Do you want to become a snowbird when you retire? Snowbirds, who maintain two homes — one in a colder climate and one in a warmer one — are able to time their stays so that they enjoy better weather and more lifestyle options all year round. But your success as a snowbird largely depends on how you plan now. Here are a few key details to consider.
1. High Fixed Costs.
Fixed costs are the lines in your monthly budget that don't go up and down much. These include mortgages, car payments, loan repayments, and taxes. When you have two properties, your fixed costs remain higher even when you aren't using the other home. Prepare for this by increasing your stable monthly income through things like a pension, annuity, or dividend income.
2. Doubled Personal Belongings.
While snowbirds bring personal items with them from home to home, each house also has a variety of permanent furnishings and accessories. You will need to pay for many things twice — one for each house — which means preparing to spend more upfront when setting up your snowbird life. Many snowbirds set aside money in a separate account for this transition.
3. Regular Travel Expenses.
How much you need to factor in travel depends on where you plan to buy both properties. Snowbirds who go from Maine to sunny Florida may need to budget for longer and more complicated travel each season. However, if you keep it local by living in the mountains and the beaches of your own state, you may have little travel expenses.
4. Different Activities.
What will you do in each locale? Most snowbirds travel for better weather, so you may be more active during months when you would otherwise stay home more. If one property is near more friends or family, you may end up spending more enjoying your time with them. Be realistic about spending so you can account for it in your retirement budget.
5. More Insurance Coverage.
It's not a fun subject, but insurance is vital to protecting your finances. Because health care is an increasingly large cost for retirees, prioritize making sure you are well-covered for health insurance in both locations. This may or may not require multiple policies. The good news is that you may be able to bundle multiple policies for both properties for a better deal.
Where to Start
The snowbird life is a great idea for financially-stable retirees. And the work you put in now will make or break your plans later. Learn more about estimating costs and income, budgeting realistically, and creating reliable sources of monthly income by meeting with a retirement planner today. With their help, you'll soon be on your way to being a happy snowbird.