8 Best Places for Canadians to Retire 2021: Abroad and in Canada

Are you looking for places to retire in Canada? You’re not alone, with many baby boomers approaching retirement age. 

For many, retirement means the good life: no more work schedule, early mornings, or stressful commutes. 

Over the next decade, more than 5 million baby boomers are set to turn 65. Not only will that be a significant shift for the Canadian economy, but for many of that generation, it means putting their house on the market and moving elsewhere. 

For others, it’s easy living – a relaxed pace and days filled with enjoyable hobbies. But many new retirees struggle to decide if they should stay put or move somewhere else.  

Best Places For Canadians To Retire

What to Evaluate When Choosing a Best Places for canadians to Retire

Where to go becomes the big question. Cost of living, climate, housing prices, and healthcare all become important factors when considering where to spend your golden years. Here are some of the best spots to enjoy the easy life, both within Canada and out.

Top Spots to Retire Within Canada

1. Kingston, Ontario

Population: 136,685
Average Temperature: January: -5.8°C, July: 22.1°C
Fun Fact: Kingston hosted the sailing events for the 1976 Montreal Olympics

The United Province of Canada’s first capital Kingston sits at the mouth of the Cataraqui River, the beginning of the St. Lawrence River, and is at the eastern end of Lake Ontario. This proximity to water makes it an excellent place for retirees that love to sail, fish, or canoe. 

Well-maintained neighbourhoods with an attractive Victorian downtown helps to establish Kingston as the best of both worlds. It has the amenities of a large city without the hustle and bustle. 

Housing prices are much more affordable than in other parts of Canada. Its location as the midpoint between Toronto and Montreal makes it easy to sneak into the city but return home in minimal time.

With two colleges within the city limits, there’s ample opportunity to continue education, browse art shows, listen to music, or watch a play. 

2. Victoria, British Columbia

Population: 92,141
Average Temperature: January: 4.5°C, July: 16.4°C
Fun Fact: Three pods of killer whales (over 76 whales) call Victoria’s water home.

Victoria is a stunning sight to see. Located on Vancouver Island, the mountainous seaside landscape is part of its appeal. The milder climate, especially for Canadians, also adds to its charm.

Winters are usually cloudy and dreary with rain instead of snow. As for summer, sunshine abounds, along with comfortable temperatures.

Besides its temperate climate, Victoria also has some of the lowest property taxes in all of Canada. This is undoubtedly appealing to retirees since they can put those extra savings towards other important things, like travel. 

There are multiple senior centers, sound transportation options, and a thriving downtown offering loads of shopping, eating, or arts and culture choices. The city’s excellent healthcare system includes seven hospitals and various clinics, making it perfect for health-conscious retirees.

3. Collingwood, Ontario   

Population: 21,793
Average Temperature: January: -4°C, July: 23°C
Fun Fact: The area is famous for Blue Mountain pottery, manufactured initially by a Czechoslovakian refugee after World War II.

Active seniors, especially ones that love winter sports, might find Collingwood, Ontario, a perfect fit. Mainly known as a ski resort town, this small community offers great outdoor living – hiking and mountain biking, as well as water sports and beach proximity during the warmer months.

Collingwood also offers a low cost of living, and because it is a bit of a resort town, you can still get a small-town feel with all the usual big-city amenities. 

Top Spots to Retire Outside of Canada

4. Florida

Population: 21.48 million
Average Temperature: January: 14.5°C, July: 27.6°C
Fun Fact: An estimated 1,000 people move into Florida each day.

Many American snowbirds flock to Florida when retirement age hits, and Canadians aren’t far behind. With beautiful weather, plenty of activities, and other retirees your age, why not? 

Florida is one of the most appealing U.S. states for Canadians to retire in due to its climate. But more than the sunshine and warm weather are its tax benefits. Florida doesn’t have a state income tax, inheritance tax, or estate tax. In addition, Florida doesn’t tax seniors’ benefits, adding to the allure of The Sunshine State.

While there are differences between the U.S. and Canada, moving to our neighbour of the south wouldn’t be a terrible culture shock. The language is mostly the same unless you’re from Quebec, and the U.S. style of living isn’t extraordinarily different from Canadians.

While Florida property taxes are higher, the overall real estate and cost of living are lower than in many popular Canadian cities.

5. Belize

Population: 390,353
Average Temperature: 28°C
Fun Fact: Belize is home to the only jaguar reserve in the world.

As one of the cheapest places to retire, Canadians can get more bang for their buck. With low real estate prices, moving to Belize will feel like a bargain coming from some high-priced Canadian cities.

