The Best Life Hack For Americans: Taking Advantage Of Canada

Some Americans fear higher taxes so much they are willing to move. The capital gains tax rate might go up. The step-up basis might go away. And the top marginal income tax rate might go up too. Therefore, may I present the best life hack for Americans: taking advantage of Canada!

I'm always looking for arbitrage opportunities to help readers make more money and live better lives. Taking advantage of Canada may be one of the best American life hacks of them all.

Not only do some Americans face potentially higher taxes, but all Americans are also feeling the brunt of higher inflation. Combatting inflation by moving to Canada is a serious solution many middle-class Americans should consider.

Taking Advantage Of Canada Can Be A Powerful Long-Term Trend

My favorite money-making arbitrage opportunity for the next couple of decades is investing in non-coastal city real estate due to lower valuations and higher net rental yields. Technology is accelerating the flow of capital and people toward attractive real estate opportunities.

However, taking advantage of Canada could be an even greater multi-decade investment opportunity, especially if you have children. Despite the frigid weather for four months a year, Canadians have a lot going for them.

Their GDP per capita is a respectable $52,000. Few people go through medical bankruptcies because healthcare is heavily subsidized.

Meanwhile, the average annual tuition for Canadian universities is only about $6,800 for the 2022/2023 academic year according to EduCanada. Even compared to public university tuition in America, $6,800 a year is cheap.

Let me share how one Canadian friend is taking advantage of America and how we, in turn, can take advantage of Canada.

Canada, US, Mexico GDP per capita

How Canadians Take Advantage Of America

A 25-year-old friend in my SF softball league is from Vancouver, Canada. He went to the University of British Columbia, a top-five university where annual tuition is only $5,399 in the computer science department.

When he graduated, he decided not to find a job in Canada, but come down to San Francisco where computer engineering jobs pay much more. He works for an online real estate company.

Sam, I make twice as much in San Francisco as I would if I got a similar job in Vancouver,” my softball friend told me.

But don't you want to give back to your country? I thought brain drain is a big thing in Canada?” I responded.

Yes, but let me make my money first. After five years in San Francisco making double the money, I'll then move to Seattle with my girlfriend where my firm is headquartered. Seattle pay is similar to San Francisco pay, despite the cost of living being 30% cheaper. Further, Vancouver is only a 3.1 hour drive away.

Sounds like a good plan!” I responded.

Will Move Back To Canada Once He's Made His Money In America

Once I'm in my 30s and ready to start a family, then I'll move back to Canada and live a less hectic lifestyle. With a stronger government safety net, I feel more comfortable raising a family back home,” he explained.

Although I feel a little bad that Canada won't get the benefit of his productivity after providing him with 22 years of education, I can't fault his logic.

If Canadians wish to participate legally in our labor market and also buy and sell U.S. stocks and property, why not take advantage of the opportunity? After all, America is the greatest country in the world.

Canadians are consistently a top-3 largest foreign buyer of U.S. real estate. Without foreign buyers, American real estate would be more affordable. Therefore, we should return the favor and buy up Canadian real estate.

Top foreign buyers of U.S. real estate by country

How Americans Can Take Advantage Of Canada

Following my softball friend's logic, Americans should take advantage of Canada's government safety net and immigrate to Canada after we've amassed our fortunes as well. This is the best life hack to make life easier.

One of the biggest problems we face in America is the runaway cost of healthcare. Medical-related expenses are our nation's #1 cause of bankruptcy. It would, therefore, seem logical that those who decide to retire early and are ineligible for Medicare should migrate to Canada and get their healthcare paid for.

Best life hack for Americans: Take advantage of Canada
Canadian immigrant population to the U.S.

Move To Canada To Save On Healthcare Insurance

For example, my family of four will pay about $28,000 a year for healthcare premiums plus co-pays and co-insurance in 2023. Does this sound reasonable to you for a healthy family who never sees a physician?

To generate $28,000 in retirement income at a 4% rate of return requires me to first amass $700,000 in capital. But I will need to have closer to $880,000 in capital due to long-term capital gains taxes. With a shaky economy, retirees should also lower their safe withdrawal rates just to be safe.

If my family moved to Canada, we'd be eliminating most of our present healthcare costs and could use the savings towards living a better lifestyle. We wouldn't have to purposefully reduce our income to get healthcare subsidies either. What a shame to stop writing on Financial Samurai, something I love to do, just for the sake of affordable healthcare.

Supplement With Private Healthcare

The only problem is that wait times at hospitals and other health providers can be very long. Therefore, you may still want to pay for private health insurance if you live in Canada just in case. I plan to for a reasonable $3,000 a year.

Lower College Tuition In Canada

Further, given the average Canadian college tuition is only $6,800 a year, we would no longer have to contribute $30,000+ a year in our son's 529 college savings plan. We could easily afford to pay $27,200 for four years in Canadian university tuition from the money sitting in our online savings account.

It is truly mind-boggling that four years of Canadian university tuition costs $11,000 less than one year of private school kindergarten in San Francisco.

Paying for college by sending them to a Canadian college is also so much cheaper. You will experience less stress and anxiety having to work and save so much for college tuition. A four-year private university costs $80,000 a year in America nowadays!

Massive Savings If We Move To Canada

Saving $51,000 a year in healthcare and college expenses just by moving to Canada sounds like a home run. That's $1,275,000 less in capital I need to amass at a 4% rate of return.

Even though the average home price in Vancouver is an absurdly high $1.4 million, it's still about $200,000 less than the median home price in San Francisco.

Moving to Vancouver, Canada might just be the best geoarbitrage move for us. Vancouver is on the same west coast and has the same international flavor as San Francisco.

For Americans living in lower-cost-of-living areas, there are plenty of lower-cost areas in Canada as well.

Our Children Can Take Advantage Of Canada Too

Taking advantage of Canada truly is the best life hack for Americans.

In addition to recommending all adult Americans seeking financial independence migrate to Canada, there's also a way for our children to take advantage of Canada too. The best life hack is when you can help your children as well.

One of the reasons why I became a high school tennis coach was because I wanted to learn how to interact with teenage boys before my own boy becomes a teenager in 2031. It may sound crazy to prepare so far in advance to be a better father, but I figure why not try? Planning is free to do.

During practice one day, I had a nice conversation with one of my favorite players, a senior who attended Occidental College in Southern California.

Occidental College is a good school, but I thought he was going to attend a top-10-ranked school instead. He was super smart, very wealthy, and was frequently late to practice due to constant after-school tutoring.

McGill University, The Harvard Of Canada

He mentioned a classmate was attending McGill University in Canada and I was immediately impressed. I remember having a financial analyst classmate at Goldman Sachs who had also attended McGill University.

The Best Life Hack For Americans: Taking Advantage Of Canada

She was extremely kind and smart. Further, she was the only one in my 1999 financial analyst class who survived the post-dotbomb layoffs and made Managing Director 10 years later. MD at 33 is quite a feat!

McGill is the Harvard of Canada!” I exalted in a somewhat joking way. “I wonder what their acceptance rate is?

My student responded, “Really? The Harvard of Canada? How can that be if their acceptance rate is 50%?

There's no way Mcgill has a 50% acceptance rate! I'll happily bet you 20 pushups that it's 45% or less! You've got to accept the bet since I'm giving you a 5% buffer.” I retorted.

Secretly, I was thinking McGill's acceptance rate was closer to 15% – 20%. By comparison, the best universities in America have single-digit acceptance rates.

You're on!” My student immediately looked up McGill's acceptance rate on Google and started to dance.

McGill University Acceptance Rate

He showed me his phone that Google had the acceptance rate at 46.3%. “Time to do some push-ups coach!

McGill University acceptance rate is so high.

Never one to surrender so easily, I looked at the data closely and the 46.3% acceptance rate was from 2016. As someone who is proficient with search engines, I knew Google often had old data in its featured snippets.

Once I clicked on McGill's website, it showed they made 15,385 offers to 37,505 applications for a 41.7% acceptance rate for the 2018 school year.

Bahaha, never challenge the coach! 20 pushups right now!” I boomed.

More People Get Trophies In Canada

A 41.7% acceptance rate for arguably the best university in Canada is comical by US standards for the top school. The high acceptance rate shows that Canadians really are much more accepting of everybody than we are in America.

In America, where meritocracy is under attack, maybe making it easier for everybody to get into great schools and land well-paying jobs isn't so bad after all. Think about how much less stress parents and children will feel for decades.

No wonder why Canadians have a reputation for being nice!

In 2023, McGill's acceptance rate is still over 45% at 46.5%. Conversely, the Harvard of Harvard has an acceptance rate of about 4.5%.

If your kids are academically average, then it is much wiser to at least apply to a university like McGill. The career paths of many university graduates tend to end up in the same place.

Acceptance Rates From Other Top Canadian Universities

Let's say you disagree that McGill is the best university in Canada. Here are the acceptance rates for the other top universities in Canada.

  • University of British Columbia: 52.4% acceptance rate
  • Queen's University: 42% acceptance rate
  • University of Toronto: 40% acceptance rate
  • McMaster University: 58.7% acceptance rate
  • University of Waterloo: 52% acceptance rate
  • University of Montreal: 57% acceptance rate

In other words, the best universities in Canada have an acceptance rate of 40% – 58.7%!

One reader mentioned I left out Concordia University, supposedly one of the best Canadian universities. If so, that's great because Concordia University has a 73% acceptance rate!

Acceptance Rates At The Top U.S. Universities

Now let's take a look at the acceptance rates of some of the top U.S. universities.

Acceptance rates at the top US colleges

Good luck getting into a top 10 school in America. It is nearly impossible.

And if your kids are Asian, then they've really got a Mt. Everest to climb. Is there no wonder why so many Asian families run small businesses? They know their odds are stacked against them, so they bypass the gatekeepers.

Unless you're a really rich legacy student or cured malaria while fighting against gun violence, you or your children have little chance of getting into a top American university.

Remember, even some rich celebrity kids couldn't get in on their own merit. The parents had to bribe school officials $50,000 – $500,000. Therefore, what makes you think your kids can get in?

What is the point of trying to grind so hard in middle school and high school to try and get into a top American university with a 10% or lower acceptance rate? Instead, you can be an average student and still get into a top-five Canadian university!

The reputations of the top Canadian universities are higher than their respective acceptance rates indicate. And some consider the top Canadian universities to have a similar amount of prestige to the top American universities.

The best life hack helps get your kids into a great school and ultimately get better jobs.

The Pressure For U.S. High Schoolers Is Immense

During my three years as a high school tennis coach, I saw and overheard my students talk incessantly about their studies. They discussed how they needed to go to expensive SAT tutoring after practice. They complained about having to take more practice AP exams and so forth.

Several even showed up late to important matches because they required extra time on their exams. They then wanted to talk to their teachers after class. I could feel the pressure they were under to try and do it all.

Maybe the pressure cooker environment has always been there in high school. But is it really a necessary rite of passage given college is becoming less necessary thanks to the free internet?

Instead of spending $52,659 in annual tuition going to Harvard only to end up with the same type of job as everyone else, why not spend 1/9th the annual tuition at the University of British Columbia and work at a US-based firm for more money instead? You might have to live in Canada for a year or two to be able to pay Canadian tuition, but it'll be worth it!

Even if you cannot get any tuition exemption, international tuition is still about $15,000 cheaper than a comparable top-rated private university in America.

Not only might you land a $150,000 computer engineering job at Zillow, but you might also even make more than $1,000,000 a year as an MD at Goldman Sachs by your early 30s!

Less Crime In Canada Than In The United States

If you value your safety and the safety of your children, moving to Canada from America may also be appreciated.

According to World Population Review, Canada is ranked as the 82nd must crime-ridden country in the world versus 56th for the United States.

According to Macrotrends, Canada has only 1.97 crimes per 100,000 people compared to 6.52 crimes per 100,000 people in America. When you've got a larger social safety net and less poverty, there tends to be less crime.

Perhaps there's a reason why Canadians have a stereotype of being more polite and considerate compared to Americans!

Take a look at the crime by country rate chart below. Maybe it's not a coincidence Sam Bankman-Fried set up FTX in the Bahamas. Its crime rate is the second highest in the world! With higher crime comes more government corruption and the ability to bribe your way to success.

Crime rate by country

Best Life Hack: Move To Canada

Canadian income versus U.S. income
Wages are pretty similar

I encourage all American high school students to apply to Canadian universities. You'll get a great education and save on costs. Then once you've accumulated enough capital in America to retire, you can then return to Canada to live off the government's good graces.

Having a Canadian university education should make it easier to be accepted by Canadians. You don't even need a job thanks to Canada's Express Entry program. All that's required is at least one year of work experience, proficiency in English or French, and $1,500 – $2,000.

If you intend to be self-employed when you move to Canada, you’ll need to show you have at least two years of relevant experience in the field in which you intend to self-employ.

But once you get to Canada, there's no law that states you need to start a successful business. You can just be a hobbyist to keep yourself engaged.

At the end of the day, Canada is great for early retirees, traditional retirees, people seeking financial independence, entrepreneurs, and children. Canadians are more laid back as its citizens are more focused on work-life balance.

Taking advantage of Canada truly is the best life hack for Americans. Who's with me? Go Canada!

Reader Questions

Anybody currently or planning on taking advantage of Canada to live a better life? What are some of the downsides to taking advantage of Canada besides long wait times for healthcare and cold weather? Should American work and education culture trend more towards Canadian work and education culture to there's less stress and anxiety?

Best Wealth Hack

Now that you know the best life hack, know about the best wealth hack. Stay on top of your overall finances by signing up with Empower.

Empower is a free online tool I've used since 2012 to help build wealth. Before Empower, I had to log into eight different systems to track 35 different accounts. 

Now I can just log into Empower to see how my stock accounts are doing. I can easily track my net worth and spending as well.

Their 401(k) Fee Analyzer tool is saving me over $1,700 a year in fees. Finally, there is a fantastic Retirement Planning Calculator to help you manage your financial future.

Best Investment Hack

Real estate is a core asset class that has proven to build long-term wealth for Americans. Real estate is a tangible asset that provides utility and a steady stream of income if you own rental properties.

If the U.S. housing market ever gets as hot as the Canadian housing market, I expect U.S. real estate prices to go up another 30%+. Americans truly don't appreciate how cheap U.S. property is compared to the rest of the world.

Consider taking advantage of the current housing market weakness by investing in heartland real estate. Fundrise, my favorite private real estate investment platform, primarily invests in single-family and multi-family homes in lower-cost areas of the country.

Thanks to technology and work-from-home, the long-term demographic trend is away from the expensive coasts.

Keep In Touch

Listen and subscribe to The Financial Samurai podcast on Apple or Spotify. I interview experts in their respective fields and discuss some of the most interesting topics on this site. Please share, rate, and review!

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 60,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter and posts via e-mail. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. 

The Best Life Hack For Americans is a Financial Samurai original post.

253 thoughts on “The Best Life Hack For Americans: Taking Advantage Of Canada”

  1. Sam, will you write an article about Europe. No need to establish residency to take advantage of cheap English speaking Universities there.

  2. Not everyone can just pack up and move to Canada. Or to Europe. There are special requirements to become a resident, and most Americans don’t qualify. I’m retired and financially independent, but don’t quality. I can visit there for six months a year, and that’s it. Pipe dreams.

  3. The Expostriate

    Perhaps the best life hack for Americans is to move out of America? I’m glad I moved to Europe. My only regret is not doing it sooner

  4. I’m Canadian but I’ve been working in finance and living in America for 11 years.. making a lot of money in the U.S. is nice for sure, but I’m definitely going back to Canada once I’ve milked it. I can make 7 figures but that’s harder to make in Canada.. but in Canada you don’t really need that much because healthcare is free. My issue with Canada are the taxes and cost of living. Real estate is super expensive in big cities (even Calgary in the prairies is now expensive) but mainly the tax rates are punitive. I live in Texas and pay no state tax and food, gas, etc is so much cheaper vs. Canada. In Canada, you’ll pay $25 for a simple takeout lunch, whereas that’s $12-$15 in the U.S. The

    U.S. has just become a bit unstable and the possibility of more and more political strife continues to go up. Unity is poor and that originally made America – there was common goals and historically, empires rise and fall on education and unity. I’m sure the British, Spanish, Arabs before that (Egypt in 700-1200 AD was the America of its time when Europe was in its Middle Ages), Chinese – i.e. past empires, all thought their countries were incredible and super safe until they weren’t… crime in America is high and lifestyle in Canada, overall, is much better.

    I do really enjoy America and the money is great – quality of life in Texas is incredible and people are much nicer than the news makes them seem to be.. not everyone is racist.. few and far between.. but there’s just too much bullshit happening nowadays. Americans, unfortunately, have become too complacent and maybe too successful. The political situation is a mess and debt is high- that even caused the Roman Empire to fall. Would agree with Sam – move to Canada.

  5. Ignore the haters!! Great article and enjoyed it. I was born in Canada but have lived in USA, and pondered many times moving back. Canada is a great country with many positive attributes. Yes if you are Canadian citizen college is cheap my niece paid 12K for McGill room and board included, and never lived a day in Canada. All she had was have a father born in Canada. You make people think and give them options, so keep at it!

