They’re known as snowbirds. During the winter months, thousands of them descend from the north and enjoy the warmer climate of the southern states. You’ll find them throughout Arizona and Florida, enjoying the warm weather and basking in the sun. Unlike other migratory creatures, they do not do this yearly, but rather towards the end of their life.
Snowbirds, otherwise known as the retired population of American citizens, sometimes dream and excitedly talk about their retirement relocation plans. After all, what is not to love about warm weather, away from snow and ice, clearing the driveway and cars and bundling up in freezing temperatures? But before moving, here are a few things to consider:
- Have you spent time here before? Living somewhere verse seeing that life on television or print can be drastically different. It is important to note what life is really like there. Have you vacationed here often? Have you been here only a few times? The more you are familiar with the area, the better you’ll be able to gauge if this is really a place where you want to relocate.
- What is the difference between vacationing and living? Vacationing somewhere and living there can be drastically different. When on vacation, we tend to eat at restaurants more and see tourist attractions. But once you live somewhere, is this going to be too much (as far as eating at a restaurant) and enough (eventually, you will have seen all the tourist attractions in the area). Can you live here as a resident and not just a visitor?
- How much does a plane or train ticket cost to come “home” for the holidays? If your children still live nearby, how involved are you in their daily life? Do you have regular meals together? Do you work as a grandparent daycare for your grandchildren? Being used to being involved in someone’s life every day to not seeing them but a few times a year can be a drastic change and tough for some snowbirds to handle. The solution then to consider is how much does it cost to fly between the two destinations? Make sure to also consider the influx of price during the busy seasons, holidays and summer travel.
- How much will it cost to live there? This is a practical consideration to research. Just as when you considered where to live to start your family, what are the property taxes for the area? What about the average mortgage?
- What amenities are there for the retired population? Is there a doctor’s office nearby? What about a pharmacy? As health needs increase in retirement, it is important to make sure there are necessary amenities, as well as leisure amenities. Do you enjoy swimming? Is there a swimming pool nearby? Do you like hiking? Are there reasonable hiking trails in the area? All of these will help to make sure that you don’t regret your move and yearn to move back “home”.
- Do you know people in the area, to help with household chores? As we become more comfortable and further into our retirement, it is important to note that there will be certain household chores that you will not want to or cannot do. Do you have friends in the area who will come and mow the lawn? Or are there affordable businesses who will take care of such chores? What about fixing household repairs?
Relocating is meant to be an adventure, but making sure that the adventure is fulfilled and worthwhile is the realistic portion of living the dream and may guard against any regret you may have about leaving “home” in the rearview mirror.