Belize provides a great program to attract retirees. The Qualified Retirement Person (QRP) is a flexible and easy way to get on the road to residency while capitalizing on other benefits, like importing personal effects tax-free. 

Another added benefit is that Belize is an English-speaking nation, making it easy to navigate. And you’ll want to navigate this spectacular country. With mountains, beaches, and rainforests, staying active and enjoying the beautiful scenery encourages a stress-free, laidback lifestyle.

6. Mexico

Population: 127.6 million
Average Temperature: Vary depending on the region
Fun Fact: Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena, a Mexican, got a patent for the first colour image transmission in 1940.

Mexico might be a surprising retirement destination with a warm climate, affordable health care, and loads of culture and history. It even earned a top spot on International Living’s highest-rated entertainment and amenities list

Just a quick flight from Canada, many other ex-pats call Mexico their home after hitting retirement age. The great thing about Mexico is that there’s such a variety of places to live.

The pristine beaches are some of its most appealing real estate, but your money can go further inland, and if you’re looking for culture, nightlife, history, and good food, places like Mexico City might attract you.

Is it Cheaper to Retire in Canada or the U.S.?

Figuring out where to retire is a tough decision – especially if you’re deciding between two countries. Many people often wonder if it’s better to retire in Canada or the U.S.? While the countries are similar, there are some apparent differences that can make your decision much more manageable.

Here’s what you should know.

Consider the Tax Situation

Canadians typically pay higher taxes. While that’s true of federal taxes, it’s almost more so with state/provincial taxes. Some U.S. states, especially those that are familiar retiree destinations, like Florida, Texas, and Tennessee, have no state income tax.

On the other hand, provincial taxes vary and can exceed 15%. While a portion of that tax money helps fund healthcare, overall, taxes are lower in the U.S.

Healthcare

One of the most important things on any retiree’s radar should be healthcare. There are stark differences between the U.S. and Canadian healthcare systems.

U.S.

  • Medicare participants aren’t eligible until 65.
  • Even if retirees are covered by Medicare, there are significant out-of-pocket expenses, usually requiring supplemental insurance, adding a monthly fee.
  • Trying to retire before 65 requires individuals to obtain their own insurance coverage, which could mean sky-high premiums.

Canada

  • Canada has a provincial healthcare system, meaning the coverage you have depends on the province you live in. That means you may have to purchase additional insurance to experience greater coverage.
  • Canada’s healthcare plan is available to all residents based on need and not ability to pay. 
  • Retirees will pay lower amounts on healthcare in Canada than the U.S.

Both countries have pros and cons to each of them. Deciding what’s most important to you will help determine where you should live and what you’re willing to pay for.

Best Places to Retire Overseas With Affordable and Efficient Healthcare

For most retirees, access to affordable healthcare is top on the list when deciding where to live. The following countries have a lot going for them besides weather – they each have a solid healthcare system without skyrocketing costs.

7. Costa Rica

Population: 5.048 million
Average Temperature: Between 12°C and 21°C|
Fun Fact: The national anthem plays on the radio each morning at 7 am.

Costa Rica is one of the healthiest countries in Latin America, and for good reason. The locals have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and have limited processed foods in their diet. In addition, their laid-back approach to life reduces stress and improves overall mental health.

But the healthcare system is the real star here. There are two ways to access healthcare – either through the government-run universal system or privately. Both systems continue to improve and upgrade regularly with new equipment, technology, and staff training.

Costs are low, almost one-third to one-fifth to what you’d pay in the U.S. Many of the doctors are trained outside of Costa Rica, either in America, Canada, or Europe, but speak English, making it easy to communicate.

8. Panama

Population: 4.246 million
Average Temperature: 26°C to 28°C
Fun Fact: It’s one of the only places where you can watch the sunrise in the Pacific and set in the Atlantic.

Even though the country is small, accessing top-notch healthcare is the norm in Panama. There are modern facilities spread strategically throughout the country, making it easy to access quality healthcare no matter where you live.

Many of the doctors have trained outside of Panama and use much of the same techniques and equipment within the U.S. and Canada, but with more personalized care.

Private insurance is available and very affordable as doctor’s fees and hospital visits aren’t expensive.

Conclusion

Ready to retire? Well, the world is truly your oyster. Before you move just anywhere, consider the climate, what your tax situation will be, your access to healthcare, and the activities available in the surrounding area.

If you’re staying in Canada, check out this guide for a more in-depth look at the top places to retire within its borders.

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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