Seniors Retiring Abroad

Monday, February 1, 2016

retiring-in-EuropeAs of July 1, 2015, there were 5,780,900 Canadians aged 65 and older. In addition to their growing numbers, seniors in Canada are living longer than ever. A recent survey of Canadian retirees discovered that one in seven believe that they could feasibly outlive their savings. What’s a mature person to do if you want to live comfortably and affordably throughout your retirement years? Many are discovering the benefits of retiring abroad.


What’s the attraction of retiring in another country?

Thousands of Canadians have decided to spend their retirement years in another country for many good reasons:

  • They can live under the sun in a warmer country without ever having to see snow or shovel it
  • They have access to affordable healthcare from doctors that speak English
  • They pay significantly less for food and accommodations
  • They can enjoy certain luxuries that they may not be able to afford at home like massages, a gardener or housekeeper
  • Their savings last for years beyond what they thought possible

Where are mature Canadians headed?

According to Forbes, the best places to retire in order are:

  • Ecuador
  • Panama
  • Mexico
  • Malaysia
  • Costa Rica
  • Malta
  • Spain
  • Colombia
  • Portugal
  • Thailand

What are the risks?

It’s important to consider not only the rewards but also the risks of relocating abroad. Before you make the leap, do a risk assessment with your spouse or partner. The Government of Canada suggests that you follow these steps:

  • Start by consulting the travel advice for your destination country to see if a Travel Advisory is in effect, and to get information on safety and security, local laws and customs, health conditions and entry requirements.
  • Consult the Country Insights page on the Centre for Intercultural Learning website for cultural information, facts and advice on showing sensitivity to local customs around the world.
  • Visit the Travel health and safety page and the World Health Organization’s website for information on health conditions and standards of medical care in specific countries.
  • Get weather and climate information on countries worldwide on the World Weather Information Service website.
  • Finally, read guidebooks, newsletters, magazines and websites for expatriates. You’ll find insights into the health, safety, cultural and emotional issues experienced by Canadians living abroad. The Government of Canada has prepared this helpful guide to Living Abroad.

Is retiring abroad right for you?

It depends. Not everyone’s expectations are the same. Consider the following:

Safety. Chances are that safety is a big concern for you. If you’re very active and mobile, then you may be more willing to travel to places where you can find new adventures. If you’re very worried about your personal safety, you may not feel comfortable in certain locations. It’s important to carefully research the countries you’re interested in to see if they are safe environments.

Ease of travel. Do you like to travel, and are you able to fly for long distances? Do you plan to return to Canada often to visit family?

Lifestyle. How do you want to spend your days? On a beach, or shopping in an urban area? Do you want to be closer to mountains for skiing and hiking? Or do you crave more arts and culture?

Climate. Some retirement destinations are hot and humid, while others have a temperate climate all year round, and still others have a rainy season lasting several months.

Food. Do you like to try new types of food, or would you prefer living in a place where you can cook your staple dishes? Are good restaurants important to you, or grocery stores with organic products?

Healthcare. Do you have medical problems or a chronic medical condition that requires special medical attention? Do you need to live near a hospital or clinic?

Language. Do you speak a second language? Are you comfortable in a country where English is not spoken or understood by the locals?

While it’s not a leap you should take lightly, retiring abroad does have its rewards. If you’re dreaming of a more relaxed life under the sun, start planning today so you can make the most of your retirement years.

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