As someone who has worked for a financial planner in Northern New Jersey for many years, I know a thing or two about super harsh and cold winters!
Firstly, I know that they are very long, and often involve several snowstorms during which your car will be buried under snow (shout out to the angels who plow the roads in Bergen County). Secondly, I know that to survive these brutal winters, your house needs to have a great heating system (Cat Tip: sitting directly on the heating vents is a excellent way to stay warm, and keep the rest of the house cold!). But generally, I know that my favorite humans, the Taylor family, find snowstorms to be annoying at best and dangerous at worst. That is why I understand why retirees from cold states, like New Jersey, choose to migrate down south for the Winter.
Me, Audra Taylor, resting on the heating vent:
These snowbirds get the best of both worlds, a temperate climate in the Summer and Fall, and a warmer climate in the Winter and Spring. In short, they can have it all! To further help any snowbirds or aspiring-snowbirds out there, here are 5 financial planning tips for you.
- Make a Plan
All retirees need a financial plan, and this is especially true for snowbirds! There are so many questions that you have to answer as a snowbird, ranging from “Should you rent or buy?” to “How much can you afford?” to “What are the tax implications of your particular situation?” to “Should you claim residency in your adopted state?” To accurately answer these questions, you need a comprehensive and personalized financial plan. At Taylor Financial Group, we can create a plans around all these things so that you can make the best decisions possible for your financial and personal future!
- Rent Early
If you plan on renting, make sure that you rent early. Peak snowbird season is January through March, and many snowbirds just rent the same place every year, while others book as early as August. Regardless, the earlier you rent, the more choices you will have for time blocks, properties, and prices. Sites like Airbnb.com and HomeAway.com can help you find properties within your budget and in the right location.
- Don’t Rush to Buy
Although it can be tempting to simply buy the first house you like in a community, don’t be too hasty. Many snowbirds prefer to rent for a Winter or two before purchasing a place, and that is for good reason. You might decide after a Winter that you would like to try out a different community and location, so don’t rush to buy.
- Buy in the Spring
If you do decide to buy, the best time to do so is usually in the Spring. This is because most other snowbirds have gone home by then. When buying, make sure you have a great realtor who knows exactly what you want, what you can afford, and where you want to be. That way, they can search for what you want and may even learn of properties for you before they appear on the market!
- Protect Your Home
As a snowbird, you switch living spaces and leave home for months at a time. When you leave, you must make sure that your house is protected from water damage. To prevent water damage, you might consider shutting off the water and draining the pipes (if you plan to be gone for several months). Additionally, unplug the electronics and appliances so that you won’t be billed for any possible charges. However, if you unplug the fridge, make sure it is completely empty of food and leave the door open (otherwise it will smell horrible and even grow mold)!
In conclusion, I might not be a New Jersey based financial advisor like Debbie Taylor, or a Maryland based early-snowbird like Cece Taylor, but I’m doing my best to give snowbirds some excellent advice anyway. Now, back to my nap.
Nap time is all the time for cats!
Till next time,
Cat Comic: Life Imitates Art
Art: Cat on the Dog’s Bed
Reality: Audra on the Coco’s Bed
Sources Cited: https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/retirement/T037-S003-retirement-tips-for-snowbirds/index.html?rid=EML-today&rmrecid=2903083568