Today’s seniors are living longer and leading more active lives than those of their parents or grandparents, says Susan Eng, vice-president of advocacy for the Toronto-based seniors’ advocacy organization CARP. And many are refusing to live the stereotypically quiet lives associated with being a senior. “They’re undertaking challenges that many of us might not take, like relocating to another country. It’s not trivial or a guided tour, it really changes the dynamics of their life.”
Warm weather, affordability and a stress free lifestyle. That’s the goal for many boomers.
Be prepared and do your research first. Take your time and don’t leave it until the last minute. This gives you the best chance of making informed decisions and avoiding any unwelcome surprises.
Some things to consider:
- Research the tax, legal and property ownership implications.
- Quality of life. Many countries are affordable for a retired couple on a Canadian pension and will allow a lifestyle that includes being able to eat out every night, that isn’t possible in Canada or the US for that matter. Consider different countries.
- Find an accountant who specializes in international tax law. Work closely with their financial planner to ensure compliance and reap any and all possible tax benefits. Canadians are not taxed based on citizenship, but residency. Retirees who choose to live abroad full-time need to understand the laws of their adopted retirement home as they may possibly take themselves out of the Canadian tax system
- Financial management is key. Retirees need to understand their bank or financial management firms policies before departing. Many financial institutiosn will no longer heed instructions of someone once they relinquish Canadian residency.
- Consider sheltering funds in Canadian banks rather than transferring wealth to accounts in foreign countries – think of the recent financial crisis in Cyprus where larger accounts in one of its largest banks were frozen. Get advice.
- Health insurance is always top of mind for retirees. Insurers sell products catering to Canadians who live abroad during retirement and these need to be investigated. Depending upon the chosen country, medical costs incurred in an emergency can be very expensive. Costs of extra coverage can vary depending on factors such as an applicant’s pre-existing health conditions and age.
- For most provinces the maximum allowable time a resident can spend outside the country is 183 days in order to maintain their provincial health insurance plan coverage. For Ontario residents it is 212 days. Residents can obtain special authorization from their provincial health insurance plan in advance in order to get an extension. Check before you go.
Colorful Macaws at Campo Del Mar Park, Trujillo, Honduras
- Culture and language is another consideration. Cultural and language differences can be a challenge for some relocating retirees, while for others it’s an adventure. Be honest about your comfort zone and make decisions that work for you. Having said that, it’s a great time for boomers to consider stretching their comfort zone. Before you go, learn as much as you can about the history, cultural sensitivities, politics and geography of a country. Take some language lessons. You will get so much more out of your experience.
- Communication with family and friends back home is crucial. Look into factors and costs related to cell phone and internet coverage in the country you are planning to visit. Skype has become a great way to communicate and in most cases an inexpensive way. Find out what’s available and what communication entails in your chosen country.
Now, get going. It’s time to plan your dream retirement.
Jaguar Construction is a premium builder in Trujillo, Honduras, owned and run by Canadians. Building homes to North American standards and providing the highest level of customer care, Jaguar Construction will guide you through the entire construction process as you build your dream retirement home.
For a free consultation, please contact Jaguar Construction for a free consultation on your next construction project. No job is too small or too large.
Jaguar Construction is proud to be the exclusive builder for Desarollos Vision de Vida (Life Vision Developments), Trujillo Bay area’s premier and largest developer. Please visit their website to view their past and current projects.