  6. Canada is what the United States would be if the United States sucked. It’s America on easy mode. Sadly looks like the United States is going that way with the rise in worship of socialism. It’s sad to see such a great country slowly crumble due to the parasitic ideals of socialism/leftism

    1. Susan from LA

      Which part of Canada you don’t like: Safer living environment? Great affordable education that won’t put a lot of students in debt? You don’t like that they have good health care for everyone? Do you hate that they enjoy a less stressful life than Americans?

      Canadians are happier than Americans according to the World Happiness Report. Providing a better social safety net does not take away your ability to make money and be obscenely wealthy if you want to. You should really look into the difference between socialism and communism.

  7. Aubrey Marcus

    People go through life as prisoners of their mind. The only prison anyone lives in is their own perspective. And if you can crack that, then there’s no greater gift, that sense of freedom.

    The prison they live in, that they superimpose on circumstance is really a reflection of the conversation they’ve had inside for decades.

    So for those who are bashing the hell out of Canada or whatever, you’ve got to learn to break free and embrace new perspectives and ideas.

  8. Hi Sam

    Thank you for publishing your articles, fantastic content!

    Your comment on the reaction of readers made me think, because I see a little hint of that too when discussing financial matters with family.

    My take is that what you were doing is hold a mirror, and many saw an uglier image in it than they wanted to admit.

    The mirror was held for me too and I saw the image, and it was ugly, except that I already had come to the realization that private school expenses and health insurance costs have been crushingly high, and honestly not sustainable for my family’s finances.

    That said, I’m doing a lot to improve our situation and your content is always a welcome breath of fresh air.

    Thank you

  9. Dear Sam… Please don’t retract the move to Canada post. It’s just a simple jolt of perspective which most Americans never see.

    I retired in my early fifties to keep an eye on my elderly mother and have been living on my simple state government pension ever since.

    We won’t be moving to Canada any time soon. But, my two sons are in their late thirties, and such a move might actually be an option for at least one of them. The Canadian health care system is just different than ours… not necessarily better in all regards… but, certainly more European in its universality. And, with the ability to add on a private supplemental policy the playing field levels out quickly.

    Their higher education system also enjoys some notable advantages over ours. Thanks for shaking the cage. Matt

  10. This is an interesting take! i think for families maybe it would make sense to move.
    I came to Toronto, Canada to study and have been living here for the past 12 years. If anything, I am trying to make the move to the US. I work in the tech sector and the salaries are not on par with the high rent (i do live in the city core). Food and taxes are very high. Public Transportation is laughable and expensive.
    There is not a lot of providers and competition is non existent, so you will be paying a lot for insurance, cell phones services, food, …. It took me 6 months to get an appointment for an MRI. I got an opportunity to work both in the public and private sector. As a international student, expect to pay 3 times more than domestic students.
    My sister is also a professional in the tech sector. We make good money but its just not worth it. Add the cold climate, bias/racism, after 12 years I am looking to make the move to the US.

      1. Indian Tiger

        Sam, it is not a less stressful lifestyle in Canada. It is a HUGE comedown from the average American West Coast lifestyle. And I’m not even considering the fact that you’re way above the average (your net worth is, if I remember, top 1 percent in the US).

        And this huge comedown, imo, would cause more stress.

        Canada is expensive and you do not get your money’s worth in so many aspects, e.g. accommodation, transport, food, cellphone service, and so forth. Oligopolies thrive in Canada and make it the socialist set-up it is.

        You would absolutely hate moving from Cali to pretty much any place in Canada. Been there, done that. Trust me on this one.

        Peace out.

        1. You seem like an angry person, Indian Tiger. You’ve made some blanket statements that are just outright wrong/misleading. First, you said all Canadians hate Americans which clearly isn’t true. Then you said that Canadians are covert passive racist hypocrites (your words), which clearly isn’t true. Then you said “Canada is expensive”. Where in Canada is expensive? You do realize that Canada has the second largest land mass in the world with many cities that have low housing prices, and a much more reasonable cost of living than Toronto and Vancouver?

          So you know, Toronto is the fastest-growing high-tech city in North America. There’s a very vibrant angel, venture, and private equity market in the city. Toronto and the surrounding area can’t find enough engineers, AI, and software developers to keep up with the growth.

          Toronto is also the fastest-growing city in North America. Developers can’t keep up with demand, and that’s causing a housing shortage.

          I could go on. Hopefully, you get the point.

          1. Indian Tiger

            Jeff, your opinions on my psyche / state of mind are not needed and none shall be taken.

            You come across as a supercilious nitwit. If you actually lived in America, you would probably see what I’m talking about.

            I’m not gonna waste my bandwidth responding to your tangential nonsense anymore.

            Have a nice life, friend.

            1. I do live in America. I live on both sides of the border and spend my time equally in both countries, so I pay taxes in both Canada and the US. I reiterate my earlier point, Indian Tiger – you sound like an angry person with an axe to grind.

  11. Dunning freaking kruger

    Man these comments are amazing. I had no idea Canada was such a lightning rod of emotion.

    I have to read it all again.



    Tax Freedom day in Canada is June 14th.

    Tax Freedom Day in the USA is April 24th.

    After having spent a third of my life in the US, followed by another third in Canada, I suggest this “Life Hack” (We are dual citizens of CAN and USA):

    Become a taxable resident (domiciled) in Florida (no State, No Inheritance, No Estate tax) and spend your other six months (minus a day) in the country of your choice based in part on the

    While I spend the best four summer months in Canada, my Digital Nomad son spends his “away” time in Medellin, Colombia.


    ps – thank you for all of your efforts!

  13. Most of the wealthy canadians I know have already left or are planning to do so.

    Canada has banned foreigners from buying real estate until 2025. you can get around this by becoming a resident and moving there but makes it quite a bit harder to do so.

    there are plenty of other places you can geo-arbitrage, if you’re willing to do so, as a young person with WFH theres tons of opportunity, I moved out of the US years ago and was able to get my financial footing by saving thousands in taxes personal/business and living expeses by living as an expat.

  14. My grand parents immigrated to Canada in the 80s, along with all 2 of my uncles on my dad’s side. My dad and another brother immigrated to the US (and brought me along)
    My grandparents received a stipend and a place to live in Calgary. There is a building (still there serving seniors) in the middle of Chinatown. My uncles settled down and gained Canadian citizenship, created families who are productive citizens of Canada. Both of my grandparents have passed on, and they are buried in Calgary.
    I debate often about social programs, but in this case, I do appreciate Canada’s social safety programs.

    In a visit recently, my uncles did point out that real estate is getting higher and foreign investments are coming inland (They are in Calgary, so pretty much in the middle of Canada) the costal prices have already been driven up quite high, and so foreigner are starting to look towards inland and especially Calgary / Edmonton area.

    Calgary is a great place, aside from the harsh winter (about 4 months out of the year..)

    1. Jyoti Kalra

      Living in BC, Canada, I know that the cost of tuition for International students is $30,000 +. This would negate any benefit students from the US would have over moving to Canada, just for their studies.
      Salaries in jobs after studies is way less than the US. And we are heavily taxed. Keep all this in mind if someone is considering moving to Canada.

      1. But $30,000+ is still cheaper than $60,000+ in tuition and fees. Further, the idea is to get educated at a top 5 school in Canada and then get a well-paying job in America as an American citizen or dual citizen.

  15. As a parent of a middle school kid, seeing that massive college acceptance rate differentials is very eye-opening. Thank you for finding this out. We will take a look at a couple of the Canadian universities to see how they are. Although we won’t be getting permanent residency to Canada, the $25,000 a year savings differential is significant. And if graduates of these Canadian colleges can get lucrative jobs in America just as easily, that it makes a lot of sense to go there as well.

    Tough to hear some commenters are having such a miserable time in Canada. I always feel like life is what you make out of it.

  16. Wow so much activity in this article!

    Sam you should offer Frank Niu a guest post – he has an account on Tiktok where he talks about temporarily retiring at 30 after working in tech. He moved to Canada after making his money in the US (i believe his wife is canadian though)

    Canada is a very nice place to live. The canadian economy, in my experience, is slow and steady – most older people I know who worked in semi-lucrative professions either with high pay or good pensions, like teachers, lawyers, corporate, banks, government jobs, have retired very comfortably by maxing out retirement finds and investing in property.

    Canada is also getting better and better for young families; aside from the RESP program mentioned in these posts the federal government just subsidized daycare. Our monthly daycare (preschool) bill just went from about 2k a month down to about 500$ .

    Toronto is a very nice city with many opportunites to generate wealth. Just ask any motivated contractor – I know multiple tradesmen who have generated serious wealth by playing the long game in real estate in this city ie, purchasing and renovating old homes and renting them out until the mortgages are paid. Most of these guys are working 7 days week yes, but the hustle pays off. The poster above who claims toronto is a shithole is illogically angry about something. Toronto is a lot like NYC – you certainly have crime and other social issues, but there are very, very nice areas where generational wealth has been compounding for decades. Most poeple in Toronot have been able to weather the economic ups and downs of the last few decades due to solid employment – so many articles talk about the “boomer” wealth in this city and how the wealth transfer this generation will be huge.

    As for health care, I’m 40 and yes you need to wait for some things (4-5 months to see a specialist sometimes) but for urgent care – you get seen, and i have been able to keep regular physicals with my family doc for my entire life, for free! Do you know how many preventable illnesses and minor aches and pains I’ve caught early because of our free health care? it’s crazy. We have a couple different genetic ailments in out family, one them heart disease. At 38yo I have my own cardiologist. 2 stress tests, an echocardiogram and various consultations with the specialist…all paid my government. The big thing I wish they would add is dental care. I believe dental care, like housing, should be considered a basic human right.

  17. Sam, I have read your work for years with admiration and commented when I thought it might add value a number of times in the past.

    This time, as a rich Canadian, I have to say the only way to read this post is as satire, or perhaps outright comedy. In my view and the views of many others who are highly successful but not part of the ruling elite, Canada is considered a laughing stock politically, economically, socially and in other ways that matter.

    Many will disagree with me vociferously of course, and that is fine. I have lifetime of experience here and around the world that supports my opinions, and that is as far as I need to go for this editorial. I could write a treatise about the problems with this country but I won’t. It’s too frustrating and frankly brings up deep resentment about the state of play and feelings of futility about the topic, and for my kids and their futures here if they choose to stay.

    Obviously, I can’t prove anything here in comments of this type, but I can communicate openly and people can consider it, or not.

    Readers, Sam and this site add tremendous value on a broad range of serious and fun topics. But not this one. On this serious topic – thinking about making “Canada” part of your life – you need to read all of these comments carefully, and more importantly do extensive first hand research for yourself. All the best!

    1. I appreciate you picking up some of the satire in this post. The idea of the post was originally concocted from the fact that my Softball friend says he makes double the money in America and then planned to return home to Canada to live the good life. My response was, why don’t we try to do the same to Canada, especially with a strong USD.

      And then, as a parent, to discover the Harvard of Canada has a 45% acceptance rate got me thrilled! And then, I thought about a better world, where more people could get trophies in America, live with less stress, less worry, and more happiness.

      The change is probably not gonna happen given we are so capitalistic here in the United States. So to skip decades of potential change or no change, the thought process was to make more immediate change by moving to Canada after you’ve made a decent amount of money in America.

      One thing I have noticed though, is that between 2019 to 2021, most of the comments were supportive of Canada. But in 2023, most of the comments say that Canada is a hellscape crap hole.

      What do you think this is?

      1. You don’t need to look any further than the Canadian govt. locking down people’s bank accounts who supported the trucker’s rally last year. Whether you agree with the rally or not, the dictatorial, totalitarian response provides all the info you need about Canada. Unfortunately the US isn’t far behind.

    2. Indian Tiger

      Totally agree with you, Biggrey. If you’re a rich Canadian, why not try to move to your big benevolent southern neighbour? Leave Toronto and West Van to the druggies and gangsters that roam the streets there. And leave Montreal to the rude-ass Quebecois who don’t even consider themselves Canadian! They want a referendum! They consider themselves French and if you don’t speak French then you’ll probably get a standard je ne sais pas in response. This is even though they are fucking fluent in English, can you believe it? Bunch of douchebags.

      Personally I would relocate to NY, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, or good ol’ Cali in a heartbeat if I could. Exit the shitholes of Toronto/ Vancouver / Surrey / Montreal immediately.

      As I mentioned before, the biggest issue in the US imo is the gun violence esp the school shootings, and can be a strong demotivator to go there. Otherwise, America is still a fucking fabulous country to live in.

      Americans in general are damn decent and straight forward people. Don’t believe the bullshit published in the woke-ass media. As a brown man, I’ve never once experienced any racism whatsoever in the US, even in the so-called deep South. Zilch. Nada.

      Trust me, I’ve lived in India, the US, Canada, and Singapore. I’ve travelled to 37 countries across 5 continents, bruh. The US is right up there in most HDI factors. It’s the gun violence that unfortunately pulls it down.

      American people, you need to be GRATEFUL to be born in and to live in what is (still) the greatest.fucking. country.on.this.planet.period.

      Peace out, y’all.

      1. Jim Johnson

        If you want to be respected and your opinions to be heard…especially among younger generations….kids.
        STOP swearing, don’t curse. Be polite, it doesn’t add anything to your conversation

  18. A few years ago, I actually thought about moving to Vancouver. For a period of time, I was even doing research on real estate there, and contacted some new developments for more info. Research came to a halt when I found out that foreigners had to pay 20% tax on the property purchases in the Vancouver area. And I think Vancouver banned foreign purchasers now? I was also researching on how my son can get in state tuition for universities in the future. But he is only 9! Haha. But good to think ahead :)

  19. I think there are some pretty big misconceptions about the Canadian health care system here. It’s far more socialist than western European countries. While it’s possible to have private coverage and delivery for some preventative services and other services (such as eye exams and dental exams), there is no real secondary private system in Canada.

    Private companies may be used to carry out medical care within the public framework, but health care is almost entirely is administered by the government.

    For example, suppose you’re an American who spends 4 months a year in Vancouver. You will need to buy private health coverage, since in BC (and most, if not all provinces, and territories) you need to reside there at least 6 months to have government coverage (this private coverage is relatively cheap).

    Now suppose you have an accident, and need treatment in Canada. Your private coverage will allow you to use Canada’s public hospitals (the BC government will bill the insurance company).

    The Canada Health Act doesn’t allow for private services for services covered by the public system. This is different from most western European countries that have relatively strong public systems, but also private options. Canada’s health care system is right at the bottom of the G20, and is a complete mess. I’m not sure why anyone would ever want to come here for health care.

    1. Have to second that one. Not that I am from there but took a trip to ski in Canada recently and our Canadian ski instructor told us he had to sign up 3-4 years in advance to get a hip replacement!

      1. As an expat of both Australia & Canada my elderly mother joined me in Canada in the ’80’s. I married a US citizen & moved here (1996), my mother stayed in Canada in a condo we bought her as all our CDN properties were rented.
        In 2012 my then 85 yr old mother fell & broke a hip, the responding EMT’s were amazing but she then had a heart attack in the hospital ER. The ICU care she received impressed my wife (who had been in private practice for 30 years at the time). Once the heart attack was addressed she had the hip replacement. Again the care & therapy impressed us both. The hospital bill we received was ONLY for the long distance calls she made. Before her release we sold her condo (for a $250k profit) & we had her take up residence in a $4500/month ‘old folks home’ on the Lake.
        Several years later she finally succumbed to lung cancer, but again the 2 month hospital stay for that was impressive.
        I hate what has become of Canada, but I was able to make a lot of money as I, (according to my Eng. colleagues at the time), foolishly invested everything I had in real estate, (during the 80’s @ 13-18%). I retired in 1998 & we are still accumulating & managing a sizable property portfolio in the USA.
        We did look at Canada for our kids higher ed, but they all ‘stayed local’ & with scholarships graduated with 4yr degrees, without student loans. My wife then made sure they were all active & heavily invested in real estate, so much so that their passive income covers their mortgages/property taxes.

    2. I have to third this!
      Our Canadian health care is AMAZING IN THEORY.
      until you actually find yourself trying to navigate it.
      After 4 years of waiting I’m finally going to get a MRI next month.
      I also had to wait 4 years to see a specialist.
      I pretty much had to diagnoses myself.
      My issues started prior to COVID.
      the actualy wait was only 6-7 months but I was rejected 3 earlier requests by the radiologist without any explanation to my Doctors.
      Since 2019 I have had pain so great I can’t sit if I had cancer I would be dead already or been offered “MAID” which is Canada’s solution to out of control health care costs.

      If I could have paid to have this solved in 4-6 months I would have.

  20. The Canadians play the arbitrage game with real estate. I had a second home in the Palm Springs area. The neighborhood was full of Canadians about 10 years ago. They all bragged about how cheap the real estate was, with the Canadian dollar worth slightly more than the US dollar. Of course, the situation is much different now, with the US dollar worth $1.36 Canadian. They all sold and made big money on the exchange rate change. Today, there are very few Canadians.

