P.E.I. among top spots in the world to retire

Dave Stewart
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MoneySense magazine says P.E.I. is one of the top 11 least expensive places in the world to go to retire.

MoneySense magazine says P.E.I. is one of the top 11 least expensive places in the world to retire in.

An impressive list considering P.E.I. is on that list with Costa Rica, Belize, Italy, Uruguay, France, Argentina, Vietnam, Panama, Thailand and Ecuador. According to the magazine, people can retire in any of those aforementioned locations for less than $30,000 a year.

The news was met Thursday with mixed feelings in that it is a blessing and a curse.

Linda Jean Nicholson, executive director of the P.E.I. Senior Citizens Federation, says it’s a double-edged sword.

“I was pleasantly surprised, of course, because we know we’re senior-friendly. Now the world knows,’’ Nicholson said.

“It’s wonderful to know that we’re senior-friendly . . . but we do have our challenges with meeting the needs of our current seniors and we don’t want to increase that challenge.’’

The challenge Nicholson refers to is that if the demand for affordable seniors housing is noticeable now, imagine what it will be like as baby boomers move into their elderly years and with the attention media such as MoneySense magazine give it.

After attending a meeting recently of provincial and territorial ministers responsible for seniors, P.E.I.’s Community and Services and Seniors Minister Valerie Docherty emerged saying seniors’ housing was a prevailing concern and the ministers are keen to work with the feds to address it.

Time is a factor, too. The federal-provincial affordable housing agreement, which provides assistance to seniors, people with disabilities and low-income families, expires in March 2014, and the ministers are looking to Ottawa to renew it when it does.

The P.E.I. government is having a hard time keeping up with demand. Some 718 Island seniors are waiting for housing, mainly in Charlottetown and Summerside.

“We can’t afford to have an increase at this point and time so I would call (the news) a double-edged sword,’’ Nicholson said.

Charlottetown developer Kelvin McQuaid sees it as an opportunity, one his family is trying to help fill with the seniors-friendly projects at the former Sherwood Greens property.

“Demand is going to go up and demand is really strong right now. I think that P.E.I. is starting to put a better product on the market all the time,’’ McQuaid said.

The multi-phase project the McQuaid’s are working on offers pre-assisted living, assisted living, conventional housing and community care.

“A lot of our competitors are doing the same thing, a really good job with their accommodations. I think P.E.I. is starting to have a really good reputation for having excellent accommodations.’’

McQuaid points to Andrews lodges in Charlottetown, Stratford, Summerside and Montague as examples of existing quality accommodations.

“We think the demand is going to be really good. A lot of new units are coming on the market so I don’t think it will be a problem to fill them.

Docherty told The Guardian recently that creating more structures could create problems down the road.

“The fear, of course, is we’re going to peak, but then we’re going to start to come down, and in 30 years’ time, we don’t need all these empty buildings, if we can help it,’’ the minister said.



Organizations: MoneySense magazine, P.E.I. Senior Citizens Federation, Community and Services The Guardian

Geographic location: Costa Rica, Belize, Italy Uruguay France Argentina Vietnam Panama Thailand Ecuador Charlottetown Summerside Ottawa Iceland Sherwood Greens

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Recent comments

  • Pat Roy
    July 18, 2013 - 08:43

    Retirees from away might help change negative attitudes for one! Second, more people would means jobs! And third, I don't think the article was talking about people of such an advanced age that their primary goal was a nursing home bed! Why bring HST and cancer rates into the equation? You can't hide from either ones no matter where you live in Canada.

  • Piet Hein
    December 10, 2012 - 03:33

    I am smarter than all of you . accept it.

  • Myths and delusions
    December 07, 2012 - 14:21

    Myths and delusions aside, I say to entice the retires to flow to here let's all work hard to maintain this illusion. It the economy keeps spiralling out of control, we can always eat them . . .

  • Rose Hicken
    December 07, 2012 - 12:06

    Any couple on PEI trying to get by on $30,000 will tell you that they are barely surviving from month to month. Whoever came up with this article in Money sense should check their facts more carefully. You have to make at least $50,000 to live comfortably on PEI.

  • Gerard
    December 07, 2012 - 12:02

    According to C. B. C. news Premier Ghiz is the worst Premier in Canada along with Manitoba......... That should bode well for anyone wanting to come and retire here. We have a Debt of over 2.2 Billion dollars.

