Florida Pros and Cons 254 comments

Does living in Florida even have any negatives?

Ask anyone thinking of moving to Florida about the pros and cons of living in the sunshine state, and florida pros and consthey will probably be able to give you a long list of imagined positives but may not be able to mention even one negative. Ask that same person five years after they have actually lived there (that is if they haven’t already moved out) and you will surely get a far different Florida pros and cons list.

What most prospective Florida residents don’t know, is that many people who move to Florida will at some point come to despise the place so much that they will move out of the state. You no doubt are probably saying, “this guy is nuts, I’ve been to Florida on vacation and it’s got to be a great place to live”. Well, that’s exactly what I thought before I moved to Florida almost twenty years ago too.

Florida has been a high growth state for decades. Most years, it’s the most traveled to vacation destination on earth. It has to be a desirable place to vacation to draw that many people year after year. I admit it’s logical for most to think after having such a great time while exploring Florida’s theme parks or laying in the sun on a beach while on vacation, that living in the state must be better than where you live now. That may seem logical, but the facts show something different.

In March 2010, the University of Florida published the results of a study done by Stanley Smith and Scott Cody titled “An Analysis of Annual Migration Flows in Florida, 1980-2008”. The study only counted people that moved from another state in the U.S. to Florida, or from Florida to another U.S. state, who’s movement could be verified through government records. Florida’s population did grow in every one of the years. The surprising thing was seeing how many people MOVE OUT of Florida to live in another state every year. Hundreds of thousands move out every year, and many millions have left “paradise” to move back to places such as New York, Pennsylvania and Iowa. More people have moved OUT of Florida over the last few decades, than the total population of MOST U.S. states today.

Adding up and looking at the numbers cited in the report, one can conclude that MOST of the people who move to Florida will eventually move out. As a licensed real estate broker in the state, I saw this first hand. I would sell people a home in Florida when they moved there for retirement, and sell it for them when they decided to move back home. It wasn’t just seniors though, the desire to leave Florida after living there for a few years (but sometimes after just a few months) was felt by people of all ages.  People would move down and buy a condo from me because it was their dream. Then they would discover they hated condo living, sell that and buy a home from me. Then in a year, they’d sell that and move back home. People would move down, buy a home, then move to a condo, sell that and move back to Michigan.

How could this possibly be? Why do so many people who make a “final” move to Florida end up moving out? It’s because we all learn the positives of Florida while vacationing there, but we don’t learn of all the negatives until we actually live there for a while. Millions of people just like you moved to Florida only to discover the CONS out weighed the PROS so much they had to get out.

Why should this study and doing more research before moving to Florida be important to you? Because although moving to Florida may work out for you long term, chances are it won’t. Moving to Florida only to discover you can’t stand living there has been responsible for scrambled nest eggs, health problems and divorces. If it isn’t going to work out, staying right where you are now may be the best thing for you and your family.

NEED PROOF? From The UF Florida Migration Report:

During the study period, 13,164,695 left their home state to move to Florida. During that same time 9,540,260 moved out of Florida for another U.S. state. Over 13 million people moved to Florida during the time studied, but the state only grew by 3,624,435. What do the more than 10,000,000 people who moved out of Florida know, that people thinking of moving to Florida today don’t? The REAL FLORIDA PROS AND CONS!

Do you agree with the commenters below?

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254 thoughts on “Florida Pros and Cons

  • Linda

    If you are not a Florida native who is used to the “Florida” way of life already, I can understand why people leave. The job market is hard to get into for “out of towners”, so if you are not coming on a relo package don’t bother coming otherwise. Florida is not the south and it’s truly not the north or the Midwest. So better to stay where you are comfortable than to move just because it’s a vacation paradise.

    • Anonymous

      Such nonsense. I’m a biologist and I’m coming down for work. There are so many laboratory jobs in Florida compared to other places. And the field work in biology is through the roof. You can’t make such a blanket statement that if someone doesn’t have a relocation package that it’s not worth moving there. Maybe if you’re a cashier or something like that you can’t find work. But if you actually went to college and have a career and have done the research, you shouldn’t have a problem. As for all of the people who moved out, the study is biased. We don’t know the real reasons why people moved. Maybe they couldn’t handle the heat, had a death in the family, and a myriad of other reasons not taken into account. Science people! Try it, it works!

      • Ron Post author

        Anonymous, thanks for your reply to Linda. Glad to hear there are plenty of biologist job openings in Florida. You didn’t say if you actually have been hired or not. If you haven’t been hired yet, well good luck. If you have been hired congratulations, but I’m not sure what the percentage of visitors to this website are biologist so your experience may not apply to many readers. Florida usually sheds and gains jobs faster than most states. During the last recession it shredded so many jobs it had one of the highest unemployment rates in the US. Florida is now adding jobs faster than most other states. This is not common and the effects of this cycle on people who move to FL is explained in the “Florida Move Guide”. I’ve had people report to me recently that they have sent 100’s of resumes to those advertised positions but haven’t gotten one response. I’ve also been told many employers already have a good insider candidate that will likely get the new job but the position still must be advertised to adhere to company policy. But as daily reader of the WSJ I do know that even during the height of the recession there were a few rare occupations that had more openings than qualified applicants. “Anonymous”, I hope you aren’t suggesting that a family with children take the risk to move to Florida to lookfor employment based on what appears to be plenty of openings.

