The threat of climate change is shifting some older Americans’ retirement plans.
Extreme weather such as hurricanes, flooding, freezing temperatures and wildfires has prompted some to rethink where they will spend their golden years.
“Clients are seeing it for themselves and starting to adjust plans as a result,” said John McGlothlin III, a certified financial planner with Southwest Retirement Consultants in Austin, Texas.
One client, planning to retire in Galveston, Texas, wasn’t prepared for the rising expense of flood insurance, he said. While the average cost for Texas flood coverage is $700 per year, premiums may be higher in some areas.
Another client in Austin suffered from the region’s deep freeze and power outages in February. When pipes froze and their condo flooded, they started to question their long-term plans, McGlothlin said.
With the possibility of another cold snap, more home damage or future displacement, they are reconsidering where they are living. But there’s a problem: The unit may not fetch the same price post-flood, he said.
Declining home values may create another issue for retirees, however.
With less home equity, retirees may have limited flexibility to tap their property to pay for long-term care expenses or other health-care costs, said McGlothlin.
“We just have to be very thoughtful about what the environment is going to do to real estate and what that means for long-term retirement plans,” he said.
Not a concern for all retirees
While some retirees worry about the risks of hurricanes, deep freezes or wildfires, others are less concerned about climate change.
“From what I’ve seen over the last five to 10 years, extreme weather has not had a noticeable impact on retirement plans,” said Matt Stephens, a Wilmington, North Carolina-based CFP and founder of AdvicePoint.