Winter Got You Down? Make a Sunnier Climate a Retirement Reality

Rain. Snow. Sleet. Cold. Once the coziness of winter holidays passes, dark weather can weigh heavily on our psyches.  However, when you retire, you have more freedom to seek and enjoy sunnier or more temperate climates.

What’s holding you back?

Here are nine tips, tricks and things to consider when thinking about a warmer location for retirement:

Retiring to Florida is a Bit of a Myth

Each year, roughly 40 million Americans, or about 14 percent of the U.S. population, move at least once. And, according to population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates, the movement is largely from the Northeast and Midwest to warmer climates in Southern states.

However, William Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution, finds that though some older people may move to so-called retirement destinations, most older people prefer not to move.

“The highest migration rates are people in their 20’s and early 30’s,” Frey said. Some of the places that are gaining the most migrants will gain a large share of the older population that is moving, like cities in Arizona and Florida, for example. “But even among the migrants who come to Arizona and Florida, only a tiny share are older people.”

Go Farther Afield: Retire Abroad to Find the Sun

If you are actually interested in moving away from your home town for retirement, lower costs and more reliable weather are some of the reasons many retirees opt to relocate abroad for retirement..

International Living recently announced their top place to retire.  And the winner is…

…Panama: This Central American country got the top award for the 10th time in the last 29 years due to beautiful beaches, ease of gaining legal residency, low cost of living and affordable healthcare.

International Living’s Retirement Index uses decades of data measuring factors from cost of living, healthcare and climate to social environment, collected from countries in five continents.

Here are their other top rated retirement havens for 2019:

Mexico: Move just next door and choose from a full range of temperate beach and colonial towns.

Ecuador: Be in the middle of it all — literally, Ecuador is on the Equator — with some of the best weather on the planet.

Malaysia: As a former British colony, the unofficially first language of this Asian country is English.  This island has beautiful beaches and is renowned for scuba and snorkeling.

Colombia: Gone are the famous drug cartels.  Enjoy the hot and tropical Caribbean coast or explore the temperate mountain cities.

Portugal: Rated the fourth safest country in the world, Portugal is gaining in popularity as a vacation destination as well as a retirement haven.

Peru: Forget Manchu Picchu and enjoy the miles of beaches available in the South American country.

Thailand: This tropical country might be far away, but it is easy to find other expats.

Spain: Find warmer weather in the Southern regions and enjoy first world living standards.

How About a Retirement Home for Free?

Free? Well yes, and there is actually only a minor catch…

The town of Sambuca on the island of Sicily is selling homes for one euro (just over a dollar). And, the only catch is that you are required to refurbish your crumbling dwelling within the next three years at a price of at least $17,200.

According to CNN, “The deal is aimed at reviving a community that, like many other rural spots in Italy, has suffered from depopulation in recent years as residents move to bigger cities.”

Weigh the Benefits of Sun Exposure and the Risks of Skin Cancer

With sun comes concerns about carcinomas and melanoma.  Skin cancer is no joke. However, avoiding the sun and slathering on sunscreen may not actually be the cure all we once believed.

Outside Magazine recently asked, “Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?” It turns out that people with low levels of vitamin D — the hormone made by our skin with the help of sunlight — have significantly higher rates of almost every disease and disorder you can think of.  And, vitamin D supplements simply don’t have the positive health effects as exposure to the sun itself.

Even more surprising are the findings of Swedish researcher, Pelle Lindqvist.  Dr. Lindqvist looked at overall mortality rates of sun avoiders and sun worshipers. The results were shocking. Over the 20 years of the study, sun avoiders were twice as likely to die as sun worshippers.

People with lots of sun exposure do have a higher incidence of skin cancer, but lower rates of cardiovascular and other more fatal diseases.

What to do:

  • Talk carefully with your doctor about the risks and benefits of sun exposure
  • Get regular skin cancer screenings
  • Try the Dminder app which uses your age, weight and amount of exposed skin to track the amount of sunlight you need for vitamin D production

Consider Sunbirding

Many retirees cite moving away from friends and family as the biggest downside of relocating in retirement.

If you want warmer weather, but don’t want to permanently abandon your home and the people you love at home, sunbirding — migrating from a colder to warmer location for Winter and back again for Summer — may be the right option for you.

The Pros and Cons of a Second Home

Almost as many people who use the NewRetirement Retirement Planner plan to buy a second home as those who plan to downsize for retirement.

Second homes are popular for retirees who have the time and income to enjoy them.  However, a second home is a major financial commitment — with many pros and cons:

Pros: In addition to the enjoyment a second home can offer, real estate can be an interesting investment that could possibly pay off and provide some diversification to your asset allocation.

Cons: Homes are expensive.  A second home can tie up your money and reduce your flexibility.  It can also be expensive to maintain two residences.

Use the NewRetirement Retirement Planner to assess the financial aspects of buying a second home.  Can you afford it?  How will it impact your long term financial health?

Alternatives to a Second Home

You don’t necessarily have to invest in a second home to enjoy a sunnier locale for retirement.

  • Selling your home and permanently moving is a hugely popular option.  (Here is a complete guide to downsizing for retirement.)
  • Renting in one location or a different place each year is another possibility.
  • Many retirees also embrace life on the road in an RV or are embracing what is now being called the vanlife — life in a sportier RV.
  • Not ready for a road trip?  What about a boat?

Plan a Trip — Tips for Making Travel More Affordable in Retirement

Retirement offers so many opportunities and travel is the biggest goal for most retirees.

A full 75% of users of NewRetirement’s award winning retirement planning calculator mention travel as what they want to do in retirement and AARP has reported that almost all baby boomers — 99% — want to travel!

Here are 20 tips for making travel after retirement plentiful, affordable and completely fulfilling.

Make a Second Home, Travel, Relocation or a Sunny Climate Part of Your Retirement Plan

No matter what you want out of retirement, you have got to include it in your retirement plan.

Most people have lived their lives day to day, month to month, year to year.

However, retirement is the time to have the best plan possible. You want to spend this time of your life doing what you want to do and you want to make sure you have the finances and wherewithal to achieve what is important.

Use the NewRetirement Planner, rated the best online retirement resource by Forbes, AAII and many others, to achieve the best retirement plan and a secure financial future.

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