        I don’t know how you can say that the study was biased. It was done by two researchers at the University of Florida using IRS and US Census Bureau records. The university is a state of Florida entity, if they were to show a bias you would think it would be toward promoting the state because more people means more tax revenue. They carefully counted the number of people moving in and out during a certain period of time. It wasn’t a study of why all of those people moved out of Florida, just how many. The 10 million people who moved out (and still growing by about 30,000 more per month) is more than the total number of people who now live in most US States. Don’t worry about Florida losing population though, when the economy is good there are more new people moving in than moving out. This huge number of people moving in and out benefits people who make money when you move to Florida (Realtors, movers, etc.) and again when you move out. Every time a home is sold, the state and local governments generate income from transfer taxes/fees. While a very transient state has financial winners, it’s paid for by the financial losses of the millions who have moved to Florida only to move out again. That’s why people should do all they can to determine if they are more likely to enjoy Florida long term (almost everyone loves their first year, unless that year is an active direct hurricane hit one) or if they will just become another one of the millions that end up moving out.

        If someone is moving to Florida by themselves and can fit everything they’re taking in the car when they move, it’s a low risk move regardless of what happens. If someone is moving to Florida with children and requires an income to support a family (there are still over 500,000 unemployed in Florida), or is selling a home to buy in Florida or planning a “permanent” retirement move, they should be cautious knowing that a such a high percentage of people move out of Florida daily. Two long distance moves that involve multiple real estate purchases and moving can lead to large financial losses. Moving children in and out of different schools in differing states can have lasting negative effects. The last thing you want to do when retiring is spending a lot of effort on multiple moves while losing money. Thanks again for your comment “Anonymous biologist” and good luck.

      • Jen

        Sounds to me like you may be a bit of an academic snob…actually, going to college is not for everyone. The article about Florida, is well rounded in my opinion…some good points for people who are paradise dizzy when here on vacation or think this is the promised land..its not…many good things here, but may not be as great as you think it is. The summer is brutal and you may miss the change of seasons…bigger issues than you might think…

    • Madison

      Honestly I’m not trying to be rude but I live in northern mn and I had lived in florida before but I am moving back because florida is a lot better then the north and Midwest so don’t tell people to stay where they are

      • Michael

        Florida is a terrible place to live full of snakes, infested with bugs and it’s a giant swamp with crime everywhere. I’m going back to MN the minute my FL house sells. It lost half it’s value and still not worth what I paid but I’ll take the loss just to get of this place. Almost nobody stays here more than a few years. Lots of empty homes from people moving out and forclosures. Ask your realtor what happened to the people who were living in that vacant house your looking at.

      • Bonny

        We are thinking of retiring to FL from twin cities…… good to hear what you wrote….. it’s really scarry to move let alone hear bad stuff about the place you want to move to. we are done with winter and hoping fl will be good. We are looking at Tallahassee area.

        • Ron Post author

          Minnesota is rated as the 7th best state to live in and is highlighted in the book How to Retire Happier, but Florida is rated in the bottom half of states at #31. States were rated by actual quality of life factors. For instance:

          Minnesota scores higher in resident well-being than Florida according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index
          Minnesota has a lower cost of living than Florida according to the Council for Community and Economic Research
          Minnesota’s healthcare quality is rated far higher than Florida’s according to the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
          Minnesota’s violent crime rate is far lower than Florida’s near worst in the nation rate according to FBI statistics.
          Minnesota’s Property crime rate is far lower than Florida’s, FBI.
          Minnesota resident satisfaction with their state is far higher than Florida resident’s, according to a national Gallup poll.

          Moving to a place that’s too hot is rarely the answer to solving a problem that the place you’ve lived all your life is now too cold. Much of my real estate career in Florida consisted of selling homes to people thrilled to be moving to Florida for the weather, and then selling their homes when they moved out, because of the weather or a host of other things. But don’t take my opinion based on experience with nearly 1000 buyers and sellers in Florida, look at the facts. Before you move from one of the best states to live in the US, to a state with a higher cost of living and a lower quality of life, you may want to read this post. There are far better ways to solve your “done with winter” problem (described fully in How to Retire Happier), than move to a state like Florida where over 10 million people (and growing every day) have moved out of.

        • terri from MN

          If you have $2,000 a month income from retirement and $200,000 for a condo it is a good place to retire. Fresh produce from flea,farmers markets year round. Warm,hot humid weather. Public transportation is a joke and poverty everywhere. Lots of violent crime. Don’t go out after dark. Homeless everywhere. Bugs, snakes and giant roaches that live in palm trees. Low taxes, but also low quality of life.

        • Bonny-WI

          Wow I can’t believe I came across somebody with the same spelling as my name! I’m really considering being a snowbird. I can’t take the winters anymore. I’m doing a lot of research on where the best place is to live, with low crime. I came up with a couple of cities. Now I have to research what the rentals are like, price wise & location. It would only be like for, 4 months and then back to my home state. I would like to start doing this for a couple of years to see if I like it this way.

        • Janne

          Bonny: My husband and I moved here 2 1/2 yrs. ago. Against my wishes, but he felt his work would prosper here. His work has been good as a mechanical engineer fixing big rigs. It’s off and on though. Me, I hate it here. I cannot stand the LONG HOT HUMID summers another year. My family is in Wisconsin and I’m so incredibly torn as I want to go back, but I would miss him so bad as he won’t leave. There is nothing to do here. You can’t go for a leisurely walk when it’s dripping humidity out. Our only outing is driving 20 min. to sit by the ocean with a coffee. I’ve had a FEW good days, done my best to be happy, but it’s just not working. I’m 57 and desperate for happiness back in Wisconsin. On the other hand, if you like heat and humidity and day after day of sun, you’ll love it. I miss the seasons terribly. Christmas is not the same at all. Think long and hard before you make the move.

