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Old 12-08-2010, 04:31 PM
Status: "Where has summer gone??" (set 28 days ago)
 
Location: Taylors, SC
8,719 posts, read 14,271,499 times
Reputation: 2674
Default How do you afford to be a snowbird?

We live in FL now but moved here from PA 11 years ago. I like it here, but my DH misses PA and would like to move back to PA. I could never do it. I compromised on NC, but I'm not sure he will be happy there if it's not PA.
We have a son and daughter in FL and the rest of the family is in PA.

The only other option we would have is to become snowbirds. We are both self employed at the present time. MY DH could probably get work in PA during the summers. We would go from Memorial Day to Labor Day most likely.

My question is how do you all afford it? I was thinking of selling our house and buying a smaller, paid off in FL. I think it's best to rent in PA. By time we pay taxes, insurance and upkeep if we own, it would equal out to the cost of rent.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:53 PM
 
Location: SARASOTA, FLORIDA
11,502 posts, read 8,143,306 times
Reputation: 4796
Many of the snowbirds I know built or bought their homes in the late 60's and early 70's and paid off their homes at an early age. Then once the kids were gone still had many good years of making good incomes with no outgoing money.

The couple across from us are in their mid 50's and already retired and spend 5-6 months a year in Florida.

She tells me that they do not owe a dime on either property because they made double payments on the Florida home for many years to get to retire in their mid 50's.

My Dad always told me that people who had good jobs starting in the 50's on had it better off then we do today because they made good money and the COL was not bad at all. Once the kids were gone they worked many years with almost no expenses and could save a ton of money.

I do not think you will see many snowbirds out of this generation because of the higher COL and lower pay by comparison to people like our parents etc.

Many other snowbirds I know own or owned their own business and still have income from it even when they are in Florida instead of being in Ohio.
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:47 PM
Status: "Where has summer gone??" (set 28 days ago)
 
Location: Taylors, SC
8,719 posts, read 14,271,499 times
Reputation: 2674
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny-Days90 View Post
Many of the snowbirds I know built or bought their homes in the late 60's and early 70's and paid off their homes at an early age. Then once the kids were gone still had many good years of making good incomes with no outgoing money.

The couple across from us are in their mid 50's and already retired and spend 5-6 months a year in Florida.

She tells me that they do not owe a dime on either property because they made double payments on the Florida home for many years to get to retire in their mid 50's.

My Dad always told me that people who had good jobs starting in the 50's on had it better off then we do today because they made good money and the COL was not bad at all. Once the kids were gone they worked many years with almost no expenses and could save a ton of money.

I do not think you will see many snowbirds out of this generation because of the higher COL and lower pay by comparison to people like our parents etc.

Many other snowbirds I know own or owned their own business and still have income from it even when they are in Florida instead of being in Ohio.
We don't make alot of money, I just know how to budget it very well. I could figure out a way to do this, but I'm sure it would take away from any retirement funds we'd save. I think it's important to be happy now instead of ppl who save it for later in life. It maybe too late, you never know what may happen and you may not be here to enjoy it. I do know you need to plan for retirement too.

I agree with you about the jobs and unions in the 50's and 60's. I think today it's more live day by day. It's a shame.

I have some friends who are snowbirds and I think they make a decent income to be able to do it. They actually work from home on the internet.

I just have to come up with the best plan to see if it will work.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:06 PM
 
Location: West Palm Beach - Flamingo Park
14,667 posts, read 15,916,054 times
Reputation: 6273
I think it's all about downsizing for most people. That, and no need to rely on jobs in either southern or northern location.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:40 PM
 
435 posts, read 514,825 times
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I'd echo what TriMT7 said, I think downsizing expectations is a way to make it happen.

Instead of an 1,800 square foot home in one place and a 1,200 square foot home in another you might have to go with a pair of homes around 900 square feet. You might have to forgo the extra bedrooms for family/friends to stay in when they visit, or sacrifice a less expensive location or start buying used cars instead of new ones. A lot of us don't want to do that, but it comes down to what you want more, living as a snowbird in a small house or living in one place in a regular sized one.

