First Winter Retired: Wow, That Sucked!

Are you Retired? Do you love shoveling snow, scraping ice, spending far too much time in the house?

If you like this, you are either of viking descent or have a working relationship with anti-depressants, pot or alcohol.

My first winter retired and I am so fed up with the record snow-falls and storms that I’ve got to come up with a plan…

Why did it seem so bad?

Where do I start? First, it started early where I live. I live in the sunny Okanagan in south central British Columbia. Some years you can swim in the lake until mid October. But, this past autumn, no such luck. We got a heavy snowfall the earliest in decades in early November. That melted and then winter set in.

Normally we get rain or wet snow most of the time in winter with temperatures around the freezing mark but this winter we had more days below freezing than I can remember. Snow levels were record-breaking in our area. One neighbor measured every snowfall and we got 128 inches! That’s over 12 feet of snow!

Eastern Canada and the eastern seaboard of the US got hit with one after another “Nor Easters” shutting down cities and transportation for days each storm. They even got “Thunder Snow”! Mountain passes were closed numerous days for avalanches. Black-outs and car crashes everywhere!

Spring. Where are you?

It seems spring is dragging its butt this year. Many years, I am prepping my garden for planting by the second or third week of April but not too likely this year. Nights are still dropping below freezing and we live in one of the warmest areas of Canada.

Health wise, I am less healthy now than I was in November. Why? The weather sucked! Going for a walk was down-right dangerous. The roads and sidewalks were heavy ice and some days, I’d leave my yard and slide down into one of my neighbors yards. Tough getting back up the hill to my place. Also, I developed “Golfer’s Elbow” and I don’t golf! I got it from shoveling that damn snow.

I must have put on 15 pounds snow-bound as we were and I think my blood pressure is up.

I think I now suffer from SADS (that is the “going cookoo from no sunshine” syndrome).

I need sunshine! I need warm! I need beaches!


I know, I’m whining, and here’s why.

I should have planned better. I don’t mean financially (well I did screw up there too), but I mean my wife and I could have spent the winter in Mexico, in any of a number of small towns that you can live in cheap.

We know a retired couple that for the last ten years have been flying down to La Penita, north of Puerto Vallarta and renting a two-bedroom apartment or hotel suite in this minimal tourist town. They end up with a kitchen, WiFi, common pool and sometimes can leave their belongings there for the summer. $500.00 per month for the months spent there!

Some smaller hotels in Guayabitos and Los Ayalas have pretty good monthly rates in the winter season. I know of one place, with a kitchenette for 25 dollars a day, 2 blocks from the beach. If you eat cheap and drink cheap, a pensioned couple can live OK at that rate.

If you are retired with a better than basic pension, the opportunities are very good as long as you don’t require 3 star lodgings.

There are good deals out there. Use your personal network to find them.

What do you mean, “Personal Network”? You must know people that spend the winter down south, right? That’s your “personal network”. Most of those people spend the whole winter down there, mixing with the locals, shopping, going to restaurants and markets and these people know the scoop on whatever area they hang out at and hear about all the off-the-grid deals that don’t get advertised. Talk to them!

Blogs are another great area to involve yourself in. Search for an area-specific blog such as: Friends Riviera Nayarit Mexico on Facebook. This blog is specific to that part of Mexico but there are many groups on Facebook that may cover whatever area you are interested in.

If unsure on finding these blogs, get someone to help you.

What do I do with my stuff? My home?

Hard to say. Every one has a different situation, but, you could try:

  • Good house-sitters that do not pay rent but live in your home until spring and pay only the utilities
  • Winterize your place as much as possible and get friends or family to check on your home.
  • If in an apartment, sub-let for 6 months if allowed
  • Store your car at a friend or relatives place. You can even minimize the insurance on the vehicles for the months you are gone but make sure to keep “fire & theft” insurance on them.

The main thing is to minimize your northern costs while down south thereby enabling a better lifestyle while there.

Now is the time to plan for next winter!

Get off your Duff now! You only have about 5 months to get something lined up.