    1. Very smart! I’m not sure most Americans truly realize how cheap U.S. real estate is compared to the rest of the world. I’ve tried to highlight this fact over and over again, as someone who lived abroad for 13 years and worked in international equities visiting real estate markets all over for 13 years.

      If Americans knew, more Americans would buy many more homes ahead of the foreigners.

      With a stronger USD, it’s time for us to own more of the world.

      1. That’s because US homes have been valued at 3-4x median household income for a VERY long time. Americans are just not used to paying 40-50% of their HHI to their mortgage like a lot of the rest of the world is (or having no mortgage through inheritance). I’ve thought of buying a place in Scotland – if the Pound gets close to parity again I think I will!

  21. Randy Petty

    Sam – A few questions that you and/or readers can address regarding Canada:
    1. Process – what is the process and timeline to gain joint citizenship?
    2. Property – cost of residential real estate is sky high to the point foreigners are forbidden from buying real estate for the next three years. Are most expats renting?
    3. Health insurance – I’m on Medicare. Why would I want to give this up and buy private insurance to access the Canadian system at this stage in my life? I would have to do this while I wait the years to gain citizenship when I would then qualify for free health care.
    Canada is very appealing to me – especially Vancouver. But I really need to weight the costs. Portugal is also appealing and does have a ‘fast track’ program to citizenship that is attractive; which provides joint citizenship and full access to their universal care healthcare system (highly rated). It is an increasingly attractive option to consider.

    1. Will have to write a follow up post as many are asking. Might as well.

      6 months – 3 years to get permanent residency.

      Private healthcare in Canada is relatively affordable at about $3,000, according to one Canadian commenter below.

      If you’re on Medicare already, I think the whole idea of moving now may be too late and cumbersome. I would enjoy the rest of your life in the wonderful USA

  22. The Canadian healthcare system is not something I would ever want to entrust my life to. The comparison isn’t even close to comparable. My mother was Canadian born. On one visit to relatives she became very sick. One of the ER personnel stated “If you can’t get care stateside within 24 hours, you’re likely going to die. We simply don’t have the rapid availability of the type of care you need”. She did make it back to SF, and almost died a day later. Fortunately, she was at UCSF receiving excellent care and made it out of the woods.

    The taxes are insane as well. Insane. Although, comparing them to CA isn’t as insane as other parts of the U.S.. I love Canada, but the thought of building wealth by moving there doesn’t seem accurate to me. God help you if you ever need specialized medical care while there

    1. Glad your mother got the treatment!

      Strategically, it may be best to build your wealth in America, as many Canadians do, then relocate to Canada for subsidized healthcare plus private insurance and the benefits of getting into college and paying cheaper tuition for your kids.

  23. Will From Buffalo

    There is some flawed logic in this article. You can’t just move to Canada and get instate tuition OR healthcare. That is reserved for citizens and permeant residents.

    “In-state tuition 2,391 CAD, Out-of-state tuition 7,402 CAD, International tuition 29,200 CAD.” – McGill website

    “Fees by residency status | Student Accounts – McGill University › student-accounts › tuition-fees
    The tuition fees vary according to the residence and citizenship status of the student.”

    While 30k CAD is CERTAINLY cheaper than Harvard….its not 7k.

    EVEN IF you move to Canada….until you get citizenship OR permeant residency, you WILL pay international tuition rates (you’ll also pay for UNSUBSIDIZED healthcare).

    To even BEGIN the process you need to work in Canada or own 1/3 of a business with AT LEAST $300k CAD invested into it, or have family in Canada.

    Thus, you would very likely need to come OUT of retirement to qualify to apply for residency or buy part of a business….which is also like coming out of f retirement to a degree.

    Not so cut and dry as simply buying a home and changing the mailing address.

    This article is considerably misleading…not up to the well researched standard of articles normally found here.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Sorry for not writing a well-research article up to your expectations. If you have any articles you’ve written about the subject, I’d love to read what excellence looks like as I’m always trying to get better.

      To your points:

      * $30K CAD is cheaper than $52,659 in tuition at Harvard plus $4,602 a year in fees. A $22,000 – $26,000 a year difference is significant for most families.

      * Where there is no will, there is no way. You must plan ahead for yourself and for your children.. This is not a snap of the fingers decisions.

      * You can gain permanent residence anywhere from 6 months to several years. Then you can pay local college tuition rates. But again, you must plan ahead.

      Here is how some people gained permanent residence:

      * Family sponsorships (i.e. marry a Canadian)

      * You are a spouse or dependent child of someone who gains PR. (i.e. your husband/wife/parent is a doctor how gains PR)

      * Valid refugee claim

      * Federal Skills Trades program (mechanics, welders, carpenters, heavy machine operators, chefs). Typically these are two year diploma programs.

      * There are a few Federal Skilled Worker professions which may not require a full four year degrees (some medical technicians, home support workers, and such might get way with two year diplomas)

      * Various Provincial Nominee Programs. These vary by province but can include a lot of odd trades such as truck drivers, or people willing to buy and run a farm.

      * Investors. Technically don’t need them, although few people have millions of dollars and successful business without them.

      * Experience Class. World class athletes, performing artists, painters, writers, etc.

      When I published How To Engineer Your Layoff, a lot of people believed negotiating a severance could not be done. So they did not try. Yet, my wife and I negotiated a severance, and so did thousands of others who’ve read my book.

      I have a default setting that more things are possible than we realize. I look forward to reading your work on the subject of Canada. Thanks

    2. Indian Tiger

      I totally agree with Will.

      Imo, this article is under researched and jumps to faulty conclusions.

      I’m an Indian dude and have lived in the US (South and West Coast) and Canada (Toronto). So let me give my unsolicited two cents:

      American folks, you don’t know how good you’ve got it in the US of A (believe it or not). Sure, America has issues such as the political divide, wokism, and mostly the gun violence which is shit scary and the main problem IMO.

      Canada has way more issues:
      – Crappy salaries especially if you’ve moved at an older age (> 30-32) in your life. Very difficult to get a job commensurate with your education and experience.
      – Crazy high cost of living and scarcity of apartments if you’re renting in places such as Toronto and Van. (Toronto is an absolute SHITHOLE, btw).
      – Stupidly high taxes which supposedly fund “high quality”.
      primary education and healthcare.
      – The food is mostly bs compared with the grub available in the US.
      – Covert racism, which is a Canadian specialty, especially if you’re a person of color like me. Eg if you’re looking for a job in Canada, you’re told, “Oh you don’t have Canadian experience so we can’t hire you.”
      – Oh and did I mention the gang violence and gun culture. In West Van and Surrey, BC, you have Sikh gangs shooting and killing each other all the time. In northern and downtown Toronto, there are African origin people shooting each other and threatening subway passengers all the time. One of my buds was in a train going home from work at downtown Toronto to Northern Toronto when some 6’6″ African dude obviously high on something asked him for money in the train. My bud is a big guy himself, put up a fight, but landed up getting stabbed. Fortunately it was superficial.
      – Crazy amount of homeless people and begging in downtown Toronto.
      – My acquaintance broke her finger and was told to go back home since the hospital was short staffed!
      – I haven’t even mentioned the horrible climate in all of Canada barring perhaps British Columbia.

      I could go on and on, but you get the point. Short story is, I have a Canadian permanent resident visa which I will happily surrender back to the Canadian government soon and live my life peacefully in India.

      If I had the resources, I would happily buy a US business category permanent residence visa for around 1 mn $ and live in San Diego, which has some really nice property going at decent rates (compared to many cities in Asia/ EU).

      Btw, I read somewhere that the Portugal visa scheme is going to close, so if you wanna live in Portugal, then you better hurry.

      I like Americans cause most of them are blunt and call a spade a spade. Screw Canada…bunch of passive covert racists.

      There’s an adage which goes, “the grass is always greener on the other side”. IMO, it applies strongly in this case.

      I’m a big fan of your writing, Sam. You’re doing yeoman service with the free solid advice. This article, though, needs to be retracted.

      Just check quora for stuff like ‘is it worth emigrating to Canada from the US’ for other advice / anecdotes.

      Peace out.

      1. Love the feedback! Thanks.

        Sounds like you’ve had a terrible experience. Says something if you’re willing to go back to India, earn less, and deal with the traffic and pollution there.

        Do provide an update once you go back to India. What city will you live in and what will you do?

        And to be clear, you prefer India over living in the United States? If so, why are there so many Indian workers coming to the US?

        1. Completely agree with Indian Tiger and Will. I’m a big fan of you, Sam, but this article is woefully under-researched and wrong, and needs to be retracted.

          Totally agree with all the points that Indian Tiger and Will already made. I’ve lived in major cities in Europe, both coasts of the US and the Midwest and the South, and both coasts of Canada. You won’t believe how good you’ve got it in the US of A and Europe.

          I don’t mind the climate, but the tax system, gang violence, cost of living, career opportunities, general life conveniences, and terrible healthcare system over the board are unbelievably bad in Canada. I’m only in Canada because my parents are here and are they don’t want to move in their old age, but I’d gladly ditch Canada to return to either the US for life conveniences and career opportunities, or Europe for better social safety net and safer living environment anytime.

          1. Thanks Daniela. Any chance you can write a guest post about your horrible Canadian experience?

            What is exactly under-researched and wrong in my article? I’ll correct the data.

            I think the US is pretty darn good, and I’ve lived in many places as well (13 years living overseas, 13 years working in international equities, traveled to 60 countries). If I didn’t enjoy where I live, I’d move.

            Other favorite places include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Kobe.


        2. Indian Tiger

          Sam, I never said I prefer India to the US. I prefer (many parts of) the US to India.

          Though what I did say is that I prefer India to Canada, for sure. No question about it.

          In India, if you want to make coin, then go to Mumbai (esp if you’re in finance) or Bangalore (for IT). I’m in asset management. Salaries are pretty solid in both cities (though both are the most expensive in India, esp Mumbai).

          I get the part of the traffic and pollution / noise but many firms are still okay with some level of hybrid work.

          Ultimately, retirement in India just outside many of the metro cities is also a decent idea because of way cheaper COL and decent quality of life. Medical access and hospitals are amazing even in the smaller cities. Private high coverage health insurance is pretty cheap, too. So no fear at all of personal bankruptcy due to medical issues. College education is also fairly affordable, though graduate education is getting crazy expensive.

          In terms of salaries, I can talk about the buy side. Let’s say you’re a 40 yo fund manager working at a mutual fund in Mumbai with 15 years of experience. You’d be pulling in a bare minimum of atleast 250k US$ (including a bonus of, say, 15%- 20%).

          Now Sam, I know you’d sniff at 250k $ and say “Well, that’s a middle class salary in San Fran”. Well, the ppp conversion factor for Mumbai vs SFO is around 4.4x (as per Numbeo…I didn’t make this up). Which implies that 250k$ in Mumbai is like 1.1 mn$ in San Fran. Now, even assuming a more real world ppp conversion number like 2.5x, 250k$ in Mumbai is like 625k$ in SF. I can tell you 625k$ ain’t middle class in San Fran, buddy!

          But yeah, the intangibles like the pollution and traffic / noise in India are definitely a downer. Pros and cons everywhere.

          Hopefully one day I’ll get lucky in crypto and be able to afford to move permanently to San Diego, or better still, crazy expensive Hawaii! We are allowed to dream!

          Btw I forgot to mention that in case the Portugal visa scheme shuts down, people could also try for permanent residency in Spain, Malta, Cyprus, and Greece. I think Ireland also, but I’m not sure. Better hustle if you’re planning on moving because I’m guessing all these countries will shut down their PR visa schemes sooner than later given that foreigners are buying property at higher rates and the locals are getting priced out and pissed off.

          Have a good one, old sport.

          1. $250K is great in Mumbai for sure. I enjoyed my visit there in 2008. But literally 10 days later, terrorists shot up the lobby of my hotel, the Oberoi as well as the Taj!

            If you enjoy India more than Canada, I would not wait. Figure out how to make the move sooner rather than later!

          2. Well said Indian Tiger. But think about the US too. We love Indians and the average Indian income and wealth is very high.

            1. Indian Tiger

              Thank you, Jeff. Yeah, you nailed it. The Indian income and wealth levels are definitely very high in the US, but my point was more to compare salaries in Mumbai/ Bangalore with the ‘average’ of high earning folks stateside than the absolute top earners. Even the ‘average’ high earners with that kind of income level in the US have a fantastic standard of living and quality of life.

              We Indians love Americans too, and we recognise them for their hard work, plain & simple decency, and straight forward attitude to people and to life. We don’t fall for the bullshit that the woke media spreads about Americans in the US and even in Canada.

              I am often surprised and saddened that so many Canadians detest / envy / loathe Americans inwardly but outwardly keep a polite facade to show the world that Canadians love Americans. It’s only when you talk to Canadians that you realise they carry a knife in the heart for their straight-shooting southern neighbors.

              Canadians, imo, are covert, passive, racist hypocrites. I ain’t gonna sugarcoat it. They’re like completely the opposite of the average American.

              Canadian govt policies have made it a laughing stock of the world.

              For me personally, I’m paranoid about the gun violence in America esp the school shootings, esp since my little boy is only 3 yo and still needs to get aware of life.

              Happy Sunday!

              1. @indian tiget your characterizations of Canadians are way off base. How can you generalize and say that Canadians detest/loathe Americans! And that Canadians are covert passive racist hypocrites! Do you mean all Canadians? You do realize that almost 20% of the current population is foreign born, and another 25% are second generation. And I’m not sure how you can generalize and say “all” Canadians detest Americans and are racist.

                Next, there’s so much wrong with this article and the comments section.

                Politically Canada sucks. In fairness I’m a Conservative voter with a strong dislike of the Liberals. If you’re a Liberal voter then you’ll have a different perspective. Which country is better politically today then it was 10 years ago? England? The USA? Germany? Italy? Brazil? No. No. No. no. And no.

                Is Canada perfect?

                Absolutely not.

                Are taxes too high?

                Well, that clearly depends on who you ask.

                Do some Canadians hate Americans?

                Sure they do. They probably also hate puppies and anything else that smiles.

                Are some Canadians racist?

                Absolutely. Canada has its share of rednecks.

                At the end of the day, and given the choice, I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

                And I’m an UHNW individual.

                1. Tiger an idnI

                  Nice point, Jeff. Obviously the people I’ve spoken with (mostly native White Canadians ) who detest Americans may not be a representative sample. I get that.

                  I know plenty of UHNWs in the US, Singapore, and India who would never leave their respective countries. Too many moving parts are involved in people’s decisions to move, I guess, whether they be UHNW or HMWs.

        3. While Canada isn’t perfect (every place has its problems), it’s definitely not as bad as this Indian has made it out to be. I’ve lived in Canada for over 50 years, ran a multi ethnic business on both sides of the US and Canada border (I sold the business to PE in 2017), and continue to spend a third of my time in the US every year.

          Our company employed people from India, Pakistan, Poland, Germany, and many other countries around the world. In fact, we had more foreigners in our tech business than we had born Canadians. Salaries for foreigners were the same as they were for Canadians, and our clear preference was to hire people who could speak English. Not where they were born, which didn’t much matter, but that they could communicate in English. And salaries were commensurate with skill, not place of birth.

          I currently run a networking group for UHNW individuals who have had a successful business exit. We meet monthly, bring in guest speakers to speak on topics of interest (wealth, philanthropy, investments and so on). We have 30 members in our group. Almost half the members in our group are born outside Canada BTW.

          I live in Toronto. I also own apartment buildings in Toronto. I’ve owned buildings in Miami. I sold the Miami buildings but kept the Toronto ones. I can’t provide perspective on owning in other areas of the US, but I can say that owning in Miami was a pain in the a**. To much red tape, insurance headaches, constant tenant problems (yes, more than in Canada), difficulty finding skilled labour. I could go on.

          Toronto is an expensive place to live. It’s also growing at a crazy rate and they can’t build homes and apartments fast enough. If you look up the most expensive cities to live in the world, Toronto isn’t even in the top 15. But, if you look up best cities to live based on quality of life, Toronto is usually in the top 5 cities in the world, next to Vancouver, Vienna, Sydney, and Melbourne.

          WRT healthcare in Canada, the system is backlogged. If you need help you’ll get it. And the care is good. If you have money, you can make that level of care even better by supplementing the care through one of the many companies offering concierge services. I’m currently with the Cleveland Clinic. I’ve used Medcan, and have friends who are with other firms. Fees range from $3,000 per person per year to $6,000. And then the care is excellent.

          I’ve seen doctors on both sides of the border. Some are excellent, and some are just rude. This has more to do with the doctor than which side of the border they are on.

          Canada is a great place to live and raise a family. So is the US. They each have their pros and cons. But in the end, your experience will only ever be as good as the effort you put into it. The opportunity is there.

          1. Thanks Jeff for sharing your perspective after 50 years in Canada.

            It’s pretty interesting how everybody’s experience is different, especially compared to several of the very negative reviews on Canada.

