Have you ever thought of retiring to Australia and wondered what the best and worst points of living there are? I have been born and raised in Australia as well as traveling extensively and can share these things with you.
The Pros And Cons Of Retiring To Australia are:
- Great Salaries
- Great Housing
- One Of The Safest Countries
- Clean Country
- Natural Wonders
- Great Lifestyle
- Multicultural Society
- Globally Recognised Food Scene
- Strong Covid Response
- Highly Ranked Health Care
- Friendly People
- Real Estate Prices
- Remote Location
- Competitive Visas
Now that you know what some of the reasons are why you should retire in Australia let’s dig in and explain exactly why.
General Overview Of Australia
Australia is a true multicultural society made up of people from all over the world. Starting with 3% aboriginal people and 25% english descendant people and the rest is a mix of multiple ethnicities. It is a truly accepting society and no one is really judged by their background, ethnicity, or religious beliefs.
There is always 1% of 1% of people that are just a little loopy but you get that in most countries. The advantage in Australia with a population of just about 26 million people is that that means not many people at all like that. That and the national belief of “fair go” meaning that everyone deserves a fair go at everything which guides most of the culture here.
Australia is a big place and the whole of the USA fits inside of Australia. Most of the population lives on the east coast between the ocean and the great dividing range. There is every type of weather here from the cold and snow in the south of the country to the tropical and humid in the north. There is also a massive desert in the middle of the country.
What are the Pros of Retiring to Australia?
Why are salaries in Australia Good?
So why do you care about salaries when you are retiring to Australia? If you don’t have enough money to retire or you get bored in your retirement and want to do some part-time work you know you will get paid well for your time.
The minimum wage in 2021 is $20.31 AUD or roughly $15 USD at the exchange rate at the writing of this article. This is generally for teenagers at Mcdonald for instance. The more common wage is $25 AUD or $18.50 USD and up depending on your skills.
If you want to see some of the minimum wages depending on the industry look at this link.
LINK: Find award rates in Australia
This would mean if worked for 2 days a week on minimum wage with the average workday in Australia being 8 hours per day you could earn an extra $296 USD a week. While not a huge amount this is definitely the entertainment and spending money. If you have higher skills obviously the wage is higher than that.
What is the housing like in Australia?
The general quality of housing is great in Australia with most of them having reverse cycle air conditioners or central heating depending on which part of the country you are in. Being a young country there is not a lot of old property and the building standards are quite high here compared to most other countries. So you can expect good quality new homes in most places in Australia.
All buildings and changes to buildings must get local city council approval and be inspected so you can be sure you will buy a property of good quality. A building and pest inspection are commonly done whenever a property is sold and include all the things that will let you know if anything needs to be fixed. While termite inspection is not normally done it can be and normally is added in affected areas.
Example of New South Wales building and pest inspection:
LINK: NSW government building and pest inspection information
Why is Australia one of the safest countries in the world?
Australia is ranked as one of the safest in the world and in line with Canada. The added advantage is we are an island and we have very little violent crime. You simply can not get a hold of guns here which is something it has over Canada as the USA is full of them and only a border away.
You can safely walk around day or night in any part of Australia and feel 100% safe. People are helpful and friendly and if anything were to happen several people would step in to help you. There is a little petty crime but overall a very safe place to live with a large police presence and they are very approachable.
There is no bribing or large-scale corruption here and anything that does come up is sorted out quickly. Watching the news you will be shocked at how little there is here and it always seems like a slow news day most of the time. Anything big is normally happening in another country. We have had no real terror attacks here to speak of.
There are no guns in Australia! I know this seems quite funny but there is on average 1 gun death in Australia per year. This is due to laws and a buyback program introduced after the Port Arthur shootings in Tasmania that caused 35 deaths. We as Australians are very practical people and it only took one incident for us to fix the problem.
There is very little violent crime in Australia and very little petty theft unless you leave your phone on a bench in a park. And even then the person that finds it will normally chase you to return it or try to contact you to do the same. As a kid, I was always forgetting my wallet in places and most of the time it came back with the money in it. If people find things in restaurants or buildings they normally hand it in and you can collect it from them.
