Is Mexico Still a Safe Retirement Haven for Boomers?

Lake Chapala is a Baby Boomer retirement haven in Mexico.

Mexico has several attractive communities where thousands of American Boomers have found low-cost, comfortable retirement. However, those considering retirement there have a real concern about security in the midst of the country’s ongoing drug violence. Has Mexico become a narco country controlled by drug lords?

In fact, a 2015 Congressional Research Service report estimates at least 80,000 people have been killed due to organized crime related incidents since 2006. Despite this figure, several leading publications still endorse Mexico as a retirement haven for Boomers living on a tight budget:

According to AARP: A quick word about crime and safety in Mexico: Yes, it’s extremely dangerous in the cities bordering the United States and a few places elsewhere. Mexico, however, is also nearly three times the size of Texas, and most of the country is reasonably safe and secure, especially resort areas and tourist destinations.

This assessment is echoed by other knowledgeable authorities about retirement in Mexico. Yes, there are areas of Mexico one should avoid. And when traveling within Mexico, it is best to read the U.S. travel advisories first. Otherwise, as Kathleen Peddicord notes: “Mexico is, perhaps, your best [retirement] choice if you seek an adventure overseas with all the comforts of home.”

I discussed the issue of security in Mexico with a friend recently who has spent considerable time there. He feels that the expatriate communities are safe from the drug violence. In fact, he felt that retirees are physically safer there than in most U.S. cities. However, caution when traveling inside Mexico is urged, especially to avoid certain areas known for violence. There is also crime – mostly theft – and government corruption (“la mordida,” the bite, aka bribes). Moreover, since Americans have so much more than most Mexicans, one must be careful to avoid being scammed. But that’s just comes with the landscape south of the border.

For Baby Boomers, there are lots of good reasons to evaluate Mexico for retirement. Over one million expats live there, English is almost a second language, one can live well on a tight budget, they have an outstanding low-cost healthcare system, and many expat communities are almost like living in the U.S. One just needs to be safety conscious and exercise caution, much like we do in the States.

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