ICF Survey finds that many U.S. retirees in Mexico live comfortably for less than $1,000 a month


This month, the National City-based International Community Foundation released findings of a survey they conducted of more than 840 senior retirees in coastal areas of Mexico who are over the age of 50. I’m republishing here portions of the Foundation press release that was posted on their web site: 

  • U.S. retirees in Mexico are relatively young and well-educated. Nearly 53% are under 65 years of age (and, in fact, 80% are 69 years or younger), perhaps indicating that Mexico may not be as attractive for older Americans that require additional medical care. In addition, almost two-thirds have at least a college degree, and another 28% had attended at least one-year of college.
  • The respondents chose Mexico for retirement due to its proximity to the United States and its affordability relative to other U.S. retirement destinations.
  • U.S. retirees residing in Mexico continue to maintain strong ties to the U.S.: 50% consider the U.S. their primary country of residency, and almost 22% return to the U.S. on a monthly basis. 85% remain in contact with friends and family in the U.S. through the internet, 64% used the telephone, and 33% used Skype.
  • Retirees living in Mexico are worldly and world-wise. Of those that had considered retirement locations other than Mexico, 41% considered retiring in Central America or the Caribbean; 19% considered other non-U.S. destinations as possible retirement locations. Should quality of life decline in Mexico, those that are financially able could begin to look elsewhere.
  • Mexico may become an alternative for those U.S. retirees facing economic challenges in the future. While survey results and focus group participants clearly express that economic reasons were a major factor in leading them south of the U.S.-Mexico border, the potential is likely greater than is being realized. In 2007, the California Elder Economic Security Standard Index (a financial measure that indicates basic financial needs for seniors in California) ranged from $21,000-$27,500 as the minimum needed for major California cities. The survey results show that nearly 44% of U.S. coastal retirees in Mexico live comfortably on less than $1,000 per month – an amount which underscores the potential demand for retirement options for low and middle income retirees in Mexico.

For more on the survey, go to the ICF website or read this story by San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Sandra Dibble. 

To get an insight into the life of senior citizens retired in Mexicali, go to MexicaliMaryAnn’s blog:  http://www.mexicalimaryann.com/

About the ICF (from their web site):  International Community Foundation is a public charity working to foster lasting philanthropy to benefit under-served communities throughout the Americas and Asia. With over 70% of International Community Foundation’s recent grantmaking benefiting charitable causes along the Baja California peninsula, International Community Foundation is committed to assisting US donors with charitable giving needs from Tijuana to Los Cabos.

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3 responses to “ICF Survey finds that many U.S. retirees in Mexico live comfortably for less than $1,000 a month

  1. Your headline is correct. However, for only one grand a month, U.S. retirees would need to live among the locals inland rather than in our posh gringo beach communities.

    Consequently, they will also need to learn the language and the culture as well as make sure that their FM3 is in order. They will need to learn how to get along with their neighbors.

    This is one of the issues that created our own blog. We have not addressed it yet because it’s terribly complex and we’re still discussing its ramificatinos. We are unanimous about several points, however:
    – The gringos will be coming in greater numbers in the future for medical and dental attention and to retire.
    – Most gringos who live here are not cosmopolitan at all, rather, most have never been outside the U.S. before and tend to distrust anyone who is not WASP.
    – Many gringos in Baja California were forced into early retirement by the employment practices current in the U.S.

    When one lives in an ex-pat enclave like San Antonio del Mar or Punto Bandera, acculturation is not an issue. But elsewhere, where the rents are lower, getting along with one’s neighbors is a significant issue.

    Our migra might not be as obnoxious as your migra but that doesn’t mean that our migra doesn’t do its job. On the contrary, our migra is very effective — it gets rid of people who don’t get along with their neighbors.

    One of the purposes of The Real Tijuana is to offer insight into the fine art of getting along with one’s neighbors.

  2. Yeah, but how much does it cost to bullet-proof your house and car?

  3. To Austin Travel,
    To Austin Travel: You don’t need to bullet-proof yourself nor your house; but you do need to use common sense, something some Americans sorely lack: especially those who frequent bars, cantinas and clubs where alcohol is served.
    I think the threat of violence is somewhat exaggerated. Yes, there is considerable narco-violence in some parts of Mexico (Cuidad Juarez and Cuilican come to mind), butn not everywhere. Our non-profit has been running health clinics in Tijuana and in Sinaloa (yes, that Sinaloa) for decades and we have never had a problem with major crime of any sort. I just got back from weeks in Sinaloa and am heading to Tijuana next weekend. I do not foresee any problems.

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