    December 07, 2012 - 11:55

    It's nice to see us grouped in there with all those third world countries. Kind of makes you all warm and fuzzy, doesn't t? This just proves a point that we are now competing with third world nations for retirees to settle here, who bring very little with them but their ills.Most of the people from these countries are trying to sneak into Canada illegally, and were rated as their equivalent? What a slap in the face this is.Now do you see why we need an Atlantic Alliance?

    • Incoherent drivel
      December 07, 2012 - 17:22

      So you're upset that PEI that we have been lumped in with ten of the most beautiful places on earth. Quite honestly, it is more likely that someone from any one of those places would be disappointed to be on the same list as PEI. These are places where you find such things as some of the seven wonders of the world, the worlds most beautiful natural beaches, rich and ancient cultures, amazing and world famous cuisine, and more. What makes these countries third-world? Cultures somewhat less undermined by american corporate culture and fast food chains? Different languages? These countries and the people in them are all doing pretty much as well as we are here, and in some cases better. Would you care to provide some citations to show where you learned that people from any of those countries are trying to sneak into Canada, let alone illegally? Wh do you try to blanket all these places with such a foolish and isolationist statement. And on your other point, you would prefer to prevent seniors from coming here in case they have any illnesses? So... the only thing you are in favor of is an atlantic alliance, and by your logic, an atlantic alliance means: 1. Restriction of people of a certain age from coming here because they are too old and busted (how is this related to an atlantic alliance?) 2. Restrictions on immigration into our country (how is this related to an atlantic alliance?) 3. PEI not being compared with other places that host such things as the seven wonders of the world, the worlds most beautiful natural beaches, rich and ancient cultures, amazing cuisine known the world over (how is this related to an atlantic alliance?) But thanks for using any random forum to push your misdirected propaganda, slick.

  • Billy
    December 07, 2012 - 11:04

    PEI is a great place to visit - in the summer - and thats it! Just ask any tourist who has moved here after their visit in the summer. Judging from the comments I am not alone in that believe.

  • Fred Laflamme
    December 07, 2012 - 09:48

    The Money Sense story that I read also included a several photos of the Best Places to Retire locales. The chosen PEI picture obviously taken from some morgue file looked a lot more like Newfoundland's coastline than that of PEI!

  • Gerard
    December 07, 2012 - 09:38

    They may as well come to retire on P. E. I. so the government can keep on building seniors homes. at the expense of the island taxpayer. All the younger people on P. E. I. are moving away to find real jobs to support their family

  • Up Here
    December 07, 2012 - 08:13

    Relax fellow islanders! PEI can only serve as a desirable place to retire for Canadians, since both the island and the nation penalize against advancing age (starting at 55+) in their criteria for immigration. And now that the "investor class" for provincial nominees switched from 250k to 1mill, thanks to the PNP debacle, few will wish to risk such an amount of money to retire on the island. In other places with beautiful coastlines, it costs much less (as much as 1/8 less) to settle there. Thus, PEI is no haven for the elderly--regardless of their economic status.

  • cromwell
    December 07, 2012 - 07:50

    Having recently retired to PEI, I am at a loss to understand how MoneySense came up with its erroneous conclusion. From an economic point of view, I am paying more Provincial income tax and sales tax (second highest in Canada), my municipal taxes are higher, while the quality of services provided is less, the cost of necessities (food, energy, etc.) is higher, and to cap it all, I have no access to a family doctor. In truth, while I am enjoying the relative tranquility of the Island, I am finding it increasingly difficult to enjoy be hard-earned retirement on PEI.

  • Charles Lipnicki
    December 07, 2012 - 06:49

    PEI is a great place to retire! The hospitals are state of the art and the quality of care is second to none. The people that retire here bring revenue and jobs to the island. Islanders can benefit from that too. The glass is half full, cheers I say!

    • oh joy
      December 07, 2012 - 10:03

      Charles, it's not that great when you're taxed and pay extra at every turn in return for less than you'd get elsewhere. We still don't have all the specialists we need to look after those who already live here, no matter the wonderful facilities that they could be practicing in.

