Some 1,000 homes were a total loss and tens of thousands of residents fled the deadly December fire. The fire flared up unusually late in the season, kindled by a multiyear drought. Earlier in 2021, media coverage darkened with dwindling hope for survivors in a crumbled condominium tower in Surfside, Florida.

A confluence of factors was believed to be at the root of the collapse that claimed 98 lives, many of retirement age. For many, it was a wake-up call that a densely developed south Florida was going to see building resilience tested over and over by global warming-linked coastal water rise.

The reality is, climate-change impact is already being felt. Natural disasters aren’t new, but their frequency and staying power are intensifying. Key sectors that factor into retirement considerations — real estate and insurance — are lagging in their preparation for a new-normal.

Climate change is not being priced into housing, says Raj Dosaj, head of real estate for Cape Analytics. 100-year weather events are happening every five years, and all over the country. It will be costly, both financially and politically, and will need to include a sea change.
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