            I was just thinking that perhaps one of the biggest determining factors is how wealthy one is. The wealthier you are, perhaps the more you will enjoy Canada. That said, you’d have to get over the tax rates.

            And perhaps life is better in Canada if you are part of the majority who faces less / no racism? This seems to be a common topic among several dissenters.

            1. The conversation around taxes, healthcare, racism, and quality of life is obviously quite nuanced and can’t be summarized in a blog post or comment section of a blog. But, here’s some quick perspective:

              Regarding taxes – every Canadian has an $850,000 capital gains lifetime exemption. I used my exemption, my wife’s, and both my children’s exemptions when I sold my business. This, along with other tax incentives, lowered my effective % tax rate on sale of the business to the high single digits.

              Entrepreneurship – because Canada has public healthcare, the cost for an employee benefit program is very inexpensive. Employees aren’t worried about co-pays, hospital in and out of network, deductibles, and so on. They have public healthcare, a good benefits program, and can focus on other quality of life matters.

              Next, and regarding entrepreneurship, Canada is the most ethically diverse country in the world. Is there racism? You betcha. There is everywhere. But, there is no other country in the world where you have so many people from so many countries working and living harmoniously.

              Canada isn’t perfect. Many people come from different countries expecting a handout, and although they might get a small stipend, you need to work to succeed.

      2. San Diego is nice.

        But you’re describing Canada as a shithole. Instead, it feels like you’re projecting your bad life and generalizing the entire country’s situation.

        As a fellow Indian, I understand some of the things you were saying. But I feel you fail to see the good in Canada bc of the bad that has happened to you.

        1. Indian Tiger

          “feels like you’re projecting your dad like a bad life”
          What are you smoking on, dude? I know weed is legal in Canada since October 2018, if I remember.

          Canada is a shithole country, my man. Sure, the mountains and scenery are great but the country is going to dogs.

          I get that you’re an Indian who’s trying to be patriotic to his new country, but I recommend you wake up and smell the (Tim Horton’s) coffee (or dogshit on the road, whichever your preference).

          Third rate hospitals, dysfunctional airports. Pathetic schools that brainwash kids in gender ideology and teach them bs. 8-10% annual cost inflation and 3-4% wage growth. No value for money at all, and the food is absolute garbage (expensive garbage, though) in comparison with what you get in the US or India / Dubai/ Singapore/ most large economy Asian countries.

          If you’re a new immigrant, outside of IT, you’ll probably be earning a pissant 70k-80k CAD per year. Might as well go back to India and make more than that in INR.

          Anyways, to each their own. Have a nice life, friend. And don’t forget to shovel the white stuff six months of the year.

          1. 43 year old Canadian white person, born and raised. I agree that Canada is going downhill. I had a wonderful childhood, but I feel like the ship has sailed on what Canada used to be. It’s now crazy expensive to live here whether you rent or own, there are really high taxes, backlogged hospitals, and good luck finding a GP if you don’t already have one. Public schools are increasingly focused on doing everything but teach the 3 Rs properly and there is no disciplining bad behaviour. Grocery/telecom/bank industries are oligopolies, and we only seem to invest in real estate as a country, so there’s little in the way of innovation. People are increasingly rude on the roads, and infrastructure and transit are crumbling. Huge amount of immigrants and temporary foreign workers are coming here each year, but there are no plans to find housing or healthcare for all these newcomers.

            I am not surprised to hear about recent immigrants (I have read about several new Canadians from India who are in this situation) and refugees (Ukrainians, for example) who are extremely disappointed in their living conditions and choose to return to their home countries.

            I am not attached to any particular political party. I shake my head at Trudeau (he only cares about optics) but I worry about Poilievre and Singh. No good leadership options. I know all these issues are not unique to Canada, but I don’t feel hopeful and I really worry for my kids.

    3. hi will, I got a permanent residence after two years after joining a Canadian company from the United States. My children are permanent residence now too and they can pay local Canadian college tuition.

      Even if they pay the international tuition, there is about a $30,000 a year savings which is significant.

      I would love to you read your articles about your experience moving to Canada as well. I’m surprised you think it is so hard to migrate to Canada. It’s our closest ally to the United States.

      Canada has been very generous and lacks on its immigration policy over the past 10 years.

  24. You can’t pay for private health care in Canada. And look into the wait times – they are UNBELIEVABLE. Emergency rooms are having to close at 8PM and on weekends because they have no staff.

    I have been on a 4 year waitlist for a family doctor. Walk-in clinics for me. I show up at 730AM and wait outside (they open at 8) and 15 people are in line already and by 8:01AM they are full.

    The healthcare system here in Canada is severely broken.

    1. I hear the wait times can be bad. But a couple families say they have private health insurance to counteract it.

      I wonder how they can get private healthcare and you cannot. Do you mind clarifying what you mean based on your experience? I really appreciate it since you’re in Canada.

      Some thoughts on health insurance for foreigners.

      Some thoughts on personal health insurance for Canadians.

      1. We have “private healthcare” through the Cleveland Clinic in Canada. There are other providers including Medcan, and some boutique agencies. These companies have FT doctors on staff who provide 24X7 support, and they also have concierge services where they’ll help with specialty services. It’s like private healthcare but not quite since the doctors are still paid by the public healthcare system. I’ve been using these services for years and the results have been excellent. Cost is around $3,000 per year.

        1. Thanks for sharing! That’s basically what my friends have as a backup and the cost is affordable as you highlight.

          Maybe I can put you in touch with “DAVID BLACK” in the comments who says “you can’t pay for private healthcare in Canada”? Maybe other Canadians don’t know of the options.

          1. Sure, you can connect me with David Black. There are at least five companies I know of, all offering similar types of services, some more boutique than others.

      2. Did you see what that private plan covers?

        Personal health insurance (also known as individual health and dental insurance) is coverage that can help Canadians or those living in Canada cover the cost of preventive care or medical bills due to an illness. It can help pay for several health-related expenses, including:

        -prescription drugs to treat a chronic or serious health condition,
        -dental treatments such as teeth cleanings, braces, dentures and crowns,
        -vision-care needs such as eye exams and prescription glasses,
        -emergency travel medical services when you travel to another country,
        -physiotherapy to help with injury recovery, and
        -medical equipment to help with your mobility.

        Absolutely none of that will get you to see a medical doctor earlier than a non paying Canadian citizen. Or get preventative care. I had pain in my neck for a few weeks and wanted to get a scan done to be safe. Prevention is key and I would have happily paid for it. Was told sure but it will be 10-12 months.

        They have been trying to push through privatization for at least 10 years here in BC and last I heard there are a couple setups in Vancouver. It’s a very sensitive topic with many layers.

        None of these programs will get you a family doctor though. It’s walk in clinics all over the country. And whatever the guy above said about taking a doctor is false. There just aren’t any available if you aren’t old/sick.

        Although I hate the CBC (liberal propaganda machine) here are some examples from last summer. These are just the temp ER closures – not the permanent ones.

        As you may have noticed – Canada is a very very divided place these days. A lot of hate and anger that is bubbling just under the surface. The comments here give a little snapshot of this hate. Go on any FB news source and read the comments. It’s really bad. The government has fuelled this hate for a long time now.

        I spend 6 months a year in the US and have permanent Mexican residency so I avoid Canada as much as I possibly can. It’s just sad to see a country I was proud to call home go to the dogs.

        1. Indian Tiger

          Well said, Dave Black. You speak the truth on the healthcare situation in Canada.

          Totally agree that Canada is going to dogs. As the Brits say, “hear hear.”

        2. Hi Dave. Have you looked into a private global medical insurance plan that will cover your health care in all countries, including the US and Canada?

          Also – are you at risk of losing Canadian health benefits if you live outside of Canada for more than 3 months?

    2. The waitlist issue is a bit misleading. I’ve also been on the waitlist for about 8 months and haven’t been assigned a doctor, yet I know of doctors in the community that are taking new patients. I could easily sign up with one of them and take myself off the waitlist. I haven’t bothered because quite frankly an assigned family doctor isn’t even necessary. I use a virtual healthcare solution (such as Telus Health) which connects me to a nurse practitioner on demand who can help with the vast majority of common ailments.

      As for emergency rooms, it’s true that the wait time can be long, but in my experience it’s not the end of the world. If you’re dying then you get seen right away, if you’re hurting then you probably need to wait a few hours. Yes, they’re understaffed (the health care system as a whole is lacking in staff), and that is a problem, but I think that much of the “crisis” is overblown, in my experience anyway.

      1. Nice feedback. It makes sense that wait periods will be longer for non-emergencies. Maybe people are just venting and spoiled because there is an expectation everything has to be had right now.

  25. Guys…I have lived in Canada, a lot of really great people but their healthcare is a mess. I have known people put on long wait lists to have surgery for cancer, spend endless hours in an emergency room because everyone goes to the ER since it doesn’t cost them anything and oh yeah, the taxes are insane. Despite what some people think, nothing is FREE. Someone pays. Not to mention, before Covid many Canadians who needed surgery would cross the border into NY to have it due to the long wait times.

    1. Can you share your thoughts about getting “personal health insurance” to counteract these wait times and offer insurance for your public insurance?

      Surely, a household can pay more for non-government private services no?

    2. My father was fond of saying there is no such thing as free. He told me, “If you think something is expensive now, wait till you see how much it costs when it’s ‘free’!”

      He’s been gone for 41 years, but in my experience his words were completely accurate.

  26. It really is mind blowing how drastically different things some things are from one country to the next. That difference in college tuition cost is so shocking. I’ve been to Canada a couple times and had a great experience there. Will definitely keep it on my radar if I ever decide to move abroad!

    1. Not that shocking, since our government got involved in subsidizing college, the cost has gone up way above the rate of inflation. Just going up 2x the rate of inflation would put it at Canada’s cost vs the 4x ours in the last 50 years. Given that knowledge is cheaper than ever before, so should college, but alas. Housing in Canada is however way more expensive than in the US.

  27. What is really missing in this article is a discussion on how to actually move to Canada.

    Per google, here are the ways, none is really easy:

    Getting a permanent job
    Family sponsorship
    Startup Visa
    Provincial Nominee Programs
    Express Entry

    1. I was focused on the reasons why to take advantage of Canada. I can write a follow up post about how to move to Canada and live if you like.

      It’s not much different from how Canadians move to America. They find a job that supports them, apply to college that accepts them, and apply for the express entry, which I mention in the post.

  28. Hi

    I live in Iran and I am a small business owner making 130,000$ tax free net income and I have 93% saving rate.

    Recently I am thinking to move to Canada, do you think it’s a wise move?

    My business is online and I can do the same in Canada, but my expenses will jump and I think I can’t have more than 50% saving rate. But maybe I can double or triple my revenue? as Canada is much better is terms of ease of doing business.

    what do you think?

  29. Sam, you are 1,00000% spot on with this post. I am a dual US/Canadian citizen, born and raised in FL and at the age of 29 moved up to Canada. We are now an early 30s FIRE family living that sweet sweet life you described in your post. Most people look at me like I’m crazy when I say I willingly moved from the Sunshine State to the Great North but man Canada really is an early retirees dream country!

    Since moving up here, we have experienced several major hospital visits (pregnancy, major car accident, meningitis) and all we have ever had to pay for was hospital parking… so maybe $35?? And of course, regular doctor visits are covered too.

    And my partner took off 18 months of parental leave with our first kid in 2018 and I’ll be doing the same here in a few months when baby 2 arrives.

    And (yes, more to add) – we have this sweet little thing called Canada Child Benefit. It is meant for low income families but young FIRE families also benefit from this. Rather than withdrawing $47,000 from our investment portfolio each year, we can knock that down to $30,000 annually and receive over $17,000 of TAX FREE income as a family with 2 kids. I would never ever bank of external assistance in our FIRE plans and rather view this as icing on the cake. That’s a major win to lowering your withdrawal rate.

    And to add a little extra sugar to the package, in Canada the near equivalent of a 529 is called an RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan). Each year, the government will match up to 20% of your contributions up to $500 a year (for an annual life time max of $7,200). Meaning if you contribute $2,500 the gov throws in $500. That’s an INSTANT 20% return!! And as you’ve illustrated above with the cost of tuition, that $7,200 max benefit is equivalent to a free year of education. Our 3 year old already has 2 years of her education paid for simply by contributing $2,500/year into it so far.

    Canada for the win!

      1. Canadian Reader

        K I’m not sure about that post because he says they are a young FIRE family but then they are talking about maternity leave? And if you have substantial savings then locking up separate RESP funds for a mere $7200 per kid – deposited over 15 years- isn’t really that exciting- but who am I to judge.
        The Canada Child Benefit does offer tax free income but the maximum number (7k per kid) provided assumes poverty level net income, since it is means tested. A little insurance during the years your investments make no money I guess.
        Yes you can live this way, but probably won’t like it after a while.

  30. Christine Kwasny

    As a family who has lived in Switzerland since 2013, we have accidentally done just what you describe here. The financial benefits and quality of life are in many ways superior – IF you can straddle and make the best of both worlds (US vs abroad). This is NOT easy – I think you have grossly oversimplified the logistics and financials of just such a plan. Not to mention the incalculable value of family relationships which will suffer. You have also assumed the feasibility of just such a plan. Most countries see immigrants (which is what you are proposing becoming) not necessarily in a positive light, and getting (and keeping) a residency permit is not always so easy. The US is not the only country whose people are hostile towards immigrants and claiming that foreign residents are taking their jobs, and causing all kinds of economic and social problems.

    Moreover, if it’s good, affordable health care, education, and livable wages and housing you seek, shouldn’t you be advocating for that at home? Or becoming a tax-paying, contributing member of your adopted society? It seems hardly fair to game the system to your advantage. In fact, I find that morally wrong and corrosive to both the country you left, and the country whose systems you seek to exploit.

    1. Canada is incredibly immigrant friendly. Check out their policies.

      “In fact, I find that morally wrong and corrosive to both the country you left, and the country whose systems you seek to exploit.”

      How did you get over being morally wrong when you arrived in 2013? I think at the end of the day, people rationally do what’s best for themselves.

      1. Christine Kwasny

        Perhaps I misunderstood but you seem to suggest not paying into the system, or becoming a real member of the community. We pay dearly into the system here-the swiss take full advantage of transient high-wage earners who pay in, leave, and never get to collect. And, as I stated we “accidently” (and recently) found a way to make a foot in both lands work to our advantage. Again, not easy but to your point possibly very worth while to do for the many valid reasons you outlined. I am not labeling you as morally wrong, but not contributing to your community as wrong. Advocating and taking advantage of policies yet not voting for or being willing to pay for them is my point. I have no idea if you are personally taking or not taking these actions, just that the overall tone of your argument left that taste in my mouth.

        Interesting points to ponder nonetheless.

        1. I guess I’m confused where you were coming from. Where were you living before you arrived in Switzerland to take advantage of its benefits since it sounds like you are in a similar position in this post highlighting how Americans can take advantage of Canadian benefits just like how tens of thousands are taking advantage of American jobs that pay much higher.

          I can’t be morally wrong because I still live in America and pay plenty of taxes. I might even be considered a good citizen for paying way more in taxes than I consume in benefits.

          I’m just wondering if you are not from Switzerland, how YOU were able to overcome being morally wrong in the way you say when you first arrived in Switzerland.


  31. David Michael

    A great article Sam of a very timely topic during a unique time in American history. I’ll relate my experiences as a person in their mid-eighties from a different time period of the American Dream. I was able to work my way through college (Duke) and grad school in the 60’s when everything was possible for two thousand dollars a year including room and board. Fortunately, my career as a college teacher and another as the owner of an Adventure Travel Company allowed me to retire in my mid-fifties and enjoy nearly 30 years of retirement by traveling, volunteering, and working abroad and in the USA. I assumed that my wife and I would always end up in the USA, but that was before Trump. If Biden had not won the election, I figured I would be heading towards British Columbia and spend the rest of our years there. My grandparents are from Quebec and my daughter had strongly considered McGill University for Medical School. But she decided on George Washington University and has enjoyed a wonderful medical career in California.

    A few months ago, I did research the possibilities of a retired person of moderate means moving from the USA to Canada. Having traveled there a number of times over the years and also treated in their hospitals, I have always enjoyed the country, people, and social programs. But the more I researched and compared what I had as a retiree in America, the more I realized that it would cost me significantly more to live in Canada even if I was accepted as a permanent resident. My health costs under Medicare are less than $100 a month including prescriptions, gym fees, and doctor visits. Hospital fees could increase that figure. Having had large homes in the past, we now enjoy a small but cozy apartment on a golf course for $1200 a month in Oregon, and we rarely pay taxes. When I travel in B.C., it has been my experience that with added taxes, gas prices, groceries and rent, we would have to spend an additional 30% for daily living costs. It’s easy enough to have our Social Security transferred from my bank here to an account there. Of course, I would not be eligible for their retirement programs. I will say that I think the medical system in B.C. is outstanding, very user friendly and about 60 percent less than hospital costs in the USA.

