Moving to Florida Pros Cons of moving and living in Florida Sat, 13 Sep 2014 11:33:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Best Places to Live in Florida 2015 Small Towns Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:28:12 +0000 Despite what most people believe about Florida being the best place to live, Florida is only the 31rst best place to live out of the 50 states according to the book “How to Retire Happier”, due out late September 2014. That’s not just some author’s (me) flawed view, it’s the result of examining and ranking all of the quality of life data that one should consider in deciding if a place is worth leaving family and friends behind and spending lots of cash to move to, backed up by national polling. Did you know that most Florida residents don’t feel Florida is the best or one of the best states to live in according to Gallop polling? If anyone would know, it would Florida residents.

That said, the book also says that even if a state ranks low, there are towns in every state where the quality of life is better than the state as a whole. While the book says your chances of being happy with a move to Florida is less than 50% (backed up by data, polling and in/out migration statistics and more), moving to the best places in Florida are likely to increase your odds.

To find the best small towns to live in Florida, we looked for places with a population under 50,000 to try to get that “small town feeling”. That’s not as easy in Florida as it is in many other states. Much of Florida has been developed more recently and many towns don’t have a proper downtown but instead have busier roads with strip malls and big box stores. Many small towns are just a suburb of larger cities and if you miss the “welcome to” sign you wouldn’t know you were in a different town. Florida has a very transient population so finding a town with a sense of community or community spirit can be difficult.

The following small towns in Florida are where I believe you’ll have the best chance of finding what you’re looking for in a move to Florida in 2015. They all have lower rates of crime and other things you don’t want when looking for a place to live, and more of what you do want that improves the quality of life for it’s residents. To make our list, the towns had to have a lower cost of living than Florida in general. Providing a list of great places that only the very wealthy can afford to live in wouldn’t serve most people. Although these towns may cost less to live in than the Florida average, they aren’t cheap. Choosing the right place to live in Florida is critical. This list is a good place to start if you’re looking for the best small towns to live in, in the sunshine state.

Best Place to Live in Florida 2015 Small Town #5 Temple Terrace, Florida

If you’re looking for a “small town” but want to be close to all the amenities that a large city offers, then Temple Terrace deserves your

"New Temple Terrace entry tower, 56th Street" by Tlalock446

“New Temple Terrace entry tower, 56th Street” by Tlalock446

serious consideration. Florida has a higher violent crime rate than most states, but Temple Terrace’s rate is lower than Florida’s average. The cost of Living here is slightly lower than Florida as a whole, but school graduation rates are considerably higher.

The reason I chose Temple Terrace is that it ranks higher in all the quality of life data than Florida overall, but it’s also just a short drive to Busch Gardens, professional sporting events, all the shopping and dining that a large cities like Tampa and st Petersburg offers, and you’re near beaches too. So while living in Temple Terrace you’ll benefit from less of what you don’t want like traffic jams and crime, but close enough to big city amenities so you won’t be sacrificing excitement or opportunities.

See a Video of Temple Terrace Florida


Best Place to Live in Florida 2015 Small Town #4 Niceville, Florida

If the perfect small town in Florida for you would be a place far from big city lights and issues, Niceville Florida may be your best bet in 2015. Located in Florida’s less populated panhandle area just a short drive to beautiful Gulf of Mexico beaches, Niceville is a great choice if you want a quieter more relaxing small town and won’t miss large city amenities. This general area has been the subject of other posts on this site because of it’s low unemployment rate.

This area offers residents more of the enjoyable old time Florida that has disappeared from most of the rest of Florida. The crime rate is far lower too. It’s a great area to enjoy less crowded beaches, fishing and seafood shacks. There are beaches and towns in the area that are popular with spring breakers if you want to partake in a little craziness a couple weeks out of the year. Who wouldn’t want to live in a place called Niceville?

See a Video of Niceville Florida


Best Place to Live in Florida 2015 Small Town #3 Safety Harbor

Safety Harbor is another town in the Tampa St Petersburg area that offers residents a lower crime rate, a slightly lower cost of living (but slightly higher home prices) and better high school graduation rates than the rest of Florida. Safety Harbor is just a short ride to large city amenities, the Tampa airport and beaches, so you can enjoy smaller town living with out giving anything up.

Safety Harbor is right next door to more affordable Dunedin our #2 pick, so if you don’t have a lot of time to shop for a new place to live in Florida, exploring this area is a great choice. If you’ll need to work after moving to Florida, Safety Harbor offers easy access to both the Tampa and St Pete job markets. Schools in the area have a lower ratio of students to teachers and a higher high school graduation rate than Florida in general. If small town living with good schools and job opportunities in Florida are what you require, Safety Harbor may be ideal for your family.