For people new to Australia it can seem like there is a law for everything. We face a problem and create a law for it and only enforce them when really needed. The whole country’s culture can be summed up in the “Fair Go” mentality where everything is given a chance to correct bad behavior.
How clean is Australia?
The biggest reason is due to a small population in a big country but also children are taught to use bins and clean up after themselves from a young age. There is also a national “Clean up Australia Day” where people volunteer to go collecting rubbish.
The local councils also actively collect rubbish not only from people’s houses and from businesses, but from throughout the community. There is always a bin within sight in most places that is regularly checked. The councils also do a hard rubbish removal day once a month where you can leave out old furniture that is too big for normal bins and they will remove it all for everyone.
Finally, most councils recycle and you will have multiple bins, one for recycling and one for normal rubbish and in some councils a green waste bin as well. Be prepared for people to be upset with you or be scolded if you drop rubbish by a passerby.
What is the natural beauty of Australia?
The most well-known natural wonders are the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru (Ayres Rock), and dramatic coastlines around the whole country. However, there are many more than that with each area having many places you can go and see from mountain treks to ski slopes and glow worm caves.
There is an abundant amount of waterfalls, islands, and rainforests to visit as well. There are hundreds of jagged ocean cliffs and golden sandy beaches as well. Whatever climate you enjoy or natural wonder you like there is bound to be many like it in Australia.
Here is an article with a list of some of these wonders:
ARTICLE: 50 of Australia’s Natural Wonders
Can you live a good life in Australia?
The australian lifestyle is one of the best in the world for things to do and the laid-back culture that supports it. Australians love a good BBQ and it is ingrained in the culture here to have a few drinks with friends and kick back and relax with lots of meat and all the sides. BBQ’s start at cheap prices for a small 2 to 3 burner and then go to the deluxe versions or even custom built-in ones at your home.
Here is a link to some BBQ’s that start at $99 AUD at Australia’s biggest hardware store:
LINK: Bunnings BBQ’s
So why are we talking about BBQ’s when we are discussing lifestyle? That is because Australians love to be outdoors especially during the hotter months either at the beach or on an ample sized patio or outdoor area attached to their house. They also love to meet friends shopping at the many modern malls or catch up for dinner and drinks. There is also a very active coffee culture here as well.
There are lots of Australians that are also into sport with the Australian Football League or AFL being the most watched sport. For a country of such a small population, this is shown by how many medals we get in the Olympic games. Most kids in Australia learn to swim at school and play many different sports from soccer to basketball and tennis as well as AFL.
Most city councils have a pool and community sports fields where all these sports are played and watched. Below you will find a list of sporting grounds that you can google to see what is on around Australia.
Why is Australia known as a multicultural country?
Australia is a young country and was settled by a huge list of countries with the largest being 25% from the UK and the rest from Italy, Spain, China, Asia and more. There is also a 3% native australian population as well. With them, they brought their food, beliefs, culture which merged together into what we embrace today as Australia.
Australia relies on growing the country’s population through immigration and 7.6 million of the almost 26 million people living in Australia were born overseas. Australia has about 200 thousand immigrants a year and that does not include the students which is a large money earner for Australia.
Here is the yearly report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that has more information:
There is very little discrimination here and when it does happen there is are strong discrimination laws and protections to help those discriminated against. Every workplace has to train staff on health and safety policies and this includes discrimination for any reason.
Here is the statement by the Australian government on being a successful multicultural country:
ARTICLE: Australian Multicultural Statement
Why is Australia’s food scene globally recognised?
There are 9 Michelin 3 star restaurants in Australia and they don’t even cover Australia and Asia. There are also 29 x 3 chef hat restaurants here as well which is the competitor to Michelin grading for the rest of the world. Australia’s multicultural beginnings and growth with migration have brought lots of talented chefs and food ideas to Australia as well.
This was compounded by the Master Chef TV series that started in Australia and has been running each year since 2009 that every year has grown the local cooking skills of Australians. It was so successful that it spread to other countries.
Melbourne used to be known as the food capital of Australia but that has since been spread across the country. The demand for high-quality food here that is authentic to the country of origin is widely known. This celebration of food has changed Australian cuisine forever.
