Snowbirds and the Holidays

With Thanksgiving right around the corner and the weather already turning cold, most snowbirds are settled into their winter homes and prepping for the holidays. A concern that many people have in regards to seasonal living is about being away from family on the holidays. After all, family is really the driving force behind holiday celebrations. If you’re across the country, or even the world, from your family, is it still special? How do people adjust? Is there a way to ensure the holidays are special even if you’re away from family? The short answer is, yes! Here are 3 tips to make sure the holidays are special, no matter where you are:

 

Christmas in July:

Ok, it doesn’t actually have to be in July but you get the idea. Choose a time when everyone is together and bring out the Christmas lights and deck the halls! It’s a fun way to start a new tradition and, it’ll probably alleviate some of the holiday stress during the winter months because you don’t have to worry about “sharing” your family with the in-laws.

 

 

Technology:

In this day and age, it almost feels like we never disconnect from each other. Often, with all the social media platforms it can feel like we were actually at an event instead of just watching videos, looking at pictures, and reading first-hand accounts. Plus, you can always use a video chat application like, Skype or something similar.

 

Give Yourself Permission:

You love your family. Your grandchildren are the light of your life. That doesn’t change simply because you decide on some self-care over the holidays. Give yourself permission and don’t apologize for doing what YOU want to do. They say that grandchildren are the reward for raising happy, healthy, children. While that may be true, they can also be exhausting. Take some time for yourself and enjoy the things you want to do. You’ve earned it!

 

 

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Changing Your Seasonal Living Scenery

Now that the weather is turning and the snow is falling, most snowbirds are settling into their secondary homes. Maybe you’re planning on a vacation or you’re just tired of the same old routine. We know you’ll never go anywhere that compares to the beauty and serenity of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but if you’re looking for some winter destinations that will bring you a break from the snow and provide some fun adventures, we’ve compiled the perfect list for you.

 

 

1. Georgetown, South Carolina

The average high in January is a comfortable 60 degrees. This charming town hugs the Atlantic coastline so you can enjoy spending time in the sand, fishing on the sea, or walking down the harbor. Georgetown also has a historic downtown that will transport you back in time.

 

 

2. Peoria, Arizona

Don’t forget to pack your ball caps when you come to Peoria. In this toasty town, the average high in January is 70 degrees. You can catch a Mariners baseball game or go out sailing on Peasant Lake.

 

 

3. Palm Springs, California

Any time is the right time to have a cocktail and sit by the pool here! The average temperature in January is 71 degrees. Visitors like to walk the Andreas Canyon Trail or stop by the nearby Desert Hot Springs.

 

 

4. Laughlin, Nevada

This town is nestled along the Colorado River. If you like the thrill of gambling but also the thrill of reeling in a large trout, there will be no shortage of things to do here. There is a great mix of city and nature and the average temperature in January is a nice 65 degrees.

 

 

5. Orange Beach, Alabama

This city boasts beautiful white sand beaches and seafood to die for! They also have a festival just for snowbirds, creatively called the Snowbird Festival. The average temperature in January is 60 degrees. It may be a little too chilly to take a dip in the ocean, but the sound of the waves is relaxing enough to make up for it!

 

 

Who says you can’t learn new tricks?! Experiencing new places and adventures is a great way to stay rejuvenated. Nice places to hunker down during the winter months are not limited to this list. There are many more places for Snowbirds to fly to and soak in the sun including Gulfport, Mississippi; Mount Dora, Florida; Ocala, Florida; or Harlingen, Texas. It really depends on your taste and what you prefer. While enjoying your summer back home, start some research on your new adventure for next year. There’s no time like the present to try something new.

