Where Should I Retire?


Many people have visions of spending their golden years in the sunny south, away from Canadian winters and the joys of shovelling snow and scraping icy windscreens. I recently came across an article, which outlined the cost of retiring to some of the Snowbird destinations, in the warmer American climates.


A recent study, detailed in the Visual Capitalist, delved into the cost of retirement in several U.S. destinations. The study looked at retirement income required to live a quality of life that made people happy. The most economical place to live is the city of Memphis, Tennessee. You could live there comfortably for $28,000 a year.


If you had $38,000 a year to spend, you could retire in San Antonio, Tucson, Jacksonville or Baltimore. Cities like Las Vegas or Atlanta would require you to have an income of $50,000, a year and if you were able to afford $75,000, you could retire in San Diego, Long Beach and Boston. I was shocked to find San Francisco on the list at $150,000 a year of income needed to retire.


What if you preferred to retire in other countries? Costa Rica, for example, is a great destination for Canadians, and retirement there would come in at $30,000 a year. Panama, Mexico and Colombia are also around $30,000 but the infrastructure is quite a bit different from what we are used to here.


Countries like Portugal and France will cost you about $45,000 a year, but they have great healthcare for residents. If you are on a tighter budget and the thought of living on the other side of the world is appealing, Malaysia and Vietnam will cost around $19,000 a year.


Canada, especially the GTA, is one of the costlier areas in which to retire. Retirement residences in the Barrie area run at about $3,500 to 4,400 a month, whereas heading further south to Richmond Hill, you will be looking at $6,000 to $6,500 a month. The cost of retirement homes in Toronto’s downtown is now peaking at $10,000 a month. Remember all these numbers are after your income taxes are deducted.


The message I took away from the article is to plan for retirement as far in advance as you can, and budget accordingly.


*The figures quoted are in Canadian Dollars and are for normal living expenses. Information has been gathered from NBC’s Make It and Visual Capatalist.

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on Rogers TV, the Standard Website or YouTube.