What was Australia’s response to Covid?
Australia to date locked down early and due to that and a great health care system had less than 1000 deaths to date from covid. A majority of the time there were no cases in Australia other than returning Australians in Hotel Quarantine. While the vaccine rollout was slow due to politics and waiting to see how those vaccines affected other countries. There are few countries that handled it as well as we did.
This was supported by quick financial support from the government for lockdown job losses and 99% of people here obeying the health advice. There is always a Karen or two. Australians are on a whole practical and just do what needs to be done.
This means that Australia had a strong covid response and was statistically one of the best places in the world to live due to that.
Is Australia’s health care good?
Yes, Australia’s health care is good and ranked as one of the best in the world. The public health care system is free for citizens and you even see the same specialists as with private health care. Private health care just bumps you up the list and allows you to go to a private hospital or get a private room in a public hospital.
You can go to a free bulk-billed doctor or one that charges a small fee of around $30 AUD and you don’t need to wait generally. It is always wise to get a referral from your local doctor to specialists because then it is covered under the public health system in most cases.
Here is a direct link to more information about the Australian Health Care system:
LINK: Australian Health System
Is Australia the friendliest country?
Australia constantly gets ranked as one of the friendliest countries in the world for its people, culture, and lifestyle. One of these ranking systems is known as the Anholt Brand Index which has Australia at the top or near the top every year.
If you ask an Australian for help most will be happy to do just that. There is a general trust and cultural “let’s get better together” attitude that some people take a while to get used to when arriving. Australians are inclusive and on the whole always happy to have a chat. Just think of a small country town that grew big. Tourism is also big business in Australia so most people have also worked in hospitality or tourism at some point so this adds to the cultural norm.
What are the Cons of Retiring to Australia?
How much are house prices in Australia?
There is no getting around it that house prices in Australia are expensive and starting 2 bed houses in rural towns or units in cities will cost around 300k AUD. Living in Australia this is not normally a problem with the real average wage around 60k AUD. While the statistics have this figure at $85k that is brought up by the very rich.
So how can you retire to Australia cheaply if real estate prices are so high? Well, you don’t have to own a property you can just rent it for affordable prices. Alternatively, there are heaps of towns with around 100k people in them that have cheaper older style character houses starting for 150k to 200k prices as well. Motorhomes and caravans are big in Australia as well and a Motor home you can pick up brand new for 100k or 50k for a campervan.
Here are the two main real estate websites you can have a look at for property:
Is Australia remote?
One of the downsides to living in Australia is how remote it is to Europe and the USA. A flight to Europe will take around 26 hours flight time with two large direct flights bouncing off Singapore or Dubai depending on your airline. The flight time to the USA is a lot less and around 12 hours with modern planes.
You do however have Asia in your backyard as well as New Zealand and a lot of pacific islands that you can visit. Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam should definitely be on your list to visit and Bali in Indonesia is the closest beach holiday in Asia. Australia has heaps of beaches but Bali is a cheap holiday heap of Australians enjoy.
What is the retirement visa for Australia?
There used to be a specific retirement visa in Australia but in 2018 they folded that back into the Permanent Resident Visa. This means that you will need to look at which specific path suits your specific needs and often using an Australian visa company is the best way forward. With the huge amounts of requests for Australian visas, it can be quite competitive.
Here are some TIPS that may help you:
- Australia is a points based system like the UK and Canada so look what points you could get.
- Maybe think about a visa for New Zealand and once a Permanent Resident there you can come to Australia and stay as long as you like.
- Look at the skills shortage lists and see if that speeds up entry. Every country has these so something you could look at for New Zealand as well.
- There is an option for starting a business or if you have a specialist education
- Immigrating to rural areas gives you more points
- Knowing fluent english gives your more points as well
- See if you like it here on a holiday visa first or a student visa
Here is the government website to help you find a migration agent:
LINK: Australian Migration Agent Search
As a funny side note you will notice in Australia there is a helpline and government support for pretty much everything. In the USA there are heaps of ads about being eligible for money if you took a certain drug. Here in Australia, every government-funded helpline has a tv ad or Youtube ad.