Low-tax retirement spots across the border
A stronger Canadian dollar has many people thinking about relocating in retirement, in hopes of enjoying milder weather and generally lower expenses.And, fueled by sliding home prices and a certain familiarity, the U.S. Sunbelt is always high on most snowbirds’ lists.
If you’re only going for a winter break, even one that lasts a couple of months, then U.S. taxes aren’t a great concern. But, if you see yourself staying longer than that, then you better start paying attention, particularly when you consider that states with low income taxes often have higher sales or property taxes, and vice versa.
For a state-by-state tax guide, including a rundown on how various types of retirement income are taxed, here's an interactive map that provides a snapshot of what the total annual state and local tax burden – income, property and sales taxes – would be in the capital of each state for a retired husband and wife, both of whom are 65.
Consider, of course, that most Canadian retirees abroad receive their income in loonies while their expenses are in a foreign currency. Managing this currency risk is one of the most difficult elements of living abroad, and it's likely to be a growing issue.
Like to compare notes with those who have already made the cross-border move or have even left the continent altogether? Browse the forums at travel site Canuckabroad.com.Tell us: Do you see yourself retiring across the border?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: r van Oldenbarneveld | Nov 29, 2021 12:42:22 PM
We will retire in the Philippines,it is much cheaper there,people from all over the world are retiring there.We have build there right on the ocean,cost and living is 75% cheaper,then U.S or Canada.
Posted by: Mike | Dec 23, 2021 12:44:16 AM
Philippines 75% cheaper huh? What do you call those giant waves again? - the ones being triggered all the time in that area by earthquakes out at sea? hmmmm
Posted by: Victor Fenech | Jan 3, 2022 3:27:04 PM
We owned a mobile home in Florida since 1983. We saw our property taxes jump every year. We pay three times the property taxes as my neighbor does, pay telephone all year, when on vacation the rate is $4.50 a month, but we also pay between $12 or $17 monthly for taxes and other services. We pay about $43.50 a month for water services that we do not user in the summer. Before anybody decides to move to Florida make sure you find out all the particulars. We can't even get home insurance on our Mobile, the only on we can get is Citizens and they jack up the rates as they please. One thing in our favor our neighbors are wonderful and a pleasure to associate with.
Posted by: Bob Rudley | Jan 8, 2022 6:17:09 PM
Why Victor would you want to live in a trailer and worry about a water bill of $43.00 with the only benefit of running from the cold.
Not only did you not do your homework about being a snowbird in the Evil Empire of the USA you cannot afford it.
I just turned 65 and can retire to almost any location. My family has been instructed that if I become a constantly bitching senior like you seem to be.... to put me down.
Stay home where you can afford it and use the money that you would have spent to live in a trailer to take trips to warm locations around the world.
You might learn what is going on in the world and enjoy and learn about different cultures.
Spend some time with your family and friends instead of living in a trailer in a not to hospitable country and bankrupt country.
Of course with all your bitching you family may enjoy seeing your tail lights at the first sign of snow.
Posted by: Jim Gardner | Jan 11, 2022 12:17:04 PM
Bob Rudely try to cut down one the caffeine and maybe your narrow minded views of other countries wll expand. Enjoy your retirement
Posted by: Anne | Jan 13, 2022 11:40:07 AM
Have you ever considered retiring in Mexico? Canadians who are expats pay only 15% taxes. The weather here is wonderful, the people great and the cost of living much better than in Canada
Posted by: Margaret Smith | Jan 15, 2022 9:04:40 AM
Jim, Jim you could have given poor Bob better information than that with all your experience in travel and Bob why don't you ask poor Victor to come and stay with you as obviously he can only afford a trailer but still wants to enjoy retirement in a sunny location. As with all retirees cost of living increases and there is nothing worse than a owning a house with its increasing taxes and maintenance so a trailer sounds pretty good to me. I'll be staying in my Ottawa location and turning up the heater mmmm It's nice and cosy in Canada.
