Legal system corruption is a BIG problem to take into consideration. While I am not so naive as to believe that there is no corruption in Canada or the United States, at least in Canada and the US corruption is not simply an established way of operating. There are organizations that rate the legal systems of countries and I , want to know that the legal system of any country where I go to live believes in the Rule of Law, that is “everyone is equal under the law”. In too many countries there are people who are “more equal” or even above the law. Since the law affects everyone, I want to be sure that I know how it might affect me before putting myself in its clutches.
Cost of Living. I certainly considered the cost of living as an important feature when thinking about leaving Canada. Canada is a wonderful country but it is not inexpensive to live there. On the other hand there is a strong social safety net so for many that cost of living is justified.
However, if you are living on a pension and you want to maintain a specific lifestyle, finding somewhere that your dollar goes further can be an extremely attractive option. My husband is a golf fanatic and his dream was living in a golf course community right on a golf course. I like warmth weather and the beach life style.
We were able to find both for about 10% of what something similar might have cost us in Canada and I could never have found the warmth I craved.
This was an item that we considered long and hard when thinking about becoming expats. We learned quickly that there were many places where there were well trained doctors and a great medical care community for a fraction of the cost, or in our case in a timely manner. It is great to be able to see our doctor in the morning and a specialist in the afternoon if that is necessary.
Many countries operate two medical systems, one for the locals and another for the wealthy and the expat community. In many instances if the system is decently run this just adds to the quality of care that the locals are able to get as many doctors spend part of their time in the less well paid areas.
I now I feel that my medical needs are much better taken care of in my expat community than they would have been in Canada.
Culture and Leisure
How do you like to spend your time? This takes a little thinking about as you do want to consider the things you do in your leisure time as you are likely to have more leisure time. If you love to ski, then consider where you can find great skiing. What else do you want to be able to do?
Are English language movies important to you? As we now can download movies from our computers and many countries have subtitled movies in the theaters, this becomes less and less of an issue. But what about live plays? Is there theater in your language and if not do you want to learn a new language so you can go to the theater?
This is entirely personal. but sometimes people forget to look at the things they love to do in their current location. Make sure you know the things you are not willing to give up.