Personal Finance

Are you considering a retirement in a third world country?

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 6th, 2018 10:20 pm
Deal Fanatic
Feb 9, 2009
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Remember doctors in Canada also have an incentive to get you back in over and over to swipe that Health card.... some doctors in Canada are crooks like anywhere else ... more foreign doctors coming here now as well
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Sep 8, 2007
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Way Out of GTA
By the time I retire Canada will be a third world country.
"It is in times of great fear or greed that the most opportunity exists."
Deal Expert
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Dec 11, 2005
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iamthebest wrote: So, briefly, living abroad works fine generally speaking if you are in good health. If you are sick, at least you have a lot of money you are out of luck.
Exactly. Now take that piece of information, and add in that you are retired and OLD. Old people get sick... a lot.

You DO NOT want to be old and retired in a third world country. Full stop.

If you are loaded and can "retire" at 35, then go for it. But that is not what most people are talking about when they talk about retiring in another country.
To be nobody but yourself - in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. -- E. E. Cummings
Sr. Member
Jun 27, 2012
913 posts
97 upvotes
Winnipeg, MB
Having children/grandchildren here is a huge disincentive unless you/they can afford to fly around visiting you often but that is rather unlikely compared to visiting by car in Canada if you're both in the same area.

Having pensions can be another if one of the reasons you want to leave is to lower your tax rate. Who would give up free money even if its taxed at a ridiculous level?

Health care is another. But this can usually be remedied by choosing your destination carefully and investigating the health plans available there.

The main reason people don't choose to leave is mainly fear. And this is usually because they haven't traveled much. Or have traveled for the wrong reasons. The guy who goes to an all inclusive to get wasted and lie in the sun all day never leaving the gated area is probably not intrigued by other cultures.

Being a single male in good physical and financial health is a huge reason to leave for obvious reasons. But just be careful about who you tell about your financial affairs. Best to be vague. Unless you're broke of course, then you have no worries at all....except paying that next bill.

One thing to consider: No matter how wealthy you are, you're still eating our dead, picked 3 months ago food unless its mid to late summer. So much of our food has been preserved up the wazoo to arrive here in a pleasing aesthetic condition. If you're ever been to the tropics you just have no idea how great even vegetables taste. And the fruit will make your head explode.

One needs to patiently investigate, country by country. Each is unique and requires different precautions. Like Nicaragua used to be so peaceful but now its in political upheaval and many people and some businesses are leaving. It was so cheap and great. Now probably the best bet is Panama though this is going to be a little more expensive than Nicaragua though it has a lot more English and infrastructure.

Transportation: Someone on this thread mentioned Malaysia. But it costs quite a sum to pop back and forth from there. Do you really think family is going to visit anyone in Asia? Its like a grand minimum for each person. But in Canada you have Spirit Airlines (if you're near one of their airports in the US like Buffalo). I've seen insane prices. How about less than $50 to Florida and once I saw $14 to Central America! That's taxes in. Sure its an awful airline but who cares when you're saving so much? No excuse for the kids not to visit and they are hardier and can put up with non-reclining seats! Its not a trans-oceanic flight so its not the end of the world. Allegiant Air also flies to Florida though not to Fort Lauderdale where Spirit has their hub. So big deal - you take a bus for a bit. Use this as an excuse to see some of Florida. There are worse places to visit. Like Canada!

If you can cut ties to Canada (no property, pensions, etc) then you can say goodbye to filing a T1 every April. Oh happy day. Panama is one of the best offshore centers in the world after all though they all are clamping down on anonymous corporations holding bank accounts. They have no tax on foreign income so that's a huge draw. So there is a massive amount of money there. Toronto is like a blip on the screen compared to them. Trillions parked there apparently. Kind of humbling.

Another factor is language: Go to Malaysia and you won't have any problem conversing in English with most people. Same with the Philippines, Belize and a few other places unless you stay in the expat area which is like Gringo Gulch with the accompanying ripoff prices. Do you speak Spanish (or Portuguese for Brazil)? If so this is hugely beneficial. Especially when doing any real estate deals.
Sr. Member
Jun 27, 2012
913 posts
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Winnipeg, MB
Canada is cheaper? In Mexico several years ago I was paying 2 cents for a head of cabbage. How's that for cheap? Small, simple apartments were $50 or less a month. Buses were pennies. Got a fantastic massage that totally helped my aching back for 50 cents. Welcome to 3rd world living.
Last edited by redflagguy2u on Sep 10th, 2018 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sr. Member
Jun 27, 2012
913 posts
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Winnipeg, MB
SoroSuub1 wrote: Malaysia (specifically Kuala Lumpur, or a suburb like Klang, PJ, etc.) has a great mix of affordability, modern healthcare, shopping/malls/infrastructure, cheap and fast mobile data and tasty food. Loss of access to Canadian healthcare is a con, but healthcare insurance may give you access to private healthcare services and much shorter wait times.

