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Retire in Mexico

Updated on October 10, 2012

Living the good life at a great price in Merida, Yucatan!

The historical colonial city of Merida has become the new place to retire for many Americans, Canadians and Europeans not only because of its seductive lifestyle and cultural interest, but also because it is simply such good value.

A high standard of living in Merida can be attained at a fraction of the cost of a medium standard of living just about anywhere else.

There are a number of reasons for this but the main one being the cost of a good home and excellent health care which are both highly important to retirees.

Affordable Real Estate in Mexico

Real estate is still extremely affordable and one can purchase a large, restored colonial home with pool for around US $200,000. Smaller, but still lovely homes are available, restored for less and if you are willing to take the time you can still buy un-restored homes for as little as US $70,000.

Construction costs are also extremely low in Mexico so you can renovate you home, add a pool, create a roof terrace for about 25% of what you would pay back home.

Living in Mexico | Property Slide Show - Overseas Property Investment in Merida - Yucatan - Mexico

Welcome to Merida, Yucatan, one of the most beautiful and safest cities in Mexico. Please Living in Mexico for more information about The Cultural Capital of the Americas.

Living Costs in Mexico

Following the initial investment to purchase your dream home you will find almost all of your other living expenses almost ridiculously low. This lens will look at the various expenses that you will need to cover in order to retire comfortably in Merida. We have tried to be modest with our estimations of costs...clearly you could spend a great deal more if you wished and you could also save on some of the expenditures and spend less!

To give you an idea of what we think will provide you with a comfortable lifestyle we have prepared the following list of average costs.

NB - We have quoted in both Mexican Pesos and US Dollars for your convenience but all costs, with the exception of health insurance are Mexican peso costs and therefore in order to be accurate you may wish to check the exchange rates on peso vs your own currency.

For an average 2 to 3 bedroom home in Merida you will pay annual taxes of around 1,500 pesos or less, a fiedelcomiso fee (a license that allows a foreigner to own property) to the bank based on the registered value of your home...on average around 7,000 pesos a year, a garbage collection tax of 250 pesos per year and a water tax of 1,000 pesos per year.

Therefore your fiedelcomiso charge and all taxes per year would amount to a grand total of around 10,000 pesos or US $750 per year.

Household Running Costs in Merida


The next big cost will be energy... your costs will fluctuate dramatically depending on how much air conditioning you will use as electricity is very expensive in Mexico. Mexico is such an outdoor lifestyle we try to suggest having ceiling fans in most rooms with air conditioning only in the bedrooms. In this manner you can most likely reduce the average electrical bill of 2,200 to 1,800 pesos a month.

Gas is much cheaper and depending on what you are using it for - hot water, clothes dryer, cooking etc. - your bill can range from 100 to 350 pesos per month.

Your energy costs per year, therefore, will most likely amount to 25,000 pesos. If you are careful with the air conditioning and use solar hot water you can reduce this to 20,000 pesos per year or US $1,450 per year.

Telephone, Internet and Cable TV

A telephone line in your home will cost about 200 pesos per month, Cable TV and Internet service between 350 and 550 pesos depending on the number of programs that you want. Therefore consider communications will cost you around 7,000 pesos per year or US $520 per year.

Gardener / maid service

Gardener / maid service costs around 50 pesos an hour and you will probably want a gardener to come once a week for 2 to 3 hours. Maid service 2 half days a week making therefore around 500 pesos a week or 26,000 pesos per year which is US $2,000 per year.

Household maintenance

On a newly renovated house you shouldn't require too much but maintenance will cost about 150 pesos per hour and you might require 20 to 30 hours of work per year or US $150 to US $400 per year. Pool service at 2 times a week at 100 pesos per time or 10,000 pesos per year is US $750 per year.

