Living in Mexico has long been popular with those who live north of the border. It is a popular place for holidays – especially with those looking for some winter sun and a popular retirement destination for Americans due to its proximity to the US. The country boasts beautiful beaches, fascinating attractions, friendly locals, an all year round good climate, low cost of living, and good quality of life for all who travel there.
Mexico boasts one of the strongest economies in Latin America and has a firm trade agreement with the US. The capital, Mexico City, is growing at an impressive rate and now boasts excellent opportunities for all budding entrepreneurs. There is, however, a big gap between the rich and poor and a fine line between survival and poverty. However, in terms of international business, the country is ranked second highest out of all the Latin countries in terms of high income. The cost of living in Mexico is also very cheap, which means that many expats living here can enjoy a lavish lifestyle.
Business opportunities are plenty in Mexico as it is still largely a developing country. Now is a perfect time for those people with savings or who are financially secure enough to invest. It is necessary to have the required visa and work permits before entering Mexico to live and work. If you have desirable skills in the country, you should not have a problem obtaining the right documentation.
Mexico as an Expat Destination
Mexico is a popular expat destination, and there are currently an estimated 2 million ex-pats living in the region. It is particularly appealing as a retirement destination for the Americas, who find that they can enjoy a lower cost of living than that available within their home country.
Expats enjoy a relaxed pace of life and often find it an enjoyable and easy-going place to live. The people there are friendly and welcoming to foreigners, and the crime rate is quite low. Expats living in Mexico find that there is no shortage of things to do. The country’s diverse landscape offers various activities, from soaking up the sun on beautiful beaches to exploring mountainside lakes.
Cost of Living in Mexico
The low value of the Mexican peso against the US Dollar means that expatriates from developed countries can enjoy a high standard of living here. The basic cost of living is much lower than that of Europe and the United States, especially concerning local grocery items. However, some things can be slightly more expensive, especially utilities and electrical items. Housing in Mexico is relatively cheap, and expatriates have been known to buy a good-sized property for less than USD 20,000.
Mexico’s centralized economy means that Mexico city acts as a counterpoint to the economy. This means living in Mexico City is much more expensive than in other cities and towns in Mexico.
Each Expat Info Desk relocation guide contains detailed living costs across different lifestyles and living options for many popular expatriate destinations. Because our guides are written by expats who live and work in the countries themselves, you can be assured that the information is accurate.
Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country globally, although those speak English with good education and most international businessmen/women. However, it is still advisable to learn Spanish if you are considering moving as it will gain your respect and open more doors.
The climate of Mexico varies according to altitude. The low-lying coastal areas are typically tropical, hot, and humid, while the weather in Mexico is much more moderate. Seasonal temperature variations are small.
Expat Job and Career Opportunities
Mexico can be a very challenging place to find work. Many expats relocate to Mexico in their retirement as opposed to as an opportunity to further their careers. A small number of opportunities exist in the engineering, communication, and technical sectors, and some highly skilled foreigners do find job prospects in these areas. It is often useful to have Spanish speaking skills.
Other foreigners may find suitable work within the hospitality industry, working in many of the bars, clubs, and restaurants that are aimed at the tourist populations. A further option is to start your own business, and many expats choose to do exactly that. However, this is done with varying degrees of success, and many expats do find the process extremely difficult and frustrating. If you can gain the services of a local, then this would help tremendously. Information about the registration process for starting a business in Mexico can be found in our international relocation guides.
Key Facts About Living in Mexico Every Expat Should Know
- The rental market in Mexico is generally unregulated. This means that landlords can raise rents at a moment’s notice, and tenants have to pay up or leave.
- There will often be both a Spanish and an English version of all contracts. However, in the event of a dispute, only the Spanish one will be recognized by law. This means that you should always have the Spanish version checked before signing it.
- In Mexico, agricultural lands owned by the local community (ejido) are often offered for sale. If you live in Mexico and are considering purchasing these lands, you should always check the legal status as you may risk losing the land at a later date.
- Mexico has a value-added tax system, and a 15% tax is included in the price displayed. If you are a business owner, you may experience difficulties writing this off against revenue as, to do so, you are required to get a “Factura” (an official receipt). Many small businesses are not prepared to provide these as it highlights their revenue to the authorities. Therefore, you need to be prepared to pay additional taxes on your earnings unless you can purchase from larger stores and businesses.
- If you plan on entering Mexico as a resident or temporary resident, you should be aware that you are only permitted to bring in household effects on a duty-free basis once in your lifetime. You, therefore, need to plan what you bring into the country when you first arrive very carefully.
- One thing that all expats should know is that bills that are issued before 1993 are worthless. Never accept anything dated before 1993.