See a Video of Safety Harbor Florida


Best Place to Live in Florida 2015 Small Town #2 Dunedin, Florida

Why should you consider Dunedin, Florida when searching for a great small town to live in Florida? Well Dunedin has a lower cost of

ball park in Dunedin Florida

“Knology Park” by User Mikerussell on en.wikipedia

living, a much lower violent crime rate, a lower commute time and higher high school graduation rate than what you’ll find in most of Florida. Dunedin has a real downtown that was recently voted as being among the most walkable small towns in the US. If you’re looking for a place to live where you can park the car and walk to a safe downtown with shops, restaurants and pubs, Dunedin might be for you.

Dunedin is right next door to Safety Harbor, another pick on this list, and just a short drive to our #5 pick of Temple Terrace. This area certainly offers those seeking the ideal small town in Florida something special. Actually together with Venice our #1 pick for the best small town to live in in 2015, 4 of the 5 best small towns are all within an hours drive of each other. That can make investigating these towns much easier and less expensive to accomplish.

See a Video of Dunedin, Florida


Best Place to Live in Florida 2015 Small Town #1 Venice Florida

Venice Florida has made one of our best places to live or retire in Florida list every year, for years. A historic downtown area on the “Island of

sunset over water venice florida

“VeniceSunset”. Via Wikipedia

Venice” within walking and biking distance of parks and public beaches makes this place special. The cost of living and housing are just slightly less than average for Florida, but there are areas off the island section where less expensive homes and condo can be found.

The high school graduation rate in the Venice area is higher than most of Florida. Venice residents can commute to Sarasota, St Petersburg and Tampa in less than an hour so there are opportunities for employment. But it’s the miles of bike paths, many different beaches and the very walkable island of Venice that make this a great place to live. Golf courses, boat ramps and properties with access to the Gulf of Mexico add up a great quality of life. Venice is only about an hour from 3 other picks on this list, so this area of Florida is the best bet for better small town living in Florida.

See a Video of Venice Florida

Have You Ever Been to any of These Towns?

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Best Urban Places to Retire Not Wed, 03 Sep 2014 14:06:40 +0000 Another “Best” Places to Retire” List Misses

Yet another popular website has published yet another “best places to retire” list. While a few of these lists are pretty good, far too homeless beggermany lists aren’t, and some are just outright poor. The flaws I see with this list are as follows:

  • Criteria: The list creators website* says “we incorporated average annual temperatures into our rankings  — the warmer a city, the better.” So what they really mean is the hottest. What most seniors really want is WARM weather, not the HOTTEST. No one wants 115 degree desert heat (but it’s a dry heat, so is the heat that comes out of an oven) or 95% swampy humidity nearly all year round. The creators of the list* must think that most seniors want to spend almost all year indoors listening to the AC running up their electric bill day and night.
  • Criteria: The list creators* go on to say “so we assessed how easy it is to live without a car by looking at the Walk Score of each city”. True, most people would like to just park the car and walk to where they want or need to go. But this list is an “urban” list, meaning you’ll be expected to be living downtown so you can walk, but crime is not considered at all for this list. The result? Miami, often named as the city with the highest violent crime rate in the country, is their #1 pick. Are they suggesting that the best place for Mr & Mrs Nice from Nebraska to retire is downtown Miami? They should have to walk the streets of downtown Miami to get what they need? Does anybody else see anything wrong with that? Ever been there?

They* did go on to say that “We also included the average cost of a visit to the doctor’s office”. I hope so because seniors who move to large cities with high crime rates that will be out walking the streets will be at higher risk of needing medical care. Unfortunately it may be emergency medical care as a result of becoming a victim of violent crime, not a routine trip to the doctor for prescription refills, that will probably be paid by medicare anyway.

The criteria used to make the list was very limited, and therefore in my opinion, so is it’s usefulness. Lists that ignore crime and quality of healthcare may even be dangerous. Unfortunately, there are far too many lists suggesting that people should move for retirement. It almost seems their suggesting that if you stay where you are, you’ll somehow miss out on a great retirement. Moving for retirement can be one of the biggest and most expensive mistakes someone can make if it’s the wrong place, whether it’s in the US or overseas. As far as these lists go, putting the wrong data in means the wrong list comes out.

The best place to retire is the one you will be the happiest and that may mean retiring in the same area you now live. I’m finishing up my new book that will help people decide where and what retirement lifestyle might be best for them out of all the different options available today, from staying where they are now with changes to moving elsewhere in the US or overseas.

*The list that says Miami is the #1 urban place to retire can be found here at nerdwallet

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