Dedicated to providing you with credible information about living overseas
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroad

Questions & Answers

Q & A Menu Q & A BY TOPIC
To navigate, use menu bar to the left
US (805) 284-9410This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.About I Go Yucatan
Alfonso Galindo of I Go Yucatan – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Museum in Merida, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn order to report the cost of living in Mexico, I’ll make a very simple example, because depending on the city in which you live, costs can vary. To make it easy for people to understand, a middle class wage in Mexico is on average 13,000 to 14,000 pesos a month, which would translate to US $812 to $875.
 
In the Yucatan Peninsula, professionals make between 6,000 – 10,000 pesos a month, which translates to $375 to $625. These are lawyers, dentists, managers, general managers, and even government employees’ average pay.  The lower tier pay that millions of people live on is less than 4,000 pesos a month, or about $250.
 
The city of Merida is a little over about a million people. Let’s say, and I’ll be very fair and conservative, 600,000 people of those are living on 7,000 pesos a month ($437.50) and living well – they’re not starving, they’re not hungry, they might even have a car, and disposable income. My comment has always been if 600,000 people in Merida can live pretty good on that amount, shouldn’t an expat be able to the same?  If that is not appropriate, could an expat be able to live on what a professional, like a lawyer or doctor makes? 
 
The first error an expat makes is to start converting everything to dollars and start comparing what the cost would be in the US. In Mexico, most people stay with their families until they get married.  So, if you’re 26 years old, you’re a professional and you’re living at home, you have no rental or utility costs, so your 7,000 pesos ($437.50) a month is pretty much disposable income. That’s one example. Now let’s say you don’t have a mom or dad, you’re not living at home, you’re living a younger life, maybe not in a middle class neighborhood but in a nice apartment, maybe you’re sharing it with a few friends.  Your rent is maybe 1,000 to 1,200 pesos ($62.50 - $75) a month.  Your cellphone would be 300 pesos (US $18.75) a month.  Your shared utilities – water, electricity, gas – will probably run about 300 to 400 pesos a month ($18.75 to $25).  The rest is left over for food and entertainment, car payments, etc.
 
 
If you’re coming to live in Mexico as a North American expat couple, and had an income of $1,500 per month, you would have a good life.  I can tell you what my bills are, for me, my wife, and daughter, and lots of relatives coming over.  During the summer, like right now, my electricity bill in Merida for is 1,200 pesos ($75) for two months.  My natural gas bill runs be about 389 pesos ($24.31) every six months.  My water bill is about 50 pesos ($3.12) every 2 months. My Internet and landline is 389 pesos ($24.31) a month. My daughter’s private school is 500 pesos  ($31.25) a month. My gardener is 50 pesos (US $3.12) average a week. If, instead of driving my car, I wanted to take public transportation to town, it would cost me about 30 – 40 pesos a day ($1.87 - $2.50).  Food costs can vary.  We buy for three people and many relatives who come over and eat all the time.  We also buy a lot of imported items like Jimmy Dean sausages, which my relatives never had.  For us, a fair amount would be between 3,000 to 4,000 pesos a month ($187.50 to $250) for food.
 
(Pictured: Museum in Merida, Mexico.)
Mark Eager of Eager & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Living room and dining room of a $300,000 plus house, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost of living in Mexico is a fraction of the cost of living in Canada and in the US. In Mexico, you get more for your money. For example, here in Mexico, you get to have a gardener and a maid as a bonus. If I was going to give you a true number and you were going to buy a house, I would take the taxes, water bill, association fees if there were any, your maid and gardener, Internet, telephone bill, and electricity bill, and give you a total monthly number. It will be at most half of what it would be in Canada or the United States, depending on where you lived.
 
Here in Mexico, you get a lot for your money, including care and attention. On the other hand, what you don’t necessarily get are some types of services. For example, you pay your property tax bill of 2,000 – 3,000 pesos ($100 - $150) a year on average, but when you find a cobblestone or a bit of cement out on the sidewalk, you have to go and have your own gardener fix it rather than asking the local government to do it. If you’re in a gated community, the management will come around and fix the roads, but you’re paying an extra 1,500 – 2,000 pesos ($75 - $100) a month to live in that gated community and get that kind of service. 
 
If you live in the middle of Chapala or Ajijic, it’s best to get somebody to fix the pothole on the road instead of waiting for the local government to take care of it. Not that your problems will go unheard, but sometimes we don’t want to rock the boat too much, and we want things like property taxes to stay inexpensive. 
 
In Chapala and Ajijic, a $300,000 house can have a decent view, 2-3 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, granite, a beautiful kitchen, nice finishes, and it can be furnished (you could buy a furnished house for that price). The average real estate price throughout the last few years is $170,000. 
 
I’m only referring to Chapala and Ajijic. In some parts of Mexico City, the price for real estate can be 25,000 pesos a square meter (about $1,300 per square foot, or $2.6 million for a 2,000-square foot home). You can come down to Ajijic and buy land and a home for 2,000- 5,000 pesos per square meter (about $105 to $264 per square foot, or $210,000 to $528,000 for a 2,000-square foot home).  
 
If you took the $300,000 property, you could be living for 4,000 – 5,000 pesos ($200 - $250) a month to maintain your property. This is the rate in Chapala, and that includes all utilities- air conditioning, heating, water, trash pickup, gardener and maid. Food, healthcare, and car insurance are not included.  
 
(Living room and dining room of a $300,000 plus house, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)

Go Here Next

 
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.
 

Our Pledge To You

Best Places will present information from the Community in a transparent way, unedited, except to conform with our Conditions of Use.

You can trust that Best Places does not manipulate content to sell you anything. All opinions in the Community Q & A and Expat Stories are those of its authors, not Best Places.

Get Known To The Community

Those who contribute to the Best Places Community are our heroes! And being a Best Places hero is fast, fun, and easy. Just go to Questions & Answers, find your first question to answer, click on it, and then click the Contribute Your Answer To This Question Button. If you’d rather enter a Story, go to Expat Stories and click the Contribute Your Story Button".

Contact/Support

Please contact us. We would love to hear from you! Customer Service
Technical Support
Business Development
Suggestions
Press
Phone: (US) 520-940-0481