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Let us just say this – in full-blown ground battle between Canada and the UNITED STATE, Canada simply can’t contend. After all, Canada’s defended by a few notoriously out-of-date military airplane, and for time, the nation’s biggest fleet of submarines was making a trip around a pirate ship in a shopping center.

Of course, aside from a hard-fought game in between the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks, there is not really much animosity in between the 2 nations. After all, we’ve a great deal in usual. We share a main language, we’ve access to the same media and, in many cases, we share a great deal of the same worths. And right here’s an additional thing we share – in January 2012, LIMRA, an association of insurance companies, released a survey of pre-retirees in both countries and found that about half in each said they just were not confident they might preserve their desired lifestyle during retirement. It’s an intriguing fact due to the fact that thinking retirement is rather various in the U.S. as compared to Canada.

So, in the spirit of friendly cross border competitors, I chose to put Canada and the U.S. head-to-head. Which nation is most effectively for senior citizens? Let us take a look at a couple of crucial factors.

Retirement Plans

Let’s start with the biggie. Which country offers its locals the much better retirement planning choices?

The U.S.

In the UNITED STATE, people can opt to conserve for retirement using a number of various vehicles, including the Conventional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, a certified plan (consisting of the 401(k) and profit-sharing plans), the 403(b) or some mix of these strategies (whew!).

Of course, not every one of these programs are available to everybody – and numerous are not appropriate for everybody:

  • With a Typical IRA, you get a tax deduction for your contributions however are taxed when you take out the funds in retirement.
  • With a Roth IRA there’s no tax deduction, but qualified withdrawals are tax-free.
  • Employer-sponsored plans like 401(k)s and 403(b)s offer all types of other choices.

In a word, discovering the right retirement plan – and following the guidelines – is notoriously complexed in the UNITED STATE On the other hand, the number of choices available makes it simpler for people to find just the right suitable for their financial situation.


Besides the couple of staying company sponsored retirement plans, Canadians depend on the one, the only retirement saving device readily available to them – the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).

In a nutshell, this strategy enables working Canadians to contribute 18 % of their earned income up to an optimum of $23,820 in 2013, and to subtract that contribution from their taxable earnings. The money is not really taxed until it’s taken out during retirement. And compared with UNITED STATE strategies, RRSPs go through couple of guidelines and constraints. It’s essentially a type of financial investment account, so individuals could invest in whatever they like and park that money in whatever bank they pick. As long as they remain within the contribution restrictions and prevent making early withdrawals, they’ll not encounter any fees or red tape.

The Verdict: The U.S. is referred to as the land of opportunity and when it concerns retirement plans, it’s got just about every option anyone can require. The trouble is that with all the different strategies and all their different policies about contributions, withdrawals and ‘certified circulations,’ things can get even more than a little confusing. And all of this can serve to hinder individuals from doing what truly matters – saving their cash.

The RRSP is easy and the tax deduction encourages Canadians to conserve. I am visiting give Canada the point on this one.

Government Sponsored Retirement Programs

In both nations, exclusive pension are back-stopped by government support. Which is tops?

The U.S.

There are 2 government recruited retirement programs in the UNITED STATE: Supplemental Protection Income (SSI) and Federal Seniority, Survivor and Impairment Insurance (OASDI). The former offers advantage payments for very reduced income or handicapped people. The latter, called Social Security, has people contribute when they’re utilized and then offers retirement perks later in life. In 2012, the maximum OASDI benefit’s $2,513 per month at complete old age, which is 67 as of 2012. During their jobs, staff members contribute 6.2 % of their earnings to Social Safety, a number that’s matched by companies.


In Canada, the government recruited retirement model has 3 pillars:

  • Old Age Security (OAS), which provides a flat advantage to all qualifying Canadians however consists of a clawback formula depending on retirement income.
  • The Guaranteed Earnings Supplement (GIS), which provides additional benefits for low earnings senior citizens.
  • The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) (or QPP in Quebec), which, like Social Protection, provides advantages to Canadians based upon their employment contributions.

The big difference is the max benefit. For Canadians, CPP tops at $987 per month at complete old age, which is 65 years. OAS adds up to another $540 per month. In other words, the majority of Canadians stand to obtain a lot less from the government when they retire. To be fair, Canadians additionally contribute less – 4.9 % of made earnings, which is also matched by their company.

The Verdict: It’s hard to argue that getting even more cash from the government is a sweet offer, but that cash has to come from someplace. That belongs to the reason Social Protection could be unsustainable by 2033, according to the Congressional Budget plan Workplace, while (at least so far) CPP is well-funded and sound adequate to be around for future generations of Canadians.

Who wins out on this one? It’s a toss-up. Government-sponsored earnings is exactly what keeps many people afloat, however although lots of people in Canada whine that the CPP does not progress enough, a higher payout comes at a cost. Plus, although in theory the low CPP payout need to urge Canadians to max out their RRSPs, many people don’t.

