Florida Pros and Cons 170   Recently updated !


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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170 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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
      it.
      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.

  • Diane

    A lot more needs to be said on the subject. For one thing, a big reason why many people move to Florida and end up leaving is they leave family and friends behind. People who move to Florida and have family there tend to stay more often than those who do not. That can happen with any state someone relocates to, not just Florida. This happens a lot with retirees who end up down here and realize that all those visits the kids and grand kids were expected to make to visit just don’t happen that much.
    Another thing is they may relocate here and want to do so so bad that they end up taking the first job that comes along that gets them down here and realize it is not what they want. Again, this can happen relocating anywhere.
    The thing about bugs is utter nonsense. I have seen one palmetto bug since I got here and it was outside. I have not had a single ant or spider in my apartment. I had more spiders in my house in CT than I have here. In fact I find the bugs more tolerable here…I can sit at the pool for hours and not get chased off by yellow jackets every 5 minutes! And I live on a canal where you would think there would be more bugs! Just the occasional gator (hey that is what you get for living on a canal..we actually love it because we see so much wildlife right from our balcony!)
    The other reason people leave is they make rash decisions about moving down here just because they had a great vacation (as has been pointed out). Well I might go to Colorado for a great ski vacation but there is no way I want to live in the snow (and realistically you couldn’t pay me enough to go on vacation in the snow)!! You don’t move somewhere because it was a fun week! We don’t live at Disney World or Busch Gardens! It is real life here.
    And I will be the first to say…drivers in Florida DO stink. I am from NYC and lived in CT for 15 years and I can tell you that Florida drivers are the worst…BUT that is because they are all from other states!!! It is not Florida drivers per se…it is bad drivers from all these other places who relocate here!! When you have so many people from so many different areas you are going to have bad drivers!! But I know other states that are just as bad!
    You have to use your head when moving down here. Yes it is great to not have snow but how are you REALLY going to feel after the first year when the seasons don’t change or there are no leaves changing color? If that is something you look forward to every year then odds are you will hate it here. I have seen the leaves change every year…it is overrated. I have seen snow every year of my life…hate it. I love the sun, the beach, the pool….I adore it and my whole family is down here. So I make a good Floridian! REALLY think long and hard about what if all those things you EXPECT don’t happen (like what if all those friends you expect to be visiting you all the time dont do it!!)
    We get hurricanes, thunderstorms, tornadoes….but the odds of me getting hit by a hurricane or tornado in any given year is definitely not as sure a thing as me potentially having to shovel snow up north…that is pretty much a sure bet!! Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast last year! It is not just Florida that gets them!! But if you cannot deal with the potential then enjoy your vacations down here and make them just that…vacations.

    • 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:
      Storms
      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.

    • Cynthia

      Thank’s for the information about relocating to Florida, I am a Barbadian living and working in New York for the past 36 year’s ,in the near future I intend’s to relocate to florida for my retirement, and

    • Tony

      Diane,
      I think that you are down playing a lot of the negatives about Florida, such as the bugs. There ARE definitely A LOT of bugs everywhere here Florida! We have very large roaches and water bugs (Palmetto Bugs as you called them), scorpions, large centipedes, huge spiders, giant fire ants, wasps and every other creepy crawly and flying bug in the world is here. There are also giant African water bugs all over where I work in Port Charlotte…and these things are HUGE…and yes, they do bite, as do all of the other bugs I’ve mentioned. You much have just arrived in Florida if you’ve never seen a spider or an ant…or you live in a high-rise apartment building!! Also, comparing snow storms in the northeast to hurricanes and tropical storms, tornadoes and weather in Florida is not a fair comparison at all. Also, who actually shovels snow? Don’t most people hire snow plows or people to clear their driveways up north? Just like in Florida, most people hire tree trimmers and landscape maintenance people to do their grass and trees. Sounds like you are very happy in Florida. It would be nice to know how long you’ve lived here and what you do for a living. If you are wealthy or retired with a nice savings account and don’t have to work, I’m sure that you do love it. Best of luck to you.

      • Ryan

        who shovels snow? are you an idiot? Everyone bro… not everyone has the luxury of a snow blower or shovel service. And boo hoo… so i have to go out a pick up some droppings from a palm tree. Thats so much worse than freezing and stepping in muddy slush every single day. Unbelievable, the grass is always greener on the other side but for people like me who wish the winter away, FL is so much better. We get maybeeee 5 good months of the year to be outside and comfortable. FL gets all 12! I monitor their weather like a hawk, its is wonderful. The summer is the only time when I am truly happy. The crime rate is high among a lot of the cities but it is in Philly, New York and especially Detroit. One thing I will miss about up north is the mountain biking scene and cliff jumping in the summer. Im sure I can find some of that in FL but as for mountain biking probably not too much. PA Blows!!

      • Tony

        Another militant “Florida is a great place to live” because of blah blah blah. The problem with that? They guy has never lived in Florida. 5 months outside in PA? Florida comfortable 12 months a year? Floridians hide inside from the heat, sun, humidity, and swarming mosquitoes all year except 3 months in the winter. Mountain biking and cliff jumping in Florida? Shows how much you know, jerk.

      • ColoradoNative

        If you own a house – you are REQUIRED to shovel your walk. I literally shoveled my driveway and walk (and my neighbor’s who are older) at LEAST six times this weekend. Since housing is so expensive here, it is a miracle if you can afford to hire someone to shovel!! Sorry I had to respond! “Who actually shovels snow?” made me laugh!! EVERYONE does unless you are wealthy enough to hire it out! And I live in a very nice neighborhood and no one in my community hires it out! I am a Colorado native and I am thinking of moving to Florida. Everyone who moves to Colorado thinks of the SEASONS, mountains, skiing and snow. The reality is much different. So, I really think for all the negatives I read about Florida, I could match with a set for Colorado! :-) I have family in Florida who LOVE it! And I also have people in my family who HATE it. It is all just personal preference and what negatives you are willing to endure and live with – there is a “perfect” place for everyone. I am tired of Colorado and the pot smoke/smell everywhere, snow, ice and traffic, so it is time to look for my perfect place! Just my 2 cents worth!

