Benefits of Retiring In New Mexico (Pros & Cons)
April 18, 2022General Retirement
Known as the land of enchantment, the benefits of retiring in New Mexico are one too many. However, it comes with some drawbacks too.
Tucked between the United States and Mexico on the Southwest Border is a place too beautiful to describe in words. New Mexico is most certainly a beguiling land of wonder that will leave you wondering why you didn’t move here sooner. However, better late than never! If you’re nearing your retirement age, you should definitely consider this wondrous place (after weighing its pros and cons, of course!) as a place to call home.
New Mexico is a beautiful place with a low cost of living, reasonable tax levels, good access to health and other amenities, a warm climate, and opportunities for recreational activities. On the flip side, New Mexico has high crime rates, poor infrastructure and roads, and an overall high altitude.
As the fifth-largest state in the U.S. by area, New Mexico is home to gorgeous semi-arid landscapes, warm weather, a rich historical and cultural background, and a high-spirited and welcoming population. Also, since this state is comparatively sparsely populated than other states, there are many chances of settlement opportunities for those in search of warmer climates.
Given the combination of astounding factors that make New Mexico great, this state seems like a dream for retirees. However, before you start packing your bags and booking your one-way ticket, you must acquaint yourself with some potential pitfalls of moving to New Mexico. Having served as a travel agent for years, I bounced at the opportunity to put together the great benefits and not-so-good drawbacks of retiring in New Mexico.
Table of contents
Pros of Retiring in New Mexico
New Mexico has an impressive list of benefits to offer to everyone planning on moving there, especially retirees. Due to its warm climate and serene and stunning setting, the Enchantment State is ideal for spending your retirement years. More interestingly, New Mexico has several large cities, including Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces, supplying you with plenty of moving opportunities.
With that said, let’s jump in and extensively explore the amazing benefits of retiring in New Mexico:
Reasonable Cost of Living
Firstly, the cost of living is a focal factor that not only seniors but everyone else also considers before moving to a state. However, this is an especially critical factor for retirees because of the limited budget they have. With the absence of a salary or wage, retirees have to rely on their social security benefits or 401ks to get by unless they come from family money or are generally well-to-do, which means the lower the cost of living, the better.
Fortunately, New Mexico delivers radiantly in this regard. The cost of living index that’s measured against the national average of 100 ranks New Mexico at 96.3. To put it simply, it showcases that New Mexico is a rather affordable and budget-friendly place to live in since an individual needs less money to spend on daily utilities, including housing, transportation, and groceries.
Depending on the city you plan to settle down in, there’s a chance the cost of living there may be even lower than the state average, allowing retirees to live comfortably solely off their social security benefits. Lovington, Hobbs, Carlsbad, Bloomfield, Roswell, and Alamogordo, are just one of the many cost-friendly counties in the state that boast a meager living cost.
Beautiful Scenery and Landscapes
Retirement is a permanent vacation that offers you the opportunity to reward yourself with some joyful moments to feel and stunning beauties to see. If you feel the same way, then New Mexico can certainly be the place you call home during your golden years.
The fifth-largest state in the U.S. is home to some gorgeous landscapes and scenery. Offering endless picturesque experiences throughout, the “Land of Enchantment” is most definitely a befitting title for this state. New Mexico boasts stunning crystal-like lakes, towering mountains, and rejuvenating greenery that will pique your interest. The state also features sprawling deserts covered in white sand and a picture-perfect sky for most of the year.
If you’re an outdoorsy person looking to squeeze in adventure and excitement during your retirement years, then you’ll be glad to learn about the various opportunities that its landscape allows you to enjoy. Whether it’s fishing, skiing, or camping, the Enchantment State has numerous popular locations for everyone to explore.
Some places that are a must-visit here include Ghost Ranch, Carlsbad Caverns, Valles Caldera, the Blue Hole, the Tent Rocks, and Bandelier, to mention a few.
Great Real Estate Conditions
There’s probably nothing you want more than peace and quiet as you age. Luckily, New Mexico dishes are just what you ordered! New Mexico’s massive area size has resulted in sparse populations throughout. Therefore, presenting you the opportunity to escape the noisy cities and settle in a quiet neighborhood.
With the median listing price of an average house in New Mexico being $184,200, about 5% below the national average, it is relatively affordable to purchase a house here. If you’re not looking to purchase a property, no worries! Even the rental prices in the state are pocket-friendly. In fact, Albuquerque’s home rental costs can go as low as $735.
The reasonable real estate market price coupled with peaceful neighborhood vibes, New Mexico, is an excellent choice for retirees.
One of the most alluring factors that draw most people to New Mexico is its pleasant and continental climate. With almost 300 days of summer and the chance to experience all four seasons, retirees are most certainly in for a treat!
Winters in New Mexico can get pretty cold and are also accompanied by snowfall, but they typically last for a limited time period. On average, the temperature in New Mexico drops down to 27 °F (-2.8 °C) during the coldest months, with about 2 inches (5cm) of snowfall. The state also receives a limited amount of yearly precipitation, with about 11 inches or 28 cm of rain a year compared to the national average of 38 inches or 97 cm of annual rainfall.