 

 

5 Tips for Setting Up the Snowbird Lifestyle on Retirement

Each year, millions of people migrate from the colder regions of the United States and Canada to sunny, warmer locations like Florida, California, or other Sunbelt states. Living a snowbird lifestyle offers the best of both worlds: you can maintain friendships and stay connected to family and familiar places, but you can also escape from the cold, often treacherous, winter weather. It sounds like a dream come true, right!? Well, before you start packing, here are a few tips to help you enjoy the advantages of a snowbird lifestyle while avoiding some of the challenges:

 

Cost:

The best way to plan for the cost of dual-living is to get organized and do your research. You’ll be responsible for two house payments, two utility bills, two water bills, two electric bills, etc. You’re maintaining two households. A perfect option to balance that is community living. If you’re part of an association, often times your yard maintenance and things like that are taken care of for you. Renting a place in your secondary location is another option. This allows you to enjoy two locations without being responsible for buying two sets of appliances and the like. Seasonal parks allow for home ownership without all the hassle. Often, these living communities have planned events, hobbies, and community get-togethers. Your quality of life will improve but the costs will stay low.

Living Expenses:

The traditional route a snowbird takes is to a Sunbelt state in the U.S. Another option that may be less expensive is to relocate overseas. Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama are all popular retirement spots and you can, on average, retire there for around $1000/month. Your dollar will stretch a little further and you can afford to reduce your costs while you’re away.

 

Downsize:

For many retirees, it’s hard to let go of the home they raised children in, the home that was a staple for everything their family represented. The problem is, that home is now much too large, especially if you’re planning on living in two locations. Downsize to a smaller place in each location to make it more affordable. A smaller living space would also save you on utility costs.

 

Rent:

The beauty of this technological world we live in is the advancements out there to make life a little easier to navigate. Airbnb is a perfect chance to rent out your family home and, if the mortgage is already paid off, earn some extra income. Your friends and family are close by to help out with cleaning in between guests and to restock any supplies they may need. You could also just rent out your home for a season. Again, you’ll feel better knowing that friends and family are nearby to help if the renters don’t work out.

 

Get a Side Gig:

Finding a part time job to supplement some income while you’re away is another great option. You can often find jobs in retail or some other flexible position. Those types of jobs have high turn-over rates and are usually looking to hire someone dependable, even if it’s just for the season.

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Snowbirds and Travel Insurance: What You Need to Know

We all have certain fears about traveling. One of the main concerns is what will happen if a bag is lost or you have to cancel the trip at the last minute. Travel insurance is a plan you purchase that protects you from certain financial risks and losses that can occur while traveling. These losses can be minor, like a delayed suitcase, or significant, like a last-minute trip cancellation or a medical emergency overseas. It’s easy to understand why travel insurance is a good idea, but the logistics of choosing a plan can be trickier to navigate than the new locations you’re traveling to. To help you make sense of travel insurance, here are a few tips you should consider:

 

Travel insurance can be categorized into two broad categories: trip cancellation and medical insurance. There are, of course, different add-ons or packages in each category, but understanding those two basic ideas should prove helpful.

 

Trip Cancellation Insurance covers any added expense that may come up while traveling. For instance:

  • Actual cancellation of your trip—if something comes up last minute and you need to cancel, you’ll be covered.
  • Trip interruption—should you need to return early, those expenses are covered.
  • Baggage—various policies cover things like lost or damaged luggage or property.
  • Other—there may be other benefits like travel delay, ID theft protection, or car rental coverage, but these vary among policies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Medical Insurance:

This option is recommended for people traveling for an extended period of time. This is a great idea for snowbirds who travel seasonally in different countries. There may be restrictions with a primary insurance when overseas and travel medical insurance can help with those costs. Some policies will include emergency medical evacuation or transportation should that become necessary.

 

Wherever you’re traveling and for however long, it’s never a bad idea to find out more about travel insurance. It could just end up saving you a lot of time, money, and stress in the long-run.

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When is it Time to Fly South for the Winter?

 

As the warm weather begins to wane, many snowbirds begin preparing, at least mentally, to head to the Sunbelt state of their choosing. For others, being home for the spring and summer around friends and family makes it hard to want to leave. You don’t want to miss the beauty and reverence of a crisp autumn morning; you don’t want to miss spending the holidays with your family; you definitely don’t want to be here when the snow starts to fall. That begs the question: when is the right time to fly south for the winter? As they say, timing is everything, so how do you know when that timing is right?