      • Jake

        If you live in Florida you are REQUIRED to cut your grass and maintain your yard. Everything in Florida grows like a weed and the weeds grow like they’re on steroids, 12 months a year. If you don’t pay someone you will be out there in the swamp heat and humidity sweating like a pig twice a week. Newbies buy lawn equipment but then hire the work out. Everyone in my neighborhood over 30 pays through the nose to have their yards maintained. You never once had to do the lawn on your 100 vacations where you learned everything you know about living in Florida. Pot smell? Wait to you smell all the BO from people sweating profusely just walking from their car into the store in 95% humidity. If I have to stand in a long line to pay, I just leave the cart and walk out. Better than getting nausious. I think most of them give up on showering because you need to shower 2-4 times a day to keep the stink off, so most of them give up. TIRED of shoveling snow? Spend 50-100 grand to move to Florida for the opportunity to start growing a NEW list of things you’ll get TIRED of. Seasons, mountains, skiing and snow? Sounds nice.

      • ColoradoNative

        Haa haa! Yeah, another set of problems does sound nice! I will trade ya! ;-) I’ve been here for 40+ years so I think I am allowed to be tired of cold and snow! We have a large yard and our HOA fines for un-kept lawns, weeds etc. so, yes if we had to do it year round it would be more difficult and would get tiresome also – but the fall leaf pick up is the most work where in the summer it’s all about trying to keep it somewhat green under the water restrictions. Very few people hire people to shovel their drive! If you want to get to work on time, you get up early in the dark, freezing cold and shovel it before you get ready to leave for work early (on top of double the commute time if the roads are bad so, 2 hours one way instead of 1 hour). Some people are OK with that, but I dread it every year from October to April. If you are retired and wealthy, skiing, snow and the mountains are WONDERFUL! Like I said, it’s just a different perspective, although it seems that people in FL are very angry about their state! Which is why we are researching everything before leaving here! Thanks for the information and at least try enjoy the winter months! Florida is a big state…just curious, is it as bad on the North end of FL as you say? Like Jacksonville or the panhandle?

  • Marietta

    Just moved from Greece to Port Orange and I already hate the place. Rednecks everywhere, low salaries, hymidity and heat. Low level in general… I had only been here for vacations and I thought It would feel like home since is the sunshine state but it is not even close. I hate to have to use the car all day long to go somewhere ( I am from Athens), there are no young people to hang out, and if they where, there are no places to go and have some fun. I don’t suggest to anyone to come and live here exept for people over 70 who only want to go to Walmart and watch tv all day long. Hope to return to civilization really soon. Europe here I come, there is not such a thing, as the American dream, in Florida!

  • Revelation

    I left the north to move to Florida it is a fresh start, but oh yes the humidity gets to me! And I live inside most of the time, but then again you have the greatest sunsets and if you have a lanai it is the best indoor outdoor escape. YOU can cook out on it watch the sunset visit with company the wind breeze coming off the lake is fantastic! My Lanai is filled with tropic plants and birds it’s like my own get away every day, does perfection get wearing? It can if you are not ready to take the good with the bad. Florida is hot! Hotter! And oh yes hot, if you like snow you won’t like this, if you like seasons you will not enjoy the same weather all year round. Well you do get colder temp in the winter but it still is going to be warm. The drivers? Ah you get used to them. No one is perfect no state has perfection. NO driver is not without fault. We love Florida, do we miss north? Of course. Will we move back? Hard to say, thus far we like Florida better. One of the major selling factors is the people! Are Fantastic! So laid back and friendly unlike the north. But either way we love them both equally. I guess it just depends on what you want, what will make you the most happiest. And perhaps where you are meant to be.

    • Ron Post author

      Thanks for your comment. It would be great if people who live in Florida that make comments let the readers know what part of Florida they are from and how long they’ve lived in the state. If you’re happy with where you live, that could be helpful to others who are thinking of moving to Florida. Thanks again.

      • Joe

        After reading all the comments the one thing that stands out to me the most is how emotion filled (mostly negative) they are and how little research most have done before/during/after their moves. My guess is that there are similar forums for every state with similarly comments about how dissatisfied people are with where they live. I personally spent 30+ years in a nice sized town in Colorado and still like visiting whenever possible in the spring & summer months….but my disdain for the cold grew as I got older and the dryness (both in winter & summer) is a sinus killer (headaches & bloody noses most of my life till I moved away) and bad for my son’s asthma.

        I then spent ~4 years in central Texas and all I can say about living in Texas is UGH….and that was after much research and living in one of the best cities in AMER based on crime rate, jobs, livability, etc. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

        I then moved to the Florida panhandle (Destin area) for a fresh start and I really enjoy most everything except the problems caused by the yearly flood of vacationers….this of course is good (for business) but not so much for the damper it puts on the lifestyle enjoyed the rest of the year. I personally like the more consistent weather and my body just does not like the cold (some people’s bodies like cold more than heat so Florida would not be for them). As far as all the comments about hot: well it has been hotter in both CO and TX the past 3 summers I have lived here and all the talk about humidity is more related to the southern cities like Miami because it’s really nice in the panhandle and northern FL….also, 100 degrees is hot regardless of where you live just like below freezing is cold regardless of where you live.

        Regarding jobs, I’m not sure I can fully understand issues others are having as I have a job that allows me to work from home and anywhere. We are your typical family living paycheck to paycheck and I have to believe that it mostly depends on what your area of expertise is as to which states would be more fitting. I have friends in construction, landscaping, plumbing, hvac, etc. that all moved from northern states like CO, & NC and are thriving financially.