Posted by: Ralph Rack | Jan 16, 2022 9:45:09 AM
I just retired from the scandalous MFDA scenario. People should learn quickly that by age 30 they should have a relationship with an IBC somewhere in a jurisdiction that HAS NO TAX TREATY WITH CANADA. The USA is probably the least safe place to invest. Residing in a warmer NON EU. NON US. AND NOT IN CANADA WILL ALLOW YOU LESS COSTLY LIVING, GREAT MEDICAL SERVICES BETTER RETURNS ON INVESTMENTS and in most cases no income tax. These countries are glad for you to retire there and SPEND YOUR MONEY THERE as a preferences to taxing you to a point where you don't have money to spend. Prominent, professional IBC, SA and Private Foundation directors and counsellors can guide you through the system. These people are less expensive than MUTUAL FUND and or BROKERAGE FEES and in markets not accessible to CANADIANS living in CANADA. If you get started around 30 retirement should be early, healthy and financially superior.
Posted by: Rhonda | Feb 1, 2022 2:56:41 PM
My husband and I went for a trip to look for a retirement destination 5 years ago. Hoping to see New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. We never made it out of Corpus Christi, Texas. North Padre Island with its endless beaches and fishing in the surf that one only dreams of encouraged us to take root here every 6 months.
Cost of living is a third of what one pays in Florida plus there is an active lifestyle here in the west. Very similar to the energy one feels when in Calgary!
We love being Texas RedNecks! Plus we are called Winter Texans(not Snowbirds) and the locals treat us like gold. They appreciate what we bring to their economy.
We are Trailer Park Trash and dam proud of it!!
Posted by: Denis | Mar 1, 2022 5:41:43 PM
Wow, everyone seems a little upset with wintering south of the border. I think Rhonda has found her niche and loves it as most retired people do. The caution I would give to most is to not buy anything more than a Value of $60,000. See your local accountant before you fall in love with one of those beautiful communities in Arizona, Florida or California. If your budget is "pinched" like Victors, look at Renting for 6 months. You still get the great enjoyment of an Adult oriented community, and hand the keys back with no concerns after your holiday is over. The Phillipiines are lovely, but what about the Grandkids? Want to say the heck with Canada and the damn taxes, Lake Chapatta, Mexico is a wonderful spot. Just make sure your money isn't in a Bank there, keep it in a Bank in the U.S. and draw monthly expenses from there. Warm is wonderful, just do your due dilligence before you decide to take up roots elsewhere. If it's the U.S., don't leave home with that Medical Insurance Enjoy!!
Posted by: Robin | May 9, 2021 10:13:05 PM
I am in my late 40Th’s and have about 7 years before retirement. My wife family is in the North of Portugal and after visiting and living there for several years, it a real treat if you stand the warm weather in the summer. The People are friendly, no crime and the wine and fresh organic grown produce and fish is wonderful. No pollution and the cancer rate are very low. Retiree from the UK, USA, Germany, Australia and Canada are treated like Kings.
Posted by: Robin | May 9, 2021 10:27:38 PM
I forgot to mention in my post above about the North of Portugal, Combria, Figuriea Da Foz, and Chaves you can dine with a Family of 4 with main course plus fine Portuguese wine, desserts and Expresso for under $60 Canadian. The American dollar is still the preferred currency but they accept my Canadian currency with a smile..
Why are there so many grumpy retired people on this forum? Geesh!! I might postpone retirement if I am this miserable. I camp in the USA and i findy most Americans very friendly and i a black man from Canada.
Posted by: Brian from BC | May 18, 2021 6:26:46 PM
I am now 70 and have been traveling south to Yuma, Arizona for 10 years in retirement. My wife and I have found a community within an RV Resort that has been good to/for/with us... We have good new friends as a result. Attitude means everything when you are in any country that is foreign to you; don't gripe and complain, and you will be liked in return. If something needs changing, initiate interest and assist in achieving a new outcome that will benefit all. Visit different areas, take bus/train/boat trips and mix with others who are on their winter sojourns - you will be surprised how many Canadians and Americans mix together successfully. Most of the latter are just like you and I, and who knows, you may encounter a Brit, an Aussi or Kiwi or Europeans and Orientals whom you will like too. Sure, this sounds idealistic, but if you have your mind open, it is amazing how much you can enjoy almost everything that life presents. Just always have each other's back and if a proffered deal sounds too good, it likely is... walk away with a smile and firm No Thank You. No need to be hostile.