          • Anonymous

            I agree! Oh I have been here since 1985. It just keeps getting hotter and more humid every year. I used to lived by the beach, so I did have a place to go, which I loved in the mornings. But if you don’t have a screened coveted pool or a boat you will have cabin fever in no time!
            We had to move inland for my husbands work. I am going crazy with boredom. There is a community pool here, but not a soul in it because it is too hot to go outside!
            God help me I hope I find a way to move out of Fl soon!

  • mike

    I wish i had read these comments before i moved down here.I’m here
    22 years,have a decent job,and own a home in delray.And looking to
    move back to N.Y. I’m 1 year short of Social Security,with my pension from
    the City.and hopefully i can leave this place.I honestly do not like living in
    florida. I never was able to call it home…

    • Krissy Smith

      Hi everyone. I have been reading numerous posts from all kinds of sites about living in Florida. I am 100% set on moving to Sarasota in June. I was hoping some of you might help out with some real specifics about life there. There are so many kind of general comments, like humidity, expensive, difficult job market etc. Compared to what and where from your experience. I have had a major life changing event, am in my early 50’s, no kids and will not be looking for work there. I have traveled a lot in my lifetime and lived in a lot of different places, from Los Angeles, New York, South Carolina and so on. And have come to fully understand that every point of refuge has it’s price. But if some of you could respond with some real specifics I would greatly appreciate it. Reading all these posts has got me a bit worried. Thanks :)

      • Ron Post author

        Hello Krissy,
        “I am 100% set on moving to Sarasota in June. I was hoping some of you might help out with some real specifics about life there.”
        I’m not sure how or why you’re 100% decided about moving to Sarasota Florida without knowing what living there is like, but that’s your business.
        My two cents?
        If you are really 100% set on moving as you stated, you may want to concentrate on where in Sarasota, house vrs condo, rent vrs buy etc. Sarasota is really one of the best places to live in Florida, and there are many posts on this site that explain why, there is no need to second guess your choice of that beautiful town. You might want to decide what area of Sarasota and then contact a few Realtors from that area for further insight. This site can help you in locating the area in Sarasota that would be right for you.

        If you aren’t really 100%, then yes, you really need to do more research. But asking opinions of random people can lead you astray, and you really don’t know who they are or if what they say is valid or not. Just look at “Doug’s” comment (a few comments back) where just about everything he wrote about Florida can be proven to be false, and he claims he lived here for years.

        If you’re 100% set, concentrate on what part of Sarasota and how to make it happen. If you really aren’t 100% set on Sarasota (it would be hard to do better in Florida) or Florida (that’s usually the bigger question, the “Florida Move Guide” can help you there), then more research is needed. Based on all the places you’ve lived, if it doesn’t work out, it sounds like you may be able to recover better than many most people. Good Luck!

      • Karen

        Hello Krissy, I have lived in FL since 1966 (moved when I was young, from Cleveland). Have traveled all over the state, east and west, grew up in Pinellas, moved to Sarasota/Manatee area 16 years ago. The facts on Sarasota: is probably one of the nicest places in FL, particularly if you can manage to live closer to the water. I am in healthcare and can honestly say they have the BEST doctors/hospitals in this area and the scores of 90-100+ seniors prove my point. Yes, it is hot…FL is hot and humid. I am not out gardening much during June-end of Sept. unless it is before 9am. But you adapt. If you don’t have to work, so much the better. Sarasota has a very affluent population and many healthy choices for restaurants, shopping, etc. If I didn’t own horses, I would not live inland but closer to water for the nice breeze. Bottom line: there are many worse places to live but home is what you make it and where you choose to feel comfortable. Good luck!!

        • Ron Post author

          Hello Karen,
          Thank you for sharing your knowledge of the Sarasota area with readers of this blog, especially your insight on the towns healthcare system. Healthcare quality is an important consideration when choosing a place to relocate to. Thanks again.

          UPDATE: We do not recommend Sarasota any longer because the crime rate is almost double the national average. Florida has one of the highest crime rates in the US and we urge you to read this post to help you decide where to live in Florida.

        • Anonymous

          that’s crap karen! if you try to beat the heat by going out early in the morning you’ll be eaten alive by mosquitoes. you’ll never beat the humidity because that’s all day all night except in winter. I like newbees to Floriduh who have lived all their life in new jersey or ohio who say they don’t mind humidity. unless you’re from the swamps of louisanna you don’t know what humidity is until you move to the swamp of floriduh. but come on down and make sure you bring all your money. buy my underwater house so I can get out.