The only catch is that it's hot and humid year-round. And you'll miss shoveling snow after a while.
I'd say that Pacific Ocean is a minor headache. But an ambitious soul could always start rowing. Not cheap to get to Asia!
Sr. Member
Jun 27, 2012
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Winnipeg, MB
otismod wrote: I know of a few people who had dental work done in Mexico. More horror stories than good ones.

When you say retirement, that usually means someone over 65. Around that age medical problems you never dreamed of having begin appearing. There's no way you can compare the quality of Mexican doctors with Canadian or US docs. Again, I know of botched Mexican surgeries that had to be redone.

No thanks to Mexico.
One problem with dental work is people are in a rush with dental tourism. They go down for a week or two with no time for followup. If you live there this is vastly different. You have time to patiently watch (your teeth fall out) and take action (chase the dentist fruitlessly). Seriously though, you have time to shop around, talk to locals about who they see (though they may recommend their friends), talk to expats who have tried some, check out forums then check their recommendations. Time is a huge benefit when you live there. It really makes all the difference in the world.
Sr. Member
Jun 27, 2012
913 posts
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Winnipeg, MB
MonctonMan wrote: You don't need to give up your Canadian passport to live overseas. See Shania Twain. She saved a significant amount on taxes by moving to Switzerland. She is free to move back whenever she feels like it.
The problem may be the necessity to move ALL your assets out of the country. Rich people have knowledgeable advisors but regular people would take months or years to educate themselves on all the options. So get started! Make it a project if you're determined. But don't take it lightly or leave things to the last minute. Then you'll be ripe for the picking as soon as you land.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 11, 2008
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If I find a place I would but so far I have yet to find a place. But so far I am very happy here in Toronto.
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Oct 19, 2016
649 posts
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Toronto
OP @BiegeToyota didnt answer it..

But I would say $500K in a third world country, you would be like considered super rich.

Sanyo wrote: Extremely wealthy is $500k? What’s warren Buffett then? Lol
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Oct 19, 2016
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I guess all good things come to an end.
Hes back to reality.
NeedforSpeed wrote: Weren`t you the one bragging about living in Thailand while surfing RFD all day.
[OP]
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Dec 13, 2016
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mrtrump wrote: I guess all good things come to an end.
Hes back to reality.
At least I experienced something :)

But 500k isn't even close to enough to retire in Thailand. Just about every single middle class family has that in assets and land. You won't be impressing anyone.
Deal Addict
May 12, 2014
2233 posts
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Montreal
cartfan123 wrote: By the time I retire Canada will be a third world country.
I read the actual article 13 years ago and framed it on my office wall as a reminder. Looks like we're on track according to its attached graph.

Headline: "U.S., Germany, France and U.K. Face Junk Debt Status Within 30 Years, Warns S&P," appeared in the Financial Times, March 21, 2005. (Google pulls up footnotes, but not the actual article. Should be available in some libraries or paid services however...)
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
1245 posts
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GTA West
When you reach 65 and older the overwhelming consideration for retirement living becomes health care. Yes, you WILL accumulate a number of health issues and even a very healthy person can't avoid the decline of the body with respect to teeth, cataracts, hearing, etc. My wife is from a third-world country and I see that while many of her countrymen here plan to retire back home, they very rarely do, in spite of the low living costs and nice climate by the sea. The reasons are simple: the healthcare services, good governance, security, safety, and the rule of law that are unavailable or precarious there. As you get older, these things will start to become a lot more important to you.

I wonder at people who are so disconnected from their communities and their past lives that they can move to a foreign country and give up friends, local pleasures, established health providers, etc. without a care. But some people do end up like that: disconnected and isolated, and poor.

The best solution for a middle class person is obviously to maintain your Canadian connection, with residency and benefits, and spend a few months a year in a favourite warm place. I think it is best to start doing this gradually in say, your 50's to establish a comfort zone and some key relationships in the chosen place. I see people buying homes after retirement and then retreating because of health problems, or because they hadn't foreseen all the issues they would face living in a foreign country. I know one guy who decided to pack in his job and assets and relocate to Belize based solely on research, without ever having been there. He left for home after being there less than a week, much wiser for the experience.

But if you don't have the income to fund an adequate lifestyle in Canada, there are certainly foreign options. We have a widowed and retired European friend who lives in a retirement home in Thailand, with like-minded people from his own country, at a fraction of the cost back home. He can even find an outlet for his flagging libido in this country, where companionship and sex are cheap.

But expat lifestyle in general often seems to be sad, with expats justifying their choices to each other and to the people back home. Youtube has lots of these expat bloggers who will tell you about life in their chosen countries.

I love those TV shows where they show North Americans selecting dream homes in foreign places. I wish they would do follow-up shows 5 years later to see how those dreams developed.
Last edited by Dealmaker1945 on Sep 13th, 2018 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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