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Hi, I'm Beth and my husband and I are considering moving to Mexico when he retires. He heard that if we move full-time we will not be able to collect our SS benefits. Is that right? Do we need to keep a permanent address in the US? Do we need to spend a certain amount of time living in the US?

Sorry if this is a repeat question. I'm new and have not been able to find an answer in the posts.
 

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Good News! He heard WRONG!
You will continue to receive your benefits and should also have the privilege of paying for Part B, in case you ever want to return to the USA and use Medicare without penalties. We, and other expats have done that for years, so enjoy your retirement in Mexico.
I suggest that you have a good bank; USAA, if eligible, and keep your deposits going there in your US accounts. Banking online is easy; Mexican banks are not user friendly, etc. ATM machines are everywhere in Mexico; more numerous and convenient than you usually experience in the USA. Cash is king in Mexico. We never wrote a check and seldom used a credit card. Have your bank raise your Debit Card daily limit to $1000 USD to minimize trips to the ATM and machine charges, if any are not reimbursed by your bank.
 

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Hi, I'm Beth and my husband and I are considering moving to Mexico when he retires. He heard that if we move full-time we will not be able to collect our SS benefits. Is that right? Do we need to keep a permanent address in the US? Do we need to spend a certain amount of time living in the US?

Sorry if this is a repeat question. I'm new and have not been able to find an answer in the posts.
Hi, Beth, and welcome to ExpatForum! You remain eligible for SS retirement benefits while living in Mexico--there are many US retirees currently living in Mexico. For SS purposes, there is no requirement to maintain a US address, or to live in the US part of the time. (That is how things stand now--no telling how SS may change in the future.)

ETA: Oops, didn't see RV's post!

.
 

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If you tell SS that you now live in Mexico and change your address with them to the Mexican address, you will now receive your SS benefit on the 3rd of every month. Plus, in July you will receive a letter and form from them requesting if you worked and didn't pay your SS tax and basically asking if you're alive. The form needs to be sent back else SS might suspend your benefit check. It's no big deal many expats and Mexicans fill it out and mail it back.
 

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I suggest that you have a good bank; USAA, if eligible, and keep your deposits going there in your US accounts. Banking online is easy; Mexican banks are not user friendly, etc. ATM machines are everywhere in Mexico; more numerous and convenient than you usually experience in the USA. Cash is king in Mexico. We never wrote a check and seldom used a credit card. Have your bank raise your Debit Card daily limit to $1000 USD to minimize trips to the ATM and machine charges, if any are not reimbursed by your bank.
At least in Mexico City, many businesses do accept bank and credit cards. This is not so at street markets and for some small businesses, including some medical offices. Checks are seldom used, at least I have not seen any in the ten years I've been living here. Sometimes, services are paid for by making a deposit in the bank account of the person you owe money to. When I am owed money by Mexican clients (I do occasional translating and editing work), they just deposit my fee to my Santander account.
 

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Government , Insurrance companies and businesses use checks .
Government offices accept checks? What sort of offices? And what kind of businesses? It's lucky for me that I've never been asked for a check in Mexico, since I don't have any!
 

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At first, I recommend maintaining a mailing address in the US using one of the services that are set up to provide them (CMRA's or post office boxes). I recommend that while you still are a US resident with a US residential address, you set up a US bank account that you will keep open while you live outside the US.

You want to choose the bank based on what sort of fees it applies to foreign currency ATM withdrawals. You will want to have your social security set up to auto-deposit into that account.

After you have lived in Mexico for a couple years and are sure you're going to stay, you can do what some here have done and set up a Mexican bank account and have your benefits paid directly to it. But I wouldn't bother with that until at least after you've been settled a year and are sure where you're going to stay long term.

Medicare is a different story, and the news there is not as good.
 

