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April 07, 2021

Could you retire overseas?

Looking to stretch that strong dollar even further? The answer for some Canadians is moving to a country with a lower cost of living.

Some 3 million of us live abroad, not counting military and embassy folks. And while many of these are naturalized Canadians returning to their first home, some are retirees. Could you be one of them?

Tax laws, medical care and security may not seem that important when you're dreaming of gentle tropical breezes but they quickly become a preoccupation once you move to another country.

Still, those who've done it will quickly tell you to jump on the next plane. And why not? 

In many places around the world, you can enjoy a wonderful high-quality lifestyle for a fraction of what it costs at home. A week’s worth of groceries or even full-time household help can be yours for pennies on the dollar. And housing can cost you 50-75% less than it might here in Canada.

But that's never the whole story, of course. For those, check out these forums or these personal stories.

If you're thinking of making such a move, ask yourself the following, say the editors at International Living.

  • Do you thrive on change?
  • Are you comfortable in new situations and with making new friends?
  • Are you okay with not living close to family?
  • Can you speak (or learn) a new language?
  • Are you intrigued by foreign cultures and customs?
  • Are you single, or if not, is your spouse or partner amenable to moving overseas?
  • Are you looking for a way to improve your quality of life while spending less money?

Could you see yourself retiring somewhere other than Canada? If so, where? Or have you already left?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...