Mexico Utility Costs and Social Security
It’s true. According to an in-depth investigation by Money magazine, “250,000 Americans are leaving the country for good every year – (BP: and many are heading to Mexico!) And millions more are seriously considering it.”
Why? Sad but true, many people can no longer afford to retire in the U.S.
U.S. Social Security reports that it’s sending checks to 442,000 Americans overseas. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
The government openly admits it doesn’t know how many Americans live overseas but have their Social Security checks sent to a U.S. address.
People living in their chosen “retirement country” are wise to have two addresses. First, of course, is the actual address you are living at. Second is the address in the United States, often a PO Box, where you can easily and confidently receive all important or necessary mail. This step, to have a United States address, is necessary for many reasons. This is your official U.S. address, first of all. Lets you securely receive your S.S. checks. You MUST be a resident of the U.S., have a U.S. address, in order to receive Social Security. Then, this allows you to receive bills, although, most bills now can be received and paid via Internet – MOST can – but not all!
An interesting possibility has come to my attention which lets US customers pay bills to TELMEX, TelCel, Iusacell, Movistar, Unefon, Infonavit, ADT Security, Spira and GE Money and SKY Satelite. Softgate and PayXchange both offer this service. Check their sites to see if they can help you.
In Mexico, your utility bill can be paid online or in person at the company-office, once service has been established. They can also be paid at most banks,major grocery stores, as well as some convenience stores. A question often asked by prospective Expat/retirees is “Just how much will my utilities bill be in Mexico?” With the structure of homes being mostly concrete, homes tend to be comfortable. However, it’s really hot in the summer in the coastal areas of Mexico, so electricity could possibly run $200 a month during summer months, if you use a lot of air conditioning. The rest of the year, it will probably be more like $50 or less. Just as in the states, consumption is such a personal thing and can vary. Water is usually billed every 2 months, and varies – $10 to $50/2 months. Gas is delivered by trucks which drive through neighborhoods, usually ringing loud bells or using a loudspeaker, announcing their arrival. A small tank of gas ($20-$25) usually lasts two to three weeks, averages $30/month). The price, set by the government has increased over the past few years.
So, when you’ve decided to retire to another country to make your pennies really stretch during your retirement, get yourself a permanent address in the U.S. (Possibly could be a relative’s address.)
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Barbie Parks is the publisher and editor of MoneySavingMexico.com. She is the author of Retire In Luxury: How To Retire Abroad And Live Better on Less and her latest book, Money Saving Mexico: How To Save Money On Everything South of the Border.