Whether you live near us in the Pacific Northwest and endure month after month of gray skies and cold rain or elsewhere in the US and grow weary of snow and slush during winter, you may want to explore the idea of becoming a snowbird! Snowbirds are people who migrate to warmer areas during colder seasons in their hometowns, ideally for the entire winter season.
Once a term associated with retired, older adults who really feel the sting of a brisk winter, these days the life of a snowbird can be just as appealing to younger people, especially those with flexible career options.
How to Become a Snowbird This Winter
Does the term snowbird sound appealing? Have you ever considered heading south to warmer landscapes for the winter? Here are some considerations and steps to keep in mind before taking the plunge!
1. Choose a Place That Suits Your Lifestyle
Do you like to golf in your downtime? Boca Raton might just be the ticket, then. Or maybe you prefer lounging on the beach—somewhere like Hawaii might suit you better.
Before deciding to migrate for the winter, you need to know what will make your winter comfortable and enjoyable. Arizona might not be for you if you don’t like dry heat. Take into account your social preferences, the activities you enjoy, and what kind of climate and humidity you prefer. Also consider if you prefer a bustling environment or someplace quieter and more low key. A care-free condo may be just the ticket, or you may prefer a secluded beach bungalow. There are plenty of options, so have fun doing your research!
2. Don’t Overcommit
Putting all those snowbird eggs in one basket won’t get you very far. It’s best to have a trial period before you commit to the snowbird lifestyle or a migration spot.
Look for properties you can rent for two or three months to get a feel for the place before purchasing a property. You might end up migrating to several different areas before you make your final decision. The beauty is, the decision’s all yours!
3. Establish Remote Management for Your Bills
You need to be able to manage your energy bills at home while you’re away—you can’t simply leave the mail unattended. So, before you embark on the snowbird journey, ensure you can receive your energy bills in email format. It would help if you did this for any other accounts you might owe during the winter.
4. Protect Your Home
One of the drawbacks of the snowbird lifestyle is anxiety. The home you leave behind will be completely unattended and vulnerable to damage. To put your mind at ease, consider investing in a home surveillance system, comprehensive insurance coverage, and a trusted attorney. Or perhaps to arrange for a friend, neighbor, or family member to check in on your property periodically. In some areas, like California, lawyers are not allowed to represent you in small claims court, so it is best to research the local laws to protect your home.
5. Pet Passports
Old Rover shouldn’t stop you from enjoying winters in the sun. Many pet owners find it too difficult to leave their pets behind for long trips, so you should get your pet passports sorted and find pet-friendly airlines to ensure you and your furry friend have a pleasant flight. If you drive to your sunny destination, don’t forget to bring along some familiar-scented items from home to reduce pet anxiety along the way.
6. Expand Your Network
Though FaceTime can keep you connected to your loved ones during the winter, you’ll need more than that to keep you occupied. Check out social opportunities where you’re going; perhaps there is a community center with classes and activities, a local gym, fitness trails, or an art center. There are many apps like Meetup that can help you to connect with new people as well.
7. Be Careful About Offering Open Invitations
Your loved ones may be envious of your winter staycation, and extending an open invitation is tempting. If you have too many visitors, this can draw from your relaxation time. You may find yourself spending too much time cooking, cleaning, and accommodating guests. To keep things relaxing, keep the visitors at a minimum. Alternatively, consider arranging for a few specific times when family or friends can gather collectively during the holidays or special occasions rather than opening your sunny spot to visitors every weekend.
8. Contact a Financial Advisor to Make a Plan
At Merriman, we get tremendous joy out of helping you determine a realistic pathway to your dreams. So if you’re thinking of heading south for the winter to a second home or rental property where you can soak up the sun and relax (or work your job remotely) during the winter months, let’s chat about making it a reality for your family. We believe in enabling you to LIVE FULLY, and it’s never too soon to begin!
Disclosure: All opinions expressed in this article are for general informational purposes and constitute the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of the report. These opinions are subject to change without notice and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security. The material has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, however Merriman cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source. Merriman does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be taken as such.