Author Topic: Snowbirding Correctly  (Read 2132 times)

bloodaxe

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 159
Snowbirding Correctly
« on: August 12, 2020, 10:35:27 AM »
Like many US citizens, healthcare is a concern for me. In Canada, it seems like public healthcare is widely available.

One idea I've had when retiring early is performing the following:

* Buying a primary residence in Canada. Let's say British Columbia (Vancouver).
* Buying a secondary residence somewhere warm in the US. Maybe CA or FL.
* Snowbirding through the year. Living in Canada during summer to fall and the warm state during winter to spring
* Subletting or Airbnbing the residences when not occupied.

Questions I have for the Mustachian(s):
* If my primary residence was in Canada, would I qualify for public heathcare?
* What would be a good process for subletting/Airbnbing locations that are far away? Are there services/property managers that handle short term tenant issues/clean up residences after occupancy?
* Any other issues that I might encounter?

Roots&Wings

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1555
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2020, 11:56:12 AM »
How do you plan to establish permanent residency in Canada? Buying a house alone wouldn't qualify, unless BC has unique rules. Is your long-term plan dual citizenship? How will you handle taxes? These are a few of many "other issues" that come to mind.

bloodaxe

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 159
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2020, 12:54:47 PM »
How do you plan to establish permanent residency in Canada? Buying a house alone wouldn't qualify, unless BC has unique rules. Is your long-term plan dual citizenship? How will you handle taxes? These are a few of many "other issues" that come to mind.

Thanks for the info.

Based on my research, applications for permanent residency go through easily if a person has a college degree and adequate retirement savings. So I would be good there.

I have little preference about dual citizenship. I don't plan on running for office and I wouldn't be upset if I couldn't vote in Canada. Is there something else I'm missing by not being a dual citizen?

Would definitely talk to a professional about taxes. Nothing in my initial research makes it seem like a dealbreaker though.

SunnyDays

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2907
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2020, 02:47:15 PM »
Becoming a PR is waaaay more complicated than that.  It's a point based system and takes age in consideration, as in, the older you are, the less likely you'll be accepted.  I suggest you do more research.  We don't want people coming here, contributing little and using our tax funded services. Also, if you can afford a house in Vancouver, then you can afford American health care costs!  Sorry if I sound a bit snarky, but this is a bit of a sore point for me. 

TrMama

  • Guest
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2020, 02:58:08 PM »
How do you plan to get across the border to establish permanent residency? It's closed until further notice to all non-essential travel.

Roots&Wings

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1555
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2020, 06:44:33 AM »
@FLBiker recently established permanent residency in Canada and might be able to offer insight on the process.

bloodaxe

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 159
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2020, 08:05:09 AM »
How do you plan to get across the border to establish permanent residency? It's closed until further notice to all non-essential travel.

I'm not FI for ~10 more years.

bloodaxe

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 159
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2020, 08:13:20 AM »
Becoming a PR is waaaay more complicated than that.  It's a point based system and takes age in consideration, as in, the older you are, the less likely you'll be accepted.  I suggest you do more research.  We don't want people coming here, contributing little and using our tax funded services. Also, if you can afford a house in Vancouver, then you can afford American health care costs!  Sorry if I sound a bit snarky, but this is a bit of a sore point for me.

I would be paying Canadian taxes and shopping at Canadian stores. I think those would be more than a little contribution.

I might need to start the process before I FIRE. The permanent residency process seems to go more smoothly if you are a skilled worker.

Thanks for the advice.

bloodaxe

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 159
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2020, 08:16:07 AM »
It's nowhere near as simple as just buying a place in Canada and then being eligible for public healthcare.

I think you are misinformed about the ease of obtaining permanent residency just based on a college degree and adequate savings.   Canada used to have an immigration path where you could qualify based on making a substantial investment in the country (either in an actual business or in an interest free five year loan to the government) but that path was abolished some time ago.

It *is* pretty easy for an American to buy property in Canada, and, present situation notwithstanding, to live in Canada for up to six months at a time with no special permission. 

That doesn't make you eligible for public healthcare.  The specific rules for public healthcare eligibility vary by province (since the healthcare system is a provincial, not a national, system) but in general you have to be somewhere along the path of establishing yourself as a Canadian.