    In the end, I realized that I couldn’t afford to retire to Canada, but I could travel there up to six months a year, which is what many Canadians do in America as they spend five to six months of winter in Palm Springs, Arizona or Florida. Thank God Biden won the election and many of the social programs many of us desire, may take place over the next four years. Canada is a country for the younger set and I definitely would consider moving there for college and work if I was in my late teens and twenties.

    1. Thanks for sharing your journey David!

      “But the more I researched and compared what I had as a retiree in America, the more I realized that it would cost me significantly more to live in Canada even if I was accepted as a permanent resident. My health costs under Medicare are less than $100 a month including prescriptions, gym fees, and doctor visits.”

      Great insights, as a lot of people believe it is the opposite. I believe this is the income limit to receive Medicare:

      To qualify, your monthly income cannot be higher than $1,010 for an individual or $1,355 for a married couple. Your resource limits are $7,280 for one person and $10,930 for a married couple. A Qualifying Individual (QI) policy helps pay your Medicare Part B premium.

      1. FS, the limits you mention are for Medicaid, not Medicare. Any legal resident/citizens over-65 who has worked for at least 10 years are automatically eligible for Medicare (or will have access via spouse).

        Low income people who are Medicare eligible and also eligible for ‘extra help’ or even full Medicaid get additional assistance covering Medicare part B premiums, copays, and most drug costs

      2. Medicare is not cheap if your joint return of modified adjusted gross income above 240,000 . Part B costs$327.00 each per month. Part D drug plan is 31.50 plus drug plan premium each per month. Medicare covers first 80%. Then you need supplement. Plan F costs costs on average $230.00 each per month.

        1. Thank you for this information! I guess from what we are paying now, which is $2300 a month for a family of four, it would be a cost savings. Hooray for spending so much money now then!

    2. Well since you brought politics into it. Seems like you’re looking for a free ride. Let others pay. Let Biden soak the rich to pay for your lifestyle. Your hated Trump lowered taxes, took unemployment to the lowest ever recorded levels, and got America to energy independence. Biden is a vegetable parroting a far left socialism that has never worked. I look forward to your move to Canada in 2 years.

      1. George my friend, give it a rest. Sam pays more taxes than the average American ever will my friend and anyone that moves to Canada has to pay taxes up there too! We have the lowest taxes in modern American history right now. The United States is not the socialist paradise you describe. We are far from it. Look up the tax rates in the 1930’s and then look up the tax rates in the 1970’s if you want to see American socialism.

        Most wealthy people are not taxed at all. It is single people with no children and no tax deductions that pay the most out of their earnings in taxes in terms of percentage.

        I look forward to your response, by the way the rich were taxed above 90% during World War II. Did you know that? Hard to believe that Americans used to tax rich like that, but it happened and in the 1970’s the taxes on the rich were 70% after a certain level of income. Taxes are no where near that high now, not even close. Biden is a capitalist and he isn’t soaking the rich. The rich in America are doing better than ever my friend.

        1. I just don’t get the Tax the rich parade. Doesn’t the top 10% pay like 70% of the total taxes for the country lol. And if they do pay a lower rate isn’t because they own a company and provide jobs and someone provided them the tax incentives for that? I’m a teacher btw not a rich person but I know what I signed up for.

      2. Curious, but can you point out sentences in my post that demonstrate my hatred for Trump and his lowering of taxes?

        I started my post off by saying taxes could be raised, hence for those who don’t like the potential increase in costs, that taking advantage of Canada might be a good option.

        If anything, wouldn’t I have more hatred for Biden?

        Your insights are fascinating and I appreciate your fire. Thanks!

    3. Good lord, I agree with a lot of what you said, and dislike Trump, but Trump did not cut any social program at all. In fact, the last time we had a major expansion of a social program was Medicare Part D – under gasp – a Republican (Bush). It really is amazing to me how both sides see the other as evil incarnate, despite very little actually changing in our day to day lives despite who is president. Even Roe overturn has led to very minimal actual change – most states it’s still legal, birth control is still free just about everywhere, and most companies are providing free travel and coverage for abortion, and nearly everyone who lives in a state that it isn’t legal is within a 2 hour drive to a state that allows it.

  32. Sam, Since you’re looking for arbitrage opportunities to help readers make more money and live better lives, have you heard of the Dutch American Friendship Treaty? It makes obtaining a residence permit in the Netherlands as an American very easy. You will need €4,500 to “invest” and maintain in a business bank account and to jump through some bureaucratic hoops. After having your Dutch-American Friendship Treaty Visa for 5 years, you may apply for a permanent residence permit or you may apply for Dutch citizenship.

    A friend of mine moved from Canada to the Netherlands in 2000 without any knowledge of the Dutch language and is still enjoying life there with no desire to move back to North America.

  33. Some thoughts for your readers, as a Canadian.

    I’m not sure that you’d get the lower tuition costs as an American.

    For example, foreign exchange students pay much higher costs than local students and I would presume the same for Americans.

    While “acceptance rates” are high, they’re not indicative of program specific rates.

    To get into the business school of many of these universities is challenging and requires a high GPA and a lot of work. We aren’t talking a bottom 10% of students, rather, a top 10% – 20%.

    Similarly for other competitive, in demand, programs. It is not easy for Canadian students to get into any University of their choosing nor, more specifically, program of their choosing.

  34. It’s already too cold for me in Portland. I want to go south, not north.
    But Canadian universities sound like a good plan. I’ll have to keep that in mind when our son is ready for college.

    1. Clint Robert Murphy

      It only works if you are able to get the local rate, so you’d have to move here early and get landed immigrant status likely.

      1. Thanks. The link was good information. FS can sometimes make outlandish propositions witbout digging deeper into the nuances of those propositions. And as a blog, I think that is fine because being a bit sensationalist has help Sam build his brand (not unlike those in the the political sphere). But for international students seeking a Canadian college education it would range $20-30K (based on decent income-earning majors), this certainly becomes much less desireable than an in-state school.

  35. I don’t understand why a Republican would move to Canada where the government subsidizes or totally pays for so many programs.

    1. Because it’s human nature to want some thing for free, regardless of which party you are a part of. And if you care about your children, you want them to get ahead. And one way to get ahead is by competing with less competitive people.

        1. I’m not sure I understand. Can you please elaborate?

          I do write in the post that Biden might make the U.S. more like Canada, which would reduce the urge of Americans moving to Canada.

          1. I was under the impression that your article was written on the premise that since Biden won and Trump lost, those unhappy with that fact are wanting to leave the US and move to Canada. My point is, why would a Republican want to do that when so many programs in Canada are heavily underwritten or totally paid for through taxes. Isn’t that why these people are Republicans and not Democrats? Isn’t that their problem with a Democrat being elected?

            I’m not taking a side one way or the other but, doesn’t Canada have a more socialist and less “free market” relationship to healthcare and education than the US? Again, I don’t understand why Trump losing would make Republicans want to move to Canada?

            1. Exactly, Canada is socialist, Trumpsters will have to move to a totalitarian white country, maybe Hungary or Russia?

          2. By the way, I’m not trying to be difficult, Sam. I love your site and have the highest respect for you. I agree with all of your selling points on Canada myself although I’m not inclined to leave the U.S.. I just don’t understand why someone pissed off enough over Biden’s election to want to move out of the U.S. would want to move to an even more socialistically oriented and run country which Canada is.

          3. Sam, I may have gone overboard on my last comments, not out of anger just got a little wordy trying to explain why I found it odd that this article would start out as being pertinent to someone unhappy with Biden winning and Trump losing. Please feel free to skip posting the last one or two of them if you want.

      1. But nothing is free. Either you pay for it yourself and have choices, or you give the government your money(taxes) and they make the decisions for you.

  36. Sam,
    What about the process to actually move to Canada? Will they accept retired (FIRE) people? From what’s been said, it’s difficult if you’re working and ‘may’ take a job from a working Canadian…

    But what about people already retired? Will they accept us? Can I get my SS there? What about my pile of US funds, invested over the years… transfer it to Canadian Banks, and see the balance grow by .23% (giving a false sense of Greater Wealth?).

    Over the years, I’ve traveled through many areas of Canada, (Kelowna, Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, etc.) and found it to be very welcoming and diverse… but could I actually move there?
    Steps and processes?
    Acceptance Rates?

  37. This is hilarious. Suddenly the Canadian system, which is accused of being socialist, should now be embraced by moving to Canada?

    This is proof that socialized medicine, subsidized universities and daycare, and strong safety nets are better and would help the U.S greatly. This is contrary to the libertarian nonsense you have been blogging for the past four years.

    We can make the Canadian system a reality in the U.S if people like you (who only think about their own money) would step out of the way. Those Canadians worked hard TOGETHER to build their superior pro working family safety nets. And they did it by not bending over for the wealthy elite.

    1. I don’t understand when you say people like me and only thinking about my own money? I’ve been paying six figures in taxes for almost 20 years in a row now to try and help all Americans. And I’ve been publishing for free on Financial Samurai since 2009 to help anybody who wants to listen to in financial independence.

      How much in taxes have you paid and what are you doing for free to help others?

      If Canadians are coming to America by the tens of thousands and earning higher wages because they have smartly arbitraged the wage differential, why can’t tens of thousands of Americans arbitrage the safety net differential by relocating to Canada? Seems smart and fair.

      1. Even though Canadians come to the US for high earnings, they still pay their taxes, they contribute to economy by spending money in the USA. Wherein if if FIRE folks start moving to Canada, they are not essentially contributing anything in economy, but making a complete use of all of social welfare, adding more stress on government balance sheet. It is not just immigrants coming to Canada from the USA or anywhere from world, but I have seen Canadians doing the same, which is wrong. Canadians have just started with fiscal deficits, but if there are more beneficiaries than actual taxpayers, Canadians will start adding more and more to their debts and making it more difficult for future generations. I don’t pay six figure taxes yet, but our household is in top 5-10% households when it comes to paying taxes. My marginal tax rate is about 45%. And I am proud of being a high tax and I deserve to have these social welfare, but I am okay for government to spend money to make it equal for most less fortunates, but I am not okay to support high net worth families, who don’t contribute to economy meaningfully.

  38. Hello Sam,

    Cool article but you forgot to mention Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business. They actually have a better reputation than McGill for their business programs.

    When I went to University (Concordia), my semester tuition for 4 classes would cost me around $2,200 CDN. Its probably more expensive today however, I was able to get through it and I paid for the whole thing myself, no student debts after graduating. I had a job, worked part-time while studying, paid my rent, studies, and beer. If I was lucky, I would have enough leftover for food lol.

    Anyhow, have a good one!


    1. Concordia’s 73% acceptance rate is awesome! Especially if what you say is true that the university is highly regarded.

      I am definitely going to get my children to apply to Canadian universities. This is such a no brainer.

  39. It’s truly mind boggling that people would pay for private kindergarten… I do have a few friends who worked in Canada after college but they all moved back to the states, mainly due to the cold and housing prices in Toronto and Vancouver. You can always count on Canada articles coming out during an election.

    1. It’s only mind-boggling to people who fail to spend the time to get to know other people. Providing different perspectives is what Financial Samurai is all about.

      You don’t want to only associate with people who look like you, come from the same socioeconomic background as you, and only speak only one language.

      Believe it or not, some parents emphasize education more and are wealthy enough to pay for private tuition.

    1. If millions of people are willing to freeze in Chicago, Illinois, I assume that millions more are willing to freeze in Canada with so many more benefits. Let’s do this!

  40. American, McGill grad here. First, I think I know who you are speaking about since I graduated the same time – the McGill IB analyst at Goldman Sachs. That girl was smart as a whip. When I was at McGill in the late 90s, the tuition was $10k/year CAD, and the exchange rate was anywhere between $1.38-1.51 at the time I was there. When I was an U1 student (Sophmore equivalient) they more than doubled the price for international students. Also McGill has three prices – one for international students, one for Canadian citizens, and one for Quebec residents or citizens of French and a few other francophone countries that they have an agreement with. It is not so easy to become a citizen of Canada (I married a Canadian and I can’t get citizenship unless I live there for 5 years -my kids however are Canadian, contrast that with French citizenship, which I easily got from being married to my husband, who has dual French and Canadian citizenship). Additionally, when I was applying for jobs in Montreal about a dozen years ago, it was hard even with a Canadian citizenship holding family to go thru immigration – they had to prove that no one in Quebec could do the job they would be hiring me to do before allowing me to accept the job. Second, you mention the acceptance rate. Canadian universities like McGill have a higher acceptance rate vs. comparable American universities because there are so few of them and they are much larger. There are 96 universities in Canada, compared with over 4,200 in the US. McGill has 40k total students including 27k undergrad. Harvard by comparison has about 6,800 undergrad students. It is definitely harder to get into a specific top US school versus McGill, but it’s definitely possible if you apply to many US schools that are of that caliber, you could at least get into one. Vancouver RE is extremely high – even with the 15% tax they imposed on foreigners buying real estate, it barely saw a blip. Condos in Vancouver have a much lower maintenance/tax cost vs. Montreal for example.

    1. “Second, you mention the acceptance rate. Canadian universities like McGill have a higher acceptance rate vs. comparable American universities because there are so few of them and they are much larger”

      If there is much fewer universities in Canada (less supply), wouldn’t that mean it would be HARDER to get into them so demand way outstrips supply?

      1. No because many are that size – about 30-40k students or even more. Vs. 1/10th of that in the US for the elite schools.

  41. Jacob Brown

    I like how you point out that college tuition is cheaper in Canada than in America. I want to go to college soon and am thinking of trying to get a visa to go to school there. I’d like to hire a professional to help me with the process of getting into school in Canada.

  42. There are plenty of very good state universities you can attend in the US that have very low tuition for state residents. No reason to go to another country.

    UNC (ranked #5): $9,018
    UCLA (ranked #1): $13,225
    UC-Berkeley (ranked #2): 14,184

    1. I think you missed the main point about Canadian universities: they have a 30% to 50% acceptance rate versus under 10% for the top schools in America. Good luck getting in in America.

  43. Hah this is timely because we visited Montreal last year and loved it, my wife is fluent in French and we lived abroad for 6 months in France in 2015. We certainly don’t have any issues moving abroad eventually, besides relationship ties. Even though we just purchased a house, I could see us renting it out (it was a rental before) and staying in Quebec. I’m a programmer, wife’s a social worker, I’m positive finding work wouldn’t be hard. We could save a ton on daycare (Quebec has universal child care), health insurance, etc. and I could still make equivalent income since I can work remotely for anyone or do my own thing. It’s an attractive option for sure!

  44. Waterloo, maybe considered good by American standards,but local Canadians are not impressed with the structure or the teaching.

  45. Since this article is relavent, I ll share my perspective. I’ve just graduated from McGill from one of its engineering program. Additionally, I m heading down to the states to work at one of the tech companies (I.e amazon, google, Microsoft, Facebook). So yes, I am extracting the most value of what I had put in.

    In Canada, getting into a good university isn’t the difficulty part. It’s getting into top tier programs (Waterloo CS, Ivey business). So the acceptance rate doesn’t reflect that. Additionally, if you deviate from the top programs, your chances of landing a top tier job diminishes greatly. I go to arguably one of the highest ranking school, though we’re not renowned for tech, and we place a very low number of people in those top tier jobs. It’s very difficult to get a job in the US coming from a Canadian school. Possible, but you have to have your shit together and be a top performer. I can’t directly compare schools, but McGill is very unforgiving. In a way, it develops character but it can kill your prospect of landing a good job very fast if you’re not careful.

    My advice is to apply for schools in Canada in addition to US. If you get a good scholarship/fin aid package, I would choose a top school in the US over Canada.

    Top programs (comparable to top schools in the US, tier below HYPMS): Waterloo CS, Software Eng (I think 1/4 gets jobs in the US, which is insane).
    Ivey Business – top banking/bayside jobs
    UofToronto Eng

    1. Can you share with the specific acceptance rates are for these programs? And why do you say McGill is unforgiving? How do you think it’s harder than trying to graduate from a top US university?

      1. Can’t directly comment on the specific acceptance rates but I would wager it around <10%. Acceptance rate isn't a fair metric because the grades needed to get into these programs are nicely laid out. So most student's don't blast applications to every school, hoping they will get in.

        Even at McGill, say you wanted to get into computer engineering, you will need an average of ~95% which is quite high. When I was in high school, I think 10/500 actually had the average for it.

        McGill is very receptive to internationally students though. I would say almost 1/3 of it is internationally (mostly from US/France).

        McGill is a "good" school in that, if you are truly exceptional, you can get anywhere you want. This means being excelling academically, and being resourceful on your own to find your own opportunities. You need both.

        The resources there is lacklustre. They bring in shitty montreal companies for their career fair. They don't really have any clout with any industries. On top of that, they probably have the greatest grade deflation. From day one, you can cripple your chance of doing med/banking/grad (i've seen this happen a lot).

        The administration there is not helpful. Not supportive. There's not a strong community. So it can feel isolating and challenge to get through McGill even. It's a real mental hurdle.

        The people who lands an offer at Goldman from McGill would've been crushing it even harder had they gone to a more resourceful schools (direct PE/HF). Maybe that's why your friend made it to MD in their early 30s.