      • Ruth

        I have lived in California for 11 years, Connecticut for 19 years, New Jersey for 4 years, Minnesota, Virginia, and Michigan for about 1 year each. I moved to Florida in 1998 so I believe I qualify to say a little something about the pros and cons of living in Florida, but specifically St Augustine, Jacksonville or Miami. If you want quiet, small town feel then St Augustine is it. I presently live here and I love it. It’s not really a place for partying or nightlife because is very low key but it is a good place to raise children and enjoy history. We are the oldest city and this is where the Fountain of Youth is situated. The housing is affordable, wages are commiserate to the cost of living in the area and schools are amazing. Violent crimes are very low and traffic is good except for tourist season which is very busy. Compare to all the places I lived I can say this is by far the best place for me. Miami is for night life, fun and faster lifestyle, Jacksonville is also a much faster paced and the crime rate is a bit overwhelming but some people like it. I won’t put the other places down because everyone ‘s idea of a “good place to live” is different.
        If you want the truth about the place you want to relocate just log onto to their newspaper on the net and see for yourself. Don’t take anyone’s word for it because it has to be what you perceive as a “good place to live” not someone else’s.
        For St Augustine go to the staugustinerecord.com, for Jacksonville their newspaper is called The Times Union for the others just log on and search because I am not sure the names of their paper.

        • Ron Post author

          Ruth, Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your feelings and insight about St Augustine.

          Krissy, I agree it’s better that people make decisions based on the facts when available, not someone’s opinion. According to the website “Neighborhood Scout”, the violent crime rate in St Augustine is higher than that of Florida as a whole, and Florida is more violent than than the US median. Just scroll down to the part where it says “Violent Crime Comparison per 1000 people”, you can find on their website here.

          People can also click on the schools link on that page, at the top to see a map of neighborhoods where the kids go to better schools, and which areas where they don’t.

          We named St Augustine as our #1 place to retire in Florida for 2014 in this post.

          UPDATE: We no longer recommend St Augustine because of a high crime rate. All of our choices must now have a low crime rate. Florida’s crime rate is one of the worst in the US, and St Augustine’s rate is higher than Florida’s average. You can read more here.

          If you read many of the posts on this blog, you’ll realize that when we pick a place as “best in Florida”, that doesn’t mean it’s better than where you live now, it’s just the best place in Florida based on our opinion and data we looked at. For example, our post on the “Best cities to live in Florida” that we posted a while ago, we mentioned Jacksonville and Gainesville as better places to live in Florida. Recently, those places were chosen by a major non-profit organization (based on criteria, data and facts) as the top large and small metro areas in Florida for successful aging.While those places were the best in Florida, they certainly weren’t the best in the US in their report.

          Bottom line? Florida may or may not be right for you, and a “best” place in Florida pick may have higher crime and worse schools, etc. than where you now live. To find your best place, rely on facts, not fiction (opinions) or sales pitches from people looking to make $1000’s when you move to their “best” place.

      • Miss Sally

        If you have a lot of money Sarasota as well as other places in Florida are great! Who wouldn’t love to live on a mansion on the water/beach….. But realistically, most of us can’t afford that and if you are one if them then be prepared to live inland away from the beach. Florida neighborhoods are very transient and there are many criminals here. People keep to themselves for that reason so if you are alone and like being alone and are not social than you may like it. Otherwise , watch out!

      • David

        Hello Krissy,
        I have recently moved from Boca Raton FL to Sarasota. I was gainfully employed before the move and my company decided to lay off field employees to help support the incomes of office jerks! All the sales people quit and instead of the company expanding to create sales they cut back field personnel, corporate america at work!!! I have lived, worked and owned my own business here. Sarasota is beautiful and the people are wonderful for the most part as they are from the midwest. The housing market here is outrageous, rentals are through the roof for total garbage and you will be competing with at least 5 other people at a showing if you are interested to rent. If you don’t have all the right answers and a money order or cashiers check you will get beet out by someone who does. Boca is all of the jerks from Jersey and New York trying to overtake everything and if you have ever been to those places you know they make crap out of everything and leave it lay there!!!!!! This is true to the east coast of Florida. it is also true that I95 brings them from the NE Coast States and I75 brings them from the Midwestern States thats why the west coast is layed back and nice and the east coast is screwed up and ignorant!!!! Lousy attitudes, don’t care about anything but their selves and what they can take take take from everything, can you tell I can’t stand them!!!!! My wife wanted to move to Florida and we did, she has been complaining to leave for 32 years, our children grew up in a drug infested, pill mill promoted state. We have seen over 20 children we have known die from drug over doses of prescription medications prescribed by non certified Doctors from latin countries given permission from our government to prescribe OXY and many other killers like it is candy. Delray Beach is the rehab capitol of the world, a great place for drug addicts to come and network with other drug addicts to support their habits. I can show you first hand over 50 locations within 1000 feet of the courthouse to obtain prescription drugs and you can turn around and sell them on the street right there!!! Drug rehab programs are run by the state and funded by tax dollars, this is the most corrupt of all industries in Florida. Hospital are the worst, if you get sick get your butt to Boston where the Doctors are!!!!!!!Our governor is an outright thief and gives extreme amounts of money to large corporations to bring those bio companies here to hire bio chemists, by the way they have to move here from California as we don’t have an abundance of bio chemist already here, all this does is increase the population of ignorance. We have an outrageous increase in work building bridges and shipping ports, too bad they gave the work to foreign companies that brought all their own employees, once again full of crap plans that only benefit those in charge! So this crap of increasing employment is rediculas as they don’t hire anyone who already lives here. My advise would be to get a good job with a signed contract, make the company sign a contract to employ you for a set period of time with a set amount of pay regardless of what they do in the future and have your lawyer right the contract!!!!! If you don’t they will hire you under false pretenses, they will lie to you and eventually hire someone for less above you to fire you! You have no recourse to this as Florida is an AT WILL STATE meaning you can be fired for no reason at all and the company does not have to give you a reason according to the LAW. By the way they all request a notice from you if you plan to leave!!! Schools here are the utmost worst in the world, both of my children quit in high school got GEDs and became college grads around the same time their piers where graduating high school. Neither live in Florida as they realized how screwed up it is! Both are very successful now. I am currently looking for a job in Sarasota and will probably end up starting my own business again. This is a no pay or low pay state, if you make $20.00/hour where you are that same job is about $8.00/hour here. I agree with Jorge, stay were you are make good money and have a good life with people who care and come visit Florida on vacation, much more fun that way!!!!! Good luck if you come to Sarasota, beautiful place, wonderful people, great temperatures! Have Fun!