        As far as the cost of living goes…well that is all relative as well….compared to TX this place is waaaaaaay less expensive for me and my family…..compared to CO it’s about the same….even considering I live in a tourist town where prices in general are higher for many things but the essentials are very comparable.

        I agree that people need to do research before moving anywhere

        I have lived here almost 3 years and other than perhaps a move to a city with less tourism like Winter Springs, I believe I have found the state for me and my family.

      • Ron Post author

        Thanks for your comment “Joe”. I think it’s very helpful when people who live in Florida share their opinions and include what area they live in and what they like/dislike about it. That’s a good point about tourist (snowbirds too in some areas for some residents) and their effect on quality of life. For instance, many people relocate to the Orlando area to be close to the theme parks, restaurants, etc. without considering what effect 50 million tourist to the area a year will have on them. On “summer” weather in Florida: Too many people move to Florida without realizing summer conditions can last 5-9 months most years depending upon the area of Florida you reside. Thanks again.

    • lydia

      Was it difficult adjusting to the way of living? I’m thinking of relocating for education purposes and so far everything I’ve read are so negative for young adults.

  • Tony

    My wife and I move down here from Tucson Arizona a few years ago, (my idea). We also lived in Las Vegas for many years before that. We had never been to Florida before, but thought it would be a tropical paradise from all we’d ever seen on tv and heard about it. I should have researched it more before actually moving here. We now live in Southwest Florida….north of Fort Myers. We also lived just south of Sarasota for almost two years. The first few months here were great….like being on vacation. We went to the beach daily and did all the fun things, exploring, eating out…but after about six months, reality set in. There are no good paying jobs at all here. I’ve been looking for full-time work for over two years. I’m now forced to work part-time with no benefits and hardly any hours….after wasting all of our savings on moving and living for the past few years here. I am a skilled tradesman with years of experience, but can’t find anything decent as far as work. I find everyone in Florida to be unfriendly, rudy and without any manors or consideration for others. Just go out food shopping, you’ll see what I’m talking about. People stand right in front of you and never say excuse me. They’ll give you dirty looks for no reason and no one ever says Thank You. They will cut you off and then flip you off when driving, but I guess that happens everywhere. Everyone seems angry and miserable – even the rich old retirees driving new Cadillacs! They all have scrowls on their faces and act mad at the world. If you like 80 year old people with that all have yapping dogs that they take everywhere with them, this is the place for you. Also, everything here is expensive and difficult to do – from auto registration, drivers license, water, power, food shopping, etc. The weather is nice in the winter, but the humidity and moisure does get old….and all the snow birds are way more than I ever bargained for. We had snow birds in Arizona, but nothing like here in Florida. It’s like they INVADE in the fall, and it’s total hell for the next six months – everything’s way over-crowded and all the prices go up everywhere. The traffic becomes a nightmare and driving sucks. If you move to Florida, be prepared to spend your life trimming trees, cutting grass and spraying for bugs and weeds….or paying people to do it. It’s very time consuming and expensive. I spend all my spare time doing yard work and listening to all my neighbors constantly doing yard work – lawn mower, blowers, weed trimmer noise every single day. Right now as I’m writing this, my neighors are doing their lawn work….for the fouth time this week!!! Very annoying. Unfortunately, we’re trapped here now because we spent way too much moving here and setting up our lives here over the past three years. There’s no way that we can afford to move back out west now. We do like the scenery, wildlife, trees, plants and thunderstorms, but other than that, there isn’t really that much to like. I would move back out west in a second if I could. I’m trying to make the best of it for now, but I think about getting out of here almost every day. Florida seems like an awesome place to vacation, but living here year-round is difficult and disappoining for me. I miss the desert, mountains, wide open spaces, dry heat and an easier life in general in the southwest. Life in Florida may be paradise for the people who have plenty of money or are retired, but for working people with not much money, it’s a very hard life here. It probably sounds like I am being overly negative, but I’m just being completely honest. Florida is a beautiful state. If there were no people here it would be a great place to live.

    • Ron Post author

      Thank you for your honest comment. A fortune is spent everyday (by entities who will make money off you when you move in & out of Florida) to convince people to move to Florida. They will tell you living in Florida is paradise. The truth is, most people who move to Florida won’t find paradise. That’s what a report about by two researchers that was published by the University of Florida showed. Over 10 million people have moved out of Florida for greener grass in another state. Unfortunately, very few people ever hear the truth before they move. Florida is a great place to visit. It’s a great place to live if you are already independently wealthy and have homes elsewhere and don’t stay in Florida year-round.

      Florida can be a brutal place to be for people who need to work for a living, or people on a modest fixed income. Thanks for mentioning the areas you’ve lived in Florida, some of which are the best Florida has to offer. Tony, I hope you soon find a way out of Florida to a place where you can actually earn a decent living for working. Florida is only like that during boom years, which unfortunately is always followed by a devastating bust once the bubble bursts.

      • John

        Moved here from Cali in June. We have a house on the water with a pool. We thought it would be better in a tax free state because we are in a high tax bracket. Also, my parents had a winter home here and as a child. I loved coming here in the winter.

        We are moving back in June. The people are RUDE and it’s not great to raise kids here. Hot everyday and tons of traffic. However, if your going to only spend the winters here; it’s nice because you can leave. Perfect for snowbirds.

      • Ron Post author

        Thanks for taking the time to share your experience, could be very helpful to other readers. Moving out after such a short relocation to Florida is not uncommon, but the reporting of it is. Sounds like you’re going to let the kids finish the school year before moving back to California, keep them safe. Two long distance relocation’s to and from Florida is exactly what we’re trying to prevent here. Sharing your experience may help others by prompting them to do more research, to learn if Florida will be more likely be right for them or not. Don’t blame yourself, in many ways Florida is a different place than it was when you visited years ago. Sorry Florida didn’t work out for you.