Best Buys on Books about Mexico


Owning a car is one thing... parking is another in Merida! This city wasn't made for so many cars and therefore you may have problems finding on-street parking near your house. You may need to park in a local parking lot - monthly cost around 250 to 400 pesos, insurance will run to around 5,000 peso per year, maintenance 700 pesos per month and gas is cheap.

But in Merida you probably won't use a car that much. If you live in Centro you can walk just about everywhere, the bus is 500 pesos and a taxi around 3,000 to avoid insurance costs, parking headaches etc. you could instead take a lot of taxis each year! Car rentals are as low as 280 pesos a day so a trip to the beach once a week is easy to budget. Therefore enjoy a healthy walk to the markets, take a 300 peso taxi when required and rent a car once a week to get out of town and you will spend about US $1,600 a year without the headache of a car. If you do wish to have a car estimate insurance, running costs and gas at around US $2,500 per year.

Total Annual Household Running Costs

Household running costs will amount to around US $7,500 including taxes, energy, communications, maintenance and transportation.

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Health Insurance

Health insurance...this is a big one. Merida has wonderful health care both public and private. If you are a resident you can apply for public health care and the cost will be around 3,500 pesos per year for coverage. If you want private health care insurance you will pay around 16,000 to 20,000 pesos per year. Health care is dramatically cheaper than in the US and of extremely high standard therefore the cost of insurance would be around US $1,400 per year...add about US $100 a year for every year over the age of 50...therefore at age 58 your insurance costs will be US $1,400 plus ( 8 x 100) for a total of US $2,200 per year.

In addition to your health insurance you will want to have your regular check ups with some of Merida's great medical practitioners to ensure you maintain your healthy lifestyle.

Two dental visits per year for cleaning, check up: 1,800 pesos or US $140 per year.

Two doctors check ups per year with blood tests: 2,400 peso or US $180 US per year.

Merida is an outdoor city and you will enjoy walking and keeping in shape. For those who really want to stay in great shape you can join a local no frills health club for about 350 pesos a month or a luxury hotel based one for 900 pesos a month. Total per year 10,000 pesos or US $750 per year.

Total Annual Healthcare Costs

To maintain good health your annual costs should amount to a minimum of around US $2,500.

Food and Entertainment

Grocery costs can vary on what you like to cook and where you want to shop but on average expect to pay around 120 pesos a day for groceries or 43,800 pesos per year or US $3,200 per year. Dining out can be as little as 80 pesos per person or as much as 400 per person. If you ate out at a range of restaurants 3 times a week, 80, 150, 400 or 650 pesos per week, per person, the costs would be 33,800 pesos or US $2,500 per year.

With its laid back tropical atmosphere you most likely won't spend a great deal on expensive clothing and the city has so much free or very inexpensive entertainment we suggest 1,500 pesos per month will provide you with plenty making 18,000 pesos per year or US $1,400 per year for clothing and entertainment.

Total Annual Food and Entertainment Costs

To eat well, dining at home and in local restaurants, enjoying the local cultural life your costs should amount to around US $7,000 per year.

In Conclusion...

You will want to go back home at least twice a year so travel costs of 10,000 pesos per flight will amount to US $1,500 per year.

And don't forget Spanish lessons to ensure that you get the most out of your new life...400 pesos per week or US $1,400 per year.

Therefore once you find your dream home, have it restored, purchase your furniture etc. your total living expenses per year should average around 272,000 pesos per year of which US $7,500 are for taxes, household running costs and $12,500 US per year are personal expenses such as health insurance, food and entertaining costs.

Therefore total household and living costs for a single person would amount to around US $20,000 and for a couple would amount to US $7,500 plus (2 x US $12,500) or US $32,500.

Obviously these costs need to be adjusted for individual needs but will give you a guideline for living a very good life in Merida - Yucatan - Mexico.

Total Annual Costs for Living in Merida

Therefore total household and living costs for a single person would amount to around US $20,000 and for a couple would amount to US $7,500 plus (2 x US $12,500) or US $32,500.


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