Working in Canada

Monthly Earnings 120,000 (after pension reductions, taxes, health insurance)

Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)

Full-time elementary school teacher. I also trade stocks and on average probably make an extra 10,000 a month but lately more losses than profits. I pay 20,000 a month for my teachers pension which my school board matches (40,000 total).

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I save 50,000 a month split into two retirement funds. This is separate from my work pension.

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

My rent is subsidized by my school board and it comes to 14,000 a month for a two-bedroom house.

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?


No expenses, I walk to work. On school holidays I travel and I spend around 50, 000 for flights, hotels etc. I do this three times a year.

Utility bills

I pay for internet and satellite tv 8,000 a month. My school board covers electricity, water etc.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I spend about 15,000 a month.

Nightlife and drinking


Books, computers

Probably about 2,000 a month on kindle books.

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

I live in a remote community and there is not much to do in regards to nightlife. I enjoy going fishing, hunting and have use of a well-equipped gym at my school. I receive tax rebates from the government to offset the higher cost of living.

Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?

I am able to save a lot of money for retirement and rent is very low.

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

I lived in South Korea 15 years ago and was making around 95,000 a month. The pension was poor and I wasn’t saving much. I decided to return to Canada and teach here. While remote living is not for everyone, it is an easy way to save money.

I have 12 weeks off per year and still travel to Asia in July and August. The teacher pension plan in Canada is top notch however, you need to be fully certified to work in a school board. In 8 years (55) I will be able to fully retire with around a 90,000/ month pension. I will also have my personal investments for extra spending money. For someone newly certified in teaching, northern Canada is a great place to pay off debts and walk right into a full-time job. You may spend 2-3 years supply teaching in a large city waiting for a position to open up.

I am glad I left Asia when I did as it increased my earning and saving potential and I feel more valued as an educator. I still love to visit Asia and will retire there but I have no intention of working there again.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Richie. I think this is our very first cost of living survey from Canada but you've also taught in Asia of course. It sounds like you have a great life in a remote part of Canada. It probably wouldn't be for everyone but great if you're into hunting and fishing and the outdoor life.

On a side-note, I've let this survey slide but it was touch and go because it has little to do with teaching in Thailand. We'd love to get some cost of living in Thailand surveys if anyone has time.  

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