Financial Worries In Retirement

Another thing that can be like the dragon in the closet…


…or the elephant in the room – to some, is the financial worry. Do you really think you have enough money put away to afford to retire? That was one of Dick’s and my first dragons to tackle.

Now, if you’re soon going to hit that magic age, it may seem a bit late to worry about. But, hopefully, you’ve learned to be a bit frugal along the way – put a little bit away – learned not even to try to keep up with the Joneses!  Remember the the pitiful guy on the television commercial who shows off his beautiful house, his big new car, the golf club membership and then admits “I’m up to my eyeballs in debt!” – poor guy – no – poor stupid guy!  Dick and I learned years ago it’s not how much money you bring in, it’s how wise you are using whatever that amount is. Don’t even attempt to keep up with the Joneses! So, clear up those credit card balances before you are ready to retire and then make it a practice to always pay your credit card off each month.

We also feel you should try your very best to have your home paid off – no mortgage in other words. Remember, you’ll most likely want to downsize – why worry about having to clean and care for a 4-bedroom home when you really just want to go get another round of golf in or take another day-trip? Hopefully you can sell that big money-drainer and get something easy to take care of and put a good chunk of cash in your pocket!

And have your car paid off. All reports tell you how much money is wasted when you buy a new car as opposed to buying one a couple of years old. I just read that when you drive a new car off the lot, it looses around 23% of its value! That’s terrible! Buy second hand and put that savings in your own pocket. But, I have to confess, Dick and I just bought a new car a couple of months ago – 0% interest and a great price – low, low monthly payments (we put a big chunk down)…then came home and wondered why we even did that, with the 0% interest…oh well – what’s done is done.  Oh – our car that we were driving turned over more than 150,000 miles and was a great car – really did still look like it just came off the showroom floor!  Hope we have that success with the new one!

On the car issue – you most likely will easily be able to do with only one car during retirement. Now, don’t do this immediately!  Living with only one car in the family may take some getting used to.  Try using just one car for a month – see if you can manage.  Wouldn’t you rather spend that insurance and upkeep money on another little side trip? Try it – you may like it. You’ll learn to schedule your comings and goings! And remember, it’s not just a car payment you’ll save – it’s insurance, and all the upkeep. If you’re lucky enough to live in a retirement community, you’ll probably want to get a golf cart for getting around.  They’re fun and oh so economical! And don’t forget the wonderful exercise you’ll get with a bicycle or just walking!


Of course, it is great … …if you have a decent amount of savings put back to supplement your Social Security. A lot of people will receive pensions from the companies they worked for, but there are also a lot of people who don’t have a pension coming in …we’re in that group. We always knew our retirement would be what we were able to put away. And then, there are lots of people who make it, living only on their Social Security.

In my book, Retire In Luxury, you’ll find a chart comparing living expenses where we lived compared to expenses we could expect in Mexico; you’ll understand just why people are heading to Mexico. Here’s a basic expense chart below.

Actually, during the time Dick and I were exploring and researching in order to decide where we would spend these precious years, we had charts for everything. We even had a chart about what we wanted in a house – what would be really important to us, what was necessary, and what we’d like but could do without. In maybe respects we really are detail folks, I guess… works for us.

Here is a chart

feel free to copy it and fill in the blanks with you own specific info – it’s a good way to start with your present expenses:



Home Gas

Home Insurance

Flood Insurance

Life Insurance, Dick

Life Insurance, Barb

Auto Insurance

Car Gas

Health Insurance, Dick

Health Insurance, Barb

Medical Evac Insurance (Mexico)






Mobile Phone

Trash Removal

Property Taxes

Association Fees


As you see, I didn’t list Car Payment nor House Payment. I’m sure everyone’s list will vary, but this is a pretty good one to use as a base – it’s a good way to get started.


Addition Feb 3, 2013 – the amount you need to move to Mexico has changed – see –

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9 Responses to Financial Worries In Retirement

  1. Joseph Kinner

    January 23, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Thanks for sharing your always interesting and very informative emails. I always look forward to reading them.


  2. James Walter

    January 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Hi Barbie–

    We are inching closer to ending this chapter of our life and wanting to move either to Mexico or Belize. But I have taken my Social Security (early at 64) and am concerned how I will be able to continue receiving it if we move out of country. Any thoughts or suggestions will be appreciated.

  3. Barbie


    January 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Hi Jim – several of my articles talk about this question. An easy way is bank transfer. Barbie

  4. Barbie


    January 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks Joseph! Barbie

  5. Dianne Davis

    April 4, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I have read and been told many, many times from several sources that I need $1,500 USD monthly income in Mexico. However, it seems the income requirement is now raised to $2,500 from a pension. I will quite simply not have more than $1,500 SSA plus monthly rental income of around $1,500. (1) Will Mexico consider my American rent income? (2) Do I have to wait six months after I retire to document six months of SSA? I was hoping to move right after I receive my first check! I am really heartsick about this high income requirement. I have wanted to live in Mexico for over 20 years and i think my dream is in jeopardy. I won’t be buying a house, just renting. I hope you have some encouragement for me. Dianne

  6. Barbie


    April 7, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Hi Dianne – Yes, Mexico has definately tightened the door as far as retirees go.

    For a temporary resident visa – issued with for 180 calendar days with a single entry. You must process the resident card application within the first thirty calendar days after you enter Mexico. (This might be your best bet.)

    For a permanent resident visa – issued to a foreigner who intends to enter the country in order to reside indefinitely – (maybe you).
    And you are pensioned or retired and are able to prove sufficient monthly income to cover their living expenses during their stay in Mexico (this is where a discrepancy may occur).

    Both of these visas must be processed at a Mexican Consulate and you must start the process at a Mexican Consulate office:
    and others….

    When you want permanent residency without working (for compensation):
    If you have a regular source of income from your investments, savings, or pension then a Permanent Resident Visa will probably be the route you will want to take. By law, you need to prove that you have sufficient funds or investments to sustain yourself, (there is also a “points score” which I know nothing about that can get you accepted.) The income levels has been tightened up significantly under the new laws of 2012.

    I wish I had more specific info for you – I’m certainly not an attorney – but perhaps starting at a Consulate is the place to go. They will have all the true specifics you need.
    I think I would sign up on several chatlines for retirees in Mexico too, and see how the situation is being handled now.

  7. Linda

    January 27, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I would like to receive a list of chat lines for retirees in Mexico. Also, I would like to know if I could work as a Real Estate agent in Mexico.
    Thank You,
    Linda Thompson

  8. Barbie


    March 6, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Lots of Expats take up real estate – you have a chance with other Expats.

  9. Barbie


    March 6, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Just do a search – chatline,mexico, and maybe an area you are interested in – then be careful.

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