  • Must have been a fill in for the magazine.
    December 07, 2012 - 06:48

    They did not do their homework. With all the young people leaving here who will take care of the rich retirees, unless with all their money they will bring their live in domestic help. We have nasty winters slips for old hips,

  • Love PEI
    December 07, 2012 - 05:26

    "I think that P.E.I. is starting to put a better product on the market all the time,’’ McQuaid said." Excuse me, Mr. McQuaid, PEI is NOT a product. IT'S OUR HOME! THIS is the very attitude that is ruining the place. MONEY ISN'T EVERYTHING.

    • Fred Laflamme
      December 07, 2012 - 09:05

      I think Mr McQuaid is referring to affordable senior housing as much as anything. But in the larger perspective, if you think of PEI as a province (the smallest province) competing with 3 other Atlantic provinces and even a few North Eastern states for such commodities as tourism, not to mention a host of other exports, PEI is most definitely a "Brand". A very valuable and important brand that has to be marketed like any other product, service or idea in order to sustain itself. And while you are correct to state that money isn't everything, it is the universal measure that everyone understands and the lifeblood that allows products, brands, provinces, communities and families to survive and flourish. It is also money that will endow affordable housing for seniors, the disabled and the disadvantaged.

  • pat
    December 07, 2012 - 05:15

    4000 a month at andrews atratford this is unreal what do you get for that

  • What?
    December 07, 2012 - 04:48

    MoneySense must be on drugs. Post Plan B, almost everyone I know that is retired like myself is trying to get off the Island - at least for 5 months of the year. It's not only a matter of finance, it's now a matter of principle.

  • intobed
    December 06, 2012 - 23:32

    Most of the golf courses the government is trying to sell would make a wonderful nine hole course, with the rest of he property turned into a gated seniors active living location. I am sure wealthy ($100 million) retirees would not hesitate to move there if a fully staffed medical center, spa, high end supermarket and restaurants were provided. Toss in assisted care and nursing care, and you would have a winner.

  • Mell
    December 06, 2012 - 23:18

    PEI is a great place to retire IF YOU HAVE LOTS OF MONEY AND ARE THERE AS A SUMMER RESIDENT AND GO SOUTH FOR THE WINTERS! The health care is substandard and alot of people have to go off island for healthcare that is available to residents of all other provinces in Canada, but not PEI; the personal income tax is higher, as is the provincial sales tax, the cost of living is higher and goods and gasoline and oil is more expensive. There is limited goods available even in Charlottetown, although it has gotten better, but across the island, not as readily.

  • all aboard
    December 06, 2012 - 22:39

    it is a good place for people with $ to retire. Islanders are not the target for these upper end homes. Folks, the more seniors that come, the closer we get to maritime union as a tax base of 140,000 people can't afford it.

  • SG
    December 06, 2012 - 22:34

    Given that PEI's Cost of Living Index is Higher than any other Province in Canada except for the North West Territories, I can't understand why it would be one of the top spots in the world to Retire. Most Islanders can barely survive. Of course the majority of Islanders are making minimum wage @ $10 hr. or unemployed due to the lack of job opportunites.

  • Sylvia
    December 06, 2012 - 21:51

    Sure it's a great place to retire in if you have lots of money, if you're a member of P.E.I. upper crust or have made lots of money somewhere else and then moving here. For those of us who are medium or low income families, it's not such a rosy picture. It's a very expensive place to live if you don't have a big income. Once the HST comes in it's going to be even more difficult to survive here. For anyone who plans on moving here and retiring, you'd better have lots of money. Personally if it were me, I wouldn't retire to any place that has HST.

  • Andrew
    December 06, 2012 - 20:29

    We should change our license plate from the red cliffs to a sun hat, steering wheel and knuckles.

    • Adolphus
      December 06, 2012 - 22:46

      It would seem that MoneySense didn't check out cancer rates in P.E.I. I believe that the Andrews' Lodges charge $3500-$4000 a month, so obviously a lot of Island seniors will be living in cardboard boxes.

    • Sylvia
      December 07, 2012 - 07:59

      Adolphus, you are right about cancer rates, very high. Also Andrews' lodges are very expensive. I know a senior lady who was living in one of those lodges, her family was paying for her board, when she found out what it was costing them, she moved out. It was shockingly high. We are going to stay in our own little bungalow as long as possible but with the HST coming, it's going to make it harder to maintain a home. I notice that every time Sheridan is interviewed, he's got a smug smile on his self-satisfied face.