Best Places to Retire 2013

The first ranking discussed here is for the best countries to retire and the second ranking discussed here is for the best cities in Canada to retire. Both these rankings came out earlier this year in spring.

According to this ranking from Natixis Global Retirement Index, Canada is ranked 13th (United States is ranked 19th, if you are asking). The western and northern European countries have swept the ranking mostly due to the higher marks achieved in the Health and Quality of Life sections.

Best countries to retire:

  1. Norway
  2. Switzerland
  3. Luxembourg
  4. Sweden
  5. Austria
  6. Finland
  7. Netherlands
  8. Denmark
  9. Germany
  10. France
  11. Australia
  12. Israel
  13. Canada

Best Canadian Cities to retire:

The best cities to retire in Canada, according to this ranking from MoneySense are:
  1. Victoria, BC
  2. Saanich, BC
  3. Kingston, ON
  4. Burlington, ON
  5. Ottawa, ON
  6. Toronto, ON
  7. Joliette, QC
  8. Saskatoon, SK
  9. Stratford, ON
  10. Winnipeg, MB

My Thoughts

Some metric points may have more influence than others in the ranking consideration which may or may not matter to you.

For e.g.: Israel is ranked higher than Canada, but the political turmoil that comes by living in a country like Israel is not my cup of tea. 
Another e.g., Victoria, B.C may as well have more days above 0C per year (312 days) compared to Ottawa, ON (118 days), but according to the same ranking, violent crime rate is also much higher in Victoria, B.C (2178 per 100K) compared to Ottawa, ON (651 per 100K).
My take from these rankings is – look at the performance metrics and check the relative performance between cities only for the metrics that matter to you. I am still quite happy to see that my city Ottawa is ranked 5th 🙂

Getting Started – Discount Brokers

In a previous article of the Getting Started series, How to invest, we saw that there are different ways that you can invest in companies. Self directed investing on the stock market provides one of the most flexible options to grow your money and is the reason why it is so popular with the general public. A quick search for discount brokerage comparisons will show you the different options available for Canadians. Since this topic is extensively covered already, I have decided to skip a detailed comparison report here. For your reference, DripPrimer and CBC have a couple of good comparison summaries.

My Pick = Questrade

I picked Questrade as my online broker. I opened an account with Questrade in 2008 and have been quite satisfied as a customer. Why Questrade?

  • Questrade has one of the lowest trading fees in the market at $4.95/trade.
  • There is no inactivity or annual fee.
  • Free real time charts for US securities. Canadian securities have a 15-min delay.
  • Commission-free ETF purchases introduced earlier this year. I only pay when I sell ETFs. I can take advantage of dollar cost averaging in my portfolio without incurring added fees.
  • I can grow my savings tax free (TFSA) and/or tax deferred (RRSP).
  • I can hold USD in the account.
  • Customer support is very agreeable and I can either chat online or communicate and resolve issues via email – which is what I prefer as I do not like calling and being on the phone for hours.
  • Free to transfer account from your current broker. In some cases, if there is a closing fee associated with your other broker, Questrade will cover that fee when you transfer the funds.
  • Ongoing promotions: there are normally running promotions from 100 free trades to three-month unlimited trades to a iPad mini – depending on your funding amount. Click here to see the current promotions at Questrade.

To keep it fair, I want to point out a couple of short comings

  • Questrade is not the best option for investing via mutual funds. While the option is available to buy/sell any mutual fund in the market, each mutual fund transaction costs $9.95. Questrade also does not support an ongoing Pre-authorized contribution plan for mutual funds.
  • Likewise, options trading costs can add up. Options trading is priced at $9.95 + $1 per contract.
  • A trade can be invoked directly from your CAD account, but you will be charged approximately 2.5% extra for currency conversion.

But overall, I felt that Questrade served my needs and started/stayed with Questrade.

Who do you trade with?
Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only. All opinions here are my personal opinions and should not be taken as financial advice. I am not qualified to be a financial advisor. Always consult with your financial advisor before investing in any of the companies mentioned on this blog.

Welcome to Roadmap2Retire!

Hello World!

Who I am

I work in the High Tech industry with a passion for personal finances and investing. I consider myself a DIY investor and wish to share my experiences via this blog.

OK. How about a little more context?

  • I live in Ottawa, Canada
  • I am in my early 30’s. I started saving and investing in 2007
  • I am engaged and will be getting married later this year (2013)
  • I work in the High Tech industry

Why this blog?

I have been contemplating on starting a blog for a while but my procrastinating-self has always gotten the better of me. I spend a large portion of my day reading and already maintain a huge collection of stats/notes. I decided that by making this public, others may benefit from it and in the process, I get to learn more 🙂

What’s my investment style?

I have experimented with a lot of different investment styles over the past few years. From investing in index funds, mutual funds, ETFs, stocks of blue chip companies, penny stocks, options etc. I intend to cover pros and cons of different investing styles and share some of my experiences. I also intend to share my portfolios and track my overall returns here.

Disclaimer

All posts on this blog are my personal opinions and should not be taken as professional advice. Posts here are for educational purposes only. All investments should be assumed inherently risky. Please consult with your financial advisor before making any major financial decisions.