Seeing the attraction for Penticton is easy. It’s situated between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake, two of the most beautiful lakes in British Columbia. It’s also nestled right next to amazing attractions like the Naramata Bench and it’s wineries, world-class hiking and cycling, skiing, and a plethora of other activities for those that enjoy experiencing nature first hand.

What is less publicized about the region is the amazing quality of life that Penticton offers workers over more traditional locations in Canada’s big cities like Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. This shift is becoming increasingly popular as work is decentralizing due to the proliferation and acceptance of virtual workers and telecommuting amongst many companies world-wide. Among the virtual workers in Penticton’s work-force you’ll find full-time employees from IBM, Mashable, CIBC and more. Quite simply, where you work from has nothing to do with productivity (in fact many virtual workers are reported to be more productive then their in-office counter parts), and this flexibility provides employees with the option to find more for less by getting out of over-priced urban markets.

One great tool which can be used to compare the cost of living between Penticton and major urban centres is the Cost of Living Calculator. Whether you’re already a resident of BC, or if you’re just thinking about moving here, this is a great tool to help you plan your living expenses.

Disclaimer from WelcomeBC website:
The cost of living calculator (COLC) was built using data collected through the Economic Research Institute. You can view more detail on their data collection practices here. Please note that the COLC is meant to provide a basic estimate of the current cost of living in different B.C. cities; results received from this calculator are designed for comparative and information purposes only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

The Cost of Living Calculator features some simple search criteria that in turn provides you with a detailed assessment based on location, job type, household income, number of kids, etc.

For the purpose of this blog article, we did a search for a young family consisting of two parents and two children. We’ll assume that the Virtual Worker parent falls into the following Occupation category (as per the website): “NOC 6314 – Customer and information services supervisors”. We also assumed that the spouse works part time and generates additional annual income.

Here are the sample data points we used:

  • Parent 1 (Virtual Worker) salary: $51,042
  • Parent 2 (Part Time Worker) salary: $36,000
  • 2 Children
  • Purchased a very small home (1,500 sq/ft) with 20% down
  • 1 x Car
  • Commute of 6 km per day
  • Comparison: Penticton to North Vancouver

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A young couple with two kids and a household income of $7,254 in North Vancouver will incur $7,872 a month in expenses (and that’s before any saving, RRSP’s, loan payments, vacations, etc.). That’s a net living expense of -$618 a month. Place the same family with the same income ($7,254) in Penticton and they will incur $6,118 a month in expenses, and have an additional $1,136 a month in disposable income. That’s almost $1,800 in difference, not to mention the fact that the North Vancouver based family actually goes $618 into debt on a monthly basis and probably can’t even afford a home at today’s prices.

The Cost of Living Calculator has a ton of other features as well: you can enter detailed living expenses, property taxes, insurance fees, maintenance costs and more. Be sure to check it out, and let us know how Penticton compares to the urban market closest to you.

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