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Old 11-15-2009, 04:27 PM
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 14,690,351 times
Reputation: 3918


Around this time of year, I've noticed that usually there becomes more and more threads about people wanting to retire to Phoenix or become a snowbird and I thought I'd try to write a short article on how to go about that as well as what there is to do for snowbirds and retirees and expenses associate with snowbirding. I also give credit to my parents as well as aunts and uncles who have been snowbirds for quite a number of years.

So you become retirement age and decide, "Gee, it's way too cold up in -insert eastern or midwestern state-, I think it's time we pack up for the winter and go South." You have to first find a place to stay, there are NUMEROUS places to rent or buy for a snowbird. Unless you have unlimited financial resources you won't likely be buying a mansion in Paradise Valley (you also won't likely be reading my little article). The 3 most popular choices for snowbirds who are here for a few months are condos, townhomes, and park models. Each has unique pros and cons.

+Normally the largest of the 3
+Feels more "homey"
-Most expensive
-Possible upkeep fees

+Low maintainence
+Can find condos with spectacular views
-Sometimes there are stairs to deal with
-Monthly fees

Park Models:
+Cheapest of the 3
+Easily furnished
+Usually in gated 55+ community
-Sometimes a bit cramped
-Yearly lot rent in most parks

Along with housing expenses, you have to consider transportation expenses. If you plan on driving from your home state (most snowbirds do), you will only have one vehicle. Is that sufficient for both you and your spouse (if applicable)? Will you need to buy a 2nd vehicle to keep out there?

There is also food expenses which may or may not be cheaper than where you are coming from. You might also find yourself eating out more than you did at home especially if you have numerous friends that snowbird to Phoenix as well.

You also have to figure in an entertainment expense that you may not have at home, quite a few snowbirds enjoy going to some of the various winter attractions in Phoenix (Barrett Jackson Auto Auction, Scottsdale Art Walk, Golf, etc). Depending on what you enjoy doing, you may end up spending more money than you had originally planned when you come out here. My dad who was a farmer for 40+ years of his life enjoys simply going to coffee with a few of his friends at the local bakery each morning.

I know I surely haven't covered everything associated with snowbirding to Phoenix, but I tried to give a small glimpse in what it takes to come out here and escape the snow for a few months.
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