    • jorge

      I lived in new york all my life and retired from the Police dept, moved to Florida in 2012 AND I HATE IT HERE IN Florida I want to go back to NY. The people here are so prejudice of the north and the health system sucks so now I am on depression meds, Mickey mouse could go to hell for what I care wasted all my savings on the Florida move I don’t recommend, just come down for vacation only :o(

      • Ron Post author

        A Gallup poll showed 54% of Florida residents don’t think Florida is the best state to live in, or even one of the best states. Residents of 26 other states have a better opinion of the state they live in. A Men’s Health Magazine study found that people living in Florida’s cities were more depressed than in other states (higher rates of divorce, suicide, anti-depressant use, etc.). Yet over a 1000 people a day move to Florida, convinced that it will improve their life. A report published by the University of Florida found that roughly 13 million moved to Florida and 10 million moved out during the time studied. A lot of soon to be Florida resident’s research consists of nothing more than looking at Florida home listings and prices on the net. Jorge, thank you for taking the time to let others know about your retirement move experience. It may help others by prompting them to learn more about whether a move to Florida would be right for them or not, before spending so much money, time, and effort just to learn it was all an expensive mistake.

      • J

        Totally agree, I’m moving back up north in 10 months, welcoming the change of seasons as well as real people too many fakes here…

    • Lori Vattes

      But, nobody says why they don’t want to live in Florida. They just say “don’t”. My job is moving me to Jacksonville, Florida. I’ve always loved Florida and always will. I even love the gecko’s!

      • Anonymous

        I was in jacksonville for two months, one giant crime infested hellhole… im from chicago i so take this into account. I wouldnt go back there even if I was paid to live there…

    • Jen

      I understand…being from Ny and Nj…its not home, and it has a different feel..there are some good things, but I want to go back also…I miss the weather, does not change enough here for me. Best regards on getting back there.

  • Dina

    So in 1991 I made the big move from NY to FL. I absolutely loved it. I stayed for 12 years, and I only moved to NC to be closer to family. I desperately want to move back to FL. I so don’t like NC! I am making plans to move back, if my husband will join me. The key to moving to FL, is that you must be ready for it mentally. When I left NY, I realized there is no place like NY, and I was leaving all that behind. So I was prepared, to embrace the differences.

    • Lynn

      Nothing is the same when you leave a place and come back. I personally can’t wait to get back to Florida and I’m originally from D.C. area when I moved there in 1996. Had to leave in 2007 for a job (due to economy). Now retired, living out west and can’t wait to get back to that humidity. It’s just as hot here but so dry. I miss the gulf. I’ll take hurricanes over earthquakes any day:) Guess it all depends on where you come from and where you are going. I’m going back to Florida!

  • tom

    moved down here back in may of 2012, and just love it down here. company I worked for from nj opened a branch down here in Orlando,with awesome pay that I was making up north and I have to say that I will be staying as long as I live! although I miss family and friends up north. lucky for me,if it wasn’t for my job bringing me here I probally would not have moved here..so happy im here!! and don’t forget to visit your local wawa coming to a town near you!!

  • Earl

    I loved it too, at first. After about 2-3 years the humidity started bothering more every day. Every time I went outside i’d feel sweaty and sticky, summer lasts most of the year there. My pool was no relief water 90 degrees for months on end. I moved back and now enjoy 4 seasons again. Lost a fortune on my house though. Still not a fan of humidity but now just when i just can’t take it anymore fall comes and it cools off. I still love to visit FL but only in the winter

    • tom

      I agree about the humidity for sure..luckily I work in ac all day, I do have to put icecubes in the pool though lol..I still own my house up north just in case I miss the 4 seasons as well in the future..we shall see..keep you all updated!

  • SJZ

    Excuse me for not directly addressing the above statements. I have lived in Florida for twelve years and I find it most offensive.
    Firstly, I find government to be most obnoxious: the laws that are made totally ignore our constitutional rights (as with many states). For example, recently it has been overturned by the US supreme court the state law against loud music in the vehicle, which law was in effect more than ten years! A policeman confessed that he used that law to pull over people and search their vehicle. Which brings me to another problem that southerners have grown up with: southern police will harass you and arrest you with out a charge, and get away with it. So Stay in your home.
    Next, don’t get into a deed restricted community without reading every word of the contract: you will learn about such things as maintaining your lawn at some standard set by the community organization and limitations on what vehicles you can have. That means you have to spend extra to irrigate the lawn because (in Florida) lawns will die from the lack of rain and excessive heat. It’s great if you have money to burn.
    And don’t live close to the city: Violent crime is Florida, especially Tampa Bay, Miami, Orlando, and Tallahassee.
    If you want to be an orange farmer, this is the place: in fact, because of all the people, it’s great for entrepreneurs.
    For retirement, consider the over population problem: that is, too much traffic. It’s a big problem all over Florida, No exceptions. That means a higher accident rate in Florida, and higher insurance premiums. If you don’t drive this is great: there is plenty of taxi and limo service, as well as bingo. It is the retirement state. In fact many younger natives don’t want older people to drive because they are too slow and horn honking is the norm.
    I could write a book about this but not now, I hope this helps.