 

Honestly, that question is really about personal preference, but there are a couple things you might want to consider.

 

 

Location:

Yes, you’re trading in snow boots and mittens for flip flops and sunglasses, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t particular patterns of weather where you’re going that need to be looked into. For example, in Florida, November has the lowest amount of rainfall so that might be a perfect time to head south. The beaches are usually the least populated during the late fall as well. You’ll be able to settle in before tourists arrive.

 

 

 

Method of Travel:

 

Many snowbirds choose to either rent or own a home in both states in which they reside. This makes it easier to readjust to either location. The packing and unpacking is less intensive, there are many cost-effective living options that are designated for dual living, and you won’t have to worry about cross-country travel accommodations. Considering airfare and finding the best prices can impact the time someone might leave.

Buttoning Up Your Seasonal Home

Bidding farewell to a seasonal property is an annual ritual met with differing emotions by countless people. The cooling weather and falling leaves are almost like an alarm clock, signaling the end of summer. If you’re a snowbird, the end of summer means it’s time to close up your seasonal home and head south for the winter. Whether you’re renting out your seasonal home or you are shutting it down until spring, there is a lot of work to be done. That list of chores can seem pretty hefty, especially if all your focus is on the desert air you’re soon to be breathing. Here is a list that should prove to be a great start at buttoning up your seasonal home:

 

First, it’s helpful to break the chores into categories. Start with the outside work as fall weather can be unpredictable. Obviously, everyone’s list will look a little different, but this should help get you started and organized:

 

  • Clean and store boats, lawn ornaments, deck furniture
  • Clean and winterize any gas-powered yard equipment
  • Store fire pit, empty flower pots, drain hoses and sprinklers
  • Rake and remove leaves as well as possible
  • Look for air leaks around wiring and the like
  • Drain water lines to prevent freezing
  • Consider setting up an alarm or home security system

 

 

 

The indoor list is a little less strenuous, but requires a keen attention to detail:

 

  • Turn off all non-essential utilities
  • Dispose of trash and pack or donate unwanted foods
  • Unplug appliances and electronics
  • If necessary, notify the homeowners association of the vacant property
  • Arrange for mail-forwarding and stop any newspaper delivery
  • Strip beds to let mattresses air out
  • Vacuum carpets and floors to ensure that no food crumbs are left to attract vermin
  • Thoroughly scrub, dust, mop, and wash the interior of the house. It’ll collect plenty of dust over the winter, no use in storing the dirt until next summer!
  • Cover furniture with tarps/plastic to protect in the event of a roof leak
  • Organize and arrange for the shipment of any boxes that you plan on bringing with you

 

 

The most important thing to remember is that you’re not going to another planet, you’ll have the opportunity to buy anything you forgot when you arrive at your winter home. That is, unless you are going to a different planet, in which case, we can’t wait to hear about it next summer! Safe travels!

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Reasons to Stay in Minnesota Until it Gets Cold

Minnesota is known for our lakes, which you hopefully utilized all summer long, and for our cold winters. With the summer winding down, snowbirds are prepping to head to their secondary locations for the winter months. That said, there is still plenty of summer left and, trust us, you don’t want to miss a Minnesota autumn. If you’re unsure of what to do as the days get shorter and the weather cools, here are some ideas:

 

Festivals and Fairs

Just because the summer is coming to a close doesn’t mean the Minnesota fun has to stop. There are plenty of festivals and fairs that take place during the treasured last few weeks of summer.

  • The Minnesota Renaissance Festival

 

This beloved Minnesota event goes from August 18th through September 30th. Visitors don’t have to dress in costume (but it’s definitely encouraged!) as they step back into a 16th Century European village. You’ll enjoy shopping, view live jousting, and interact with hundreds of characters as you spend your day feasting on turkey legs and beer. It’s truly a sight to see and an event you don’t want to miss!

