This is the beginning of a three part series. Next week will be part two on where to retire in Murica, and part three will look at international destinations. No, throwing your underpants at me will not make the process go any faster.
Congratulations, Financial Uproar readers! Not only do you get to show up here twice(!) per week for the hottest of finance takes, but apparently you’re also about to retire. And that was even after you bought pumpkins as an investment the day before Halloween. Enjoy your 4PM dinners and hiking your pants up to your armpits. Naturally, the grandkids will never visit.
So where exactly is a good place to retire in Canada? There’s many different things a potential retiree can look at. They typically care a great deal about weather, because hey, who wants to spend their golden years with their tongue stuck to a metal pole?
But it isn’t just about the weather. Other factors are equally as important, if not moreso. Taxes are one such concern. So is access to medical care. The cost of living is also important. And so is distance to the family. At a minimum, a retiree should be close to a major enough airport to get places.
Once you factor in all those things, pickings are a little slim. But here’s a list of several cities which are pretty good choices to retire in Canada.
Medicine Hat, Alberta
I would like to point out how exceedingly nice it is for me to suggest Medicine Hat as a place to retire in Canada, especially since I have an ex-girlfriend who lives there. If you see her, punch her in the face. Or… maybe just scowl at her. PASSIVE AGGRESSIVENESS FOR THE WIN.
Alberta has some of the lowest provincial income tax rates in Canada, and is the only province without a provincial sales tax. Sure, we’re polluting the world with our dirty oil, but like hell we care about that. GO TO HELL, GREENPEACE. Overall, it’s a fairly low taxed place.
Medicine Hat also has a low cost of living. There are plenty of 2 and 3-bedroom apartments for rent in nice locations for under $1,000 per month. Rent of between $700 and $800 can be had if you’re willing to sacrifice things like a dishwasher and in-suite laundry. The average house price is $285,000, a full $160,000 less than Calgary. There are plenty of decent options on the market for around $200,000.
The Hat (as we locals [I’ve been there more than once] like to call it) also boasts a vibrant college, good hospitals, plenty of employment, and all the big city amenities you could ask for. The only real downfalls are access to an international airport and weather. The eastern part of Southern Alberta is the coldest in the winter and the warmest in the summer. And if you want to go anywhere from Medicine Hat, you’re stuck either flying or driving to Calgary.
Lethbridge is another great choice. It has many of the same benefits of The Hat, with slightly better weather and a marginally bigger airport. It might even be a little cheaper to live in, and it’s closer to Calgary too.
Moncton, New Brunswick
Moncton has a few things really going for it. You can get a house for less than $150,000 (the average price has hovered between $150,000 and $175,000 for years now), the weather isn’t bad from a Canadian point of view, and it also serves as a transportation hub for the maritime region. You might have to connect in Toronto or Montreal, but getting from Moncton to anywhere isn’t hard.
The local economy is relatively strong, with unemployment barely above 5%. Moncton has become a commercial hub for Atlantic Canada, with many companies choosing to put offices in the city. Tourism is also big, and the proximity to ports has attracted a certain amount of manufacturing.
Moncton University is a French-language school (which means WE HATE IT SO), but hey, it exists. And the city’s two hospitals seem pretty decent, employing more than 5,000 people between the two of them. Will the nurses give you a sponge bath? Probably not.
The biggest issue with living in Moncton is the taxes. For the first $40,492 in income you’re paying 9.68%, and then it jumps up to 14.82% on the next $40,493. So if you make $81,000 in New Brunswick, you’re looking at 12.25% in provincial tax. In Alberta, you’d be paying 10% in provincial tax, plus you’d cut the 13% HST to just 5% GST, at least until that bastard Trudeau raises it again to pay for MARIJUANA FOR ALL THE TEENS.
Windsor is a great place to retire.
Kijiji is littered with decent looking apartments for less than $800 per month and the average house price is still under $200,000. Southern Ontario weather is civilized in the winter, although it gets pretty hot and humid in the summer. The airport really only offers flights to Toronto, but you’re only a half-hour drive away from Detroit’s airport, which will take you pretty much anywhere you need.
Windsor is a nice enough city, although the economy is struggling. Car manufacturing dominates the region, and many of the plants have been shut down or contracted over the past decade. This might start to change with the Canadian Dollar going down, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Unemployment is quite high, approaching 10%. Oh, and you have Detroit right next door, which automatically makes your city crappier in comparison.
Taxes aren’t bad in Ontario. If you’re making $80,000 per year, you’re paying about 7.1% in provincial tax. You’ve got an 8% provincial sales tax on there too, but I could deal with that if I could get a 30% cut in my provincial taxes.
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Because hey, who doesn’t want to be misted on all the time?
Niagara Falls has many of the same advantages as Windsor. It’s close to a big U.S. airport (Buffalo). Real estate is reasonably priced. Taxes are low. And there’s always the opportunity to meet interesting tourists.
There are a few issues though. The population of both Niagara Falls and Windsor are falling. The economy isn’t great either, on account of fewer people showing up to see the waterfall. Although this might change with a weaker Canadian Dollar. I’m also told folks from Niagara have to go to St. Catherines for decent health care as well.
And hey, Marineland. On second thought, maybe not.
Excuse me as I repeat many of the things I’ve just said about the other two Ontario cities.
Hamilton has a relatively big airport close by, easy access to Toronto, and affordable real estate. The economy isn’t bad, and the city is becoming more popular among the kids. Parts of it are still pretty dumpy, but overall it’s heading in the right direction.
Wrap it up
There are other good places to retire in Canada, but I’m bored so I’ll wrap it up. Feel free to add your input in the comment section. Just don’t say Toronto or Vancouver and not expect to be mocked.