Retiring Abroad: Tips for Retiring Outside Canada

Milestone Wealth Management Ltd. - Mar 30, 2023

Many people dream of retiring somewhere warm or exotic; an escape from the place where they lived while they were working. This is understandable, especially for those of us living on the Canadian prairies, where the winters can be long and cold. However, retiring abroad can be a complicated process. Here are some suggestions for first steps on the journey to making this dream a reality.

Firstly, one should research possible retirement locations. With the benefit of the internet, one can accomplish a good amount of research on locations without too much effort. One excellent resource is International Living magazine’s Top Places to Retire list, which is refreshed each year. Many other websites and books can provide-in depth advice from people who have lived in the various destinations you may be considering. These resources can give you insight into the local culture, recreational activities, political climate, food, weather, and much more.

Secondly, think about whether you would relocate part-time or full-time. You may wish to sell everything and permanently move to a new country. Or, you may want to achieve your retirement dream without giving up your sense of a home-base in Canada, where you have family, friends and community that are hard to give up permanently. With the increase in popularity of apps like Airbnb, you even have the opportunity to rent out your home for the time you are living in your ideal retirement destination, which can dramatically offset the costs of your dream retirement.

Thirdly, consider the cost-of-living in your intended destination, including real estate (renting or buying), food, recreation and health care costs. The costs of living in various countries differ dramatically; some countries are much more expensive than Canada while others are very cheap in comparison. Just the same way you would have a budget pre-retirement, plan ahead by creating a budget for your retirement abroad. Utilize online resources from people who actually live in that location to slowly fill in your budget for living in that destination, and compare it to your planned retirement income.

And finally, make sure you understand the visa requirements of the country to which you plan to relocate. Every country will have different requirements for allowing foreigners to live in their country. Some countries want to attract foreigners and therefore have very accommodating policies, making the process very easy, quick, and inexpensive. Other countries aren’t as willing to be open to foreigners, which makes relocation to those locales much more difficult. So, once you’ve identified a few potential target destinations, be sure to do your research on how easy or difficult it will be to actually move there.

The dream of retiring to a beautiful destination, whether part of the year or full-time, is a goal to which many aspire. Putting pen to paper on the items above can help turn this dream into your successful retirement reality.