    • sarah

      You right on! I was raised in Fl and got out after living there for 22 years. People are rude, drugs and crime are the main reason I moved out though. I lived in lee county and that was the highest unemployment rating in the US and has the worse crime rate. Everyone in FL will be quick to screw you over if you don’t know what is what. Land lords, Automotive, repair men, esc. The main reason for that is because there are so many tourists and snow birds that don’t actually know FL prices to fix things or rent. It’s one big giant multi ethnic sandwich and no one likes the other which is one reason to all the crime. I miss the beaches, pools, and year round heat so I can go outside and do whatever but I have children and there is no way I’d feel safe raising them in FL. I was introduced to drugs in elementary school and mind you it’s considered one of the best in cape coral. I know first hand what FL life is like, I grew up in it and it’s no place to raise a family.

      • Ron Post author

        Thanks for taking the time to comment Sarah. Comments from people who have actually lived in Florida can be very helpful to those seeking real information on what living there is like. Unfortunately, in too many forums anyone that says anything bad about Florida is attacked by the mob that hangs out all day trying to sell homes, lots, moving services, etc. If you posted a negative comment like the one above you would likely be mauled by responses and they would all flag it to get the comment removed as only 100% positive comments about Florida are welcome. I appreciate you mentioning what area you moved from and why, and sharing your experience as a student in Florida’s schools.

        Cape Coral was named as the 2nd best place to retire in the US by a major publication just a few years ago. The problem with most of those lists are that they are choosen mainly by computers and data, and in most cases the list maker has never set foot in any of those places. Here’s a video from someone visiting Cape Coral and offering his honest opinion:

  • Marie

    Great article and comments. I lived in Florida for 14 years. I moved from NY (via Bklyn and Long Island). I didn’t check into Fla at all, just used to visit my grandparents when I was younger for the summers. Never particularly liked Fla, but had to take care of my mother, and so I moved. I think I hated it everyday for the whole 14 years. There might have been a day or so that I liked it but that was short lived.

    Work is very hard to find especially if you are new. They don’t like to hire you if you are new because so many ppl will just leave Fla once they move there. I did finally find work, and yes the salary is peanuts. I made below minimum wage for a very long time, massive pay cut from what I was making in NY and I was just a receptionist.

    The food prices are ridiculous, way more expensive than NY. tomatoes are $2.49 each, the same as peppers. You can get a large bag of basic in NY for a buck, but in Fla you get a handful for $3.

    After a while I was so sick of the sun all the time! I longed for some dreary days to get away from it. you never see people walking around outside, most of Fla looks like a ghost town, its just way too hot.

    Bugs, oh yes there are bugs! In the northern part of Sarasota there were the palmetto bugs (flying waterbugs). I mistakenly, the first time I saw one, went up to it to spray and it flew into my face…not fun..yuck! In southern Sarasota I had woods spiders, which I called face huggers, cause they look like the alien that runs along the floor in Aliens. Very large, very fast. Hated them. Oh yes the lovely red ants, can’t walk on the grass or do anything else on the grass in Fla, if you step on them or go anywhere near them they attack, and viciously so (I guess the golf courses have them mostly under control with a lot of pesticide). People have died from red ant bites. Then there are the love bugs, the wonderful black bugs that fly around for two different seasons a year, As you drive they fly into your car (or actually you drive into them) and they have acid for blood, that when splattered on your car, eats the paint off of your car, they also crawl under your door in your home.

    Concerning cars, on the other hand, you don’t have all the rust damage like you get up north and I think it costs less to own one. About drivers, I think the comment above is correct. You have so many people coming from different states with different driving styles and put them all together and you have havoc. Way more accidents down there than up north. And since there are really only one or two ways to get where you want to go, these accidents cause major back-ups, of hours and hours sitting in scorching heat. The price for a car is more expansive than up north, for that reason they tell you “its a Fla car thats way you pay more” There is a lot of road rage in Fla, speeders cutting you off, tailgating, you never see cops. a lot of very old people driving the wrong direction causing havoc. I hated to go out of my house and drive somewhere (not like I would walk cause its too darn hot), of course when I did go out and drive, I would clench my teeth all the way until I got home. It got worse when all of a sudden we had this boom of building and buying homes. Why all of a sudden people had to move down here in droves is beyond me, but they sure made things worse.

    The people, yes I have found the most rude, obnoxious people ever in Sarasota (north and south). I think that the most self centered ppl move here, (fla even has the least amount of volunteers than any other state). The snow birds are awful, they pretty much feel that they pay all of our taxes so therefore we are to be at their beck and call, and they are allowed to treat us terribly due to this, and due to the fact they have money and due to the fact that “WE’RE ON VACATION” . The people also seem to be sexually depraved, I am thinking Fla has the most teachers assaulting children for sex, grabbing children from school bus stops and either killing them or molesting them. It seems the main goal for ppl that move to Fla is get drunk, drive the boat around to different low lying areas, get out to stand in the water to get drunk, play golf. Thats about it. There really isn’t anything else to do, sit on the beach, drive your boat, golf, period.

    But watch out for the skin cancer! Everyone is walking around with red, scabby, skin oozing with cancer, but by gosh they are going to stay out in the sun and roast themselves cause they look good in a tan, yeah well that tan turns into cancer in the long run. There isn’t much shade, for some reason when all of these contractors come in and do all their building, they tear down all the trees, by law they have to leave a few, but they usually leave the dead ones.

    Sometimes in Fla you will get a cold winter for a month or two, going down in the 30’s, high of 50’s, I loved those times, I could actually wear a few sweaters. I really missed wearing sweaters, boots, coats. One winter we didn’t go below 73, and it was a very warm 73. I had a pool, never used it, well we did in the beginning, but then it got very old, very fast. The constant putting of chemicals in the water, sweeping the pool. The pool pumps are only good for two years, and yep, they die exactly two years after you buy one they cost $200+.. You will spend at least $60 a month for chemicals to put in your pool and even more than that if you pay someone to put chemicals in your pool. Wish I never bought that pool! Oh and yes, you do need a cage around your pool. Anywhere there is a body of water you will find (eventually) a gator. Watch out for their mating season, they will attack anyone.