    • oscar

      SJZ: it will never be worst than New Jersey, I live inside my room 9 months a year!! ’cause of the cold weather, runny nose ,Pollen allergies, high property taxes, construction on roads all the time anytime, and 24 hr peack hr traffic Do you want to hear more?……

      Moving back to FL will make a little less money but will play soccer , swim, fish, anytime of the year at a slower pace……… When do you think life is for?

      I deliver gas for wawa here in NJ but plan to move back to FL. As far as I know wawa is only in Orlando so far I hope wawa expands to Fll/Miami area soon !!

      • Jeff P.

        You would think Florida would have more pollen and all year too, but no. If you have allergies Florida would be a great move because once you cross the Florida state line there is no more pollen at all. Miami is a brilliant move too because unlike the traffic jams you hate in NJ there is almost no traffic during rush hour in Miami. You’re in luck, there still isn’t a minimum IQ required to live in Florida, in fact you’ll fit right in.

        • Anonymous

          SORRY JEFF…Allergy’s Are hooorrrrrrendous here! I live in, Unfortunately for NOW, Orlando. I take shots all year round, and take twice a day 24 hour pills for all of Jan., Feb., and March…half of April. It’s HELL on earth here. I moved here to marry a wonderful guy who plans to, HOPES to retire in three more years when we are SOOOO OUT of here! Until then, I just pray I survive it. Health is taking a beating!

    • Ed

      Government there couldn’t possibly be any worse than it is here in Illinois (Chicago). I’m thinking of moving me and the family to the Clearwater area myself. But more on that in a different post…

    • anonymous

      we moved to Florida because my husband was laid off, and was offered a job here.
      It has been a nightmare, I told him I feel like I’m in a foreign country.
      It costs 450 dollars to register your car here if you are from another state.

      High food prices, and attitudes towards people from the north are just terrible.

      People driving like a bunch of loons on the roads, and crime and drugs.
      Some are Not reported, depending upon what HOA community you live in.
      We live in a high end area, and had our condo broken into. had to call the
      police, none of these things I ever experienced and am in my 50’s. We
      are trying to get out of here, please don’t move here unless absolutely necessary.
      Also if you do, read the laws of the state, because every state has different laws.

      It is a beautiful place, to VISIT. The only way I would advise someone to move
      here is if they have family and or friends here, that could help you get adjust to
      otherwise it’s very very difficult! That’s just my own opinion.
      Very arrogant and people doing things that are illegal in my opinion. I have found
      few people that are not, not trying to insult anyone but that’s my own experience,
      sorry floridians

      • Ron Post author

        Don’t be sorry for posting your honest feelings. I’m sorry that your move to Florida isn’t working out. Yes, Florida has higher property crime and violent crime rates than many other states according to FBI statistics, and it can be a shock depending where you moved from. Not only should people thoroughly research any move to Florida to learn what it’s really like to live here, but checking the crime stats for the area you will reside in, shop, send your kids to school or otherwise frequent is imperative. Your experience is not uncommon at all, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts because it could help others realize that living in Florida may be far different than their vacations here. They can afford to police tourist areas well with the extra money that tourist taxes provide, but tourist areas are not always the best areas to live in. Just a reminder to people living in Florida leaving comments, please let us know what general area of Florida you are referring to. Thanks again.

      • Lauren Mac

        This scares me since i have a job offer in PCB and want to move (just me and the hubs and two dogs) from Nashville, tn. there are some ppl who enjoy it and others who don’t. we LOVE the PC/PCB area.

  • Carl

    moved to FL in 1994 from NY-thought it was a good move,palm trees, beaches and that vacation feeling. All this wore off in a few years and the reality of sick hot humidity, hurricanes,slave wages, no benefits and lousy workers set in. Looking forward to going back north and doing the snowbird thing if- possible

  • anngellica

    What is so horrid about living in Florida? We leave tomorrow for a week-long ‘business’ trip to research the possibility of retiring to Florida. We’re in our early 50′ and would very much like to retire early — this year if possible.

    Sure, the seasons are pretty in New England, but that’s about all they’re good for — being pretty. Truth be told, I dread the winter and the ice, snow, sleet, freezing rain and temperatures that come with it. I’m tired of dry itchy skin resulting from overly dry air from manufactured heat. I loathe going outdoors in the wintertime just as much as I loathe hibernating when it’s so damn cold outdoors. I despise the unending gray, dreary days and leafless trees. I wish my life away, counting the days, weeks, months until warm temps finally arrive in June, only to leave come October. Only in the summer am I able to be truly, comfortably warm.

    Floridian’s who despise living in Florida and long instead for Life in the Northeast, be warned: IT.IS.EXPENSIVE to live here. We do not have the pleasure of major tourism to offset the cost of living. Property taxes on my home are three times that of a comparable home in Florida. Just yesterday I paid the car tax bill to the tune of over $1,500. And the City in which I live has the lowest mill rate around! Also, we have hurricanes and blizzards. We have to pay to have snow shoveled off the roof so it doesn’t cave in. Homes are damaged by ice-daming every winter. Need I go on?

