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Posthaste: Snowbirds have flown south again, but they're not sure how much longer they can afford it

Tourism In Florida Falls Almost 10 Percent During Second Quarter
Tourism In Florida Falls Almost 10 Percent During Second Quarter

Canadian snowbirds have resumed their travels to hot and sunny locales, but they’re worried they may not be able to afford such a lifestyle for much longer.

Almost three quarters of Canadians over the age of 50 who live in warmer climates for part of the winter say they are worried about the current state of the economy impacting their lifestyle, according to a survey from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce conducted by Maru Public Opinion. That comes as everything gets more expensive in Canada and abroad amid elevated inflation and higher interest rates, meaning piggy banks further to stretch than they did a few years ago. A weak Canadian dollar isn’t easing the pain.

“After managing through challenging pandemic-related travel conditions, many Canadians have returned to spending their winters abroad in warmer locales,” Carissa Lucreziano, vice president of Financial and Investment Advice at CIBC, said in a news release. “Yet many snowbirds are faced with travel uncertainty again as interest rates and (the) cost of living continue to climb.”

But that doesn’t mean people are asking for financial advice to navigate the changing economic landscape and protect their lifestyle. Only 21 per cent have sought out a professional for help, the survey said.

Canadians in general are confused about how much to put aside for retirement, especially as everyday costs rise. Many think $1 million in savings is enough to retire in comfort, according to recent research by IG Wealth Management. Yet, two-thirds are worried a recession will add to costs this year, making retirement even more expensive. That’s left 33 per cent unsure of how much of their paycheque they should be putting toward retirement savings.

Many are placing all their hopes on the registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), and 44 per cent think RRSPs are the only investment account they need to accumulate their nest eggs. However, “that’s just one piece of the retirement planning puzzle,” Christine Van Cauwenberghe, head of Financial Planning at IG Wealth Management, said in a news release.

Retirees must also take into consideration their debt levels, tax and estate obligations, insurance and budgets, while also balancing any investments they may have, tax free savings accounts and property they might own — a complicated task. That’s where a certified financial planner can step in to help, Van Cauwenberghe said.

To afford winter months in the heat, snowbirds say they’re keeping frugal and avoiding major purchases, such as appliances, a boat, or a new home. Indeed, only seven per cent of Canadians living abroad stay in a property they own. Renting is by far the preferred method, the CIBC survey found. But that’s proving more expensive these days as rents rise, especially in snowbird destinations in the United States such as South Florida, research shows. Rents were up 31.7 per cent in 2022 over the previous year in popular Florida counties such as Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, according to one study.

Undeterred by rising costs, some eager to join the snowbirds’ ranks are employing a number of strategies to save enough to take flight. That includes delaying retirement to build up more savings, cutting back on restaurants on other non-essential spending, and downsizing their current home for something more affordable.

CIBC uncovered some other interesting trivia about snowbird habits with its poll. For example, 89 per cent take only one trip throughout the year, and the United States is the top destination for 56 per cent. In the U.S., Florida, Georgia and South Carolina are popular locations, with 34 per cent headed there. Arizona and Texas make up 14 per cent of destinations, and California and Nevada make up 10 per cent. Only seven per cent seek out Hawaii as their winter retreat.

Other popular destinations for snowbirds include Mexico, Central America and South America, the Caribbean and Europe.


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You’d be forgiven if the endless headlines about company layoffs are making you feel a little nervous about holding onto your job, but things might not be as dire as they seem.

The latest United States Bureau of Labor Statistics report released on Feb. 3 blew expectations out of the water. The U.S. added 517,000 jobs in January, pushing the unemployment rate down to 3.4 per cent, the lowest since May 1969. Bloomberg economists had expected a mere 188,000 new jobs, and for the unemployment rate to rise to 3.6 per cent. More companies in the U.S. may have cut jobs in January than in the past two years, but layoffs are at historic lows, not highs, Bloomberg noted.

In Canada, many companies still plan on hiring in the early part of this year, research shows. And a tight labour market is leading many companies to hold onto employees, instead of cutting staff, as has been the case in past economic downturns. Read more about why layoffs may not be telling the full story.


  • Bank of Canada releases its summary of deliberations for the Jan. 25 policy decision

  • Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Minister Ahmed Hussen; Women and Gender Equality and Youth Minister Marci Ien; Paul Chiang, parliamentary secretary to the minister of housing and diversity and inclusion; and Arielle Kayabaga, Liberal MP for London West, will make an announcement in Canada’s efforts to improve social and economic outcomes in Black communities

  • Karina Gould, minister of families, children and social development, will announce Canada’s 2023 Voluntary National Review on the Sustainable Development Goals at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Sustainable Communities Conference

  • EV Innovation and Technology Conference 2023, a conference on how to accelerate and transform electric vehicle manufacturing in Canada, is being held Etobicoke, Ont.

  • Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Minister Joyce Murray and Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault, will announce key elements that will help Canada safeguard areas of our oceans that need protection, and that will help us meet the ambitious target of conserving 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030

  • Selina Robinson, B.C. minister of post-secondary education and future skills; Brenda Bailey, B.C. minister of jobs, economic development and innovation; Andrew Mercier, minister of state for workforce development; and guests launch the latest B.C. Labour Market Outlook

  • Pierre Cleroux, chief economicst at BDC, will speak at the Surrey Board of Trade’s 2023 Economic Forecast event

  • The N.W.T. government is releasing its budget

  • Freshii Inc. (TSX: FRII) will hold a special meeting of Freshii’s shareholders virtually at 9:00 a.m. (Toronto time) on February 8, 2023 via live audio webcast. Shareholders will be asked to consider the Foodtastic Inc. acquisition

  • Today’s data: U.S. wholesale trade

  • Earnings: Walt Disney Co., Total S.A., CVS Health Corp, Uber, Yum! Brancs Inc., Sun Life Financial Inc., Equifax Inc., Great-West Lifeco Inc., Equitable Holdings, Ceridian HCM Holding Inc., Robinhood, Mattel Inc., The New York Times Co., Under Armour Inc., Cannacord Genuity Group Inc.





The introduction of robo-advisers has changed the way more Canadians invest. A robo-adviser is perfect for the passive, set-it-and-forget-it investor. The platforms are all online, providing automated financial planning and investments based on algorithms with little or even no supervision by humans. Our content partner MoneyWise offers a list of the best robo-advisers in Canada, broken down by investor type.


Today’s Posthaste was written by Victoria Wells (@vwells80), with additional reporting from Financial Post staff, The Canadian Press, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg.

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