    By North Port, Port Charlotte, and Ft Myers there are a lot of aggressive bears, very, very large iguanas, wolfs, florida panthers, bobcats, armadillos,raccoons,gators to name a few.

    The decor, everywhere you look the decor is palm trees (which are filled with termites by the way), white wood, light greens,wicker; got really tired of Fla decor and furniture.

    Oh one last thing I have to tell you about, the Mold! Mold is everywhere, in your walls, in your a/c thermometer box on your wall, around your house, windows, covering your driveway, everywhere. Mold is deadly by the way and it is permeating everything in Fla. especially if your home is surrounded by trees and doesn’t get much sun to kill off the mold. Mold kills many people especially children, cause it is always in the walls of their bedrooms and their little lungs can’t handle it.

    Okay I think I covered most of everything, there is still more, but don’t want to overwhelm you right away.

  • oscar

    Love the heat, love the people(cheerful) restaurant and stores with music, ethnic foods, laid back life, no rushing…(life is short), family oriented people, can have vegetable garden year around, dine by the water anytime of year, closer to the Caribbean (means cheap flights).
    Here in NJ feels like vomiting !!

  • myself

    My husband & I just moved out of Fl last week. He has lived there for 22 years….I moved down in 2008 ( we both are from the northeast/new England area, we went to high school together, haven’t seen each other since then & reconnected 25 years later, got married & I moved down) I, like everyone else had all the oooh’s & aaaah’s and wanting to move there years ago from vacationing there……Let me say….vacationing there is totally not like living there…..Everyone thinks they’ll get there & nothing will be different & they will just live their happy little lives until they die….well I am a nurse & Fl will pay so low it’s actually embarrassing…..We also had a business my husband has which he did ok with during snowbird season……HOWEVER because of the crappy pay Fl has and 1/2 the year our business was slow to dead we actually lost our house to forclosure…..You cannot pay an $1100 mortgage, pay utilities, groceries, gas etc etc on $16 an hour…….yes>>>> $16 an hour as an RN is what FL pays…….I tell everyone who doesn’t get it….especially my NE friends and such…try living on 1/2 of what you make but paying the exact same amount or more for everything………and that is no exaggeration either……..it is impossible to make it…….also all the rents are now up to the same or even more in Fl because so many people have lost their homes that they HAVE to rent…and now the rent is more than what their mortgages were…they are trapped…they have to live somewhere…so they are in an even worse predicament…Also the house insurance companies will tell people they need a new roof…or they cancel your policy….WE went through it..and the bank will put on “forced insurance” at $1600 every 90 days that YOU have to pay……….so we ended up saying” **** it” and decided then to save every penny we made & move back north……..purely because we had to financially…….We don’t see how anyone can make it in Fl….not working class people anyway……We could never buy another house there simply because the bank would laugh us out of the door at showing $16 an hour and trying to buy a home…….at least back up north my job pays more than double that so I can save for a bit then try to get a mortgage ( our house, my husband owned before we reconnected…so it will actually work to our benefit now) I will try to get us another house up north……then after all the foreclosure stuff has passed we can refinance under both our names…….Sure I feel terrible uprooting my husband from his home of the past 20+ years…his whole family moved down there…but he too came to the conclusion that we cannot make it there…..Even hearing everyone give us crap for leaving ( his family) no one gets it……I just told him if they all have an extra $2,500 a month to spare they can pay for us to live somewhere & all our bils etc then sure I would would be more than happy to stay there……yet no one ever offered any help in any way…….nothing…..So we left………..So unless you are rich & retired or have more money than you know what to do with put aside there is no way you can make it there as a working person just trying to survive………..It may have been great years ago & cheap….but those days are looooooong gone……I certainly never moved down there planning on going back to NE…..but we did……….

    • Ron Post author

      Thank you for your courageous comment. The fact is, relocating to Florida doesn’t work out for 75% of folks who move there. Comments from people who have actually lived in Florida (not just vacationed there) are very valuable to people thinking of doing the sane thing.

      • myself

        Exactly! I think a lot of people see the cheaper price of buying a house down there BUT they don’t even think about the fact that they are going to be paid peanuts by any job they find down there AFTER they buy a house there….All the houses are beautiful I do have to give credit to that…..and yes in a lot of cases you get an incredible house for a cheap amount….I remember seeing huge beautiful houses with a pool for $700-$800 a month……YET making $16 /hr or less at a job isn’t going to go very far…….A lot of people tend to think on what they are making at their job where they presently are so of course they automatically think they just get the house down in Florida and everything just stays fine & dandy……..it doesn’t…….trust me! Like I said before I moved down there with no intention of moving back north……..but there’s no way financially we could have stayed…..The jobs down in Fl are really based on people who are retired who just want a job to stay busy & what they make in pay doesn’t matter……..sadly. So in order to be able to buy another house & not have to work like a slave just to make enough money to cover basic living expenses we had no choice but to leave Fl……& it shouldn’t have to be like that for people at all.
        Fl really needs to get it’s act together on wages that allow people to live without struggling…on our street literally there was a foreclosure of 1/2 of the houses…….and a lot of people owe 2-3x more than what their houses are worth………You can’t even change a window without a permit …..everything you do pretty much needs a permit…it’s ridiculous!
        You really have to be rich & retired or very well off to make it in Fl…………or you just can’t make it………..

      • robin

        Hi Ron , I just came across this article and I would like your opinion on relocation. My husband and I are seriously considering moving to the Daytona beach area. My husband is in the power sports business ( motorcycle / jet ski / boat mechanic) he is very experienced and skilled and feels he will do better there than on long island ny. I work in healthcare (cna) for a hospital. Our combined salaries as of now are about 85-90k Do you think we can expect close to that there?