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At least in Mexico City, many businesses do accept bank and credit cards. This is not so at street markets and for some small businesses, including some medical offices. Checks are seldom used, at least I have not seen any in the ten years I've been living here. Sometimes, services are paid for by making a deposit in the bank account of the person you owe money to. When I am owed money by Mexican clients (I do occasional translating and editing work), they just deposit my fee to my Santander account.
I use my US BofA visa card a lot in Mexico. I use my Schwab debit card to withdraw pesos from the ATM. I would say there is a crime epidemic (near us) at the moment where Mexicans withdraw pesos from the bank and shortly thereafter they are robbed. Normally the amounts involved are large'ish. Anywhere from 38,000 pesos and up. One victim was actually smart enough to withdraw smaller amounts from two banks and yet was still robbed near her house. I read these stories a couple times a week. Either bank employees are involved or criminals are casing victims out in the bank lobbies - I don't know. Recently, 20 armed men attempted to rob the ATMs in the local Mega supermarket (at 3AM). They apparently were not successful and four of them were captured. My wife tells me that because they were not successful they were later released. Go figure...

We have a Mexican check book which we have used used at least twice over the years for real-estate transactions. By writing a check - which was never cashed, and later returned to us - we secured our genuine interest in the transaction during negotiations. When we closed on our house we brought a cashier's check with us to closing, as per the instructions of the notary

I use the billpay function at our Mexican bank a lot to pay for services (Sky, Telmex, Telcel) and to buy time for a cell phone (AT&T). We use the SPEI transfer function to wire monies to other people (pay the homeowner's association, pay an invoice etc).

I can't imagine 'living' in Mexico without a relationship with a Mexican bank.

btw - we had lunch at our favorite Texas BBQ place recently in your neck of the woods. They just opened a new location in Colonia Anahuac (between Polanco and El Angel - in fact we walked there from Zona Rosa. Boy there are a lot of impressive construction projects in that area of Mexico City.
 

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If you check out this website, you will find a video on opening a U.S. credit union account which has some very good features. This serves the diplomatic corps or anyone else living outside the U.S. and you can give them your Mexican address when you open an account. There is no need to use a fake U.S. address.
https://www.americansabroad.org/

Mexican banks: We have our Social Security checks deposited in a Mexican bank. No problems.

Re Medicare Part B, you cannot use it in Mexico (emergency care for travelers excepted), but some continue to pay for it "just in case" they return to the U.S. to live or to have medical care there.
There are stiff penalties for those who drop it and want to sign back on at a later date.

Private health insurance in available. There are two government sponsored health care plans expats can sign up for: IMSS or Seguro Popular.
Hope this helps, and welcome.
 

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If you check out this website, you will find a video on opening a U.S. credit union account which has some very good features. This serves the diplomatic corps or anyone else living outside the U.S. and you can give them your Mexican address when you open an account. There is no need to use a fake U.S. address.
https://www.americansabroad.org/

Mexican banks: We have our Social Security checks deposited in a Mexican bank. No problems.

Re Medicare Part B, you cannot use it in Mexico (emergency care for travelers excepted), but some continue to pay for it "just in case" they return to the U.S. to live or to have medical care there.
There are stiff penalties for those who drop it and want to sign back on at a later date.

Private health insurance in available. There are two government sponsored health care plans expats can sign up for: IMSS or Seguro Popular.
Hope this helps, and welcome.
You can be honest with Schwab that you are a Mexican resident and you can open a Schwab One International Account. Their rep even visits Mexico periodically and met with us in a hotel lobby in Mexico City to help us with the paperwork.

I know at least one person on this site who used the FBU (Federal Benefits Unit) at the US Embassey to set up the deposit of their SS benefits to their Mexican bank. It appears that the advantage there is that there are no exchange rate costs at all. You can not beat that ! Perhaps a year ago we visited the embassy and talked SS with them. (Neither of us are yet claiming SS). This year - you can no longer do that - you have to schedule a phone interview. We did use the FBU for my wife to opt out of Medicare Part B this year.

That US Embassy in Mexico City is really becoming unfriendly. Within the last several months I had to go there to renew my US passport. When we walked up to the entrance we were told to walk down the street and look for a woman sitting on a large planter. We found the woman who looked over my paperwork and then gave me this tiny slip of paper which allowed me to enter the embassy. BUT - my wife (a US citizen who had her US passport with her) was not allowed to come into the embassy with me. She had to wait for me on the sidewalk outside.
 