    • Mike

      Here, here, anngellica. I agree. I took early retirement during the financial meltdown but my wife still has to work. We have been looking at southwest Florida to escape the cold, dreary winters in N.E. I never thought I would get sick of snow, being a skier, but I’ve had enough. Yes, it is humid in Florida, but you don’t have the shovel it!
      Personally, I love palm trees and the fact that you can have flowers year round and we never tire of watching the tropical birds.
      So given this, we are thinking of moving to Fla. but I am still a bit nervous about doing so. I know that all that glitters isn’t gold.
      I have know at least a half dozen people who have moved to FLA. from New England and all are still here after many years.
      You would think, according to Ron Stack, that some of them would have moved out by now. Hmmmmm

      • Ron Post author

        Thank you for your comment Mike. Just reading the comments here and my posts with videos of people who actually have lived in Florida, you can easily see two things:
        1) Many people who have actually lived in Florida post many negative comments.
        2) People who have never lived in Florida but are thinking of moving there based on vacations, don’t believe what people who have lived there say, or worst yet, imply they have some devious motive for expressing their opinion, “You would think, according to Ron Stack, that some of them would have moved out by now. Hmmmmm”

        The number of people who move to Florida for the greener grass compared to the number of people who move back is not in dispute because we have facts to look at. These facts come from two researchers at the University of Florida (a state of Florida institution) that compiled and analyzed data over a 28 year period. The facts show that during that time 13 million people moved to Florida from another state, and 10 million moved out. I’m sure the report was intended just as a study of in and out migration (hence the title) and not to show how transient Florida really is.

        The study was done by a State of Florida University, so I feel the data can be trusted. They only used records they could verify through government records from the IRS and US Census Bureau. I believe their findings to be accurate for a few main reasons:

        1) Every time a home or condo is bought and sold in Florida, there are transfer taxes and recording fees paid by buyers/sellers to government agencies in Florida. In the state I was born in, many people buy a home and live in it for 30 years or longer. In Florida, many homes are sold and resold over and over, generating a steady source of income for government coffers (and real estate agents, movers, etc.). So for a State controlled institution to put out a report that could give pause to potential newcomers (and the income) is commendable. Although the study is available to the public, almost no one thinking of moving to Florida will ever see it.
        2) The first year of selling real estate in Florida I noticed a huge number of people moving in, AND OUT of Florida. I experienced it first hand. The first few years I couldn’t understand why all these people were moving out of paradise, I was still in the Florida “honeymoon” phase. I soon came to understand precisely all the reasons people gave for moving out. I’ve been involved in nearly 1000 real estate transaction sides in almost 15 years so I have seen the same people moving in and moving out. But don’t take my word for it, look at the University of Florida report.

        I too loved palm trees on all my vacations to the state before I moved to Florida. In fact the home I bought had some, but I put in more after moving in. The difference between vacationing in FL and living there, is that I learned that palm trees require a lot of maintenance to look like the manicured ones you see while on vacation. It’s physical filthy work to maintain them. Just like shoveling snow, I had the choice of doing it myself or paying someone. After you live in Florida and see 1000’s of palms everyday, they aren’t a big deal anymore than the trees you’ve seen up north for years. Flowers? Yes, they do grow year round in Florida, so does the grass and weeds so instead of shoveling snow you cut grass or pay somebody. Neither activity was something I looked forward to.

        The reason I wrote the book is that I’ve had hundreds of people tell me why they were moving out of Florida, when I selling their home. As a full time Florida resident for almost a decade and a half, I understood the reasons. What I didn’t understand is why none of this information was available to me before I moved to FL. It’s still a big secret. The are many well financed entities that spend millions every year to promote moving to Florida, and there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just business. Unfortunately, for many people, a move to Florida will also involve a move out of it. That can be devastating financially and emotionally for many.

        My book explains the reasons people who actually have lived in Florida gave me for wanting to sell and move out. I explain what newcomers could do to minimize the risk of the same thing happening to them, based upon all my years of living in Florida and helping people as a licensed Florida real estate broker. If you don’t want to read anything negative about living in Florida, don’t read my book and get packets from the various Chamber of Commerce’s, major real estate developers, builders, etc. You’ll save $20 because their “grass is always greener” info is always free. In fact, people are paid a lot of money just to get those free brochures into your hands. But if you look at the facts in the report and all the negative comments around the web from real people and want the other side of the story before you commit to a major change and expenditures, you now have an option.

        Here’s a link to the report from the University of Florida (a great school that my son got one of his degrees from). I believe is was intended just as an academic study of Florida migration and not of the motivation behind the moves. Adding together the yearly figures in the report you will get the numbers I mention. UF Report

        • Mike

          LOL, Ron, I guess the real estate business is slow everywhere this time of year or you are paying more attention to your writing career. ;)
          First let me say that I already bought your book. So you don’t have to sell me. I fully accept the facts that you have presented. I have acquired several books on this topic with varying points of view and style and I would recommend them all, including yours.
          My earlier comment was concerning the people I have known throughout the years who have relocated to Florida and stayed, all of them. Not one moved back. Statistically, some should have, which was my point. Obviously some moves are successful.
          The problem is that most people don’t do the proper research and have the wrong ideas about what they’re getting into. Personally, I know first hand that the greener grass theory doesn’t hold water. I don’t want to give the impression that we disagree on more than we agree, probably not.
          I gave up yard work and home maintenance years ago and have not looked back. I am perfectly comfortable letting someone else take care of it.
          I have, for some time, been looking at various locations for relocation, Florida being one of them. All of them have their pros and cons. My only wish is to find someone who can answer my questions honestly so I have the facts to make an informed decision. Anyone with a financial interest is just not objective and I understand that. So I continue to read the books I have multiple times and do additional research based on what I have read.
          Hopefully at some point I can make an informed decision and not live to regret it. Change is good.