  • myself

    My family is considering moving down to Florida in another 8 months. We would be relocating from PA. We are an African American family. I have been doing a little reseach of my own ( read blogs from City-Data.com) and I have to admit, I am leary of moving down there. I enjoy the change in the seasons. I love to visit Florida but not keen on living there. We do not have any relatives remotely close to Florida or any of the neighboring states. My question to you all, and I am sure you have probably guessed what it is…Is New Tampa a good place for minorites to live? Same with Wesley Chapel…is that also a good place to raise black children? I am also big on making sure my children attend excellent schools – not only on an academic level, but a safety level and one where you know the children are cared for. Also, I currently work for Comcast in finance. I realize that Comcast is not in Tampa or Wesley Chapel, but are there any great positions for financial professionals? I know I have a lot of questions (reservations). Any information is greatly, greatly appreciated.

    • Ron Post author

      A reply to the person who commented using the name “myself”
      Just a couple of thoughts:
      1) Please read some of the posts about violence in some FL schools on this blog like this http://www.stateoffloridaliving.com/florida-crime-and-safety-warning-for-newcomers/
      2) What’s considered an excellent Florida school will probably not be on par when compared to schools in PA. See this post and this one
      3) I have found that there are usually two groups of people on “moving” forums, people who are genuinely trying to learn about a place they are considering, and those with a profit motive that are trying to sell a big ticket item or service (agents, builders, movers, their employees, associates and employees, etc.) when they move there. Most regular people never use then unless researching a move. Making a life altering move based upon “advice” from someone who doesn’t have your best interest at heart, and may not even be who they are posing as online, can be dangerous. Seek out facts on crime and safety from the U.S. Census Bureau and other trusted sources. Potential employers or someone on Linkedin that is in the same line of work, in the area you are considering, will probably have more of an interest in your well being (and you’ll know for sure who they really are and what they do for a living).
      4) My experience has been this with people moving to Florida: if they have reservations even before they move to FL, chances are even higher that things won’t work out. You are right to be concerned about moving with children. Putting them in a new school, a 1000 miles away from their friends is traumatic enough, imagine pulling them out and moving again if Florida isn’t for you.
      5) People who move to FL have a better chance of success if there is a compelling reason for the move, like to take a big promotion, or a much higher paying job or your doctor told you a warmer state would be better for a medical condition.

      I wish you the best whether you stay in PA, or move to Florida or someone else. It’s a big decision

      PS- All comments are welcome but please use your initials, a nickname, or anything other than the name “myself”. Too many different people commenting using “myself” will get confusing. Thank you. Ron

      • Vera

        Hi Ron –

        My name is Vera and funny thing, my husband’s name is Ron also! We are moving for the reasons you mentioned above. My husband has this great job opportunity and we are getting the relocation package and all! My reservations are because of my children and all of your points are very valid. I am also leaving a great job that cannot relocate with me. I work for Comcast and the nearest location is in Sunset, Florida. My children are leaving a great school as well. It is tough to try and explain this to a man who only uses logic to solve problems. I appreciate you being realistic with me and giving me plenty food for thought. I will look into the resources you provided and if I have any other questions, I know where to find you!

      • MsNYFL

        Vera, I am an African American professional as well, originally from New York City via Long Island. I first lived in Coral Gables and then moved up to Aventura. I love it down here. Yes, it is very different from New York, but I find that those who tend to have the most negative outlook are the ones who are expecting Florida to simply be a warmer version of whatever northern state they’re from. If you’re willing to keep an open mind, this is a great place to be. Of course, the quality of one’s life here is most certainly going to be tied to one’s income bracket, but that is the case everywhere. I do not have children so I cannot comment much about the schools, though I have heard terrible things about most of the public ones here. However, I have a good friend who is also African American—her son went to a private school here and is now attending Stanford, so I would not summarily label all FL schools as second rate. In terms of the culture and race relations, I’d say my husband and I (an interracial couple) have only a slightly higher percentage of issues/incidents here as we did in NY (which were not that many). Mainly with older folks who simply cannot accept that society has changed, which I suppose is just something that happens with age. There’s also the people of all ages who moved here thinking that they would suddenly, magically, effortlessly be happy when they were miserable where they came from (in which case it’s more an issue of “anywhere you go there you and your unresolved issues will be”), and they of course turn around and blame their new location. My philosophy is ignore all of the “Negative Nancys.” If you want something in life to work, it will work. Maybe not exactly according to plan or as easy as you’d like it to be, but it can and still will work. Life is too short to be lived out of fear.

      • Ron Post author

        Thank you for commenting and mentioning what area of Florida you are/were from. The length of time you lived in the state would be helpful also because most people’s opinions of living in Florida change the longer they live in the state. Just a couple of points:
        1) The area MsNYFL mentions is a totally different area than where Vera is thinking of moving. For instance, in most areas outside of major metro areas in Florida, private schools aren’t even an option.
        2) Florida’s own “University of Florida” did a study using census and IRS records of how many people move to and from Florida. During the study period, 13 million people moved to Florida, and 10 million moved out, leaving a gain of only 3 million. If just one person is negative about something, that’s one thing. If millions have a negative opinion, it may be unwise not to look into the reasons and just ignore them.
        3) My actual experience in selling hundreds of homes to people moving in and out of Florida, is that over time people find living in Florida is far different than what they were CONVINCED it was going to be like. People move to FL CONVINCED that their life will improve. Everyone loves it at first, but just like they got tired of the snow or cold weather up north, they start to get tired of a whole new set of issues in FL. Over time, many of people then become CONVINCED that where they moved from wasn’t so bad after all and move back (and come to be called “Negative Nancys”), just like the published University proved.
        Ironically, the commenter posted from a state a 1000 miles away from Florida. Maybe they’re just out of Florida for the holidays?

