Where to move? ON or AB? | General financial discussion | Discussion forum

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

No permission to create posts
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Where to move? ON or AB?
January 6, 2018
10:44 am
Save2Retire@55
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 452
Member Since:
January 3, 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Ok! So this might not look the kind of question which should be asked here but this forum is the only community I refer to whenever I need some kind of advice and from my experience, your feedback and advice have been always a great help in the past couple years.

Here is the story! We grew up in Atlantic Canada but I got a good work offer which made us move to Quebec. We have 2 children and 1 is school age. She now speaks French fluently which is a great bonus.

The problem, we feel we can't get the feel of calling Quebec home (Sorry no offence, it is just our problem not the place itself). We are trying to decide on what to do next. I have been applying for jobs in ON and AB for couple months now with no luck. Not even a call or anything. I think it's because employers prefer local candidates which makes me think, the way to do this is to move and then apply for jobs.

The sad part is that my wife couldn't get a real job in Quebec which makes her (and all of us) sad. We are now trying to move again but this time we want to make a right decision and start settling down without any move till maybe the kids start their post secondary education.

My question. Looking at the crazy prices and affordability of Ontario, I really don't know how we can live and work there and save money. I just can't see myself saving in GTA considering the very high prices for the houses, condos, and even rents. Adding up the costs of transportation, day care, insurance, etc we might even end up using our credit card to catch up (Something we have never done before, we have been married for a decade now and never had any credit, cars were always paid in cash too - of course never a new car).

Maybe I am not looking at the whole picture. Maybe I am missing something.

My other option would be Alberta. I know it is recovering now but none of us work in Oil/Gas related industry so oil prices might not be a problem but the general economy of the province is the main concern which is recovering now.

The big question for those who have been in similar situation of moving and lived or living in either ON or AB, what do you suggest?

I know you might have some questions to give a better answer so please go ahead and I try to answer as much as possible.

PS. We are just average earning family but we are great at saving.

Thanks

January 6, 2018
11:13 am
Doug
British Columbia, Canada
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 1652
Member Since:
December 12, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Why wouldn't you stay in Quebec? In this upside-down economic world, Quebec is the leader of this so-called "new financial world order" (somewhat tonque-in-cheek), as Canada's economic and fiscal leader. 🙂

Aside from Quebec's stricter consumer protection laws that somewhat limit your FI choices (also actually a benefit), if you both have decent paying jobs and with housing affordability lower, generally, in Quebec, I'd be inclined to stay put - especially since your kids are or will be bilingual. sf-cool

Cheers,
Doug

January 6, 2018
11:32 am
Save2Retire@55
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 452
Member Since:
January 3, 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi Doug. Yes if we both could get a decent paying job which is not the case due to the language which is becoming more frustrating and we are in the stage of settling down and can't imagine ourselves living in Quebec for a long time. Again this is not because of Quebec, it is our problem and I do respect that Quebec is preserving the culture. However, the income tax is high too. The roads are terrible and I have to keep asking people to repeat themselves in English which is really annoying. I even had situations in Walmart in Montreal which I couldn't get the cashier to speak in English and she had to call someone for help. It is okay when you are a tourist but how can you say you belong to a place or feel belonged when you have these kind of problems? (I repeat myself, I am not blaming Quebec at all and the opposite, I respect the language and culture but it is not working for us).

For the kids, before moving to Quebec, we had the intention to register them in a full immersion French school which I researched and can found many in cities like Edmonton.

PS. One thing which is making me worried is the job hunting for me too. I for the purpose of checking, applied for jobs in Montreal and other than 1 - 2 calls for not very good positions, I didn't get called. I don't know if I should blame myself or the French requirement. My current employee is an American company so we don't need French but what happens if I lose this job is making me very worried knowing my wife is working just part time and not really a reliable income (We are okay with the $ perspective but it is more of mentality and preparing for the worst in the future).

January 6, 2018
11:59 am
Loonie
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 3862
Member Since:
October 21, 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I live in Toronto, have always lived in Ontario except for some time in the US, a very short stint in BC, and mostly in TO. I can't offer comparisons to AB, except to say that it's really cold out there and the skitters are terrible in summer, based on having travelled there several times! The mountains are lovely, however.
I have friends and relatives who live in AB, and it seems none of them want to stay there indefinitely. They all envision moving to BC for retirement, or have already done so, to avoid the brutal winters. One moved permanently to Arizona some years back. And it's certainly not cheap to live in BC. So, if you're looking for a "forever" home, AB may not be it in the long run.

Here in ON, we are constantly being told the economy is looking up, new job creation is high etc. It is unclear whether these are really good jobs or not, but something is sustaining the high price of housing here. That said, not every decent location in Ontario has expensive housing. London, for example, is a perfectly decent place to live, with university, hospitals and culture, but more stable moderate housing prices. Ottawa is expensive, but not as bad as Toronto. Your kids could keep up their French there. Kingston is nice. Waterloo is good for tech jobs etc and housing is affordable. Hamilton is on the rise as a desirable place to live. There are many options outside of Toronto.