 

  • The Minnesota State Fair

 

The Great Minnesota Get-Together, as it’s lovingly referred to, runs from August 23rd through September 3rd. Stroll through the fairgrounds and take in exhibits, livestock shows, shopping, music, vendors, and of course, all the food on a stick you can stomach! If you’re from the Midwest, you’ll recognize the ever-popular Tater Tot Hotdish, but with a State Fair twist: on a stick!

 

 

 

Sporting Events

If you’re not interested in fried foods and jousting, you might enjoy attending some sporting events as we transition into autumn. The new U.S. Bank Stadium hosts the Minnesota Vikings and is sure to be a great time. The Minnesota Twins continue their baseball season well into September and the Timberwolves and Lynx begin their seasons in October.

 

 

Apples, Pumpkins, and Corn Mazes. Oh My!

Visit any one of the beautiful and delicious apple orchards scattered across Minnesota. Whether you’re interested in heading to the Metro or traveling up north, you’re sure to find an apple orchard to visit! September 13th through the 16th is Applefest, the annual apple festival in the southern part of the state. Of course, you can’t think Minnesota apples without mentioning the Honeycrisp apple. Cultivated at the University of Minnesota, these delicious apples are sweet, firm, and best for eating raw.

 

You can go to pumpkin patches and find the perfect Halloween pumpkin. Many pumpkin patches also have interactive corn mazes that are fun for the whole family! Most open up around Mid-September. October 20th is the Pumpkin Fest, a free event with plenty to see and do.

 

As summer days fade into autumn evenings, snowbirds can still find plenty of activities to enjoy well before the snow falls.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Benefits of Post-Retirement Volunteering

Retired friends often ask one another, “What are you up to tomorrow?”  For many, crafting, movie-going, and visits with treasured grandchildren are on the list.  And, for more and more retirees, volunteering is also on the list.  Volunteering is a means of philanthropy that is among the most highly valued by charitable organizations.

Research continues to reveal the win/win nature of volunteerism as it provides tremendous benefits for both the volunteer and the receiving organization.  In 2017 alone, volunteers gave the equivalent of $184 billion dollars with their gifts of time.  Although retirees make up only 31% of the adult U.S. population, they account for 45% of all the hours volunteered annually.

 

Moving from a life structured around work to the non-structured life of retirement can be daunting.  Social isolation and boredom can result in reduced physical activity and depression.  Regularly volunteering can provide structure, a way to meet and engage with others, and opportunities to use long-honed skills or, to learn new ones.  Even winter visitors (otherwise known as snowbirds) are volunteering because this is one of fastest ways to meet people who like and value the same things.

 

Research continues to reveal that seniors who volunteer have lower rates of depression, lower blood pressure and lower mortality rates.  Depending upon the opportunity, volunteering can even be a way for seniors to share important life lessons with younger generations.  Retirement is a hard-earned phase of life and should be an enjoyable and active time.  Volunteering can make a significant difference in the health and wellness of retirees.  It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

 

To learn more about volunteer senior opportunities in Minnesota, visit http://www.mnseniorcorps.org/volunteering/how/rsvp.aspx

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Supplementing Retirement Income Seasonally

You’re retired, living seasonally, and enjoying the leisurely life you’ve earned. Your summers are spent fishing, boating, and floating on the Mississippi River at Minnesota’s premier seasonal living facility, Traveler’s Country Club on the Mississippi, and your winters are spent soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the warmth of a Sunbelt state. You’re living the life you’ve worked so hard to achieve and you absolutely love it.

 

Then, you realize that something’s just missing from your daily routine or maybe your retirement fund isn’t getting you as far as you’d planned. Either way, you’ve decided it’s time to find a way to supplement some income, but when you spend half a year in one location and the other half across the country in a different state, finding employment can get tricky. Luckily, in today’s society and with technology what it is, there are plenty of options to supplement income without hindering the seasonal lifestyle you love. Here are a few part-time job options that are perfect for snowbirds:

 

Local Resort Jobs:

First, look to your own seasonal park. There are often paid seasonal positions available. And, whether you work for resorts during the summer months or find a great resort to spend your time at during the high traffic times, like spring break, hospitality jobs are a perfect option for snowbirds. You might find work in any number of capacities, from bartender or gardener to parking valet or room cleaner. Niche opportunities abound. If you love golf, there might be openings in the pro shop or as a groundskeeper. Boaters should check out marinas for odd jobs. Gambling fans can investigate Gulf Coast casinos. Fitness professionals such as massage therapists and Pilates instructors may find seasonal jobs with a resort’s spa operations. Plus, you might be able to secure some seasonal living from the resort if you work there.

