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By: Rene Cacheaux

Cacheaux Cavazos & Newton

Mexico City, Mexico

One of the industries Mexico hopes to develop is that of foreigners planning to retire in Mexico. For many years, Mexico has attracted foreign retirees for various reasons including its favorable climate and relatively low cost of living in the majority of cities where foreigners have established their retirement homes. Many foreign retirees have created veritable retirement communities where residents participate in common activities and share similar interests. The peso exchange rate has been another favorable factor attracting retirees to live in Mexico. Over the years, the exchange rate has almost always favored those converting foreign currency into pesos. That said, some negative factors and obstacles could confront retirees struggling to adapt to a new country. The first challenge is that of the Spanish language and Mexican culture, which may be very different from the language and culture of the foreign retiree. Normally, retirees moving to Mexico learn the local language and adapt easily to the openness of the Mexican culture and local quality of life. If foreign retirees do not, however, adapt to these factors, life in their new country may be difficult. Another important theme is that of medical services in Mexico, which as a country has made great efforts to build and provide hospital infrastructure and public health services; foreigners generally do not seek such public health services, and focus more on private health care. A new trend is the construction of private hospitals by foreign investors who seek to fulfill the medical service needs of foreign retirees in Mexico. For example, a high-quality private hospital is being built in Baja California to serve the needs of local non-Mexican retirees. It is expected that these types of hospitals will be built in other Mexican cities. The current problem of insecurity experienced by Mexico is another factor that will need to be resolved in order for Mexico to attract foreign retirees. Naturally, foreigners visiting Mexico should take certain precautions to ensure their personal safety, particularly in high crime zones. If Mexico desires to become a leading destination for foreign retirees, it will need to ensure the personal safety of individual retirees. From a legal point of view, foreign retirees receive various benefits, such as certain tax exemptions from income received from pension and retirement funds. Further, obtaining visas for foreign retirees is relatively easy and not overly burdensome on such foreign retirees. Foreigners living in Mexico have full access to courts and government offices without any restriction or discrimination. Foreign retirees are treated the same as Mexican citizens under applicable Mexican law, though in many circumstances foreign retirees may be treated better because of their foreign visitor status. In time, Mexico hopes to receive and integrate a substantial population of foreign retirees, who will be welcome to retire in Mexico.

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