        Most McGill grads are stuck in Toronto/Montreal for their full time career. And trust me. The opportunities pales in comparison to working in CA/NY/Seattle. (in software, this could mean a 4X difference in compensation).

        Basically, the only 2 Canadian schools I would consider is:
        Waterloo CS/Software Eng
        Ivey Business (can do dual degree with CS).
        McMaster Health Science – medicine people. (~50% placement to med school).
        UCalgary is also a decent option if you want to do O&G stuff.

        1. Thanks for all the insights.

          Why do you think there aren’t any, or many major Canadian corporations that pay big bucks? I know the United States has a much larger population, but I really don’t know any major Canadian companies today. Maybe I’m ignorant.

          1. Yeah sure. In terms of working in Canada, your best shot of making big bucks is going into investment banking. Just know that while the competition is lower, there’s also way less spots. You really only have 2 cities: Toronto/Calgary. The number of positions in Canada is very limited.

            Tech pays like complete shit here. Even at Google, you’re making 2x less than your counterparts in the US.

            Working in O&G in Calgary used to be very solid. Especially because the cost of living/tax is the lowest. But they’re going through a downturn right now. Getting a full time offer is tricky.

            I suppose sales will always be good regardless of where you are.

            Generally, the top students will find their opportunities in the US.

          2. Bob makes some excellent comments.

            Justin Trudeau and the Canadian government are repelling business from the country by not supporting the O&G industry.

            If a successful person like Fin Sam moved to Canada the government would love to sink it teeth into you and heavily tax your income and capital gains. Top marginal tax rates (54% in Ontario) in Canada kick in at around 200K C$ (150K US) which in Canada qualifies you as “rich”.

            Yes your health care would be “free” and yes your kids tuition would be low but you would be hit hard in exchange for those small benefits. (I would focus on getting you kid into a CA state university like Berkely).

            In addition, even though you would now be Canadian the US govt would not care and would still require you to fill out a US tax return as well.

            Canada does have a rapidly growing technology scene – Shopify is the most recent success store – but there are many other emerging companies especially in the area of Machine Learning in Artificial Intelligience. I hope the Canadian government wakes up and realizes that to keep these kinds of jobs in Canada they need to stop taxing people just because the are successful.

            I watched the US democratic debate last night and Elizabeth Warren reminds me of the type of politician that would be popular in Canada (though even Canada does not have “capital” tax like what she is proposing).

            I think Canada is still the greatest country in the world but immigrating here to save a few $ on healthcare and education only makes sense for americans who are far less successful than you.

    2. I would add to this list:

      University of Waterloo – Actuarial Science / Statistics

      I may be biased on this, as a Waterloo Act-Sci grad, but in the actuarial world, Waterloo is cream of the crop among the World’s best Actuarial programs.

      I graduated from Waterloo, then worked in the US (Boston) since I made more money than I would have in Toronto. After 4 different jobs in the US through either co-op terms of full time, there were several other Waterloo grads on the actuarial team. US insurance companies had a pretty decent presence at Waterloo, even if they didnt even have a Canadian branch. In fact, when I put on my resume Waterloo Act-Sci grad, that is a pretty good foot in the door when operating in the actuarial profession.

      I have recently moved back to Toronto and the difference in income vs cost of living is actually stark. I took a nominal pay cut moving back to Toronto. That means 10% nominal loss + 30% USD/CAD exchange rate loss in real terms. (ie. USD$100 -> CAD$90). Costs for everything in Toronto is generally more in dollars than Boston, and for many consumer goods, we still run across the border to buy things (ie. electronics) since the difference in price in real terms is so large and well worth the time and costs of making a border run.

      My personal thought is that the top of the class grads from Waterloo are not ending up in Toronto, nor should they. The opportunities are not as good and the compensation is not as good. Not to mention the serious housing bubble that exists in Canada.

      1. Yeah Waterloo definitely is The most legit school in Canada. Their placecement into the US is unreal. Ivey doesn’t compare.

        I actually applied there and got accepted. Except I was naive in high school to not go there.

  46. The fundamental point in your article about Canada universities costing less doesn’t hold true for international students (as multiple other commentors have also pointed out). Rather than 6k CDN you’ll pay around 35k. I’m a Canadian/US citizen living in the USA so in my case this works for my kids, but in the general American case it does not.

    1. $35K is cheaper than $45K – $48K for a private school in the US. That’s $10-$13K in annual tuition savings.

      But can’t you gain Canadian citizenship after one year of living in Canada to get local tuition?

      1. no – citizenship takes at least three years’ residence. It is possible that favourable tuition rates would depend on residence rather than citizenship.

  47. Great article. You are very intuitive. This is the first article I have read that recognizes the benefits of living in Canada. I tried to explain this to a relative who lives in the US. They were complaining about the high college tuition for their child (over $50,000 US per year) and I suggested they look into sending her to university in Canada. McGill was one of the universities she looked at. While my sister thought it a great idea (she is Canadian married to an American), her husband just would not consider it as he believed the Canadian universities did not provide the quality education he thought his daughter would receive in the US. (Frankly for undergraduate degrees, who cares? An arts degrees is an arts degree). Bluntly put he was viewing things through a very narrow prism. My daughter did her masters at Queens and her tuition was less than $5500 CDN. (Although tuition rates are rising here but still much less than in the US) I am a Canadian and live on the border near Minnesota on the lake near the Boundary Waters Wilderness area. I do think the US is still the greatest country in the world, but the polarization between north and south is palpable – and destabilizing for the US. I appreciate being able to enter into your country and buy some groceries, pick up my ebay wins and of course, purchase gas. However I would not live in the US. I do love going to the US to get away from winter – at least for 2 or 3 weeks. My son is graduating with a Computer Sciences degree and hopes to move to the US. There are pros and cons to living in either country. Some of Canada’s ‘freebies’ are not financially sustainable. We are blessed with decent health care – less so if you live in a small town or rural area. Medical and Health care in small towns is not good at all. You have to travel hundreds of kilometres for cancer treatments, to see a specialist and many women with higher risk pregnancies are required to live out of town for their last month of pregnancy as obstetric services are not good. But if you live in, or close to a city health care is excellent.

  48. Canadian CPA

    Canadian CPA here. It’s true that very high personal tax rates kick in on employment income at relatively low levels (compared to the US). In Ontario, the combined federal and provincial rate is just under 48% at $150K, and is just over 53.5% at $220K. That’s just income tax – that excludes payroll taxes (let alone things like sales tax, property tax, etc).

    On the other hand, if you earn what are considered “eligible dividends” – generally dividends paid out by publicly traded Canadian companies – the rates are very low. A couple living in Ontario could earn $100K in eligible dividends ($50K each) and, assuming no other sources of income or tax deductions, the total tax bill would be exactly $1,200 (a 1.2% effective tax rate).

    If earning $100K is too plebeian for you, let’s double it. Even at $200K as a couple ($100K each), just from these dividends, the tax payable is just over $19K (a 9.5% effective tax rate).

    So, taxation of upper middle class salaries is very high. But if you have a large asset base and live off dividends, our taxation policies are very generous. Would be curious in hearing how this compares to the US policy for taxing dividends.

    1. Hey Canadian CPA, my passive income (interest, dividends, capital gains, etc) are from US sources so what would be the tax rate? There is also pretax 401K withdrawls which would be taxed in the USA as income.

      I am assuming for moving to Canada to make sense, I would have to give up my USA citizen ship and move all my assets to Canada?

      What happens to my IRAs? 401Ks?

      I am thinking moving there isn’t as simple as this article makes it sound.

      I wonder who can advise authoritatively about this…

      1. David Michael

        Apply for dual citizenship as a possibility. Many Americans marry Canadians and vice-versa. Each country advantages.

        1. Sounds like an opportunity for a website:
          Marry me, eh?

          Find your financial soulmate and reap the benefits from both sides of the border!

  49. David Michael

    Another aside regarding universities abroad in addition to Canada. MY granddaughter recently graduated from the University of Venice in Venice, Italy at half the cost of her hometown college in Boulder, CO where the University of Colorado is located. Yes! Even with the costs of living at home, in state tuition, and the flights back and forth, it was 50% less expensive than U Colorado. And, she graduated in three years fluent in Italian, Spanish and French. Her major was Mandarin with a summer job internship in Shanghai, China. With her extra year savings, she received an MA in Acting in New York City. Now, she is a struggling actress trying to get her first break along the way to stardom. So…moral of story, the USA is a great base, but think globally rather then locally. Our country was great once. The world has moved on.

  50. A great column Sam. Yes! We have thought about moving to Canada for years, especially since our great grandparents were from Quebec. During the Great Depression most moved down to Maine where I have a zillion cousins. So we travel to Canada quite often but on the west coast since we live in Oregon. I went to a hospital a few years ago in British Columbia for an emergency bladder operation, and the care was excellent. I was admitted immediately and they gave me the costs up front before any operation. Within two days the operation was a success and the cost was $10,000 vs $100,000 in the states. Fortunately, I am on Medicare so all of the costs (on my credit card), were reimbursed.

    Regarding comparisons. Both countries have their benefits. Having lived in four different coun tries along my way to age 82, I still prefer the USA and Oregon at the present time because I am used to it and I love the climate and the people. I have had so many opportunities because the USA was indeed great from 1950-1980. Most of my graduate degrees were financed by the Government or the Ford Foundation. My undergraduate days at Duke were $2000 a year for everything and I worked three different jobs part-time to pay the bills. Now, life in the USA is a struggle for many. Yes! If I was 18, I would consider moving to Canada. The USA is no longer the greatest country in the world. It’s just another place where human beings are doing the best they can under a government that has been corrupted by money, corporations, and non-stop war.

    1. Hi, did I read that properly that US Medicare reimbursed your medical expenses in Canada? It was my impression that Medicare did not reimburse in foreign countries save an an emergency procedure in Canada when traveling over from Alaska.

      1. David Roderick

        Medicare will reimburse up to $50,000 for emergencies in foreign country. I have Medicare Advantage.

  51. As a resident of a town just south of the the Canadian border, also having Canadian relatives, it’s not quite that rosy up there. Bellingham Washington’s local hospital added a cardiac wing a few years back due to the rationing of medical care. Our local Costco is the busiest in the country due to the excessive costs in B.C. due to the high costs and taxation to pay for all the “freebies” and social services. A common sight at the local Costco is lines of B.C. Residents with their trunks and hatchbacks open while they fill up 5-10 five gallon gas cans. Google Peace Arch border crossing car fire to see the tragic results of someone transporting gas home. A cousin from Calgary (in the “oil patch” province of Alberta) complained of not being able to be treated under that provinces medical after being injured while at work. Similar and worse stories from B.C. who’s medical isn’t quite as good due to not having the income from oil revenues. Our country can do better. Let’s hope it does.

    In closing I want to say I love the insights and knowledge your newsletter provides. Thanks.

  52. My daughter is graduating next weekend from McGill University with a degree in Math and heading off to graduate school at the University of Washington in the fall.
    We live in Michigan. Not only was the international tuition cheaper than in state UM tuition, but I got a 25% discount because of the currency exchange. Also, the cost of apartments in Montreal was much lower than what we would have paid in Ann Arbor.
    My daughter went there because she wanted to have an international experience and I think it served her very well. That said, there are things to consider.
    The healthcare system may be very good for citizens but it is terrible for international students. The student clinic is always crowded and they send you home if they know they can’t accommodate all the students. The doctors won’t accept appointments for anyone without Quebec healthcare.
    In addition, tuition rates are very different depending on the program. My daughter graduated from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences but the business school tuition was much more expensive.
    Finally, I can’t speak for other Canadian universities, but McGill expects their students to be very mature and handle things by themselves. In general, there are no dorms for students after their U0 year and they procedure to get into classes is chaotic and confusing.

  53. There are a lot of other plusses to living in British Columbia as well. It has every bit of the recreational opportunities that the Bay Area offers and then substantially more. I’m a WA state resident and spend a lot of time up at Whistler and along the Vancouver Island coast surfing uncrowded waves. After all, there is much more to life than just money. To me it would be a no brainer choosing to raise a child in Vancouver instead of San Francisco.

    I enjoy your website, Sam.

    1. How cold does it get there? What are your favorite places in BC? i heard it’s expensive housing wise..but healthcare and education seems like great values

      1. It doesn’t get very cold in Vancouver and most of the coastal areas of BC. Summers sometimes get up to early 30s for a few days and winters only get below 0 for a few days. Gas is extremely expensive $1.60 L and going up (about $6/gallon). Food, housing and taxes are expensive as well. Salaries are also very low compared to the cost of living. Most people with 10 years of experience and a bachelors degree make around 80k (non mgmt role/not computer science). The quality of life is absolutely amazing though and very few places could beat it. Snowboarding in the winter, beaches in the summer, year round hiking and outdoor activity, great restaurants, low crime, good schools, lots of recreation. I would argue it’s one of the best places in the world to raise a family. The pace of work life is much more relaxed than San Fran or Seattle.

        1. The most curious thing is why Vancouver real estate is so high when the salaries are so low. Do you think it’s corruption and Ford investors? I can’t name one major company in Vancouver that pays a lot of money to warrant such high real estate prices.

            1. I figured that to be the case, but why does the government allow this, unless they are receiving money under the table themselves?

              If wages are half that of American wages, yet average real estate prices are higher.. that seems like a huge problem.

            2. I’m not an economist and may be it is an amateur’s guess, but it looks like that government benefits from it too by receiving higher taxes from hot real estate market/prices; plus 13% Canadian GDP is from real estate. So if government takes measures to control money laundering => lower prices, it will loose certain % of GDP, which will be a real problem.

              Thus, all what the government has to do is to balance anger and frustration of most of canadians, who cannot afford buying a house in Vancouver or Toronto with benefits of getting higher taxes and GDP from dirty money.

          1. Vancouver real estate makes absolutely no sense. Much of it is due to foreign money being parked in a safe country. The BC government has finally taken action and implemented a foreign buyers tax and also an empty house tax. This should cause the price of real estate to fall over time

  54. Hi Sam, long time reader, first time commenting after lurking haha. I was super stoked to see you talking about my home country Canada. You definitely make a great point here of using geo-arbitrage to hack the system so to speak. I actually have quite a few friends that are very well educated in top notch Canadian universities and working in reputable American firms in the States. I think given our close proximity, we’re still very different culture wise and system wise, so like you’ve mentioned if you don’t have kids yet then moving around to hack the system is very attractive and doable. I am living in the central part of Canada and wanting to move out to Vancouver but carefully planning it out financially due to its high housing prices; which is still nothing compared to San Fran I bet.

  55. Dual Citizen

    Just a word of caution. The US has the most oppressive, offensive and expensive tax system in the world for its citizens who live outside the country, particularly for those with assets. Make sure you understand the implications before you think about moving. There are a number of websites dealing with tax compliance for US citizens living outside the country. Read them. Talk to an accountant who is an expert in cross-border tax issues. You may at times have to pay tax in the US on top of your Canadian taxes. You will have to report detailed information on your foreign accounts. Foreign financial institutions may not like dealing with you because of the US reporting requirements. In some countries (not Canada) US citizens have trouble opening bank accounts or have had them closed. You won’t be able to take advantage of tax-advantaged investments in either country (except for 401k/RRSP). Be aware that paying for tax preparation will be more expensive than you probably imagine. Also be aware that your US investment accounts may be closed without warning if the company holding them (e.g. Vanguard, Fidelity) finds out you are no longer a US resident. And owning a corporation (no matter how small) in another country if you are a US citizen is a potential minefield. There are other issues I could mention, but the point is to be aware and do your homework before you make any decisions.

    Source? I’ve been living it for the last 15 years. Canada is a great place to live, but it’s another country. It’s not like moving to another state. And the US is suspicious of any of its citizens living outside its borders. The reporting requirements and the cost of compliance are significantly higher than it is for US residents.

  56. Mexico offers some of the same benefits, although it would be more work. It would be very interesting to see an article on this.

    Healthcare is very affordable – it’s often more economical to carry insurance only for catastrophic illness, and pay for every thing else out of pocket. I recently had an annual physical with bloodwork, x-rays, EKG, and specialist consults with an audiologist and dermatologist for about $250 USD (and remember, I’m not paying any monthly insurance premiums). That’s actually a little expensive for Mexican healthcare, but I went to a hospital in an area with a lot of expats, and everyone spoke very good English.

    Educational opportunities are something I’m not familiar with; Spanish would obviously be required. The upside is that someone who knows English and Spanish can work pretty seamlessly throughout the entire Western Hemisphere. Add Portuguese and you’ve covered it, and have some options in Europe as well.

    There are downsides, violent crime being the most often cited. But if one stays away from the drug gangs (easy to do) and practices some common sense, there is very little chance of becoming a victim of anything more serious than some petty theft. And I would think that anyone attending a good university in Mexico is going to be making friends with some of the top 1% of families in the country, which can’t hurt for job/investment contacts.

