Snowbird. It's a word that not everyone knows, but it refers to people who spend the warmer seasons in northern states, and then head to milder southern climates during the cold winter months. There's no doubt that becoming a snowbird means adopting a new lifestyle. But what exactly does the shift entail?
There are numerous considerations to keep in mind when weighing the snowbird lifestyle. In this post, we're highlighting eight of the most important things to remember when embarking on a snowbird adventure. Read on to see what you should know before heading south for the winter!
The number one consideration when becoming a snowbird is to calculate the costs. All the costs. If you want to purchase a second home, consider more than just the mortgage. Remember the costs of taxes, insurance, upkeep, long-term improvement, and if you're living in a dedicated resort or community, site rent. Estimate those numbers and calculate what the average annual cost will be.
If you're planning to live in an RV, rather than a vacation home, there are different costs to consider. You'll need to secure a site for the winter. We recommend you check with your favorite resort to see if they have special offers for long-term stays. You'll also need to consider the cost of purchasing an RV or motorhome, plus maintenance and fuel during the drive.
For tax purposes, you must carefully weigh your choice of a state of residency. Depending on your situation, it may be more advantageous to establish residency in your snowbird state. For example, many popular snowbird states have attractive tax rates for retirees, making them desirable to live in.
However, if you're planning to establish primary residence in a state, you need to investigate the rules. You'll need to spend a certain number of days in that state to be a resident. You should register your car, bank, and vote in your state of residence. You'll also need to use utilities year-round in the state. Be sure to keep your receipts to verify your residency if the government inquires about it.
Before you depart on your snowbird adventure, be sure to check your medical coverage. If you use private health insurance, you need to ensure that the network extends to your snowbird destination. Often, private health insurance is confined to a limited network and offers little or no coverage outside of the network.
If you use Original Medicare, you'll have coverage throughout the U.S. at any medical office that accepts Medicare. Remember, however, that Medicare Advantage is a private health care plan and thus has a location-based network.
An important part of the snowbird lifestyle is socializing. Get to know your neighbors by bringing over a tray of cookies, a loaf of banana bread, or another treat. Additionally, at our resorts, you'll find many planned activities including dinners, dances, clubs, sports, and more. These are great ways to make new friends, which in turn will keep you happy and healthy.
Becoming a snowbird isn't always an easy task, but it is a rewarding experience. You'll discover an active lifestyle, many new friends, and warm weather during the winter months. But the snowbird lifestyle is even better shared with others. Share this post with a friend, colleague, or family member and discuss embarking on an active 55+ adventure together!