“Kathleen, I have enjoyed very much reading your newsletters. Clearly, there are advantages and disadvantages in choosing any specific place to retire or have a second home.
“After considerable thought, my wife and I decided, nearly three years ago, to make Freeport on Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas, our second home. We have bought a condominium there. We are the typical Canadian snowbirds who want to get away for part of the winter to a warm destination. What particularly attracted us to the Bahamas and specifically to Freeport, besides the fact that it is an up-scale destination, were the very warm hospitable Caribbean people. The cost of living for the most part is rather reasonable, close to what it costs us to live in Ottawa, Canada—where, in fact, we enjoy living except, of course, during the winter season.
“Having still relatively young children (23 1/2 and 15 1/2) and appreciating reasonably priced first-rate post-secondary education, as well as the peace of mind that comes from having first-class universal free medical care, we cannot contemplate permanently leaving Canada. However, a second home in a delightful, peaceful environment is soothing to the spirit, and physically we feel energized by the sunshine and the beautiful tropical nature of the island. It maximizes the advantages, while minimizing the disadvantages for us of not being in Canada.
“I would appreciate your comments about life in the Bahamas and why you rarely mention the Bahamas as an attractive retirement destination and your specific views regarding choosing Grand Bahama Island as a place to have a second home.”
–Roman H., Canada
It sounds like you have found both the ideal destination for you and your family and the ideal approach to “retiring overseas.” This idea is infinitely customizable, as you have discovered. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You have very good reasons for wanting to continue to be resident at least part of each year in Canada.
The Bahamas can be a great choice for anyone looking for sunshine and a laidback Caribbean lifestyle (as it sounds that you are). We don’t cover these islands regularly mostly because someone looking for a new life in the Caribbean has more affordable choices. As you say, the cost of living in the Bahamas can be reasonable, but it doesn’t qualify as bargain.
However, as you also suggest, budget isn’t the driving criteria for everyone. In your case, again, you have found a destination that works for you in all regards, including cost of living. I wouldn’t question your approach or your choice in destination for a minute. Simply enjoy the life you’ve created for yourself.