  57. Good post but those acceptance rates are misleading! Just for context, am in post secondary sector in Ontario.

    Look up the acceptance rates for in-demand programs (e.g. Engineering, Nursing, Computer Science) and you will be looking at single digit acceptance rates. Moreover, the tuition rates quoted are for domestic students; international tuition fee is substantially higher. Come if you want – but it is no roses here. Emergency room wait times routinely exceed 5 hours and any specialist appointment time is in weeks/months rather than days.
    Grass is greener… nowhere. Just depends on the patch you are looking at.

    1. Fellow Canuck here. I second the concept that Canadian universities have specialties that are hard to get into.
      Waterloo is a STEM school so getting into math or engineering at Waterloo is hard and its even harder for international students. Getting into Philosophy there probably not so hard.

      Here is a link for engineering admission rates at Waterloo vs grades.

      I do think Canada is a pretty great retirement destination though. Largely because of the minimized future uncertainty. Healthcare is covered, and old age security equivalent is also solvent.

      Come on up!

  58. Canadian American

    I’ve been subscribed for a while and read your post on Canada with some interest. It’s interesting and has some merit, but there are a couple really big things you missed.

    Just so I have some credibility…I’m a US citizen who moved to Canada in 2003 with my family in a corporate transfer that I engineered. Now I’m a dual citizen and hope to never move back to the US. I have an MBA from a top tier US school and was successful in the idiocy that is the US corporate world. After taking some time off, I bought a business here (bricks and mortar) about ten years ago and could retire but will be working a few years yet to transition the business.

    Back to the topic at hand…the really, really big thing you missed is that the US government hates expats living abroad. They assume that expats are tax cheats, money launderers or terrorists unless proven otherwise. I mean that seriously. Some of the financial disclosure forms say they are from the US Treasury financial crimes division. The US’s citizen-based taxation (only country in the world other than Eritrea to tax based on citizenship rather than residency) combined with it’s financial reporting requirements make life miserable for Americans living and working abroad. The gov’t has bullied other countries into providing banking information on Americans and some institutions won’t open bank accounts and investment accounts for Americans–fortunately that’s less of an issue in Canada than other countries. When you move out of the country, US investment institutions (Vanguard, Fidelity) will close your accounts as soon as they find out. And if you move abroad, don’t even think about buying or starting a business.

    I could go on for hours. My tax compliance costs are currently running about $8k-10k per year. I have to hire an over-qualified accountant who is certified in Canada and the US. I have an accounting degree and an MBA and the complexity is mind-boggling. Last year I paid $80k in taxes I wouldn’t have had to pay as a Canadian that’s not a US citizen. It’s out of control and more than I can succinctly explain in an email. If you want to understand the nightmare, google FATCA, transition tax for expats, tax filing for US expats, etc. and you’ll start to get a feel for it. The more money you have (like your readers) the worse it is. Being in Canada means that I can’t take advantage of tax breaks in Canada (because the US won’t allow them) or US tax breaks. Sorry for the rant…I won’t even start on what happens if you try to renounce citizenship or the penalties for non-compliance.

    Another thing to consider is the culture. Canada is a different country–more liberal, more tolerant, etc. A politically conservative American may not be comfortable or fit in very well depending on where they move. Also, moving back and forth with kids may not work out as easily as it looks on paper. We moved here when our kids were just starting school. You’ll find that once your kids start school, moving becomes more difficult from a family perspective. There’s also the issue of living away from extended family. We’ve stayed and I suspect our kids (currently in two of those excellent but affordable Canadian universities!) will never leave Canada. Partly because Canada is home now and partly because, from an outside looking in perspective, they have no interest in living there.

    I hope this is somewhat informative. As someone who accidentally did part of what you’ve suggested, I just thought you might be interested in an on the ground perspective from someone who’s been here for a while.

    I enjoy your writing!

    1. David Michael

      Thanks for your insights based upon real life experience.

      If Trump gets re-elected I think you’ll see a ground swell of Americans moving north.

      1. Sadly, those of us up north agree. You missed a lot of cultural innuendos too. Please don’t bring your mess here.

    2. I’m an American and lived in Japan for 10 years working in an investment bank. Even though I had to file US taxes, the overall tax burden and complexity factor were not significant. The biggest long term issue is the social security windfall elimination provision. And having an international family, as you and I both do, certainly has its tradeoffs — but so does leaving your hometown. I kept all of my US banking, credit, and brokerage accounts open for the whole 10 years because I had family in the US where I could receive mail; I might have forgotten to inform any counterparty besides the government that I was living abroad. Due to your income (as suggested by the taxes you pay) and the legal structure of your business, I’m not doubting that it’s rough for you. But as a former expat employee, I wanted to voice that it’s not that bad for most of us. Give it a try!

  59. Excellent post! About 8 months back, I quit my finance job in NYC and moved to Peterborough, Ontario (near Toronto). It works for me. I did get a severance. My cost of living here is much lower, for example my rent is 30% of that in NYC. I have retained my investments in the US because the US capital markets are more robust, and I’d rather have my financial assets in US$. Another factor, was immigration. I am not a US citizen, and Canadian stance on immigration is much more friendly. So here I am. Having completed my first masters in the US and currently pursuing my second one in Canada, I can vouch for the fact that, Canadian schools are not only cheaper but there’s lot of grants/scholarships in the system. Its a free ride for me, just have to pay my rent. For anyone making the move, I’d suggest, retaining your US cell plan (couple of carriers have free Canada/Mexico roaming) and US credit cards (travel card).

  60. Interesting post.
    I used to live in the US in the early 2000s before moving to Canada, where I’ve been living since then.
    Canada is very different from the US.
    At a high level, the most expensive things in the US- education and healthcare- are cheaper. Housing is par for course when comparing Toronto and Vancouver with NYC/Boston/Seattle/SF. Toronto and Vancouver have most of the economic opportunities but come with a very steep cost of living.
    Almost all visitors from the US to Canada like Canada, until they get the sticker shock. Everything is very expensive, especially food.
    Salaries are much lower as compared to those in the US for tech and finance people. Top tax brackets kick in much earlier. e.g. Ontario’s top tax bracket kicks in at about 200k CAD(150k USD). The top tax rate is 54% plus CPP of about 5% (Canadian social security).

    For a working professional, being in Canada makes almost zero sense if you are in a typical corporate gig.
    If you are a public sector person though, things are very different. Public sector salaries, pensions and benefits are very generous.
    Almost every month has a long weekend for government employees. Minimum vacation time is about 3 weeks.
    If you are a cop, nurse, unionized worker, Canada is wonderful.

    Things begin to go awry if you go past 200k income mark. What’s the incentive to work? Why would you work hard to hand over more than 54% of your income to the government?

    Canada looks tempting from a distance- it did to me 20 years ago. But it’s an economic mirage plagued by a handful of oligopolies in almost every sector of the economy(Banking, Insurance, Airlines, Telecom, Dairy, Meat) leading to higher prices. Housing is much more expensive when compared with rents and income.

    If you are lower income person though, Canada could be great. Less taxes, more benefits and way better quality of life than a similarly placed person in the US.
    Top 10% in the US have it way better than their counterparts in Canada.

    Since you mentioned education, a quick comment.
    There’s a huge chasm in the quality of US universities. e.g. compare Harvard/MIT with University of Mass at Lowell. It’s day and night difference.
    But if you compare Univ of Toronto with say University of Calgary, there’s very little difference.
    The top 20 universities of Canada are very similar in terms of amenities , faculty with certain universities better than others in certain areas. That goes with the overall theme of Canada- it’s mediocristan(in Taleb speak)-unlike the US which is extremistan- the highs are much higher and the lows are much lower.

    Another data point- if you look at the list of richest 100 people in Canada, it’s very static. Most of the changes occur due to some Canadians moving to the US and starting an eBay or Uber. Intersting factoid- Uber’s cofounder Garrett Camp is from Calgary and Calgary was one of the last cities in Canada to legalize Uber.

    Which takes us to the next thing-regulation. Much higher regulation in Canada than in the US. Canada’s CRA has twice the number of officers per capita than the IRS. And IRS has bed rep!

    1. A+ comment! You rock! Thank you for all your wisdom.

      I’m focused on your $200,000 income mention, and why bother if you plan to make more and pay more taxes in Canada.

      I agree!

      So if you can generate up to $200,000 in retirement income while living in Canada, that could be great. I don’t think anybody really needs more than $100,000 a person to live a happy life in retirement.

      With a 42% acceptance rate to the Harvard of Canada, I really think applying to Canadian universities is a no brainer. A 5% acceptance rate to Harvard in America is just too brutal. It’s like winning the lottery.

      But a 42% acceptance rate is like everybody getting a participation trophy. The reputation is still excellent, so why not?

      1. Mr. Nick is spot on! the top 20 Canadian Universities are great and dirt cheap, crazy thing is that we still have students complaining about student loan debt and politicians saying the cost is too high, they must want it to be like denmark where you get a stipend as a student and the average graduation time is 6 years.

        Interesting fact to add, I work for a multinational and can see pay grids as a people manager. The same positions have about a 15-20% higher pay band in the US than Canada! factor in the taxes and its quite a hit for a working person.

        Great post and a pretty accurate assessment of the differences between Canada and the US. If you are a top 10-20% earner live in the US for highest quality of life. If you are in the bottom 50% earner live in Canada for a higher relative quality of life and live off of Canada’s highest earning 10-20%’s generosity.

        – a 28 year old Canadian who paid 34% of my gross income in tax (not my marginal rate).

  61. I am an Indian citizen who worked in the US for 5 years and then moved to Canada because getting a green card was almost impossible. My experience has made me hyper aware of present and future immigration laws in both these countries.

    Your readers should know that the Express Entry has a major age component. Anyone over the age of 35 will find it extremely difficult to emigrate to Canada under their points system, unless they have a job secured in a specified shortage field.

    In addition to this, the conservatives in Canada have targeted ‘citizens of convenience’, who move to Canada just to use it as an insurance policy for old age. In 2015, the conservative government changed laws which made it easy to revoke such citizenships without a court hearing. Trudeau reversed this law, but with a conservative government likely to come to power this fall, we can expect another reversal.

  62. Sam, you should do post on the best countries to FIRE to in terms of status requirements (citizenship vs. residency), climate, tax, quality of life, etc. (if you haven’t done one already).

    I am looking to emigrate and have dug around but the only place I keep coming back to that matches my way of life (laidback, tropical) is Mauritius with Botswana a strong second and Rwanda a third. However, Mauritius has one of those “investment programs” US dollars! EEK!

    Canada may seem ideal but the weather is a bummer and way too expensive for someone looking to leave a third world country legally. So is most of Europe and Asia. I looked into South America but they seem just as unstable.

  63. I’m not sure living in Canada a year or 2 would qualify someone from the U.S. for the low cost universal health care insurance or low tuition rates that bona fide Canadian resident enjoys. My guess is that a foreigner would have to legally immigrate to Canada in order to enjoy those benefits.

  64. Little Seeds of Wealth

    Not sure if moving to Canada as a retiree under the Express Entry would be easy (don’t they usually prefer people with job offers?), but worth looking into. I used to live in Toronto. Wonderful and very safe city with great universities. The cold sucks but it’s very similar to Chicago/Detroit. I would not mind living there again.

  65. Great food for thought. I didn’t know the acceptance rate is so high in the elite universities in Canada.

    I live in NYC. As I’ve gotten older and older, cold temperatures during winter bother me more and more. I think the colder weather in Canada would be a big deterrent for me to make the migration up north (among other things).

    Like you, I believe the US is the greatest country in the world. Why would I want to settle for less regardless of how great Canada is?

  66. In the past, it’s been mentioned in the comments how much cheaper you could live if you moved to a LCOL and you responded (paraphrased) “why have the money if you can’t live in a place you want to live?” Same applies for me to Canada. Seems like a nice place (I was in BC last month), but not worth the life upheaval.

  67. Sam
    I enjoyed the post. I have lived on both sides of the border and am currently living in Washington state. We were born in Canada moved to Texas shortly after the NAFTA in the early 90’s. Our three adult children are dual citizens and our oldest will definitely consider the Canada university option. I graduated from Queens University in Kingston Ontario and can attest that they provide a worldclass education.
    We are a handful of years from retirement and our current plan is to relocate to beautiful Victoria British Columbia to enjoy the benefits of Canadian health care but also having easy access to US healthcare since it is only a two hour ferry ride to Seattle with some of the best hospitals in the US. As for all the horror stories about rationed Canadian healthcare my sister-in-law, who lives on Vancouver Island, was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and was undergoing chemo within a couple of weeks.

  68. There is one huge problem for me with this idea, temperature. It’s just too cold that far north, and yes, for me living in the suburbs of NYC, Canada is only a few hours away. Still, those hours matter. Perhaps I am just tired of the weather in the NorthEast.

    In truth, Vancouver is a bit warmer in the summer and a good bit cooler in the summer. Arguably it is more comfortable.

    I still think that the South will be the better option for us. What I take from this post is to look for these opportunities, North if you can take it, but elsewhere from where you are. We are doing the earn in the NY area until we can leave for a place with a better life.

    1. Do what a lot of Canadian “snowbirds” do. Spend the winters down South in Florida and spend the summers in Canada (minimum 180 days to retain your Canadian benefits). I’m Canadian and that’s my plan when I retire.

  69. Curious why you are paying so much in healthcare. Don’t the Obama care exchanges offer much better rates?

  70. Having studied at undergrad in UBC and then graduate school at University of Toronto, I have to say that the acceptance rate figures are falsely boosted.
    Certain “hot” programs, such as the STEM programs are definitely much harder to get in compared, and the acceptance rates are definitely lower than your posted general figures.
    Unlike the states, a lot of these acceptances are very program specific. For example, the science program now at UBC requires a 96% average, and are rejecting 92% averages. But there is also the problem of grade inflation in highschools generally which skews these statistics.
    When I was in highschool, the top student in my class who went to Harvard undergrad/medicine and ended up as an ophthalmologist had a 96% average.
    Overall though, I think the top Canadian Universities are a great deal for undergrad. Regardless, it takes hard work and a lot of luck wherever you go to succeed.
    If you come to Vancouver or Toronto, let me know! You definitely have many followers here :)

    1. Agreed…just sat with the Marketing Dept of UBC Sauder School of Business at a conference a couple weeks ago. They confirmed it’s a 95-97 to even get looked at. After that it’s very depended on your personal profile, resume and volunteer activities with focus on breadth and vigor (AP high school courses).

    1. You got it! Taxes are much higher, Insurance is much higher, cost of things are much higher, GST is much higher… only the pay is much lower than US counterparts for same job and CAD is much much lower than US.

      1. I wonder, did everybody miss the point of my article and example of my softball per friend who is going back to Canada after he makes his money in America?

        Nobody is going to Canada to work a lower paying job and to freeze their butt off for four months of the year.

        The recommendation is to take a vantage of their higher university acceptance rates and then to retire in Canada after making a fortune in America.

        1. No Sam, I didn’t miss your point! After having in US for a while, I live, work and pay taxes in Canada and terribly miss the low cost of living & shopping & dining & paying low insurance in US.

          Any US citizen retired moving to Canada will be all ‘whoa’ when they see the real cost of living here, even if they don’t pay employment taxes.

            1. Gas, food, clothing, electronics, books, cars, insurance, cell phone plans, (some of the highest in the world). You name it. Pretty much every consumption item is more expensive in Canada.

              A little perspective too: the top earners get taxed a disproportionate amount (the top 1% pay 10% of taxes for example). That being said, we don’t go broke with a trip to the ER…

              I’m proud to be Canadian but the road to wealth is a tougher slog than the US, especially with a Liberal government.

              But come on up! We’d love to have you in Canada!!

              Thanks for comparing my Alma Mater, McGill University, to Harvard! My B. Eng there has done well for me in the world!

              1. You bet! Be proud of being a McGill alum! If I’m ever up there, I’ll take you up on your offer for some free food and beer.

                One other thing… amazing that despite lower salaries, property in Vancouver and Toronto are way higher based on price to income.

                Is this a result of the government allowing foreigners to buy up property?

                B/c $1.4 M for an average property in Vancouver sounds nuts given I can’t name one global firm based there that pays big bucks like in the SF Bay Area.

  71. Canadian and American

    The other advantage is Canada has no inheritance tax (except for capital gains tax on death and small probate fees) even for large estates unlike the USA and the UK. Real estate property taxes are also low. Corporate tax rates are generally low. It’s pretty tolerant from a cultural/racial point of view.

    The downsides are high income taxes (in some provinces 50%++) that kick in at upper middle class income levels, outrageous real estate prices in the Vancouver and Toronto, a competent but too powerful bureaucracy, and probably the worst part, a socialist streak of “tall poppy syndrome” that seeks to scapegoat successful (read: upper middle class) people in the supposed name of “redistribution”. Once in a while, socialist politicians will fan the flames of class warfare. That’s probably worse in BC and Quebec but better in Alberta and Ontario.

    You are better off in Canada if you are middle class or less wealth, public service employee like a cop or teacher, retired or expecting a large inheritance. Not so good if you are upper middle class or richer, high income professional, successful businessperson that’s self employed.

