We love Canada and we are proud Canadians but there are so many reasons why we are personally considering “retiring” abroad. Again, I use the word “retire” very loosely as for us, that really just means working on our own terms, for ourselves. Given the weather in Canada and the increasing cost of living, we feel that if we are going to slow down before retirement age and we want to keep our current quality of life then we will need to consider living well abroad.
We may be a bit jaded given we live in Toronto which is a very expensive city to live in. A detached house can easily run in the $1MM CAD range. A small studio condo downtown can run 300-400k. Buying a house leads to land transfer tax levied by both the province and the city – yes, they double dip. Property taxes are high and of course, federal and provincial income taxes are also quite high. On the flip side, we have universal health care and strong education system. There is also the sense of safety and security.
Retiring in Toronto would easily require $70-100k after tax per year unless we were able to pay off our mortgage. However, to pay off our mortgage would require that we delay our plans to slow down. We are still finalizing our specific goals beyond the 7 year time horizon but we are convinced that living well abroad is the best path for us.
We have some specific needs that we need to consider as we plan for the future. Our daughter K, currently 8, was diagnosed as PDD-NOS over 5 years ago. Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified is one of three autism spectrum disorders. K is a very happy, social child but has extreme difficulty communicating. She loves warm weather, being outside, swimming and playing on the beach. This is one of the reasons why we have prioritized a warm climate and beachfront property on our wishlist. We also fully anticipate that K will live us with throughout her adulthood. Extra due diligence to ensure her needs can be met in our final destination will be our #1 priority.
What are your priorities? What is your definition of living well abroad?