Is moving to Mexico a one way move?

Moving to Mexico

Moving to Mexico and what comes next

For many reading this, you might be contemplating a move to Mexico. This might be the first time you are thinking of moving out of your home country and living abroad. This means making a lot of changes, including your living and working situation. You might have some doubts about what life will be like. Will it be a one way move, meaning will you be stuck in Mexico having less income and not be to travel as much? Will you grow envious of your friends back home who are making good money and able to pay for expensive travel? Will you miss your life before? These are all serious questions to address.

In this article we will talk about what it is like to move to Mexico and how to avoid feeling that it might be a one way move, leaving you feeling that this is the final move you have. For those thinking about moving to Mexico you might fall into one of these categories:

  1. You are of retirement age and you are going to stop working and live on pension funds. 
  2. Retirement age is a couple of years off, but you want to make the move and possible open a business. 
  3. You have a family but want to live abroad for the experience, perhaps with kids. 
  4. You are younger and still work, but are contemplating how to work in another country. 

Throughout this article we will reference these categories of people and give some specific advice. Let’s start with the adjustment phase. 

How to balance making less but living more

No doubt two of the reasons you are considering moving to Mexico is the cost of living and the idea that you will slow down and have more time. For sure the cost of living is less than many other places and many do work less and have more time free. If you were someone that was working and now looking to retire, you might feel the pressure to keep a tight budget so you don’t see your savings slip away. If you intend on continuing working after moving to Mexico, you will probably face the facts of making less money. In any case, money is something everyone thinks about. 

The good news is that cost of most things is less and people moving to Mexico tend to live in smaller places. This somewhat downscaling frees up time and energy to do more exploring. One of the great lessons that many expats learn the way that Mexicans enjoy life in the present. This type of life means enjoying the simple things and enjoying life. All of this combined new lifestyle can mean that earning less does not have to be a negative impact on your life and you still can live more. 

living in Mexico
Many that move to Mexico get a condo and downsize some. This can mean less expenses and more time to live.

Ways to make it work

If you are thinking about moving to Mexico, but are still working on the details, here are some ideas for you. You are probably in one of the 4 categories of persons looking to move to Mexico mentioned above. How can you make living in Mexico work for you financially? Well, here are some ideas. 

For those that are going to retire to Mexico

If you are going to retire, the visa process is usually easier for you since you have savings and guaranteed monthly payments. However, you still might be a little concerned that you have to rely on your savings and plan out how much you need for the rest of your life. This can be sobering and scary to think about knowing you probably will not work again in your lifetime. Here are some ways that expats have made it work. 

The big reassurance and one of the reasons people select Mexico as a place to retire is the cost of living. Mexico overall is much less expensive than many countries. Things like housing, food, household help, and some medical care are much less in Mexico. This might lower your expenses, but still hit your account each month as you see your savings depleted. Here are what some have done to supplement government payments:

  • Add a rental room onto the house or have a lock off unit in your condo. This can be for live in help or future caregivers. The supplemental rental can pad your budgets. 
  • Invest in a property. Flipping properties is not really a thing in Mexico, but buying a property as a rental has worked very well for many. See our article on ROI in Playa Del Carmen
  • Use your place as a rental while you travel. Since many expats are moving to popular destinations for travel, it can be easy to get a weekly rental which helps cover your travel costs. 
Riviera Maya
Having a rental property is one option to make some spending money. 

For those almost ready to retire or with families

If you fall in this category you might be between the ages of 45-65 years old. You have worked hard in your life but still have some energy to tackle some new challenges. You might be thinking about opening a business in Mexico (see our article on opening a business in Playa Del Carmen). Opening a business presents a lot of challenges. The most successful people often have spent some time in Mexico and have observed a need or niche market. Small restaurants, fitness jobs such as yoga studios, or investing in real estate and managing that can be good options. Working online is also a good option. 

For younger people looking to live in Mexico

In this category you might be between the ages of 25 to 35. You have some experience working and want to live abroad for the adventure. Mexico offers a lot to young people wanting to explore, visit the beaches and enjoy the vibrancy of life. For most in this category you meet the financial requirements for the temporary visa but still need to continue making money. 

Finding work in Mexico is hard. The first obstacle is your visa. You are not allowed to work unless you have a business that will hire you and go through the lengthy process. Very few foreigners are able to officially get jobs in Mexico. And don’t think you can just pick up a job under the table in Mexico. Immigration often checks businesses that often employ people that might be foreigners. Mexico is much more regulated and it is not worth getting deported. This brings us to the option of working online. 

Finding work online is not easy. You cannot just search “jobs online”, and pick one. It takes a lot of sorting through the options. There are some bad options and some downright scams for people looking to work online. There are more options each year, and after the pandemic, many more jobs are online. Reddit can be a good place to start looking and from there you can see where your search take you. Most of the time working online is not as high paying as working in a physical place, but it does allow you to travel and live in Mexico. 

You are not obliged to stay

Just because you make the move and try it, it does not mean you have to stick with your decision. Moving abroad these days is easier than ever, and so is moving back home. Some find it is not what they thought it would be and others like it, but want to continue to challenge themselves by moving again. Even if you are older, you might find that Mexico is not for you. Some, as they age, want to be closer to family again or better medical services. Just remember that those that move to another country go through stages. You might start missing things right away and rush to make a move. It can take time to adjust  to a new country (see our article about the stages people go through). 

Those that do stay, however, will discover the reality of living Mexico. 

The reality of living in Mexico

Moving to another country opens new doors and experiences you would never have imagined. Almost everyone that makes the move will tell you that it was a good decision. There are a lot of unknowns when you take the leap to move, and this is just part of the journey. Some reinvent themselves, others see a need for a service or business and open one, others revel in the culture and experience. If you are flexible and creative, there can be a ton of new opportunities waiting for you in Mexico. 

As for travel, there will be a lot of local exploration for you and everything will be new for you. For international travel, there are not as many flights  than where you have moved from, but with a little searching, you can find deals and plenty of places to go. Many that move to Mexico actually find themselves traveling just as much as before. Sometimes there is more travel because of visits back home and other opportunities. Then there is all the travel you can do within Mexico. Mexico is a very large country and varied reginal areas. Domestic flights are very affordable and so is most travel within the country.  

Moving to Mexico is like a new door that just opens to more new doors. If you are open to new experiences and are a little flexible, you will not feel like you are missing out on anything nor was it a one way move. Hopefully you will fall in love with your new surroundings and find your new place in life with many new possibilities. 

Rural Chiapas
Rural Chiapas state in Mexico. Just one of the places that is popular to visit within Mexico. 

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1 Comment

  1. I believe this topic does not come up enough and people worry about what a new place will be like and if they are making a good move.

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