create a different kind of life for yourself, to venture out from the every day, and to enjoy a higher quality of life for less. It will all be worth it. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
- Get a Mexican cell phone plan.
We’re assuming you want to make your retirement dollars go as far as possible, so why not switch to a Mexican cell phone plan as soon as you arrive? They’re a lot cheaper than the US and Canada, and the plans are amazing. Also, it’s just going to make day to day life so much easier. For instance, when you start banking here in Mexico, you will not be able to use the online logins if you don’t have a Mexican cell phone number. Do yourself and your wallet a favor and make it a priority.
- Download WhatsApp.
Most people we talk to have never heard of the free phone application WhatsApp because it’s not very popular in the US or Canada, but it is extremely popular in Mexico, and you’ll want to download it right away. It is linked to your phone number and allows you to text, send videos and pictures, call or video call people; and because it works with a Wi-Fi connection, you’re able to use it even if you are in an area where you have weak cell service. Even business owners use it to communicate. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself texting your favorite restaurant via WhatsApp to make a reservation, your car mechanic to see if you can make an appointment, and so on. Although in the States and Canada, there’s no way a business owner would provide you with their personal number, it’s very common here. Now that’s what we call Mexican hospitality!
- Get a Mexican banking account.
In order to do this, you will need either temporary or permanent residency. You’ll also need a Mexican phone number to use online banking in Mexico. One of the biggest perks as a thrifty retiree, you can take advantage of exchange rates. Your pension or retirement fund is likely in US dollars, so instead of swiping your debit or credit card when you shop or go out to dinner, or just using your bank card to take out small amounts of spending cash, you can strategically move larger amounts of money at a time. Since the prices of goods and services typically do not change based on the exchange rate, more pesos in your account means more spending power.
The second advantage is security and convenience. Having a bank account makes it very easy to pay other people through a banking app, as long as they have a Mexican bank account as well. For instance, if you made some upgrades to your home and want to pay the contractor, you will not have to go out and withdraw large amounts of money. You can just get on your phone and transfer money right into their account. If they do not have a bank account, it’s possible to generate a code for them to go to an ATM, and withdraw the specified amount, while not having access to your banking information such as balances or account numbers.
- Choose a Health Insurance provider.
Because medical costs in Mexico are significantly lower than in the U.S. and other developed countries, many ex-pats pay for healthcare costs out-of-pocket and use health insurance primarily for emergencies or major health problems. Mexico has a public health care system and a private one. The private health care facilities tend to have shorter wait times, and amazing patient care. They are also very affordable for routine checkups, making it fairly easy to pay out of pocket. But just like your home country; you’re going to want health insurance in case you were to develop any major health issues. That’s when those medical bills could add up, and that’s no way to spend your hard-earned retirement dollars. Do some research on the health insurance options for foreigners, including international health insurance plans, Mexican health insurance plans, and the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) before you arrive.
- Know when to accept some help.
No matter how much research you have done, or how much Spanish you learned, there will be some things that might feel a bit more challenging, such as residency paperwork, and other governmental things. Fortunately, it’s easy and inexpensive to hire someone to help you. And it doesn’t have to be a lawyer, it can be a Gestor, which is someone who is not required to be a licensed attorney but is still able to assist you with many administrative items.
For other things like registering your vehicle, and setting up and paying utility bills, there’s also something called a Carta Poder. It’s similar to a letter of authorization that allows somebody to do one particular task for you. It’s not quite the same as a power of attorney because you are only authorizing this person to carry out certain tasks for you. We recommend that you take advantage of these services because it will help make your transition to your new life smooth and hassle-free!
We hope these tips help you feel equipped and capable to begin your incredible retirement in the Mexican Caribbean. If you’ve been thinking about purchasing one of our properties at Selva Escondida, and have some questions, feel free to send an email and we’ll be happy to help!