Future Snowbirds

Future Snowbirds

How to Become A Snowbird: Tips and Considerations

Many people have shared with me their goal to become future snowbirds, including several who have visited us in our warm weather home. Spending time with friends or family who are already snowbirds is a fantastic way to check it out first hand. What better way to see it all close-up from an insider's perspective? Probably the biggest eye opener is that there are trade-offs in many forms, whether it's location, costs, size and type of housing, amenities, weather patterns and much more.

While staying with us, it becomes clear to our guests there's a huge difference from the common misconception snowbirds are "on vacation" compared to the reality of living in one's southern home. A vacation likely involves leisure time away from work, dining out on a daily basis and staying in a full service hotel. Being a snowbird is different. One of our guests commented, "Now we get it, this is your home." Exactly! As midlife working snowbirds, while away in our warm weather community, we adhere to a routine of working, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, running errands, preparing meals and taking the dog out six times a day, just like in our primary home.

If you don't personally know any snowbirds to visit or ask questions, I've provided a lot of information on this blog based on my personal experience that will help give a general idea of what to expect. 

Setting your goal to become a future snowbird is step one. From there, researching, setting timelines, saving, planning, organizing and executing is necessary for achieving one's ambitions. Being a snowbird is worthwhile for many people, but it involves a huge amount of work, wisdom and commitment. And remember, financing your snowbird lifestyle will involve sacrifices in some form or another.

Financial Considerations

Let's face it, financial considerations are the biggest indicator of when an aspiring snowbird can make it happen. There are many ways to scale back your midlife snowbird costs, but proper funding is key. Housing is the largest expense for snowbirds. Everyone dreams of the amazing place on the beach or golf course in the premium warm weather destinations, but your budget may mean compromises. Shop online for potential housing, check rates per week or month to establish your budget, then determine if you can save that much money per year without dipping into savings or using credit cards.

[WHAT TO EXPECT]

Job / Career

Right behind financial considerations, career flexibility as well as that of your spouse/partner is paramount to successfully transitioning to become midlife snowbirds. If you aren't currently working "offsite" or receiving extended time off, consider realigning future plans.

Some working snowbirds arrange to work remotely for several weeks at a time and others take part time or seasonal jobs in their snowbird communities. If your profession is one that requires you to be anchored in your primary community, a career change may be necessary to become a midlife snowbird.

[WORKING SNOWBIRDS]

Prioritize Everything Else

After financial, housing and career issues have been worked out, future snowbirds need to account for and prioritize "everything else" including loved ones such as children, pets, your primary home and much more. To budget for "everything else," map out your must-haves, such as the cost of hotels and travel to/from your future snowbird home, your estimated pet costs, food/dining, entertainment, insurance, etc. Having a clear idea of the costs will give you a better idea of a realistic budget to determine where and how long you stay in your warm climate home.

[HOME VS. AWAY]

Future Snowbirds

Try Being a Short Term Snowbird

If your job, finances, school-aged children / loved ones or other factors prohibit you from becoming a full-fledged midlife snowbird, consider trying it out first. If you have a week or two of vacation, use it during the winter when you can test out the snowbird life. Try to put yourself into a situation that may be similar to your future snowbird life. As an example, stay in a condo vs a hotel and take time to choose and get to know an area that you may want to live vs. a vacation hot spot. There's a huge difference between the two.

You may love it or find it's not right for you after all. Maybe you'll realize you need to extend your goals further into the future.

It's better to find out how you and your spouse or partner feel before making drastic life changes and then deciding it's not your thing. Or you may be inspired to get away in the winter every year, even if on a shorter term basis until you can transition to longer stays.

[WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A SNOWBIRD RENTAL]

Sacrifices for Future Snowbirds

More than likely, midlife or seasoned snowbirds didn't end up that way by default or luck. It's a conscious lifestyle choice that requires the mind set of "give to get." As an example, snowbirds may give up the following luxuries to get time in their winter homes.

--Vacations, cruises, girls' or guys' trips and so forth

--Dining out, fast food, professional meal prep services

--Entertainment: live events, sports, shows, concerts, clubs, movies

--Country clubs, golf memberships, fitness centers

--New or newer vehicles

--Other amenities such as lake homes, boats, RV's / campers* etc.

*With the caveat that the RVs / campers are used as a snowbird home

However, no matter how much you give up, be sure to budget and pay for your snowbird life without borrowing money. If you aren't well funded, then consider waiting longer to become a snowbird, shortening your stay, a less expensive location, downsizing your snowbird home, primary home, lifestyle and anything else to reduce the costs. Also consider taking a part-time job, second job or some other method of earning extra income so you can save it for your snowbird expenses.

[MY STORY]

midlife snowbird, miramar beach, florida, lana scherer

Contact Me

Contact me with your own snowbird goals, experiences and stories