Climate Change and Your Retirement

Locations to Choose and Avoid for 2060

Old man and wife at beach wearing yellow hats
Old man and wife at beach wearing yellow hats

Do Not Plan on Retiring to Florida or Arizona.

Florida will not only be very hot and hurricane-prone. The ground is sinking, the salt content in the drinking water is rising, and the sea is taking over the coastline. You won’t want to live in Florida by 2060.

East Coast Beach Houses Will Flood

Unlike California, where mountains slope down straight into the ocean, the East Coast shore is made of sandbars and barrier islands and miles and miles of low elevation swampland. All of that swampland will be reverting to the ocean at least part of the year by the end of the century.

Central America Won’t Be An Option

Currently, luxury retirement communities in Central America are a cheap option for more adventurous US retirees. But that assumes a level of political stability that will likely disappear, even in traditionally solid countries like Mexico, unless we take drastic action between now and 2040. Even if Mexico and other Caribbean states do maintain strong government structures, the heat indexes and hurricane hit rates will be brutal.

North Dakota Might Be Nice

For the last century, retirees from the Midwest have migrated to the South to get away from brutal winters. But as the winters get milder up north and the summers get vicious down south, states like North Dakota, Michigan, and Minnesota could be attractive retirement locations.

Missouri Will Be Miserable

The heat won’t be the primary problem. The humidity will be the issue. You can survive 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) just fine if it’s dry heat. But with humidity over 70%, it starts to feel like Florida’s swamps. Your chance of heatstroke goes up.

For Mountains, Go East Not West

The Appalachians might start to look pretty attractive. Elevation will mitigate the heat. They get plenty of rain, so you won’t be worrying about water shortages. And with all the rain, they have very few massive forest fires. Contrast that to the Rocky Mountains or the Sierra Nevada where fires already rage every summer and firefighters are hard-pressed to find enough water to put the blazes out.

Hobby Gardens Might Not Make Food

Lots of old people get into gardening. Some move out to the countryside and buy a nice tract of land. I know one former professor who planted a vineyard and is now in the wine-making business. All of that is fun and all, but it’s going to get pretty hard in the next few decades.

The Great Flip

Retirees moving north. The Appalachia as a desirable property. Florida as an impoverished swampland. Million-dollar beach houses flooded and rotting.

Freelance writer trying to make the world a better place

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store