    1. This is a timely post for me as it is something my girlfriend and I have been preparing to do.

      I am in my mid-30s and looking to quit my corporate law job within the next 2 years and move to Canada. The application for permanent residency was extremely easy (I am a US citizen) and nothing in the process so far suggests I won’t receive it.

      There are various reasons behind this experiment, but you have touched on two of the big ones: health care and child education. Those are the biggest obstacles to financial independence because, unlike housing and transportation (the other two large expenses), an individual has little control over those costs.

      Moving to Canada solves those two problems and presents a different problem: taxes. But there are various ways to mitigate the impact of these taxes (happy to share more once we’ve confirmed our strategy) because tax laws are transparent and known in advance.

      There isn’t much you can do to mitigate the impact of an insane US hospital bill or premium increase because US health care costs are not transparent. It is this uncertainty that creates so much anxiety in the US, and for good reason.

      Another point in Canada’s favor for Americans is that the US dollar is strong against the Canadian dollar. Canadian goods may be more expensive than American goods, but US dollar holders are getting a big discount (at least for now). Also, if you are a FIRE person, you probably aren’t buying much stuff anyway.

      Two concerns that I have are:
      1. Will my girlfriend and I be able to do the type of work we each are interested in doing? I’m willing to experiment and see what happens.
      2. Will we like spending the winters there? I expect it will be easy to spend the winters in some other country up until we have a kid who reaches school age. After that, not sure what the plan would be.

        1. We haven’t moved to Canada yet so I can’t say for sure. But we both work outside the US already (not in Canada) so I have some insight. I contribute to my 401K the same way I did in the US. Neither the US nor our host country taxes the dividends/gains from the 401K. (In fact, the host country doesn’t tax any investment income that isn’t generated in the host country). I contribute to a Roth so I wouldn’t get a US tax deduction, but if I contributed to a traditional 401K I would get a tax deduction for US tax purposes, but not for host country tax purposes.

  72. Please continue to ignore places such as the north coast. You don’t have to move to Canada. There are several border states with reciprocity agreements. This was common in medical device out of Minneapolis going across the border for cheap education.

  73. “The costal communities, including some right here in Louisiana, that are already making plans to leave behind the places they’ve called home for generations and head for higher ground… ” Tim Cook, Tulane University

  74. American citizens, regardless of residency, are taxed on their worldwide income. So while living in Canada you will pay “at least” American rates.

    An American (and Canadian) citizen. Educated well at University of Alberta (BS, MD). Med school tuition was $1500/year in late 1980’s.

  75. I’d love to see you actually break down at what income level Canada’s higher tax rates eat up any savings you gain by not having to pay for health insurance. Top tax bracket in every Canadian province puts you at ~50% or more, well above the top federal tax rate in the USA.

    1. We can easily find that out. But it shouldn’t matter to Americans. Americans will be accumulating their wealth in America, thereby not paying Canadian taxes.

      Once enough wealth is accumulated, Americans then immigrate to Canada like my softball friend.

  76. There are provinces like Alberta and cities such as Edmonton and Calgary which have US coastal levels of median incomes, much cheaper real estate than Vancouver and Toronto, lower taxes than the other big provinces and still enjoy the same levels of health and education programs that those places have. Oh, and no rent control in Alberta unlike BC, Ontario and Quebec making it a much more friendly environment for residential real estate investment.
    Do your research. Each province is very different.

  77. Patrick Dwyer

    Do Canadians really love their healthcare? I get the cost factor in US healthcare but I don’t have issue with the quality (in general). I recently broke my hand and had surgery by top orthopedist within a few days. I understand the wait time in Canada would be many months.

    1. Don’t believe the lies. You only wait if the procedure is elective. I love the Canadian healthcare system and happily pay my 40%+ in income taxes to support it.

    2. David Michael

      Don’t believe the misinformation fed to American taxpayers about the Canadian healthcare system. I had an emergency bladder surgery in St George ‘s Hospital in BC a few years ago. I was admitted immediately, talked with doctor, given costs of everything upfront before operation. The care, surgery, doctor were first rate. For two nights, three days costs were $10,000 as compared to $100,000 in USA. And, the nurses were all locals who were in better shape than our own. American citizens are being exploited by American corporations which only care about money. Trump is symbolic of what’s gone wrong with the USA and he wants to repeal Obama care and Medicare. If I was younger I would immigrate in a heart beat to BC.

  78. A Canadian entrepreneur here:

    Thanks for the insightful article, Sam. I’m a proud 50-year old Canadian who built, grew, ran for 27-years, and sold a successful business. I’ve often thought that Canada is the best country in the world with two exceptions: the weather, and the somewhat unfriendly anti-small business government. The first problem is easily solved now that I’m semi-retired and spend the colder winter months traveling the world to warmer climates, the second problem might be resolved to some extent with the election of a more business-friendly Federal government this October. I’ve often considered leaving Canada over the years, but I’m not sure there’s a country that offers as much as Canada does including its inclusiveness, healthcare, world-class universities, diversity, and overall opportunity.

    Canada, and in particular, Toronto, is an extremely multi-cultural vibrant city and is an example to the world that yes, it is possible to live in peace and harmony and respect all people as human beings. We are all citizens of the world.

    If you’ve got brains and a good education, and are willing to work hard and contribute to Canadian society, then welcome. If you’re bringing hate or are isolationist by nature, then please stay away because you’re not welcome, and you’ll notice that very quickly.

    P.S. my son applied to McGill’s business program. The minimum average required for acceptance for an out of province student was a 95%. He’s now attending Queen’s business which has an approx acceptance rate of approx 8%.

  79. DualCitizen

    Comparing the Canadian acceptance rates to the US is not quite an apples to apples comparison.

    Given SAT tests are not required and the application essay is much less used acceptance is more heavily weighted to the GPA of students in Canada. Also, students will have a pretty good idea if they will be accepted or not based on historical GPA cuts offs which will deter them from applying to several different schools that are out of their reach.

    I assume Canadian students would be even more selective with their applications vs their American counterparts as you can apply for up to three in universities at no cost. Any additional applications above that would have a fee associated with it.

    Finally, the cut off may change slightly year to year but for most of the top schools/programs in Canada getting the equivalent of just a 4.0 GPA would not get you admitted. You would need the equivalent of a high-end 4.0 given the grading system is on a 100 point scale and the cut off for most top programs is significantly higher than the start of the 4.0 American grading scale.

    That being said I think acceptance rates for international students might be more lenient due to the monetary upside to the University of higher tuition fees.

  80. Proud Canadian

    So the plan is now that you have decimated your Country, destroyed your Educational, Medical and legal institutions and completely shit the bed on a global basis. It’s now time to move to Canada, and exploit our services and programs funded by my 53% Income tax rate.

    Don’t try to fix your broken political and economic system, just run North like cowards. No wonder Trump won.

      1. The Alchemist

        Heh. Which, according to a lot of comments in various online media, is what a lot of desperate Californians are now doing to our fellow states. And small wonder… Poor California has been undergoing gradual, insidious destruction over the past 30 years. One party rule and progressive politics have done us no favors. You can see it becoming a 3rd World nation right before your very eyes.

        But on another note, regarding University tuition costs: Do they have higher tuition fees for international students? If so, are they significant enough to offset your cheap tuition theory, Sam?

    1. Thank you. When immigrants come to the USA, they get trashed and discriminated against but Americans are being advised to go North to take advantage of Canadian benefits. I don’t think so….

    2. David Michael

      Dear Proud Canadian,

      Don’t be so harsh on the USA. I left California over 30 years ago because of overcrowding. I love Oregon and frequently travel to BC. Both countries have their pros and cons. I must say that most of your retirees spend five months a year in S. California, Ari zona, and Florida.

      Go Canada …and GoUSA. Hopefully, Trump is an aberration and sanity will return. Cheers!

  81. Hi Sam, I’m a Canadian living in SF, so I can speak to the benefits of Canadian education and healthcare. I grew up in a low income family and I wouldn’t have had a chance at an education if it weren’t for the country I lived in. Plus, both my parents have passed on from cancer (at early ages). Their illnesses never cost our family a cent and their care was exceptional. I love this about Canada. I also love their culture of inclusiveness. Is there still racism in Canada? Sure, but it’s not the norm and it’s not reflected in their government and politics. They’re also not backwards about human rights (as the US clearly still is).

    But I live here, in California (also known as “Canada lite” because of the weather. My personal wealth has also grown as a result of being here. Toronto, my hometown, is expensive as heck now and I’d never make the same amount there than I would here.

    All that said, Sam, I want to challenge you on your comment about “America being the best country in the world”. By what measure? It’s low (and still declining) in so many quality of life metrics and it seems to be more and more hostile toward minorities and women. So what is america “best at”?

    BTW – one more thing. I hate to burst your bubble, but Americans going to school in canada are not going to enjoy those low tuition fees. International rates are much higher (although probably still much lower than here).

    1. Caren,

      America is the best country in the world because even as a Canadian, you choose to live here.

      We have more opportunity for advancement than any other country in the world. And once we have accumulated our riches in our capitalistic society, then we should move to a more socialist country like Canada to enjoy retirement.

      Seems to make sense! And when the winters are long and cold, will just come back to America to enjoy the better weather.

      A 40% – 60% Acceptance rate for Canada’s top universities is shockingly high. This massive welcoming of students will seriously alleviate a lot of pressure that American students and parents feel when applying to college.


      1. I was asked to explain my belief on why I think America is the greatest country in the world. Feel free to explain why Canada is the greatest country in the world. It’s good to have pride in your own country. I don’t think that’s arrogant at all. We’re all trying to learn now to improve the quality of our lives.

        This very post is showing a lot of respect for Canada. If I didn’t like Canada, why would I encourage myself and other Americans to move there?

        Please elaborate on your thoughts on Canada instead of just criticizing my pride in my country.


        1. Hi Sam,

          I never said Canada was the best country in the world. I’m not sure that it is, but I’m also not sure that America is, either. It’s not a criticism (well, perhaps in some ways), but it’s questioning this ignorant belief many americans have that they are “the best”. But best at what?

          Happiness? no
          Healthcare? no
          Education? no
          Equal opportunity? no
          Politics? oh, hell no.
          Weather? No – there are a ton of countries with better weather than America.

          At the end of the day, money and opportunity for advancement are important, but what’s the end goal for every human being? Happiness. Let’s be honest – America isn’t doing all that well in that department.

          I live here because the weather is better than back home, but it’s still close enough that I can pop back home whenever I want, so I have the best of both worlds. I do take a lot of pride in being Canadian, but I don’t assume it’s the best in the world… nor do I think the US is, either.

          Here’s a little further evidence if you need it:

          1. I sort of agree, which is why I think once we make a fortune in America, we can leave and go to places like Canada or happy or countries in Europe to live a more peaceful and happy life style. Where do you plan to retire? And could you make the same amount of money in Canada?

            BTW, I lived in 5 different countries growing up for 2-4 years each, studied abroad in a China for 6 months and have traveled to over 50 countries. I think ISA is #1. Life is good here.

            If it wasn’t, I’d be gone.



            1. we’ve thought about Portugal or somewhere else in Europe to retire (I’m a British citizen as well), but chances are, it will be some combination of the US and Canada.

              I don’t think either country is unilaterally “the best”, but I agree, life is good here.

    2. The Alchemist

      ” it seems to be more and more hostile toward minorities and women. ”

      What’s your basis for this observation?

  82. FromPizzaHut

    ” You don’t even need a job thanks to Canada’s Express Entry program. All that’s required is at least one year of work experience, proficiency in English or French, and $1,500 – $2,000. ”

    It is that easy to immigrate to Canada? That’s it?!!
    And then I can get that all Canadian healthcare coverage?

    I will definitely look into this.

  83. Yeah….gaining permanent residency in Canada (necessary if you wish to be covered by our health care or attend a university and pay resident tuition vs international tuition) isn’t easy–especially for retired people. You’ll need to marry a Canadian or have a family member sponsor you. Shockingly, the Canadian government doesn’t just open the doors to people who haven’t paid taxes here their entire lives and let them use the subsidized health care and university system without ever contributing.

    1. That’s not what Justin Trudeau said.

      Canada has a big advantage over the United States in one major way: immigration, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.

      “We’re a country that is open to immigration right now,” Trudeau said at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women International Summit in Montreal Monday night, responding to a question about how Canada is competing with the United States on attracting business. “[That’s a] hell of a competitive advantage I don’t see the U.S. matching anytime soon,” he added.

      I would think being an American would be easier to immigrate to Canada and take advantage of your social safety net versus someone from another continent. We’d assimilate better.

      Further, what’s preventing an American student from applying to a top Canadian university with a 40% to 60% acceptance rate?

  84. Wow! That is really shocking how high the Canadian university acceptance rates are. It’s like getting 200 on your SAT exam if you write your name.

    Do you think this socialist type of economy and government is the reason why Canadians don’t have much innovation or have any world class companies?

    Maybe relying on resources such as oil has made them lazy. Makes me not want to hire a Canadian over an American.

    1. The reason the Canadian acceptance rate is high is because Canadian education is better overall from the early stages of child development.

      Public education is better than in the US, there is less segmentation of schools between low income vs middle class. There ARE private schools in Canada and they do provide an advantage but there are many excellent public schools, gifted programs etc. that offer a great education to children whose parents don’t have the resources to pay. As a result, children tend to do better because everyone is getting an opportunity at quality education. If you don’t grow up in an area of good education, mess up your life etc., there are grants and government assistance to get you training for a career change. The safety net helps equalize opportunities.

      SAT is a horrible way of testing learning or success in academics when so many children learn and perform differently and exhibit different talents. The US application system is also well documented to be discriminatory in its application practice by enforcing “diversity”. Asian Americans generally work their butts off and get accepted less to top-tier schools because schools max their “quota”. By contrast, every single student is just a number to Canadian universities come application time. There are no “well-roundedness” considerations. The main consideration – some would say the only consideration – is how well you do in school aka your grades. If you show excellence in highschool or even just in the last 2 years of highschool, you have a good chance of going to university.

      80% of Canadians have a university degree and most undergraduate programs are highly subsidized by government student loans, making it affordable. The debt is nowhere near the levels Americans pay, even though it has been steadily climbing in the last decade.

      Our problem is not lack of innovation. It is brain drain. We lose our best and brightest to south of the border because the US pays more. University of Waterloo has historically been a feeder school directly to Silicon Valley. That is slowly changing in some ways. Toronto is increasingly becoming a tech hub. Lots of start-ups in the city. A big reason for this is that America is no longer selling the “American dream” as well as it used to. We have also seen a tick upwards in quality immigrants for the same reasons.

      I volunteer at am employment agency to help resumes and the quality of immigrants is amazing. Engineers that used to build army bases, skyscrapers. People who learned French in order to get into the country and who are now doing really well 3-4 years later. They are all extremely grateful for the perceived acceptance of Canadians vs. Americans. The reality is that it’s prob not that different, but perception matters.

  85. Fascinating info on Canadian universities. I love those tuition prices and acceptance rates! The comparison to the US is crazy. I’ve only been to Toronto but had a great time when I was there and loved the city’s diversity. The freezing winter not so much though. Canada has some beautiful parks and lakes I would love to visit some day too. Great post!


    I have been on the hunt as to where I want to continue my education and getting a Master’s degree. I never even thought of Canada as an option. I am convinced this might be the best choice here. I am definitely going to be looking into this.

  87. I’m Canadian and moved to the US for lower cost of living and higher wages. Also a much lower tax bracket and I don’t pay Canadian taxes since they don’t tax worldwide income. I intend to send my kids to University in Canada which is why I’ve never bothered to save money for future tuition. An overall win if you can take advantage of geoarbitrage.

  88. I agree with you Sam that Canadians do have a lot of advantages that us Americans don’t, healthcare is a biggie (unless you are a physician because you can’t make as much as in the US).

    The educational system is on par with the US as well and as you mentioned far more affordable.

    My mom remarried and moved to Toronto when I was in college and I spent a lot of summers there. It is a beautiful city, culturally diverse, amazing food, etc. The only problem is the weather for me which tons of snow (which is why a lot of the affluent Canadians are snowbirds and head to Florida for the winter).

    I didn’t know it was that easy to gain entry and citizenship to Canada, especially if you are already retired. May have to look into it :)

  89. With a daughter headed for high school next year I immediately looked up a couple of these universities after reading your article Sam. Unfortunately, tuition for international students will be on the same level as most private institutions here in the US. I will go back to looking at in-state schools :(

    1. Time to relocate and spend a year or two to gain residency first and then you’re good to go.

      Even if you can’t pay the cheap Canadian tuition, the 40% – 59% acceptance rates are HUGE for their top schools. No brainer to at least apply to one of them as a backup.

      1. Yes!

        Its funny that you suggest relocating. My grandfather tried to convince me to live with him in Florida to gain residency for instate schools before going to college. I never seriously considered it but wonder how often this is done to save on tuition costs?

        1. I wouldn’t mind moving to CA if our son gets into a good public school there. It’s a big saving.
          Is it that easy to immigrate to Canada? I’m sure they have some kind of criteria for immigration.
          I really like Victoria. It’s a very neat tourist area.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *