A primary consideration when picking a retirement location is what it's going to cost. Here, we take a quick look at how much money you might need to retire comfortably in Mexico.

Mexico is a popular destination among U.S. residents because it offers pleasant weather, a relaxed way of life, and a lower cost of living. Plus it’s close enough to home that travel back and forth to the States to visit friends and family (and for them to visit you) is relatively easy and reasonably priced.

Lifestyle Matters

No matter where you retire—at home or abroad—how you retire greatly affects the amount of money you’ll need. It’s possible to retire in Mexico on a fraction of what one would need in the United States if you are willing to live modestly in a small apartment, eat simple meals at home, and forgo some of the comforts and conveniences you may be used to back home.

Alternatively, you could easily spend $10,000-plus a month living large in an exclusive beachside community and taking full advantage of the myriad fine dining, entertainment, and travel opportunities.

Key Takeaways

  • Compared to the U.S., in Mexico the livin' is easy—and cheaper: For roughly $2,155 a month, or about $25,860 per year, a couple could retire comfortably.
  • Retirees can save even more with an INAPAM card, which offers those over 60 discounts on services, cultural activities, and transportation.
  • Shopping where the locals do and avoiding "tourist" rates is also key to saving money in Mexico.

Most people who retire abroad won’t fall into either extreme, seeking a comfortable but reasonable lifestyle. A retired couple with that in mind might be looking at the following monthly costs (rough estimates) in Mexico. Note that this level of budget permits things that might be considered luxuries north of the border, like three-times-a-week maid service and a weekly gardener.

Housing (a two-bedroom house rental)


Utilities (electric, gas, water, local phone, cable TV and internet)


Household help (maid service 3X/week; gardener 1X/week)




Dining out and entertainment


Health care (both people on Mexican IMSS insurance, plus extra expenses)




Monthly total


*Based on estimates from retirement website www.internationalliving.com.

So for roughly $2,155 a month, or about $25,860 per year, a couple could retire comfortably in Mexico. And depending on the exchange rate between the peso and the U.S. dollar, Americans might be able to stretch their retirement budget even further. In 2020, the average monthly benefit for a retired couple (assuming both are receiving full benefits) is $2,531, according to the Social Security Administration.  That adds up to $30,372 each year, just enough to cover this budget.

Of course, retirement costs vary from person to person, and your costs could be lower or significantly higher than these estimates depending on your situation, lifestyle choices, and any unforeseen expenses. And keep in mind that these estimates don’t include expenses such as traveling to/from your retirement destination, moving your household, emergencies, and taxes.

Ways Retirees Can Save in Mexico

One way to save is through Mexico’s retirement benefits program. If you are 60 or older and have a Mexico resident visa, you are eligible for Mexico’s Instituto Nacional para las Personas Adultas Mayores (INAPAM) benefits program. This program provides discounts of 10%-50% on a variety of services, including health care (dental work, doctor visits, hospitals, lab work, medical devices, and pharmacies); cultural activities such as archeological sites, museums, and the theater; transportation (including airfare, bus fare, car rentals, and car purchases); and hotels.

Another important way to control costs is to find out where the locals shop and go there. Get to know the local vendors and farmers, and learn where you can buy things at the “local” rate instead of the “tourist” rate. Remember, you’re not on vacation, you're at home—and spending like the vacationers do can easily burn through your entire retirement budget.

The Bottom Line

Be aware that some areas are safer than others. It's especially important in Mexico to research regions you're considering before you move, use common sense, and avoid (or use extra caution) in areas with active travel alerts and warnings

Visa and residency requirements, plus taxes (both in Mexico and U.S. tax regulations for citizens living abroad) can be complicated. It always makes sense to work with a qualified attorney and/or tax specialist when making plans to retire outside the United States—even if you're just heading south of the border.