New Mexico temperatures soar up to 95 °F (35 °C) during the warmer months, which is bearable and doesn’t interfere with one’s daily routine. The 3,700 hours of sunshine that New Mexico witnesses every year makes it possible for its residents to engage in a ton of outdoor recreational activities, such as fishing, biking, or boating.
Access to Healthcare and Other Amenities
New Mexico provides its residents with great healthcare services, an extremely important factor for retirees to consider. New Mexico has critical access hospitals, federally qualified health center sites, rural health clinics, and short-term hospitals located outside rural and urban areas. So, the state’s overall healthcare situation is pretty sorted.
In the case of other amenities, although sparsely populated, New Mexico doesn’t have a shortage of diners, convenience stores, restaurants, gyms, motels, hotels, and other facilities. Additionally, many retirement communities in the area also offer both assisted and independent living options, estimated at $3,500 a month.
Historically and Culturally Rich
Another interesting fact about New Mexico is its rich culture and historical background. Santa Fe, one of the most prominent cities of the state, is said to be the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the U.S. What’s even more interesting is that New Mexico houses three UNESCO heritage sites, the most of any state in the country.
As for its cultural background, New Mexico has one of the most diverse populations and is basically an ethnic and cultural melting pot. From Native American tribes to Hispanics and Latinos, Black Americans, Asians, and Middle Easterners, you will find people of all ethnicities living here in harmony.
The cuisine, architecture, and other art forms, are also heavily inspired and influenced by the various groups of state houses. Moreover, if you’re a wine fan, you’d be more than pleased to know that New Mexico is home to several wineries that produce fantastic wine.
Overall, this state is amazing for retirees with an exciting outlook on life that are willing to indulge and mingle with a diverse group of individuals and enjoy visiting historical sites.
New Mexico boasts more than a few rivers, lakes, mountains, and plenty of green areas, making it ideal for engaging in adventurous rendezvous. If you want to spend your golden days basking in the beauty of nature, the state offers a range of outdoor activities, including kayaking, rafting, fishing, camping, skiing, hiking, and horse riding, to pique your interest.
Cons of Retiring in New Mexico
Now that we’ve discussed the pros of retiring in New Mexico, it’s also critical to discuss the possible pitfalls of moving to the Enchantment State. Sure, New Mexico has many advantages, but not every retiree wants the same. Some deal makers for you may be deal-breakers for others.
So, let’s take a deep dive into the drawbacks of retiring in New Mexico.
Poor Roads, Infrastructure, and Traffic
According to studies, a whopping 30% of the roads in New Mexico are worn-out and dilapidated. Even most of the bridges in the state have been declared as structurally unstable. Although most of these roads are in rural areas, their poor maintenance poses grave inconveniences to New Mexico residents, ranging from normal inhabitants to workers and entrepreneurs.
One of the biggest concerns of poor road conditions is the increased risk of vehicular crashes and accidents. With broken roads and risky bridges everywhere, the lives of car occupants and pedestrians are constantly at risk.
New Mexico’s poor infrastructure won’t come as a shock to many, given its reputation for having the “Most Dangerous Road in the USA” – the U.S. 666 or “The Devil’s Highway.”
Another massive drawback of the state’s poor infrastructure is the frustrating traffic jams that occur due to the poor or almost non-existent roads. In fact, having fallen into disrepair, the roads traversing the state’s hilly regions cause delays during medical and other emergency situations.
Everything in a state won’t be perfect, but something as serious as the state of the roads and infrastructure should be a key consideration when moving to a new place. As a senior, it is even more important for you to carefully consider this factor before moving to a place like New Mexico.
High Rates of Crimes
Just as the cost of living in the state is lower than the national average, the crime rate in this location is the exact opposite. In fact, New Mexico has the highest crime rate of all states in the U.S.
The state’s crime rate is more than 3% higher than the national average, with violent crimes accounting for about 21% of total crimes compared to the national average of 15%. A study conducted by SafeWise revealed that as of 2020, property crimes were the highest reported crime in the state.
A study by Safewise also showed that almost 42% of the state’s residents don’t feel safe. Taking these stats of the prevalent crimes in New Mexico, the state has legalized the use of assault and self-defense weapons, such as stun guns and tasers.
As a retiree, you want to live out the rest of your days peacefully rather than suffer at the hands of brutal crimes. The frequency of the occurrence of criminal activities here is a significant concern when deciding whether to move here or not and can be a huge deal-breaker for most.
The most prevalent landscape features of the state are hills and mountains, with most houses built on hilltops. Seniors typically experience altitude sickness, especially those who aren’t accustomed to heights and have spent most of their lives in low-altitude areas.
Moreover, many retirees are also afraid of developing breathing complications that come with the shift in altitude. Although the altitude may benefit others’ health and wellbeing in more than one way and takes only a few weeks to get used to, it can be a deal-breaker for seniors looking to protect their breathing.
So, you must consider this factor and be more mindful, especially if you currently reside within lower altitudes.
About THE AUTHOR
With multiple family members currently in senior living facilities, David is in the trenches every week, learning the ins and outs of nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, and general senior living.Read more about David Bolton
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