It would be a shame for your kids to lose their French, which they very likely will do as it's not your language and they will be in English-speaking environments. You could look into whether they could qualify to get into French language schools in your destination. Ontario has them in many places, not sure about AB. Being fluent in French is a huge advantage later in life in a great many fields.

Personally, with two kids to worry about, I would be extremely nervous about moving somewhere where I didn't yet have a job, simply to get out of QC. Perhaps your wife should try looking for a job in another province, as well as yourself, and see who gets one first. You may find that it's not just a matter of living locally but also of having local experience, sorry to say, but no doubt depends on your field. You may not feel more at home in either ON or AB except that we tend to speak English. Perhaps "home" is really always going to be Atlantic Canada for you. i hear there are good jobs in NB these days, and they have been recruiting in the US.

Kids, especially the older one, may rebel at the idea of moving so far from friends. That, combined with possible difficulty finding a job, could be very stressful.

A lot depends on your and wife's field of endeavour. Is there anything entrepreneurial you could do to help you get a start in a new location?

As for Toronto, a house in good repair in a desired location will cost you around a million and up. You can get a good house in a less desirable but generally-safe location for maybe 600-800, possibly a townhouse. A fully deetached house will be more. They are now starting to build larger condos for families because of the shortage of affordable houses, but they too are not cheap. I think that everyone I know who is paying a mortgage is a dual-income professional-or-equivalent family, and i really don't know how they could afford it if they weren't. Basically, one salary is entirely for the mortgage and the other is to live on; and that's how people manage to afford it. It would be very difficult as a single income family, although it can probably be done in certain areas, depending on your income. I can refer you to a good honest realtor here if that's any help.

You might be better to wait until the younger child is out of day care. I understand that is heavily subsidized in QC, and it's not here.

Do you have any network in ON or AB, people who can help you find a job? If you can even get some information-only interviews, that could be a huge help. Similarly, can your wife make any preparatory steps to moving, such as getting licensed to do whatever she does in another province? Upgrading for a new job market?

There are areas of QC which are largely English-speaking. The Eastern Townships, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue (last time I was there), etc. Can you perhaps find work in such an area, where you would feel more comfortable and could leverage your local experience?

Maybe you can find ways to enjoy living in QC more if leaving isn't a very viable option right now. Take French classes. Watch French TV and listen to French radio. Read French books with a dictionary. See what's available that you could join that would be a mixed environment or where you could learn more and become integrated. As long as you perceive yourself as not belonging, you won't. I know it's not easy, but look on it as an adventure that you could both participate in. I know someone who became fairly fluent in Spanish, living right here in Toronto, because he set his mind to it and developed relationships with Spanish--speaking people. I can have very basic conversations with French-speaking waiters and clerks, and I have never lived in a French-speaking environment and never experienced French immersion. I was interested, so I learned. Perhaps you can find some place to take a French immersion experience for a vacation. I know it's not what you're looking for, but might be a part of the solution.

I wouldn't be motivated by taxes per se. You may be getting a better bang for your buck there.

These are just some random thoughts. Sorry I can't be more specific about the comparison you are looking for.

January 6, 2018
12:42 pm
Save2Retire@55
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 452
Member Since:
January 3, 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@Loonie - Thank you so much. This is really helpful. Yes, there are so many good things about Quebec except the feeling of living here. And Winter is brutal here too. This year it is even colder and snowier than Edmonton. It is now -20 (Feels -33) in Montreal while 3 (Feels 1) in Edmonton.

We first need to decide where to go to do the necessary paper work for my wife but great point as she hasn't started looking anywhere.

I checked the public schools for Edmonton. There is no restriction for French schools for Grade 1 but they interview the child for higher grades which is not going to be an issue. There doesn't seem to be any other conditions.

I have friends in both AB and ON. Both tell me to move to where they live.

I considered Ottawa many times but couldn't really get a job there. We love Ottawa and we many times just go there as a day trip to a museum. It is not as crazy as Montreal or Toronto and not boring as Halifax or Moncton. I will try it and see how it goes.

Regarding other cities, London, Hamilton, Kingston, Windsor, etc. It's a good option but then it will come to the job opportunities.

And NO! We are not looking for a retirement place. Everything we are planning at this stage is for pre-retirement. I don't want to retire in AB or ON and def not QC. We will probably do what your friends do and be snowbirds but with different destination every year for 6 month. Just a dream for now 🙂

January 6, 2018
1:09 pm
Top It Up
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 845
Member Since:
December 17, 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Victoria, BC is the crown jewel of Canada - considering anywhere else is just trifling.

January 6, 2018
1:28 pm
Save2Retire@55
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 452
Member Since:
January 3, 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I agree it is one of the most if not the most city in Canada but considering the house market craziness and job market makes it difficult to be chosen at this point.