Research, at least 4 or 5 hours a week. Don’t just kick back and relax this spring and summer. You will run out of time.

Now is the time to plan flights to your locations of interest or you will pay the big bucks for flights. A two-week vacation in your area of interest in the south might be the start of tracking down a long term winter retirement lifestyle in the south.

Make lists of places you might like, bookmark websites of interest, talk to snow-birds that are experienced in southern winter living. Consider all the “Pros & Cons”.

Don’t be afraid to try something new! A radical change from the norm may be exactly what you need!

Please feel free to comment on this article in the “Comments” section below.




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10 Replies to “First Winter Retired: Wow, That Sucked!”

  1. I also recently retired. However, my winter here in southern California was just fine. I started with Wealthy Affiliate a few months ago and it is the best and smartest decision I have made so far in retirement. I don’t need the money, but I want some and I want to help people just like your.
    Thanks for a fun article and I hope the temperature is coming up now for you.
    Best of luck!

    1. Thanks for the comment Curtis. I’m just getting used to this retirement thing and working through the training. Figuring out how to make decent posts is killing me but gotta stay at it.
      Thanks again

  2. Hi, Michael,

    I’m retired too soon, too. And you’re right about us being in a youth-oriented culture. I would have never believed it if I hadn’t experienced it myself.
    Great looking site. I like your theme. Easy to read and good information. As soon as you figure out how to exist on “retirement”, be sure to publish it on here, because I need to read it.

    Nice looking website,

    1. Thanks for the comment Sue, it’s amazing that everybody’s life story is different, isn’t it? I think the biggest thing is to try and enjoy what you have now not just financially but with the free time a person has. Have to still have a little adventure without taking chances that can hurt you. You must be happy at all costs otherwise you wasted all those years… I’m just hoping to get a few more years able to physically still get around good.
      Thanks so much
      Best Regards

  3. I grew up in Alaska, and thank goodness I live in Florida now! I am retired and I am also so done with cold weather and snow. Granted, it is funny, when I lived in Alaska I loved to shovel the snow. And I would have a 10 foot high mound of the stuff. I took it on as exercise and actually got quite cranky if someone did my job for me, LOL

    1. I guess the older we get the less proud we are of challenges. You don’t receive any trophies for how much snow you shovel without throwing your back out. I’m jealous of you living in Florida, that is a great place! Thanks so much for the comment.

  4. Michael,
    As a business man most of my life, planning for retirement was another project that took many years of work.
    I retired three years ago, this winter was spent mostly indoors. I live in the Midwest of the United States, we had a very mild winter. Less than four inches of total snow. Did not get the wheeler out with the plow all winter, what a disappointment.
    Having a plan for the winter will make the time go by without stress. I started a website before I retired and have been working on it for a while to keep my mind sharp and I learn new things daily.

    1. Thanks for the comment John,
      Usually, where I live, the winters are kicking around the freezing mark with usually wet snow or rain higher up. Sometimes the golf courses stay open most of the winter, those that are located in the valleys. If you get a chance, look up Okanagan Valley, B.C. A lot of Americans love coming up here depending on the exchange rate. We are similar to Napa Valley, California in many respects, kind of western Canada’s vacation destination.
      This year though was dark, cloudy and way too much heavy snow and since as I get older, I’m becoming a bit of a whiner.. I would rather garden all year round.
      Thanks again John, I’ll check out your site. It looks interesting.

  5. Hi. It’s great that you highlighted this cause It’s amazing how the most basic of things that most retirees don’t think about. as far as my father who is already retired, he gets one of us to mind his things while he and mother go away but there again some retiress don’t have children, by you highlighting what to do with my stuff and home, your giving solutions to those who are in desperate need which is a great help. thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the comments Michael. Because evryone’s situation is different there is a multitude of ideas that I am researching by talking to retirees that winter in Riviera Nayarit area of mexico where we go each year. I think the biggest thing is to connect with people you can trust. You don’t want to just grab someone off the street to live in your home, should do a background search or get good referrals on them, meet them and check out their facebook page. I’ll keep going and try to make this site really usefull.
      Thanks again
      Best Regards

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