  • Michelle

    I’ve lived in Florida my whole life. Yes, the heat and humidity get old just like snow and freezing cold get old to northerners. Yes we have big scary bugs here. If you have the outside perimeters of your house treated and your house is clean for the most part inside you will not see many bugs unless you let one in the front door when you open it. If you love the idea of going to the beach keep in mind you either will be paying for waterfront property and for the proximity to live near it and also for the flood insurance you will need in those coastal areas. I live and hour from the beach now but grew up as a child on an island right across the street from the ocean. I don’t ever go to the beach now. It’s too far and too much hassle. I’ve also noticed as I’ve gotten older my tolerance for the heat here has diminished. The heat and sun and brutal here in the summer especially if you are out in it at a football game, jogging or at the beach. Most people who run do it early in the morning or in the evening when the sun goes down.Hurricanes are a threat here and folks that live in coastal areas will usually be mandated out of their homes if they live in flood zones and especially if the cat hurricane is high. If the home wasn’t built to hurricane code (2001/2002 this started) you will be looking at a very volatile situation if a strong enough storm comes to pass. My home was built to code and has steel reinforcements that hold the roof down in the attic. I am used to everything here of course but I think for me the people are annoying. I am not conservative and am not country folk. I was born here but my parents were from the southwest. I cannot relate to a lot of the southern mentality and I find it very annoying. I tolerate it but always feel like I am very different from them. Florida is a melting pot of different types of people and especially in the larger towns you will get more diversity which is good but definitely not like what you see up north or out west.

  • Wildman

    Great Forum. I have a question. I’m graduating from college with a double major in Criminal Justice and History in six months. I live in Southeastern Kentucky pretty much in the mountains though I love the mountains,the cold,rainy,muggy,no jobs, and not long enough summer is getting to me. I have always wanted to live in Florida. I love to hunt, fish, work, and do all the normal stuff. I’m not married, have no child, and just looking for a new adventure for a while. Ok now my question haha, Would florida be for me? By the way, the heat does not bother me and I do not get burned. I’m 1/4 Native American and my skin just turns Indian red color. Thanks for any comments and help in advance.

  • Phil

    I am a social worker and confess that I was swayed by idealism when I moved to Florida nearly five years ago. I was born in Florida and left for Tennessee when I was seven. Prior to moving back to Florida after 25 years in Tennessee, I was drawn by fond childhood memories. I had also visited Florida in previous years with vacation euphoria. Plus, I wanted to have more dating prospects who were “progressive” and seeing all the women in bikinis and pretty bare feet seemed like a sure win. I had just finished graduate school (as an adult) and thought of the prophetic words a friend said “you can always move back to Tennessee.” I did my pros and cons lists. I had even interviewed for jobs in other states. Still yet, spirit of Osceola was calling. I moved to Pinellas County with a job. I have lived and worked here for the past five years. My brother moved after 4 years. I struggles to maintain employment in part that he had to work telemarketing jobs while having a bachelor’s degree and job experience. The reasons I want to move back home have been mentioned by others, but they are worth reiterating. The pros and cons list with always be incomplete until you several years in at your new place. My advice would be put more weight on the obvious negatives because they become amplified when they are in your face on a daily basis. The most obvious factor should be lost family and friends. I under-estimated the power of relational attachments. The second obvious factor should be loss of familiarity of place. If you’re bored now, just wait your stuck inside and kept away from the beach because of the heat and rain. You’ll grow sick of the beach and sick of fishing–because you’ll get sick of cooking your flesh in the heat. The third factor is the crowdedness and transient feel. It begins to feel Closter phobic and unsafe. People (who also moved) seem to lack a sense of ownership. Many people are here to reclaim their youth and right to party. Alcoholism and drug abuse is rampant. The lack of small town values, especially in larger cities, translates into a greater need for patience when dealing with people. Some folks, especially those with nothing to lose, are in high numbers here–and they are provocative. Traffic is oppressive–if you land a bad commute. The fourth factor is that Florida aesthetics transform from pretty blue beaches to shabby palm trees. You begin to see that this is not the Caribbean. The water is brackish. Fresh water is alligator infested, and most parks close at dark. It’s too dangerous to fish at night anyway. I could list more factors–such as hurricanes. For me, I’ve learned that I moved for the wrong reasons–including meet women. Fortunately, I have grown up to some degree as a result of my move. Fortunately, I did not purchase property. God willing, I will never cross the Florida state line after I move back home.

    • Ron Post author

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Phil. Honest comments from people who have actually lived in Florida (that don’t have a financial interest in getting people to move to FL)are particularly helpful to people trying to gather information that will help them make a big decision.

  • Holly

    Hello, everyone. I have been researching for a place to relocate. Born and raised in Indiana, but fell in love with the ocean on a vacation, and that was in FLORIDA:) I have been researching for the best place to relocate, and Florida is at the top of my list. I know more about Florida than my own state. After researching, and reading on the negative comments, I do not think that I want to move there now. The only thing that people are really complaining about is the humidity. We have really bad humidity up here also, I do not really care where I live as long as I can see the ocean. Being land-locked for my 34 short years, sucks! I really hope all of you coastal residents appreciate the beauty that you get to look at. Just looking at trees all the time, is getting very old! Even at 34, the cold is getting really old! But, I also think that there are going to be negative aspects, wherever a person lives. One thing that I have been very adamant in researching is the crime rate, and sink holes. I do not think that people realize that Florida has numerous sink holes. Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater is the worst areas for sinkholes. I will say that this website has given me a new perspective on Florida. I do not want to deal with cold winters anymore, but I also do not want to be hot all of the time, like I would be in Florida. I just wanted to join the discussion and give my two-cense, and say that I will not be moving Florida anytime soon. Thanks for the education.

    • Ron Post author

      Thanks for your “two-cense” Holly. A big misconception by many people moving to Florida is that it’s only humid during the summer. Depending upon which part of Florida, the “summer” humidity can last 9 months or longer, every year. Some can adjust to that, for some it just gets more unbearable with each passing year. Thanks again.