 

Pet Services:

This day and age sees many a pampered pooch. People are reluctant to leave Fido home alone all day while they’re at work. Or, maybe the family is going on a summer trip while the kids are out of school; either way, people are looking for dog-sitters. If you’re an animal lover, this is a perfect opportunity to get some time in with man (and woman’s) best friend and keep active. You can set your own hours, pricing, and the things you’re willing to provide. The possibilities are really rather endless, plus, who doesn’t want to get some love from a dachshund puppy!?

 

Online Options:

Were you an industry expert before you retired? Do you have knowledge that’s just bursting to be shared? Finding employment online might be exactly what you need. There are plenty of freelance tutoring opportunities you can choose from. You can become a blogger or freelance writer and spend your time writing about things you’ve learned to love throughout your life. If you have a way with people, you might enjoy finding a customer service job that you can do from your kitchen table. There are plenty of websites out there that are devoted to helping retirees find jobs that they can do from home and, since your computer goes where you go, it doesn’t really matter which state you’re working from.

 

There are plenty of options available if you want to supplement some income after retirement. Whether you find seasonal work, take advantage of your open schedule, or work from home, you’re sure to find something that will line your pockets and fill your time. Just don’t forget to enjoy and relax now and again. After all, you deserve it!

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Are Snowbirds Healthier?

Cold weather can become harder to endure as we get older. The older we get the less likely it is that we’re out building snowmen and ice castles or sledding down a snowy hill. A slip on the ice is more likely to result in an injury and shoveling snow becomes too taxing. When you live in colder states or Canada the solution to these problems is an easy one for many retirees: seasonal living as snowbirds! There are many health benefits for seasonal living that beg the question: are snowbirds healthier? The short answer is, yes. Here are the ways that seasonal living improves health.

According to a 2010 study, enduring cold weather puts people at a greater risk of heart attack. Older people and those with previous coronary heart disease are more vulnerable to the effects of cold temperatures. Bundling up and cranking up the heat in your home can help but it’s not a long-term solution and it can be costly. Snowbirds live in warmer climates all year round, reducing their risk of weather-related heart issues.

 

As a snowbird, you escape the harsh climate of winter and that helps you avoid the hardships that come with ice and snow. You won’t have to worry about slips and falls on the ice, sketchy driving conditions, or plowing or shoveling. That alone makes for a healthier and more secure lifestyle.

 

 

The snowbird lifestyle also allows for increased recreational activity. For outdoor enthusiasts, it means the opportunity to stay healthier with more physical activity such as golf, tennis, and walking. With beautiful weather comes the ability to get outside and stay active. Warm weather is perfect for swimming and spending the day on the boat or beach. Of course, the health benefits of staying active all year round are tremendous compared to sitting inside during winter weather or, sitting inside due to the hot summers.

 

Becoming a snowbird brings with it a change of pace. You get to enjoy your favorites all year long and you’ll build relationships with the people you meet in each location. A sense of community and belonging is incredibly important and beneficial for mental health. Plus, a life of leisure provides a slower pace and reduces stress that promotes improved mental and physical health.

 

Another health benefit of snow-birding is that your homes in both locations are typically smaller or part of an association that will help take care of maintenance. This reduces stress and alleviates some of the strain and pain associated with yard work and home upkeep. You get the benefit of less responsibility without losing the independence and autonomy you get with owning a home. If you’re an owner at Travelers Country Club on the Mississippi, part of your independence includes the right to live in a community where you have some control over its operation.

 

 

These are all added health benefits that come with being a snowbird. With less risk from cold weather or extreme heat and the reduced stress, it’s easy to see why snowbirds are healthier.