Wouldn’t it be nice if you could live in a dreamy, otherworldly place where it was beautiful weather year-round? Well, thanks to the increasingly popular snowbird lifestyle, you can.
Snowbirds are those who live in cooler climates in the northern United States and Canada, who—just like birds—travel south for the winter to enjoy a warmer location. Most snowbirds are retirees who aren’t ready to leave their permanent residence entirely, but also don’t want to deal with the stress and the hassle that freezing temperatures bring.
It’s the best of both worlds: you enjoy your permanent home in the spring and summer, but leave around October or November to escape the severe cold. Then, when you migrate south for fall and winter, you avoid the extreme heat that often plagues the southern and western United States during certain times of the year. Southern California is a popular snowbird location, as are Arizona, Mexico and Florida, too.
The snowbird lifestyle was once reserved for the extremely wealthy, but RVs now make it possible for people of nearly all incomes and backgrounds. Are you a new retiree looking to jumpstart your snowbird life? Or are you an experienced snowbird looking for more tips on budgeting and simplifying the process? At Guaranty, we work with snowbirds frequently and have gathered lots of information that could help newcomers and veterans alike.
I. Why You Should Invest in an RV as a Snowbird
Like we mentioned earlier, RVs are very snowbird friendly and have bridged the gap between people of different walks of life as far as affording the snowbird lifestyle. It makes sense that purchasing an RV, in the long run, is much more cost-effective than flying across the country at least twice a year.
Many people will tell you, too, that making the trip in an RV is more comfortable than flying. You don’t have to worry about shipping any belongings to and from both locations, since you’ll have room to store them in your vehicle. And, it allows you to make a road trip out of it—stopping and exploring different parts of the country that you might not be able to experience otherwise.
Having an RV also opens up your options as far as where to stay. Maybe you aren’t sure exactly which city you’d like to commit to as your secondary residence. With an RV, you can spend one winter in Arizona and the following winter in Florida, exploring a number of cities or states until you find the perfect location. Or, if you’ve chosen a new city but you aren’t ready to buy a second home, having an RV gives you the chance to stay in snowbird-friendly luxury RV park instead of a rental house.
II. Planning Stops Along the Way
If you do choose to make the trek in an RV, just as it’s important to have a plan upon arriving in your new city, it’s good to have a plan about how you’ll get there too. Outlining specific stops along the way will ensure that you have a chance to recharge, regroup and make it to your destination safely.
At Guaranty, we see snowbirds constantly during this time of year. It gives people a break during their long drive to the southwest, and our newly-opened RV Travel Center has all the facilities and amenities you’ll need—Highway 99 will take you straight there from Junction City!
But more importantly, having your RV looked at is key to making a safe trip—that way, any services or repairs it requires can be performed early on in your journey.
III. Attention, New Snowbirds
Maybe you’ve never been a snowbird, but are intrigued by the idea and you’d like to learn more. Although it seems like the perfect thing to do upon retiring, there are many issues to consider prior to leaving your home for the winter. Here are a few things you’ll want to straighten out before committing to this new lifestyle.
Taking care of your home, even when you’re away, is something you’ll need to plan for. Find a house sitter, or someone to check on your home regularly, for security purposes; also, this person can check for any burst pipes, flooding, or other home related issues that sometimes occur during the winter months.
Do you have pets? If so, then you’ll need to figure out if they’ll be traveling with you or staying behind. Find a pet sitter if you want to leave them at home.
Big-picture concerns are things like residency issues. Once you become a snowbird, you’ll probably spend about half the year at your permanent home and half the year at your vacation home. In which state will you claim residency? Check how long you can be away from home before you’re considered a resident of your “vacation” state, as regulations vary from state to state.
Also, make sure you understand the tax implications of which state you claim as your primary residence. Speaking with a tax adviser can help clarify some of the very confusing laws surrounding tax obligations.
Insurance and license requirements may change, too, so look into these before permanently committing to your vacation home.
Becoming a snowbird is a great way to enjoy your retirement and experience two different cities during their best times. For more information about using an RV to achieve your snowbird dreams, please contact us today.