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Baby boomers are leaving the workforce to live their best lives in a place where they can afford it.

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

We’ve heard a lot about the “Great Resignation,” the trend of people quitting their jobs to pursue better-paying and more meaningful opportunities. We’re now seeing the “Great Retirement,” a silver tsunami of Baby Boomers leaving the workforce in 2022.

During the bleak early days of the pandemic, in the third quarter of 2020, nearly 30 million Baby Boomers left the job market and retired, according to the Pew Research Center. The study showed that Covid-19 heavily contributed to the rapid increase of Boomers—born between 1946 and 1964—being forced out of the labor market.

About a year later, the exodus accelerated. A recent survey from Coventry showed that over 75% of the respondents said they are planning to retire early. The effects of the pandemic made older people reflect on what is really important to them. A larger percentage have come to the realization that they’ll be happier and live a more fulfilling life by leaving their jobs.

Over the last nearly two years, seasoned workers have faced serious health concerns, due to being in the “at-risk” group for Covid-19. They were isolated at home for both work and health reasons. The Boomers missed out on seeing their colleagues, friends and family. After spending around 40 years in the work world, they now were tossed into a surreal environment. Some of them were frustrated in navigating all of the new video technologies and software platforms used to connect with managers and co-workers.

The Covid-19 outbreak has changed so many things in our society. For the older cohort, after years of being in charge, they now need to contemplate their next move. Their choice is to either ride out this never-ending tumultuous time period of uncertainty in their jobs or calling it a day and quitting.

The pandemic made us face our own mortality, which opens the door to thinking deeply about what we want to do with the rest of our lives. That's why many baby boomers are deciding to retire in Latin America now and not later, especially in Mexico.

With more than 1.1 million ex-pats estimated to live there, Mexico is far and away the most popular destination for North Americans looking to move abroad and is growing. But—with so many places to choose from—where in Mexico should you move? It’s a very large country, after all.

Much depends, of course, on what you’re looking for. There are places in Mexico where you can live totally off the grid, or immerse yourself in a small village where there are no other foreigners. Alternatively, there are cities and neighborhoods where you can live a gringo life, never seeing a local and never needing Spanish.

Most expats seek something between these two extremes: places where the transition to Mexico is easy (and so is getting there), amenities abound, and local culture and color are all around. Based on that happy medium, here is one place to consider when considering living in Mexico.

Mérida: Colonial City-Living

Like San Miguel, Mérida is a Spanish-colonial city. But Mérida is a very different animal… Unlike small-town San Miguel, Mérida is a metropolis of almost a million people, with universities, major corporations, museums, and its own international airport with direct flights back to the U.S. In addition, Mérida is in the semi-tropical Yucatán Peninsula, at the opposite end of the country from San Miguel. It’s just half-an-hour from the Yucatán Gulf Coast, where the white-sand beaches are punctuated by little beach towns and you can still find beach homes for around $100,000.

Mérida is one of the safest cities in Mexico. Depending on how many suburbs are included, the population of metropolitan Mérida is approaching 1 million. But when you walk down the city’s tree-lined streets, some paved with hand-laid tiles, you feel as though you are in a city that is much smaller.

Mérida’s expat community numbers about 4,000, and growing fast but that’s a drop in the bucket for a city this size — this is a very musical city. You’ll find bands performing in some plaza or other almost every day of the week. And if you think you know Mexican cooking, think again—Yucatán cuisine is distinctly different, and on display here in Mérida.

The delicious regional food competes with the architecture for your attention and one cannot look at any building in the large historic district without being forced to feel something about the way that this city and all colonial cities came to be.

This beautiful, vibrant city of some one million people offers culture, sports, modern infrastructure, world-class affordable medical care, and handy access to the Gulf of Mexico. It’s easy to understand why Merida has long been a favorite of expats. It is also among the most historically significant cities in all of Mexico.

Capital of the state of Yucatan, Merida’s ancient roots go back to, what was formerly, the Maya city of Tho´, also known as Ichkaanziho´. And it is Merida’s rich history and current indigenous influences, mixed with a modern lifestyle, up-to-date infrastructure, and a reduced cost of living that has attracted large numbers of expats.

Cost of Living in Merida

Like all of Mexico, Merida offers a reduced cost of living when compared to most places, north of the border. This is explained by low labor costs as well as reduced costs for materials and essentials. Due to the low wages, the market will simply not bear the sort of profits normally built into goods and services, north of the border.

Whether you rent or buy, housing costs are affordable for almost every budget. The singular exception may be related to purchasing and restoring one of the many colonial homes available for restoration. While their prices are very reasonable, the cost of the refurbishment may quickly reduce your bank account. That said, many expats have enjoyed taking on that challenge with great results.

Below is an example of a monthly budget for a couple living in Merida $USD :

If Merida sounds Interesting or you will like to learn more about relocating to Mexico please feel free to reach out to us.

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