          • Ron Post author

            Congratulations Mike, you’ve done far more research than what most people do before undertaking a 1000 mile “permanent” move. Most people who move to Florida never do any real research at all. As for the people who should have statistically moved back, it’s not a constant percentage per year. After the record hurricane damage in Florida in 2004 and 2005, lots of people of all ages wanted out. Since then, Florida has had a record 8 years without a major hit. Since that’s the topic my book opens with, you know that is one of the main reasons people leave but that reason has affected far fewer folks than usual the last several years. If next season is bad and there are major hits, the number of people leaving will spike. Personally, I think the odds of a bad hurricane season increase with every passing of a mild one.

            Just a few thoughts from someone who regularly talks himself out of $5000, $10,000 or much more in commissions from the sale of just one home in Florida, in return for $7 (actually $3 because my publishing co. is donating 50% of net to charity). I never met you and don’t represent you in a real estate transaction or any manner, so take this for what it’s worth:
            1) Since you have read the book, you’re pretty much aware of the worst that could happen. My thoughts are, if you read the book and it doesn’t scare you, then you are as a good a candidate for long term success in Florida as anybody.
            2) Florida has some of the best weather anywhere for 3-4 months out of the year. The rest of the year the weather becomes more unbearable with each passing year. From reading the book, you know your other options and how some people have set things up to ensure an almost 100% long term satisfaction with the time they spend in Florida (change is good). It does take more money or effort but usually not both to set things up that way.

            Mike, no matter what you decide, the chances of you making the right decision are better than most people because you’ve done more research. The number of internet searches similar to “moving to Florida pros and cons” is a miniscule fraction of the number of searches for “best places to live in Florida”. Good luck!

    • Jim

      This comment was removed because it read like a classified ad, complete with phone# for selling a home because the owner wants to move out of Florida. Classified ads posted in the comment section will be considered spam and deleted.

  • Ron

    It’s not the born and raised Floridians who are moving out of Florida, it’s the people who have moved to Florida from other states that end up moving back.They have lived long enough in New York or wherever to know all the things they don’t like about that place. So they move to Florida where it’s “warm and sunny all the time and and there won’t be anything they don’t like”. Once they move they discover that there are even more things they don’t like about Florida (like the hot humid summer that lasts far longer than winter anywhere in the US, even Alaska). Eventually they admit they made a mistake, take the financial loss and make another long distance back home.

    If you were never truly warm in a heated home in the northeast, you’ll never be truly be cool in an air conditioned Florida home either. If you don’t learn what living in Florida is really like, you’re likely just going to lose a lot of time and money to replace the problems you have now, with even more problems 1000 miles from home.

  • moderator Post author

    Thank you for the comment, all comments are welcome. The book does cover how having family in Florida is one of the things that increases the chances of a successful move, long term. Just wanted to point out that Sandy wasn’t a hurricane when it hit the northeast because it’s winds had diminished to the point it wasn’t even a category 1 (the weakest hurricane). Florida has been hit multiple times in some years by 1-5 category hurricanes that cause far more damage. In 2004 & 2005 Florida was hit by a record number of hurricanes, but if it doesn’t get hit this year, it will be a record 8 years since without a major hit. Here is a screenshot from the National Hurricane Center from today, the day you wrote your comment:
    The storms start out just off of Africa and head west. The last 7 years FL has been lucky, but some years lots of these storms turn into hurricanes and seem determined to hit the state. This could happen next month, next year, who knows. Snow storms don’t blow apart thousands of homes for miles around.

    The heat and humidity of Florida is more of a sure thing than snow up north, 6-9 months a year of it every year depending upon what part of FL. The pool and beach get old real quick. In the southern half of the state the pool water water will be around 90 degrees for months when you need it most, not refreshing at all. The chlorine from the pool and the salt from the beach plus the stronger FL sun will punish anyone who does the “pool & beach” thing often by making them look 10 years older for every few they do it. You’re obviously new to FL and I hope you will be a happy long term Floridian. The book was written because that’s not how it works out for most people.

    • jenna

      I lived in FL for about 2 years and loved it. Moved from MN. Only thing I did not care for is not having family however your friends become family. My pool was still refreshing even in hot summer months. Yes spiders are not fun but mosquitoes are worse in MN. I came back to MN to be near family and help open a non profit, but seriously might go back to FL real soon. It was only 18 degrees today. I am so cold. Also did not have a hard time getting jobs. 29 and no college degree. FL is great!

    • Liz

      To Jenna
      So Florida WAS great, so great you moved out? You LOVED it so much you moved back home? Looks like people who hate Florida move out and people who love it leave too. I like visiting but lets face it, it’s a swamp loved by bugs, lizards alligators and buzzards and the only time worth being there is in the winter.