BOSTON (CBS) – Talking about the snow birds is one of my favorite segments.

If you were out this weekend near any major highway you are aware of the phenomena that occurs here in the northeast. The snow bird migration usually begins around Columbus Day weekend. Folks have gassed up their RVs and begun to head south. Some as far south as Florida and others, the half backs, head to Virginia or the Carolinas.

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With the cooler weather here heading south has some strong appeal. Retirees often want the best weather months wherever they are.

When it’s snowing and blowing with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees in New England the snowbirds want to be somewhere where it’s a sunny and a pleasant 75 degrees. When Arizona hits 120 degrees in the summer or Florida’s low temperature for the day will be 95 they want to be on the Cape where it’s a pleasant 75 degrees.

Some head out as soon as the first frost hits the pumpkins in October, coming back when they can plant their geraniums outside.

Other Snowbirds want to leave New England only during the worst of the winter; January, February and March. They leave after the holidays and return for the Red Sox’s season.

But to accomplish snowbird status you really need to do some serious planning. If you want to be a snowbird there truly is more to it than just forwarding your mail.

Where do you want your primary residence? Florida, Arizona, Massachusetts? So do you buy a second home? Do you rent? Do you live in an RV for a couple of months and in a house somewhere full time?

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Where do you want to die? That decision effects whether your estate will owe taxes when you do die? Do you want to pay estate taxes?

Many retirees are leaving Massachusetts permanently because if they die here they will incur an estate tax if their estate is valued at more than $1 million. There is no estate tax or income tax in Florida, but there are hurricanes!

There are so many decisions to make. I thought we’d spend the week sifting through this stuff.

One more thing: Check out  and the Snow Bird Helper for information on places to retire, senior housing, communities, state taxes, RVs for sale and much more.


You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m. and 3:55 p.m.

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