Pros and Cons of Retiring in Florida
Florida is famous for being one of the most desired places for retirement. In fact, it was ranked as the number one state for retirement. The Sunshine State allows you to build a patch of paradise for yourself where you can spend your retirement days in peace. It offers everything from vibrant recreational resorts to tranquil lakes.
Another great thing about Florida is that you have lots of options when it comes to buying property. It all depends on your investments and retirement savings. You can buy a great waterfront house starting from $200,000 to millions of dollars. There are countless retirement communities where you can hang out with people of the same age and interests.
Although Florida is a great place to retire, we don’t want to paint a rosy picture. There are two sides to each story. Despite being a sought-after place to retire, Florida does have some problems as well. Let us compare the pros and cons of retiring in Florida to get a better sense of things.
Pros of Retiring in Florida:
No State Income Tax
Unlike most other states of the country, there are no state income taxes in Florida. This is one of the main reasons why tons of people from big cities like Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco are choosing to migrate to Florida in huge numbers. It would not be wrong to call Florida a tax haven. The state will not touch your IRS income, 401K withdrawals, or public and private pensions.
Residents of Florida pay the fourth-lowest taxes among all of the 50 States and the country. You will only have to pay federal taxes. Your retirement income, including your Social Security benefits, will not be taxed. You can spend the money you saved on state taxes to get the most out of the Florida experience.
Nature has blessed Florida with 1350 miles of beautiful coastline. The state is well-known for its jaw-dropping landscapes and beaches. In fact, more than half of the Top 10 ranked beaches in the US are located in Florida. On top of some of the best beaches in the country, Florida is also home to several hidden springs and underwater caves.
These freshwater springs are oases that provide a perfect escape for the admirers of Florida’s natural beauty. They have an average temperature of 70-75 degrees throughout the year. You can also explore the mystical underground caves. Florida’s natural beauty is also adorned with stunning coral reefs and barrier islands. The Magnolia Trees, Rosemary, and wildflowers act as icing on the cake.
On average, Florida has the most number of days of sunshine than any other state in the US. The weather here remains moderate to hot on average. You do get some winter months though. Summers are humid and last for most of the year. Winter lasts from December to February, the weather in these months is dry.
Florida is known for its Caribbean-like climate. The tropical climate of the state is mainly influenced by its geography. Florida is a peninsula, surrounded by the sea from three sides. The sea has the ability to store heat. That is why coastal areas have a slightly higher temperature as compared to the central region. July is the warmest month in Florida, with an average temperature of 84°F.
Low Cost of Living
This one is tricky because you will find conflicting information from different sources. If we talk about the living cost alone, Florida is an affordable place to live. The cost of living in Florida is almost the same as the national average. In fact, it is slightly lower. The city and the neighborhood where you choose to live play a huge role. There are lots of rich neighborhoods in different cities of Florida. Everything costs more in such areas. But if you play it smart, you can buy property in a great area with reasonable living costs.
Salaries and wages are not so great in Florida. That’s what makes people think that Florida is an expensive state to live in. But if you have saved a reasonable sum for your retirement, you will not face any problem. However, this is changing because of the mass exodus of people from all over the country.
Entertainment and Recreation
When it comes to having a good time, Florida has a lot to offer. No matter what your interests are, there is something for everyone in this beautiful state. There are countless golf courses and clubs where you can not only have a great time but also meet like-minded people. If you are a foodie, you can explore the delicious cuisine from the amazing eateries in all major cities.
Florida is also a paradise for sports lovers. The Sunshine State is home to 10 professional sports teams and is one of the few places that held sports events during the pandemic.
Other than these attractions, you have Disney World, Universal Studios, Kennedy Space Center, Salvador Dali museum and the list goes on.
Cons of Retiring in Florida:
Tourists and Traffic
For most of the residents of any Floridian city, what they hate most about Florida is the number of tourists that visit the sunshine state every month. Florida’s own population is about 20 million people. On the other hand, about 80 million tourists visit the state in a year. Due to such a huge influx of people from all over the country, the traffic in almost every large city is terrible most of the year.
If you live in an area with high tourist concentration like Miami, Orlando, or Tampa, etc. You will find it annoyingly difficult to go out to grab something to eat, shopping, or simply a walk. One way to avoid this problem is to get yourself settled in one of the many retirement communities in Florida. In most cases, you get almost everything that you need within the community.
Florida weather from November to March is envied by everyone in the rest of the country. During the depth of winters, it is cozy and pleasant in the Sunshine State. However, the weather during the rest of the year is too hot and humid.
Even if you think you are ready for the heat and the humidity, you will be surprised by how bad it is. On top of humidity, there is always a risk of natural disasters like storms hurricanes and tornadoes, etc. Because it is a peninsula, it remains open to climatic threats from all sides.
Florida is home to some creepy crawlies that you don’t want to encounter. You will find alligators in Florida to be larger than usual and fearless. Some of them are big enough that they will come after small pets and even children.
There has been a well-reported case in 2016 when an alligator attacked a 2-year-old who was building a sandcastle at a Disney resort. The animal dragged the toddler into the lagoon and the boy went missing. So if you see a warning sign to be aware of alligators, snakes, or other dangerous animals, take it seriously.
Bugs and mosquitoes are also a huge problem in Florida. They won’t let you sit outside in peace. They can even cause diseases like dengue fever and zika virus.
According to Medicare, the healthcare facilities for retired people in Florida or not up to the mark. You would expect a state like Florida to have top-notch medical care because of its high population of senior citizens. But unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, a lot of public hospitals in Florida earned just one out of five stars on Medicare’s rating system.
According to the Commonwealth fund, the healthcare system in Florida was ranked 41st among 50 states. It was ranked 48th for access and affordability of medical care.
Florida is a beautiful state but is also known as the sinkhole capital of the United States. Sinkholes are an increasingly fatal risk in Florida. This is primarily because of the geology of the state. Florida is sitting on top of the porous carbonated rock, mainly limestone, which is highly susceptible to sinkholes. Limestone can hold large amounts of water in underground aquifers which can create underground caving when it flows through the rocks.
Weather conditions, acidic rains, and drought-like conditions are also some of the key factors involved in this phenomenon.
Sinkholes can not only result in property loss but also put you and your family at risk. There have been several cases where people were injured and some even died as a result of sinkholes.
It is absolutely important that you do your research beforehand and finds out whether the area where you are going to build your dream home is prone to sinkholes. Click here to find out the areas of Florida with a high risk of sinkholes.