January 6, 2018
1:44 pm
AltaRed
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 641
Member Since:
October 27, 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

A lot may depend on work experience so far and preferred careers, but I would suggest not overlooking the southern interior of BC, e.g. the Okanagan Valley. Professional employment is now picking up with a growing tech sector, and the climate is moderate relative to other places in Canada (southern Ontario coming closest perhaps overall). Housing is still relatively affordable, though now starting to rapidly increase due to people fleeing the Lower Mainland of BC, and may now be higher than Montreal. There is also a good UBC campus here albeit not as big and diverse as exists in Vancouver itself.

I've lived in AB for many years, GTA for about 10 years, and also St. John's. I am now retired and live in the Okanagan Valley with no intention to ever leave it.

It might help revealing what kind of careers one is focusing on.

January 6, 2018
1:47 pm
Bill
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 1093
Member Since:
September 11, 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

It sounds like a lot of time, energy and money would be expended to move, why not just learn French? Take classes, courses, whatever, that's probably a lot less effort than all the other options you're considering. Immigrants have been coming to Canada for a long time now and they just learn English or French, depending on where they live.

Also, avoid the GTA unless you enjoy being in servitude to a large mortgage for decades while you spend hours of your life every day either in traffic or rushing around and being so tired you're just praying every week to make it to Friday night. On the other hand your kids won't mind inheriting your GTA property after you're done with it.

It's hard to know, you're indicating the job market in mid-size cities is not amenable to your needs - what occupations are you and your spouse looking to secure?

January 6, 2018
1:51 pm
Save2Retire@55
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 452
Member Since:
January 3, 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I am in tech industry (engineering) and my wife is in health.

January 6, 2018
1:51 pm
Rick
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 654
Member Since:
February 17, 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Top It Up said
Victoria, BC is the crown jewel of Canada - considering anywhere else is just trifling.  

And us on the mainland appreciate you acting as a tsunami break for us. sf-wink

January 6, 2018
2:01 pm
Top It Up
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 845
Member Since:
December 17, 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Unless you're perched on Burnaby Mountain or parked over on the North Shore - if Victoria goes down, the Lower Mainland is going with it.

January 6, 2018
2:34 pm
voodoo22
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 80
Member Since:
January 3, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I'll send you a PM to avoid ruffling peoples feathers about how much they love where they live. sf-laugh

Whatever you do, don't take other peoples opinions as facts, but only as points of reference. This is a major decision which will impact everyone in all area's of their lives going forward.

January 6, 2018
2:38 pm
Top It Up
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 845
Member Since:
December 17, 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

voodoo22 said

Whatever you do, don't take other peoples opinions as facts, but only as points of reference.  

I would bloody well hope so.

January 6, 2018
2:46 pm
Save2Retire@55
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 452
Member Since:
January 3, 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Yes, I am trying to gather information and facts.
So to simplify it. 1. I need a place that I can get a high level tech job (many of my colleagues moved to the states for better opportunities but they were all single or no kids plus I love it up in the true north), 2. My wife can get a job anywhere with a hospital and no French requirement, 3. My kids can go to public French schools, 4. We won't waste 4 hours of our life to commute between home and work, 5. Won't have to pay ridiculous amount of taxes, 6. Won't have to keep hearing about different rules that the rest of the country AND most IMPORTANTLY 7. Can buy a family house with a yard without paying mortgage for all our life.

January 6, 2018
2:54 pm
Top It Up
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 845
Member Since:
December 17, 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Curious about the need to learn French . it is of little to no use anywhere west of the Ontario/Manitoba border . In fact, with the high immigration numbers to Canada and the global nature of trade there might be better second language choices that would better prepare your children for the future, if that's your aim.

January 6, 2018
3:01 pm
Save2Retire@55
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 452
Member Since:
January 3, 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

It is an official language in Canada and it means their future can be easier if they decided to study in Montreal or work for the government with both English/French requirements.

Yes, I can hear you about the better second language 🙂

Also, I should add that there are French schools almost in all provinces.

January 6, 2018
5:10 pm
Jon
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 263
Member Since:
August 9, 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Save2Retire@55,
I think Albeta is your answer consider the requirement you give out.

Top it up, you are completely correct, Spanish and Chinese is going to be more useful.

That being said Save2Retire@55, consider you are in tech industry relating to engineering, have you consider living in Windsor, ON and work in Detroit? Detroit have a rapidly growing tech sector (due to the cheap rent as the city decline which attract start up) that is base on automobile industry. Maybe you can apply your skills for the car manufacturer in making self driving car or electric carsf-wink. (Although tax filing will be a pain in the butt and you can't use TFSA....)

January 6, 2018
5:21 pm
Bill
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 1093
Member Since:
September 11, 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Jon, are residents of Windsor not allowed to have TFSAs?

January 6, 2018
5:33 pm
Jon
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 263
Member Since:
August 9, 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Bill said
Jon, are residents of Windsor not allowed to have TFSAs?  

No, no, no. I am just saying working in the state and have TFSA account will cause problem with the IRS as they don't see TFSA as a retirement savings trust and you will have to file US tax on it, in which it is a tedious task to do so. However, this is not a problem for RRSP.

No permission to create posts

Please write your comments in the forum.