The most important finding in our recently completed Expats In Mexico Survey 2019 was Baby Boomers are considering moving to Mexico for retirement. And, nearly 52 percent said they would retire within two years, attracted to Mexico mainly by the cost of living and climate.
Retirement was given as the number one reason why Baby Boomers are considering moving to Mexico. Nearly 29 percent of Boomer respondents said retirement is their main reason to move, followed by a lower cost of living (23 percent) and better climate (16 percent). For all respondents, retirement still came out on top at 24 percent. A lower cost of living (21 percent) and a better climate (16 percent) were also on the top of their needs. Nearly two-thirds of all survey respondents also said they would retire and not work in Mexico, but more importantly, over eight-out-of-10 Boomers said they would retire.
The findings were not surprising to me. When I wrote my book, “Boomers in Paradise: Living in Puerto Vallarta” in 2008, that trend was very noticeable. Since then, the Boomer wave moving to Mexico has picked up even more steam and for good reason. According to a recent report by the Stanford Center on Longevity, U.S. Baby Boomers hold less wealth, are deeper in debt and will face higher expenses than retirees a decade older than them.
Baby Boomers, until recently supplanted by Millennials as the largest living generation in America, were born between 1946 and 1964 and numbered over 76 million people.
The Mexican government reported over 1.2 million expats were living in the country through 2017, the latest figure available. By comparison, the 2000 Mexican census showed just under 540,000 expats in Mexico. Americans represented over 80 percent of all expats living in in Mexico two years ago, nearly 900,000.
Among Baby Boomers, 83 percent said they are likely or very likely to move, compared with 49 percent of all respondents considering a move to Mexico. As for when they will move, nearly 43 percent of all survey respondents said they will move within two years. That number increases to 52 percent among Baby Boomers. Additionally, 300 Expats In Mexico readers weighed in last month on when they will move to Mexico. Nearly 60 percent said within the next three years.
Mexico’s benevolent climate claimed the number one reason why all respondents LIKE Mexico (24 percent). The cost of living (21 percent) was the number two choice. The Mexican people (18 percent) was third followed closely by lifestyle (17 percent).
Where will the new expats live? Puerto Vallarta received a big thumbs up from both all respondents and Boomers. Almost 17 percent said they would likely live there, followed by Lake Chapala (9 percent), Los Cabos (7 percent), Cancún (7 percent) and Mérida (5 percent). Boomers, however, favored Mazatlán over Mérida for the fifth spot. Guadalajara, Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato were also listed as choices. It is important to note that nearly 40 percent of both groups chose locations in Mexico not included in the 10 cities we listed as choices.
Moving anywhere is expensive, so economizing on the move to Mexico was apparent in all survey responses. Just over 45 percent said they would sell all of their household goods before moving. Nearly 30 percent would self-move some of their belongings. Just under 10 percent would use international moving companies, the most expensive option.
Will these new expats live in Mexico full-time or be part-time “snowbirds”? Almost 60 percent said they would live in Mexico year-round while just over 40 percent said they would live south of the border part-time. Boomers are split on this subject: An equal amount will live in Mexico full-time and part-time.
A majority of all expats considering a move to Mexico will rent a home and about one-third will purchase an existing home. Others will build new homes, live with family or make other arrangements.
We also asked what might be a concern about moving to Mexico. About 45 percent of both groups said they were wary of personal security in the country. Given the amount of media attention on crime in Mexico, it was not surprising. Interestingly, the second issue most on the minds of respondents (23 percent) was Spanish language skills. Much less of an issue were the quality of healthcare and the difficulty of getting a work visa.
Do these aspiring expats who are considering moving to Mexico plan on living in the country for a long time? For all respondents, 56 percent said they would make Mexico their home for more than 10 years and an additional 24 percent would live in the country for at least five to 10 years.
Unlike our surveys in 2017 and 2018, which targeted expats currently living in Mexico, this year’s self-selected survey reached out to only aspiring expats who are considering a move, which represents the largest segment of our Expats In Mexico readership. Three hundred respondents primarily from the U.S. and Canada completed our survey in January and February, 2019.
More men than women completed the survey and the majority were between the ages of 45 and 74. Over 53 percent hold a college degree and 62 percent earn more than US$75,000 a year.
If you are one of the aspiring expats who are considering or planning a move to Mexico for whatever reason, we would love to hear from you. One of our most popular features is our Moving to Mexico series of articles. Let us know if you are moving and interested at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you to set up an interview.