Can Local weather Change Have an effect on Your Retirement?
Consider taking steps to mitigate the effects of climate change on your retirement.
Recent fires, floods and extreme heat events show that climate change is here – now – and not some day in the distant future. How could this knowledge affect your retirement savings?
Any concerns about climate change could depend in part on your age. A recent survey by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) entitled “Financial Perspectives on Aging and Retirement Across the Generations” looks at the topic in more detail and provides information on how different generations perceive the importance of climate change in pension planning.
The survey found the following:
- More than a third of all respondents are very or somewhat concerned that climate change is putting their financial security at risk in retirement. However, climate change was not a major concern for most of the respondents in retirement.
- Compared to other generations, Millennials are more likely to believe that climate change will affect their health, increase the likelihood of property damage, and affect where they can retire to.
- Half of all millennials are concerned about the effects of climate change on their old-age pensions; only 16% of the silent generation report the same concern.
- All generations are concerned about how climate change will negatively affect the cost of living, taxes and insurance costs.
Legitimate concerns about personal safety and the rising cost of living for heating and air conditioning, energy, home insurance, and groceries can influence some of your important retirement decisions. In fact, there can be many situations where climate change could affect your retirement decisions.
Let’s look at two.
Where should one live in retirement?
The idyllic old people’s home on the beach, in the desert or in the mountains may no longer have the same charm as it used to. Extreme heat, fire, or flooding caused by climate change can devastate retired lifestyles in these environments.
When deciding where to live in retirement, you face two fundamental decisions: the general area of residence and the specific place of residence and municipality. Both decisions can have a significant impact on your retirement savings and your enjoyment of life.
To consider the potential impact of climate change on the general area you plan to live in, check out the local newspapers for the latest updates on temperatures and stresses climate change is causing in the area. Here are some considerations:
- Do you fancy the beach and a mild climate? Instead of living on the beach, you might consider living near the beach, preferably 25 feet or more above sea level to be safe from storm surges.
- Like the mountains? Consider the fire hazard: would the roads allow for easy urgent evacuation?
- Like the desert? Then you may want to investigate how you can mitigate the effects of extreme temperatures.
If you think these areas are not for you, you can live all year round in a metropolitan area protected from forest fires, floods and extreme temperatures, and just on your favorite beach, mountain, or yours Favorite beach vacation make desert community.
If you are retired and currently live in a location prone to fire, flooding, or excessive temperatures, you should consider moving to a safer place that is more forgiving of the elderly with reduced mobility. Just don’t wait until you’re too frail and fail to make such a move.
If you’re worried about rising insurance and utility bills, reducing your bills is a great way to lower your heating, air conditioning, and home insurance bills. Downsizing can offer other benefits, such as: A bonus would be a place where you can walk or use public transportation for many of your daily activities.
Instead of desperately chasing down interest rates for meager fractions of a percent returns in the current low interest rate environment, broaden your perspective and think about investments that can lower your cost of living. Examples are improved insulation of your walls and windows or the installation of solar panels, water collection systems, gray water systems or drought tolerant plants.
Other options include replacing a gas guzzler with an electric or hybrid car, and replacing your lawn with a vegetable or orchard, or drought tolerant landscape.
No matter your age, hopefully you will be inspired to think about ways to protect your financial security and retirement from the threats of climate change. And in doing so, you do your own part to reduce your environmental impact.