I am Canadian and Proud, and support Americans wherever they are, including Iraq and Afghanistan, as long as they are fair to me. Push politics aside, we are no angels here either.
Call us Snowbirds or whatever you want for now, when I get older and stop travelling, I will have my feet up in front of the fire in our home which we just finished building. Never built one before, but hey, you need to do something besides relax while you are still able. Fishing and Golfing will keep me active otherwise for some time to come. Puttering in my workshop will fill in adequately otherwise.
For those fortunate enough to have family and grandchildren - give them your love and time. They will make you bust your buttons! Ours have made us very proud with their accomplishments.
Posted by: Freddy1 | May 31, 2021 4:10:17 PM
My husband and I have just retired. Looking for some place warm to retire where people like to relax and have fun. Not just a winter escape but something more permanent that is easy on taxes. Open to suggestions, we have traveled all over. Jamaica? please help
Posted by: cliff | Jun 6, 2021 5:48:11 PM
Just to let people know, if you plan to retire look at the cost of living where you plan to retire,
Budget the same as you would where you live.
Panama is wonderful and no taxes on foriegn income, great pension incentives,
No property taxes, but you do pay land tax
Something to think of Freddy1
Posted by: AMD1 | Nov 7, 2021 5:14:49 AM
Have you looked into Costa Rica? We have been there twice and love it; the people are great, the weather awesome, and taxes are low. We have just bought property there and plan to build one day for our winter escape. We have great support for the Canadian company that is developing there. But we do have children and grandchildren and do like our summers here for fishing and camping. Enjoy.
Posted by: colin | Jan 31, 2022 3:36:56 AM
Hey kids if you make a minimum land purchase in Panama you are exempt from paying property tax on it for 20 years! you must meet there criteria being a retiree from n. america or europe...
you also get bonuses such as 50% off groceries, movie theatre, restaurants etc...
Great medical facilities down there as well... not in the hurricane belt either!
also included is citizenship and a passport for purchasing property!!!
do your research on panama good deals on now!!!
Posted by: Dylan | Feb 3, 2022 12:14:15 PM
We went to Yangshou China, and their are many retiree's from all over the world living there. A hotel room costing $6-7 per night and a meal for less the $3
Posted by: Jennifer | Feb 3, 2022 12:45:36 PM
Wow: what a site/blog...never have I responded to one, but I am about ten years from retiring and like rhonda have been looking in and around the Corpus Christi area. After these comments we will look into this further...we want to be able to travel (drive) all winter yet have a base somewhere in the US to make it easier....of course there is nowhere else to be in the summer than up north in Canada.
I really appreciate everyone's comments...but be nice (yes that means you bob) everybody's opinion counts...go canadians go, get out there and show the world how "nice" we are...reputation is worth it's weight in gold, especially when leaving an impression.
Posted by: Susan Schembri | Mar 15, 2022 9:19:41 AM
My husband and I are looking to move to the Yucatan.We are both retired now and have been researching this option for 5 years .I dont think anywhere is perfect ,we have lived in many different countries over the past 35 years including the last 10 in Ontario.I believe if you were fortunate enough to work either in the automotive sector or teaching proffession ,you may have not too many concerns about the rising cost of living and constantly decreasing income ,if your retirement is based on savings which have been invested .The yucatan is a 3 hour flight from here and theres a big expatriot community .The cost of living is considerably lower than Canada and the lifestyle is not that different as many major retailers are located there /if thats nb to you .We enjoy different cultures and the more simple things in life .We own a lovely large home here but would have to sell and move to something much much smaller bc of the increase in almost everything /in The Yucatan we can still enjoy the life style that is quickly becoming elusive to us here .Our children live abraod and as yet we have no grandchildren only grand fur children ,so they are looking forward to visiting us in Mexico.Canada is a good country but not the greatest place to retire as our senior citizens have long been neglected and funds often funneled into government projects that have cost us plenty without any benefit to Canadians.You can live in THe Yucatcan very nicely on $2000 CND per month .Good fresh food at local markets is readily available and if you reseach the farming industry you will learn that some of the chemicals used here are banned there .Violence is far far lower in The Yucatan than most places in Canada .If youve never lived in a foreign country ,try it out first as any move is stressfull/rent for awhile .Looking forward to my move but I know it will still be a little stressful but I am an adventurer.