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I know at least one person on this site who used the FBU (Federal Benefits Unit) at the US Embassey to set up the deposit of their SS benefits to their Mexican bank. It appears that the advantage there is that there are no exchange rate costs at all.
One disadvantage is that the deposit on every 3rd of the month is the exchange rate that day. With funds in the US, you get to gauge when you want to transfer funds.

That US Embassy in Mexico City is really becoming unfriendly.
It's been unfriendly for me in the last 17 years hear. The search for contraband and metallic objects is worse than TSA. I had to leave my cell at the gate and then the Passport agents wanted references that were in my cell.
 

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(Horshoe)
"You can be honest with Schwab that you are a Mexican resident and you can open a Schwab One International Account. Their rep even visits Mexico periodically and met with us in a hotel lobby in Mexico City to help us with the paperwork."

I've heard that you need to make a very substantial deposit in order to open a Schwab account.
Is that true, and if so, how much?
 

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(Horshoe)
"You can be honest with Schwab that you are a Mexican resident and you can open a Schwab One International Account. Their rep even visits Mexico periodically and met with us in a hotel lobby in Mexico City to help us with the paperwork."

I've heard that you need to make a very substantial deposit in order to open a Schwab account.
Is that true, and if so, how much?
I'm sure you can find that info on the Schwab website and then decide for yourself if that is 'substantial' or not.
 

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I'm sure you can find that info on the Schwab website and then decide for yourself if that is 'substantial' or not.
From the website: "A minimum of US$25,000 is required to open a Schwab One International account."

I'm sure that for people of elevated financial status, that might not seem substantial.
(Spare change for some: a heavy levy for others.)

Most banks or credit unions don't ask for anything remotely near that figure, so unless you're getting a substantial return of some type for tying up that level of capital......it's not a good deal for an expat who simply wants a U.S. bank account with an accompanying U.S. credit card account for use in ordering goods or services in the U.S; for instance, Kindle e-books from Amazon or well priced electronics.
 

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btw - we had lunch at our favorite Texas BBQ place recently in your neck of the woods. They just opened a new location in Colonia Anahuac (between Polanco and El Angel - in fact we walked there from Zona Rosa. Boy there are a lot of impressive construction projects in that area of Mexico City.
I live in Colonia Cuauhtémoc, not Anáhuac. A few months ago a place called Porco Rosso opened almost across the street from my apartment building. I've never been there because I'm not fond of Texas BBQ, and the place has adversely affected the atmosphere in the neighborhood. Since it is a large open-air establishment, when it blasts music in all directions, it disturbs the tranqullity of what is a fairly quiet residential area. As far as the construction projects you mention, I hate them! What is happening is that lovely old one-family homes are being sold, and the developers are putting up tallish, not very nice-looking condominium buildings. My little street is rapidly losing its architectural character, and the new constructions are just adding to the population density in this part of the city. When all of the new buildings are finished and new people move in, I fear there will be more water shortages than usual.
 

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From the website: "A minimum of US$25,000 is required to open a Schwab One International account."

I'm sure that for people of elevated financial status, that might not seem substantial.
(Spare change for some: a heavy levy for others.)

Most banks or credit unions don't ask for anything remotely near that figure, so unless you're getting a substantial return of some type for tying up that level of capital......it's not a good deal for an expat who simply wants a U.S. bank account with an accompanying U.S. credit card account for use in ordering goods or services in the U.S; for instance, Kindle e-books from Amazon or well priced electronics.
I honestly thought it was more in the area of $10,000 USD - perhaps they raised the number since we created the account (so it is good that I didn't respond off memory). But that is across ALL accounts - including all retirement accounts (You can use the sum of accounts to reach the requirement).

btw - with Schwab we ONLY have a debit card (albeit a good one) - they can not issue us a US dollar based credit card.
 

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...which is why some prefer the State Dept. Federal Credit Union account: includes a high limit credit card with low fees if one opens a savings account. The Schwab route makes sense if you're interested in investing on Wall street. At this point, I would be very hesitant to do that. My crystal ball is looking cloudy.
 
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