Are you a Canuck residing in the US, but planning to return to Canada?
We have had many inquiries recently from Canadian citizens living in the US, who are considering moving back to Canada, wanting to know their options. There are many things to consider before returning home.
While Canada offers many wonderful things to those returning home, such as safety, great public services, freedom, being close to family, seeing old friends and a system you can trust. It is also a move back to the land of taxes, rules and regulations, rain and snow. Whatever your reasons for returning, there are many things to understand before making this move.
The biggest question is Why do you want to move back to Canada? The answer to this involves learning about what is important to you – what you want life to offer you and what changes you are willing to make and what costs you’re likely to incur if moving to Canada is the right choice for you.
Once you have answers to the following questions, you will be able to make a more informed decision:
Where do you plan to settle in Canada. Different provinces offer different amenities, services, and taxes. Will you buy or rent. Did you know that only Canadian sources of income are considered for a Canadian mortgage.
Understand the changes to your tax situation. How will your income be taxed, do you need to file tax returns in both Canada and the US and for how long? Understand when you are deemed a resident and the tax consequences of this. Have you done a before and after tax comparison. How will a move affect your estate plan.
Prepare your finances. Prepare a summary of Lifestyle expenses. What costs more, what costs less and determine if you can afford the move and changes. Did you know you may be able to combine US Social Security and the OAS payments. Is this the right option for you. How does this fit with your capital preservation goals. Are assets joint for estate purposes. If you have a foreign Pension, can it be paid into a Canadian account. How will you access these funds.
Do you have a US green card? Should you keep it and what are the implications of this.
Do you have insurance i.e. life, disability and/or long term care? If so, is it good for services in Canada, or only within the USA.
Will you keep funds outside of Canada? What are the implications of this.
Do you have pets? Understand what is required to bring these into Canada.
Do you have a drivers Licence and vehicle? Can you “convert” your current licence to a driver’s license in the province you will be living in. Can you bring your car with you. You can only import cars from the U.S. and only under certain conditions.
Understand Health Care in Canada. Know the rules in different provinces. There is no coverage for the first 3 months if you move to British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, or New Brunswick. Other provinces do not require a waiting period. You may need to buy 3 months of health insurance in Canada or go three months without health insurance. You assume the risk and potential costs of any health issues that come up within that time period.
Research the availability of medical services. What are the services and availability of a family doctor in the area where you want to live. Some doctors in are not taking on new patients. Some services have a 3 to 6 m delay.
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Friends? If you have made deep friendships in the U.S., you will have to make new friendships or renew old ones in Canada. The older you get the harder it is to make significant friendships. Is it worth coming back to Canada?
Quality of Life. Will your quality of life and bottom line improve by moving to Canada vs. the US. What are you are giving up. Some feel Canada is expensive, cold, and dark in the winter. Some things do cost more , such as taxes, gas and groceries, however other things may cancel that out, such as not having to pay for costly health insurance premiums and deductibles and at 65, receiving minimally costing drugs. Only you can determine your cash flow and what makes sense for you.
As long as you have weighed your options and know what the bottom line looks like, the next step is to make the decision about returning home.
Regardless of your choice, TriDelta Financial can assist you in managing your assets on both sides of the border and connect you with a team of mortgage, tax, investment and legal specialists to assist you in making your transition smoother.
Heather can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at (416) 527-2553.