I'm in my 30s and doing the snowbird thing. The past few years I've rented places where I have roommates. Sure I'd rather have my own place, but being able to live in two places as the seasons change was most important to me so that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. This year I found a great deal on a short sale so I'm buying that as my Florida 'home base' house. Fortunately I have a job that I can do entirely through my computer. I don't make 100k or anything, but I live simply/cheaply and that allows me to be a snowbird.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:54 PM
Status: "Where has summer gone??" (set 28 days ago)
 
Location: Taylors, SC
8,719 posts, read 14,271,499 times
Reputation: 2674
Quote:
Originally Posted by FL2MT View Post
I'd echo what TriMT7 said, I think downsizing expectations is a way to make it happen.

Instead of an 1,800 square foot home in one place and a 1,200 square foot home in another you might have to go with a pair of homes around 900 square feet. You might have to forgo the extra bedrooms for family/friends to stay in when they visit, or sacrifice a less expensive location or start buying used cars instead of new ones. A lot of us don't want to do that, but it comes down to what you want more, living as a snowbird in a small house or living in one place in a regular sized one.

I'm in my 30s and doing the snowbird thing. The past few years I've rented places where I have roommates. Sure I'd rather have my own place, but being able to live in two places as the seasons change was most important to me so that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. This year I found a great deal on a short sale so I'm buying that as my Florida 'home base' house. Fortunately I have a job that I can do entirely through my computer. I don't make 100k or anything, but I live simply/cheaply and that allows me to be a snowbird.
This was my thought on it. We kind of have those habits already, that is what gives us our freedom now. We don't have a big mortgage and we own our cars outright. I don't have a problem with a smaller house, but I think it will take time for my DH to adjust. If he wants to be in PA, that would have to be the sacrifice.

Congats on the new house! I'd give you more rep, but it won't let me.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:03 PM
 
Location: N.H Gods Country
2,139 posts, read 2,595,962 times
Reputation: 1600
I think downsizing is the key. We plan on having the small cabin up in N.H. as a main residence and a 32 foot toyhauler as the 2nd residence. Thats the only way i could ever afford it. A good friend of ours has been doing it for a few years and it seems to be working out fine. That way we could spend the majority of the year up in N.H. with the family and a couple months someplace a little warmer without the expense of upkeeping a 2nd house and the flexability of having a winter place wherever i deceide to park it. I agree, two small places makes a lot more sense.
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:28 PM
 
Location: it depends
5,259 posts, read 2,280,285 times
Reputation: 4127
Lots of good advice on this thread. "Downsize" is the key word. If you own/could afford a $250k house in one place, you probably can swing a $125K condo in one place and apartment rent or a condo in the other.

Groceries are groceries; you have to eat no matter where you are. Doubling up on utilities etc. does make for a little extra expense.

Could be that I will have to defer the option to retire for three or four years due to discretionary extra expenses (including having two places), but I get to work from Florida for 20 weeks a year for the last ten years of my career. And I never want to retire completely, anyway. This seems like a better bet than deferring all the fun, and having to hope I live to retirement. Not everybody does.

It comes down to personal preferences. Our place in FLA is like heaven to us, and we detest the cold, snow and ice.
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:27 AM
 
3 posts, read 9,576 times
Reputation: 10
This is an interesting topic actually. Im from PA as well and ive been travelling to FL for the past few years usually around Feb to get away from the cold. Im single and own an online business so travelling for me is easy. Ive been considering finding a house in FL or simply renting for a couple months in the winter to get away from this tundra up here. It may be a better option to just rent rather than the upkeep of a house, taxes, etc. Thats what im thinking, however its always tempting to buy, and then rent it out for the off season. The only problem if not renting out is the upkeep of the house when youre not there, and the humidity and what it does to the house without AC, etc...
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:50 AM
 
19,680 posts, read 15,411,261 times
Reputation: 13648
Lot of snowbirds live in mobile home communities most of which have security for when you arent there..

Something like this
http://www.aboutimperialmanor.com/new_resedincy.htm
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