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December 24, 2021

Recession forcing Snowbirds to leave retirement states

It’s been the rite of passage for Americans for years: get married, have kids, work hard and get the hell out.

Flying the coop hadn’t been so much an option as it’d become a lifestyle for U.S. retirees looking to leave their wintry hometowns for sunny locales.

It was the “other” American Dream. After a lifetime of cold weather misery, sixty-somethings wanted nothing more than to trade in snow shovels for shuffleboard cues and retire in peace. Warm, sunny peace.

But such a sacrament appears in jeopardy for the latest generation of Boomers, and the recession is to blame.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the downturn has reversed the traditional migration patterns of Americans.

Because of a burst housing bubble (and dried-up job prospects), Yankees are fleeing retirement hotspots like Florida and Nevada where once they flocked.

In the year ending July 1, 2009, Florida lost more than 31,000 residents, compared to a gain of 141,448 in 2006. Nevada, the state that brought in 41,640 new residents in 2006, similarly lost 4,000 last year.

What’s to blame? The WSJ suggests a lot of people are “stuck” with houses impossible to move in the current market, locking retirees into their homes in the northern U.S. when they’d like to move south.

Compounding the issue is the struggling labour market in the Sunbelt states, which has largely evaporated in line with the rest of the recession. Where do people then look to move? To states with less tax and higher employment – like Texas, which has proved itself a hotbed for both entrepreneur and corporate business despite the downturn.

In any case, bleak affairs in the Snowbird states have analysts spooked and wondering about their recovery.

“The real question is when (they) are going to be able to come back,” one sources tells the WSJ. “These new numbers suggest no end in sight.”

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...