It takes nearly 18 hours to drive from Chicago to Orlando, Florida. Gas for the trip is $89-$173.
Set aside one day and five hours to travel the 2,025 miles from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Tempe, Arizona. Gas is $156-$304.1
Dual or seasonal residents choose to make those types of treks between two homes twice a year to take advantage mostly of milder temperatures and more comfortable climates elsewhere.
Why Orlando, Florida? Why Tempe, Arizona?
Both are popular destinations for retirees looking for more comfortable winter residences. Michigan’s winter typically drops nearly five feet of snowfall on Ann Arbor every year.2
Orlando, Florida ranks as No.1 in many rankings as one of the most popular retirement locations.3
Another city in the nation’s third largest state, Florida, takes second place: Tampa. Miami; Scottsdale, Arizona; Atlanta; Salt Lake City; Honolulu; Denver; Austin, Texas; and Las Vegas fill out the top 10 list. Tempe, Arizona is 33rd.
A DUAL RESIDENT BY ANY OTHER NAME
Although the proper term is seasonal or dual resident, the less flattering word is snowbird, which is a person who travels to warmer climates during the winter.4
First used in 1923, the term described seasonal workers who moved south during the winter.5 It came into common use in 1979 to refer to retirees who headed south for part of the year.
The term dates back nearly 200 years when rich Europeans left their northern homes during the winter for the warmer climates of Italy and Southern France.6
That’s where the term “winter resident” originated.7 The “summer resident” lives permanently in the warmer location and travels north to avoid the hot summers. They became known as “sunbirds.”8
Besides their sojourning lifestyles, dual residents have their own magazines, their own websites, and their own rituals.
American dual residents read the Winter Texan Times,9 the Snowbirds RV Traveler Magazine,10 the Snowbirds Gulf Coast Magazine,11 and other publications and sites. Canadian travelers have the Canadian Snowbird Association.12 Many develop their own sites focusing on their communities and groups.
HOW DO THEY PREPARE?
Dual residents typically follow strict checklists before heading to their second residences.
Here’s a list:13
Change mail delivery. Winter residents may ask their post offices to hold or forward their mail. Using bank bill pay is the best option for paying bills.
Suspend services. Turning off your utilities and your Internet services can be complicated. Some service providers have seasonal programs.
Set indoor temperatures. Many seasonal residents set their thermostats at low temperatures to save money. A home monitoring system might be the best choice to avoid surprises.
Turn off the water. Shutting off the water at the main valve into the house is best.
Talk with law enforcement and neighbors. Alerting local police departments and trusted neighbors is a must.
Suspend subscriptions. Calling newspaper offices at least a week in advance to suspend a subscription prevents pileups.
Take medical records. Dual residents should take copies of their medical records and their medications with them.
WHO ARE DUAL RESIDENTS?
Most are baby boomers who were born in the years after World War II.14 They are generally well educated, financially prosperous, and lead active lifestyles.
Most dual residents have both homes in the United States; 10% have permanent residences outside the country. They typically begin their migration journeys to warmer terrains around November and return in April.15
Florida has traditionally been the biggest draw for dual residents. Analysts estimate Florida may attract nearly a million non-state residents annually.16
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR DUAL RESIDENTS?
According to projections, the elderly population (65 and older) is expected to double by 2050 to 83.7 million.17 The allure of dual residency—at least among baby boomers—may be fading. Nearly 90% of older Americans are now deciding to stay put, with 80% saying their current residence is where they plan to stay for the rest of their lives.18
If you need any assistance financially preparing yourself to become a dual resident, give our office a call at 303-741-9772. We would be happy to help you plan for the future you deserve and desire.
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