Health Care

Canada, with its government-funded health care system, would appear to be the clear winner below. Is it?

The U.S.

If there’s one significant distinction between retiring in Canada as compared to retiring in the U.S., and it’s health care, states Dale Walters, a Certified Financial Planner and author of ‘Taxation of Canadians in America.’

‘Medicare, as a government-subsidized strategy, is similar to the rural health care in Canada, but there’s a huge portion that comes out of the retirees’ own pockets. So Americans have those ever-increasing health care costs to deal with,’ Walters said.

A 2012 report by the ‘Journal of General Internal Medication’ found that 75 % of Americans who were eligible for Medicare paid at least $10,000 each year out of pocket for health care expenses, and that healthcare expenses put seniors under major strain.


In Canada, basic health care is mostly moneyed by the federal government and the provinces. So, for the many part, visiting the professional and being dealing with in hospital comes free of cost of cost. And while extra costs such as prescription medicines and other medical materials and items may have to be bought by retired people or are just covered on a limited basis, you ‘d be difficult pressed to run up a five-figure health care costs in Canada, no matter how sick you got.

The Verdict: Whether the expense of healthcare is a genuine issue for a senior citizen in the UNITED STATE relies on individual scenarios, however it’s difficult to deny that these costs can be alarmingly high for some American senior citizens. That puts Canada on top here. However there’s one huge exception. If you need a hip replacement, an MRI or even just a journey to the emergency clinic, in Canada, you’ll most likely be in for a wait – commonly a long one.


Because senior citizens in both nations are earning less than in their working years, tax concern is relatively low. Where’s it lesser?

The U.S.

At a look, the tax rates for Canada and the U.S. seem similar, but Walters states the marginal tax rate in the U.S. puts a smaller trouble on those in the highest income brackets and provides more opportunity for tax breaks. The outcome? Considerably lesser taxes.

‘In the U.S., there’s a huge difference between gross income and taxable earnings. In Canada, those are very close together. That can imply paying about 30 % less tax in the UNITED STATE as compared to Canada,’ Walters stated.


Canadians struck the highest tax bracket (29 %) at simply over $130,000 in earnings, compared with almost $400,000 to hit the max 35 % tax rate in the U.S. For Canadians, that implies higher taxes during their working years and, due to the fact that of the relative absence of deductions, possibly in retirement too. According to a 2012 report by CBS, Canada additionally has the tendency to have greater sales tax. That’s why the UNITED STATE is significantly being touted as a tax haven for Canadian retirees!

The Verdict: Canadians pay even more taxes, which can make it tougher to save for retirement and pay for exactly what they need once they get there. In a straight contrast, the UNITED STATE comes out on top here. I’ll leave it to others to suggest about who gets more for their cash.

Cost of Living

It won’t matter how much you’ve socked away for retirement if right stuff you need to purchase costs too much.

A larger market implies lesser costs. So, thanks to a populace that’s almost 10 times that of its neighbor to the north, the UNITED STATE takes pleasure in lower prices on practically every little thing. Baseding upon, customer rates are more than 16 % lower in the United States than in Canada. And, of course, as a result of the current crash in the real estate market, getting a residence in a retirement-friendly Southern state is more affordable than ever before.

The Verdict: The expense of staying in the U.S. is considerably lower than it’s in Canada. For American senior citizens, (and Canadian snowbirds) this is a benefit. The UNITED STATE certainly scores a point over Canada below.


If there’s one last thing that matters to a lot of retired people, it’s climate. Unless you’re among the hardy few who love the icy winter season wind that seems to be unavoidable in the majority of Canadian cities, the U.S. has Canada beat hands down on this one. According to Herschel Gavsie, an immigration lawyer at Greenspoon Marder in Miami, this has lead to an increase in the lot of ‘endvestors,’ a term made use of to explain the growing ranks of genuine estate investors who’ve actually been grabbing homes in the UNITED STATE, specifically in cozy, coastal states like Florida.

The Verdict: Many people envision enduring their final days on a warm, sunny beach, simply attempt finding among those in Canada. Point for the UNITED STATE

And the Winner Is…

This is barely a clinical analysis, however I am visiting offer the gain to Canada for one simple reason. According to Walters, Canadians have the tendency to have more retirement cost savings and much better monetary understanding than their aging American peers. Why’s that a gain? Due to the fact that whether you are retiring in the United States or the Great White North, both systems have the resources to help you pave the way for a comfortable retirement. The secret is to find out about the programs and perks offered where you live and work to utilize them to your advantage.

Oh, and if you feel like you are getting the brief end of the stick, you can constantly take a hike to the closest border crossing. But be forewarned. You understand exactly what they state about the color of the lawn on the various other side of the fence.

What do you think? Is the UNITED STATE or Canada a better location for retirees? Share your understanding and experience in comments!