When the cold comes in each year it’s easy to think of far off places in tropical climates. Wintering down south while keeping a home in the north is becoming more and more popular as “snowbirding” is a normalized aspect of retirement. To be a snowbird is to have a second residence, not just planning long vacations every year. Since it is a major commitment, it’s important to take some things into consideration before making your decision.
Considerations for a Snowbird
Contrary to common sense, you shouldn’t snowbird where you like to vacation. Many vacation spots you enjoy in the warm summer months might not be the most exciting spots during the winter months. Think instead about what you want close to you like airports and access to medical treatments. Other considerations may include easy access to nightlife and the ability to build a social circle.
Buy or Rent
This may be one of the biggest decisions to make, as you could be taking on another property with all the responsibilities that come with it. If you rent, you can choose different places every year with little responsibility. If you buy, you won’t have to worry about finding availability. This will have a lot to do with what you can afford and if you want to deal with maintaining a home.
Another issue you will need to manage is the decision of where your domicile will be. This can affect how you pay income taxes as well as federal taxes due to a recent cap on the deductibility of state taxes. As you may know, you can move to more than one residence but only one official domicile. This means only one place intended as a permanent home.
It’s no surprise that every state has its own insurance issues you will have to handle. If, for example, you choose to move to a popular snowbird state like Florida, you will be required to obtain flood or hurricane insurance, for that matter.
You will also want to consider health insurance. Living part of the year in a different state can amass massive bills in out-of-network costs should you need medical assistance in your new location. Particularly, individuals on Medicare should take care to review this issue during open enrollment. Due to geographical coverage, retirees might need to switch their Medicare Advantage Plan to a Medigap plan.
The fact is if you are planning on living in two separate places your living expenses are about to double. If you are buying instead of renting you will need furniture, appliances, toiletries, and maintenance for both residences and the costs can add up. Like any financial venture, the best thing you can do is plan your expenses to ensure you aren’t living outside your means.
Will you be driving your car to your second home or will you fly and have a vehicle there waiting for you? Will you use the car to transport your belongings with you? Answering these questions can save some money on doubling up on clothes and other costs.
If you live at a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), then you don’t need to worry about security. However, if you have yet to make your senior living choice you will need to consider security when you live in two places throughout the year.
Wondering what your future has to offer in your golden years? Learn about aging on your terms with your FREE eBook, What are My Senior Living Options.
Twin Lakes is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering villa homes, apartments, rehab services, and more. For more information, contact Twin Lakes online or at 513-247-1300.