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! 

used 2007-10-30 P.V. inside cathedralAn 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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13 Responses to Mexico Utility Costs and Social Security

  1. Jose M Gomez

    January 17, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Don’t understand, you must have a US address and be a resident to receive SS, but at the same time SS is mailing 442000 checks overseas?

  2. nellie jenkins

    January 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    isn’t it sad that we EARN social security yet cannot use it unless we “live” in the U.S.? took a tax class and people filing IRS claims can claim dependent children even if THEY LIVE IN MEXICO or Canada with relatives. and often that relative caregiver can be claimed as an exemption/dependent, too. how fair is that?

    Yep, that’s something to think about, for sure! Barbie

  3. debbie

    January 17, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    My question is related to health insurance. If you leave the U.S. and move to Mexico and participate in Mexican health insurance….if you have to move back to the U.S. ….will all the years you been in Mexico be viewed as uninsured health benefit years in the U.S…..causing a coverage issue back in the states for pre-existing conditions?

  4. chaplain Pat Rowden

    January 18, 2013 at 2:31 am

    I want to retire in Mexico but the new minimum income requirement is more than I make. Do you think this requirement will be changed? I know I can live comfortably on what I make in the Chapala area. Any suggestions. Thanks Chaplain Pat
    Pat – I’m trying to make corrections through my site. The new minimum income has many people wondering what they do next – see –

  5. Barbie


    January 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Hi Pat, I really can’t tell you how to get around this requirement. Hoow about you contact an Expat in Chapala or, anyplace in Mexico, and find out what they did.(Blog, chatline, etc.) Barbie

  6. Barbie


    January 25, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Hi Debbie, I suggest checking with an insurance agent in the States. They will be able to help you. Barbie

  7. Barbie


    January 25, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Yep – read the qualifications at Barbie

  8. nellie jenkins

    January 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    what is the new minimum income to move to Mexico?

  9. Barbie


    January 26, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Hi Nellie – Approximately $1500 single person. Nellie – I am correcting my reply – as of February 2013, the amount has jumped! See at

  10. sue

    February 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Actually, Barbie….with the new immigration laws that were passed in November, the monthly income requirement for a temporary visa is just over $1900 US and the amount needed for permanent residency is $2400 US a month! ( those figures are taken from the US / Mexican embassy website ) The figure that you’re quoting is from the Swedish / Mexican embassy!
    ( By BARBIE – So right – after Feburary 2013, the amount is changing! )

  11. Barbie


    February 3, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Thanks so much for your update info! Barbie

  12. Al Nagy

    May 23, 2013 at 6:01 am

    I have been considering Mexico since the early 1990’s. As I have recently (Nov.) turned 60, my idea is now to retire in late 60’s,8 or 9 years from now. I would like to “snow bird” there, possibly 3 months of the year, then a couple in Canada during summer. Remainder of time in my home in Indiana, which would be bearable minus the extreme months in summer and winter. Still feasible?
    Thanks for this wonderful site.
    Al Nagy

  13. Barbie


    June 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Hi Al – Sure! Great idea :) Barbie

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