Since starting this blog almost two years ago, my wife and I have literally received thousands of emails from readers asking for our advice about retiring in Mexico. I lost count somewhere around the 10,000 mark.
Whenever a reader asks me for tips or general advice, I share the following 10 tips with them. I figured I would post them here in the hopes that it will cut down on the number of emails we receive.
By the time you’re ready to retire, chances are that you’ve accumulated a lot of stuff. Well, it’s time to start getting rid of it in preparation for your new life south of the border. Holding on to all those things will only complicate the process of moving and cost you more money in the long run (e.g. moving costs, storage fees).
2. Get a temporary or permanent resident card
Life is just much easier when you have a temporary or permanent resident card. You can open bank accounts, register a vehicle, participate in the public healthcare system and the list goes on and on.
3. Leave your car behind
This applies to anyone thinking of permanently moving to Mexico and who doesn’t live 25 km from the U.S. border, designated parts of Sonora or in the Baja Peninsula. The requirements to import a vehicle are far more lax in those areas.
4. Leave your furniture behind
They sell furniture in Mexico and it’s actually quite affordable to have custom pieces made. International moving and shipping services are expensive and sometimes things end up missing or damaged along the way.
5. Start learning Spanish now
Learning a language takes time and effort. It’s not going to magically happen overnight, so you might as well start working on it now. The more you know when you arrive, the easier it will be for you to communicate and get things done in Mexico.
There are several free resources available online to help you learn Spanish. We even have free video lessons on our site complete with practice exercises.
6. Get a Mexican cell phone number
This will make it much easier to get things done and get callbacks from businesses (they won’t call your foreign number). Also, many banks require a Mexican cell phone number in order to do online banking due to certain security protocols.
7. Download Whatsapp
This is a the free app that is used by almost everyone in Mexico to call and text.
8. Open a Mexican bank account
There are numerous benefits to opening a bank account in your new country.
9. Get healthcare coverage
Mexico has both a private and a public healthcare system. It’s important to research your options before moving down and to get some type of health coverage as soon as possible.
To learn all about your healthcare options, we recommend buying Monica Rix Paxson’s ebook on the subject.
10. Hire people (when necessary) to get things done
There is a huge learning curve involved when you move to another country and you will find that even the simplest of tasks (like getting the electric bill put in your name) can turn out to be more complicated than you anticipated.
If you move to a large, friendly expat community like the one where we live, then it’s not a problem because everyone helps each other.
If not, you might want to consider hiring people to assist with tasks such as: registering your car, completing the second part of the resident card process, and putting utilities in your name. People who offer these types of services are often referred to as gestores.