We in­ves­ti­gate the most af­ford­able op­tions.

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine - - Table Of Contents - BY JANE STOKES

PER­HAPS ALL YOU NEED is a scaled­down home some­place near fam­ily and friends where you can pur­sue your favourite in­ter­ests. Or maybe you en­vi­sion your days in a re­sort-style re­tire­ment res­i­dence ei­ther here in Canada or in a lo­ca­tion where it never snows. In fact, a grow­ing num­ber of Boomers say all they want to do is to keep on ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, learn­ing and stay­ing much longer in re­mark­able places around the world.

Nat­u­rally, long-term money man­age­ment is an es­sen­tial part of the plan so seek guid­ance, do the math, pre­pare for the un­known and soon you could be rub­bing your hands in an­tic­i­pa­tion of so many sweet pos­si­bil­i­ties.


Gen­er­ally, in Canada, the cost-of-liv­ing is lower in cities where pop­u­la­tions are un­der 100,000. Ac­cord­ing to slice.ca and salary­ex­pert.com, sev­eral of the most af­ford­able lo­ca­tions are in Québec and On­tario. The data in­cludes the real es­tate costs for pur­chas­ing, rent­ing and re­tire­ment home in­vest­ments.

Just out­side Mon­tréal for in­stance, the re­ported cost-of-liv­ing in Sher­brooke, Laval, Longueuil, Ter­re­bonne and Mas­couche is well be­low the na­tional av­er­age. In On­tario, one doesn’t have to drive very far from pricey Toronto for liv­ing ex­penses to drop sub­stan­tially, as they do in St. Catharines, Lon­don, Kitch­ener and Bar­rie. In Western Canada, Ab­bots­ford in the scenic Fraser Val­ley of British Co­lum­bia—lo­cated 73 kilo­me­tres from Van­cou­ver—is one of our coun­try’s most af­ford­able places. In At­lantic Canada, that dis­tinc­tion goes to Monc­ton, Fred­er­ic­ton and Charlottetown.


Why not spend win­ter in the sunny south—per­haps as far as the South­ern Hemi­sphere? The tax­man (travel.gc.ca) sets pa­ram­e­ters on this snow­bird life­style, so work it out to your ad­van­tage, fac­tor in the des­ti­na­tion ex­change rate, and then re­main shrewd by se­lect­ing a warm, cost­favourable des­ti­na­tion.

The United States: Ari­zona and Texas are the sun­ni­est states with win­ter day­time tem­per­a­tures in the 18 to 21 C range. Hawaii has a trop­i­cal cli­mate and so does South­ern Florida with both places post­ing av­er­age win­ter highs of 25 C. North Florida (around 16 C) can be quite af­ford­able in com­mu­ni­ties such as Panama City, Destin, Ze­phyrhills and Largo. Sim­i­larly, North Carolina (10 C) could keep your costs lower in places like Char­lotte, Raleigh and Durham. Or, for the same rea­sons, con­sider spend­ing your win­ters in Huntsville, Alabama, or Tu­pelo, Mis­sis­sippi.

Mex­ico: For long-term stays, it’s quite easy to clinch an at­trac­tive rental prop­erty on web­sites such as Longtermlet­tings.com, sub­let.com and Home­togo.com. Scenic and af­ford­able beach lo­ca­tions in Mex­ico in­clude Tu­lum, Playa del Car­men, Mazatlán and Puerto Val­larta. Or for more sav­ings, travel in­land to ei­ther Alamos, Gua­na­ju­ato, Lake Cha­pala or San Miguel de Al­lende, all of which are eye-pop­ping colo­nial towns in which to­day’s Mex­i­can moder­nity is wo­ven into a stark and deep-rooted his­tory.

Costa Rica: The wel­come here is en­thu­si­as­tic and sin­cere, and Cana­di­ans often re­fer to it as “our twin in the trop­ics.” Costa Rica is not only friendly and safe, it is com­mit­ted to a clean en­vi­ron­ment, the great out­doors, peace and hu­man rights, and uni­ver­sal health care. Among other op­tions, rental hous­ing can be found at at Hol­i­day­homes.com and Prop­er­tiesin­costar­ica.com

Panama: At the gate­way to South Amer­ica and known for its favourable tax laws, the easy-go­ing, un­pre­ten­tious life­style in Panama greatly ap­peals to a grow­ing num­ber of snow­birds. And that’s es­pe­cially true if you speak or are learn­ing to speak Span­ish.


At last, ex­plor­ing the world in re­tire­ment has no time re­stric­tions. You might de­cide to slip into a cul­ture of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est or live like a lo­cal far­ther afield, as in­spired per­haps by your favourite sto­ry­teller. Cur­rently, Cana­di­ans are talk­ing about:

Por­tu­gal: It’s lively, safe and scenic, of­fers plenty of re­sort-style ac­tiv­i­ties and holds a sem­i­nal place in the story of civ­i­liza­tion. The Al­garve coast is known as the sun­ni­est des­ti­na­tion in Europe and the coun­try’s much lower cost-of-liv­ing al­lows you to stay longer.

France: The joie de vivre cul­ture is even more pro­nounced when ex­pe­ri­enced off the beaten path. Many mar­ket towns in the coun­try­side con­duct each day in the same quiet way they’ve done for cen­turies—and that in­cludes mag­nif­i­cent cui­sine et du vin. Prop­erty costs in smaller towns are at­trac­tive as well, such as those posted oc­ca­sion­ally in Saint-chinian, a vil­lage just 20 min­utes by car from la Méditer­ranée.

Italy: High above the Adri­atic coast­line, serene Citta Sant’an­gelo is just as pretty as any en­clave in the fa­bled Tus­cany re­gion (a four-hour train ride away), how­ever many of these lesser-known, cul­tur­ally rich places are eas­ier on the pock­et­book. Out of ne­ces­sity, mind you, you’ll be speak­ing ital­iana in no time.

LEFT: Now a na­tional phe­nom­e­non, the Red Hat So­ci­ety is the re­sult of a few women de­cid­ing to greet mid­dle age with verve, hu­mour and élan. City of Largo

RIGHT: Lo­cated in Mas­couche, Québec, the peace­ful Jardins Moore Gar­dens fos­ters sus­tain­able hor­ti­cul­tural prac­tices. Tourisme des Moulins BE­LOW: Fish­ing on the Gulf of Mex­ico in Galve­ston, Texas. Travel Texas BOT­TOM: Alen­tejo in Por­tu­gal of­fers a re­laxed, af­ford­able life­style in a mod­er­ate win­ter cli­mate. Visit Por­tu­gal

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