Growing up in Arizona, we referred to retirees that lived the summer months somewhere up North and the winter months in the Southwest as “snowbirds”. Increasingly, snowbirds have been shedding their Northern nests and settling in the desert in massive retirement communities like Sun City in Phoenix and Las Vegas. In the Southeast we have similar developments in Peachtree City South of Atlanta and the Villages in central Florida. These communities offer a fantastic quality of life, but they are hot. I mean blazing hot.
Last week I helped my mom and stepdad move from Las Vegas to Tucson, which is a retirement mecca. The temperature hovered at 108 degrees. I don’t care if it is a dry heat, that’s hot! When I offered to help my parents move, it didn’t occur to me they would choose the first week of August as the ideal time to do it. But I’m not complaining too much. At least I didn’t have to go to Houston, TX.
My bride’s grandparents grew up in Texas and lived in Houston for over 60 years. Granddaddy’s birthday was August 9th. Every year since he turned 98, the family would go to Houston and throw him a birthday party, and it was a lot of fun. He enjoyed it so much, he kept having them so we could come back and visit him. Granddaddy lived to be 104 years old.
One year we had an ice cream social at the fellowship hall of Granddaddy’s church (South Main Baptist). I offered to ride with Grandmother and Granddaddy in the car to the party. I was wearing a suit and a tie and I was sweating profusely because it was over 100 degrees with 110% humidity (mild August weather for Houston). Granddaddy was sitting in the front seat with the air conditioner blowing on him. He got cold, so he kept opening the windows to “let the warm air in”. I thought I was going to die of heat stroke. I would rather go to Vietnam in August than go to Houston.
Warmer climates are a great retirement destination for retirees, especially if they live in a low maintenance community. Our retired clients live predominantly in the Southern states and are quite active. Most of our clients are in North Georgia, which is far enough North that you see four seasons but far enough South that you don’t have to shovel snow. We also have clients that live in Nevada, the low country of South Carolina and the Florida coast.
Retirees are the busiest people I know. Living in a climate where they’re not shut in for the winter months adds a lot of quality to their lives. For folks that have settled into retirement up North, come on down to the South and look around!