Canada is very welcoming of immigrants who are relatively young and have in-demand skills.   Canada is much less welcoming if you are older, don't intend to work, or don't intend to commit to being a Canadian.  There is no path to permanent residence for snowbirds who don't plan to permanently reside.

I am well within my able-bodied years just north of 50, quite well-educated and capable of working in several high-demand areas, speak English fluently and French pretty well.  I am somewhere between FI and fat FI.  With all that, I have just about zero chance of being accepted. 

If your goal is to live summers in Canada because you like it there, sure, you can do that, no problem.  (I am looking at that right now myself.)  But you will almost certainly not qualify for public healthcare on the path you are considering, in BC or in any other province.

There are other countries that do allow part-time residents to buy in to relatively inexpensive local health care systems, if that is what you are after.   I'm not an expert on this but I believe there are several Central and South American countries where you can buy into the local health care system relatively cheaply and the care is of good quality.  Panama, Costa Rica, and Uruguay spring to mind, though I don't know details off the top of my head.

Thanks for the advice. You are right, I underestimated the difficulty of getting Canadian PR.

I would prefer to live in a cooler climate during the summers. Not looking at South American countries because of this.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8196
  • Location: United States
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2020, 10:55:00 AM »
We looked into moving to Canada. Our general takeaway was if you don't do it before 40, the number of points you can acquire is very limited.
And we have a good amount of money to invest in the country, my spouse has a PhD, I have multiple Master's degree, we both speak English, he speaks French.  If you aren't young, it's hard to get in. They want people to contribute to the economy long-term.

GreenSheep

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1063
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2020, 07:59:02 PM »
I would prefer to live in a cooler climate during the summers. Not looking at South American countries because of this.

South America is a big place, and parts of it are relatively close to the South Pole and/or at high altitude. Of course, south of the equator, their winter is our summer. But even during the hottest parts of the year down there, there are enough high-altitude and/or very southern locations that you can definitely find a cooler climate. For example, the weather in Quito, Ecuador (elevation >9000ft or 2800ish meters), only gets up to about 70F (21C) during the hottest time of year there, despite the fact that it's very close to the equator. The average high temp in the hottest month in Punta Arenas, Chile, doesn't typically even get up to 60F (15C). But it could be that you and I have a different idea of what "cooler climate" means!

catlady

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 55
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2020, 11:00:01 AM »
We looked into moving to Canada. Our general takeaway was if you don't do it before 40, the number of points you can acquire is very limited.
And we have a good amount of money to invest in the country, my spouse has a PhD, I have multiple Master's degree, we both speak English, he speaks French.  If you aren't young, it's hard to get in. They want people to contribute to the economy long-term.

Can confirm. We are recent PR's in Canada (dans la belle province  <3). You collect points (age which gives you the bulk of points, education, your job should be one that gives you more points to qualify) and the process was quite long :/

Roots&Wings

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1555
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2020, 05:51:35 AM »
This plan could also be quite costly in terms of healthcare. You'd need to purchase private health insurance for your portion of stay in US that is not included in "free" Canadian provincial healthcare coverage, unsure if you've priced that out.

FLBiker

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1609
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Canada
    • Chop Wood Carry FIRE
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2020, 05:27:04 AM »
The advice here about getting PR status matches my experience.  My wife and I (US citizens, new Canadian PRs) just barely made it -- she was 39, we both have master's degrees, excellent English and long work histories.  She ended up getting a provincial nomination via Nova Scotia (as a college instructor) but we would have made it without that (barely).  It's hard to get the requisite points above 40 or so, but provincial nominations make it possible -- they give you enough points regardless of all other factors.  I don't know about other provinces, but Nova Scotia's provincial nomination program was VERY hard to get into -- the application was literally open for about 8 hours in 2018 (when we applied).

Not sure about the investor / entrepreneur route.

ericrugiero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 735
Re: Snowbirding Correctly
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2020, 01:54:46 PM »
What does healthcare cost in Canada if it's not publicly funded?  Can you just pay the cost of the procedures?  If you need to have health insurance for the time you live in the US would that cover care in Canada?  If you needed to have something major done you could potentially come back the US where you already have insurance.