  • Dana

    Hi Ron/All – My husband and I sold our house in CT and the closing is January 17th. We STILL have yet to figure out where we’re going to live. We want to pay cash for a house and Florida homes are very affordable. I guess my question is will we be better off paying cash for a house in Florida rather than taking out a mortgage, especially if we do decide to move back? Also my husband is a licensed plumber. Can anyone tell me if there are many plumbing companies out there looking for work? I do realize the pay will be lower.

    • Ron Post author

      People save money on closing costs when buying a home in Florida with cash instead of a mortgage, as well as saving the cost of interest every day you own the home. Taking out a mortgage to save on taxes is bad advice because you have to LOSE a dollar in interest to save .25 in income taxes, net loss .75 for example. It’s also been my experience that most people shop smarter and negotiate tougher when they pay cash. Cash buyers get more respect from agents and sellers too. Just be sure to protect yourself with inspections within the time allowed in your written offer, title insurance (from a law firm that handles closings preferred), homeowners insurance, etc.

      Every state has different requirements on licensing. You can get more info on working in Florida as a plumber here

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for your response Ron, it really helped a lot. My next question……Is there anything POSITIVE about living in Florida besides sunshine and beaches?

      • Ron Post author

        Yes, there are plenty of positives to living in Florida. Most people already know most of them. There are also many negatives to living in Florida, and the problem is most people don’t what they are, or they don’t realize just how much of an impact they will have on their quality of life in Florida. That’s why I wrote the Florida Move Guide, to tell people the reasons people moving out of Florida gave me for wanting to move back home, or to another state.

        I’ve had people write me and say they could absolutely see one or more of those negative things impacting them so much that know they shouldn’t move there. That’s basically the purpose of the book, to help prevent people who are going to become just another one of the millions who moved to Florida only to discover it was a mistake, from making that mistake in the first place. Relocating twice to somewhere 1000 miles away is extremely disruptive to your enjoyment of life and very costly, especially if it involves the buying and selling of homes.

        For most of the negatives that have chased people out of Florida, there are things people can do when they first move to Florida that can help minimize the possible effect of those negatives, like what part of Florida and what type of property you choose to live in. This is information I wish I had before I moved to Florida. I’ve had people write that they were thankful they read the book, are still moving to Florida but will adjust some of their plans. If you learn what the negatives are and the impact they had on other people, but you don’t see any of those being a problem for you, Florida may truly be paradise for you.

        I’ve also had people who say they visited Florida 15 times and that none of those negative things were apparent to them and they slam the book. I visited Florida dozens of times before I actually moved there, but I learned my roughly 25 visits of about a week each meant I had less than 6 months of actual Florida experience (while on vacation). When I first started selling real estate in Florida, I thought people who wanted to sell and move out were crazy. In time I came to understand exactly where they were coming from.

        I’m particularly concerned about people who are moving to Florida that need to generate income/work, that don’t have something solid lined up. Florida may be suitable for people who are retired with a dependable income, but it can be a tough place to earn a living unless the state is in the last stage of a boom. Most people outside of Florida don’t realize how devastating a Florida bust can be. Here are just a few videos of areas in SW Florida that shows how destructive these busts can be. These were done about the same time that Money Magazine named an area in SW Florida as the 2nd best place to retire in the U.S. I am working on a best places to retire in Florida 2014 post, and some great fun videos will show the positive side of places. These videos show the story that those with something to sell in Florida would rather prospective residents didn’t see. Please note, none of the videos on this site were done by me, I just select them from youtube. There are 100’s (1000’s?) of similar videos on the economic devastation.

  • homebody

    Well, I posted on here before under “myself”..lol…I was the one moving back north to MA from FL…let me say this…we have been here now for 3 months…what a great time it has been! EVERYTHING is cheaper than FL……my husband was shocked at how much cheaper food is…we went shopping and got a huge overflowing cart of groceries for $109.00…..at Publix we would have paid about $50-$60 for 3 plastic bags of items……gas is about $3.39 a gallon……our car insurance is $987.00 for the year for FULL coverage on 2 cars…..our rent is $900 a month for a nice 2 bedroom apt. We are going to buy another home in about 6 mos…….I even got a promotion at my job when I went to see if all my info was transferred back up to the location up here. It is soooo refreshing to have a job that pays a little more than 2x what FL pays AND have everything cheaper ………my husband hasn’t lived up here since the early 90’s…and even he was wondering how can this be???? He called his friend last week and was so excited about the much cheaper cost of living …..his friend said ” well, you pay for the sunshine”………please…..really???? Sunshine isn’t putting a roof over my head & paying our living expenses……..what a stupid concept……also the one I love…”but you don’t pay state income tax…wait until you get your paycheck”…ummm what for a measley $30-$40 a week in state taxes???? big deal…I’d pay $200 a week in state taxes if it means we can make a living without struggling to pay basic living expenses for pete’s sake!!!…I always tell people when they ask me why we left……..I say “think about making 1/2 of what you make now but paying the same or double for everything”…..THEN they have the “aha” moment & get it………..and yes we hear all the “snow this & snow that” nonsense…….it’s no different than having it so hot you feel like melting & suffocating at the same time because it’s so hot & humid out that you can’t even enjoy being outside…..we only have to deal with freezing cold for 3 months……the unbearable hot humid stuff is 9 mos long………our heating /electric bill is only $50-$70 a month……electric bill in FL was $300-$350 a month……so that’s for comparison………We always say people either have to be very well off or rich & retired to make it down in FL……..& it sure proves it by the cost of living there……we have no doubt even more so now. It’s great for vacationing but that’s about it………I even became friends with many people born & raised there while I lived there who always have said they cannot wait to get out of there…..some even called it a perpetual sandtrap………..We will be going down occasionally to visit my husbands family because they still live down there ( they moved down in the early 90’s & were retired….from the NE)……We are so glad to be away from there……much more opportunity in the NE than down there……..any jobs down there you have no advancement opportunity……especially in medical areas….they want you to have exactly what the advertise for…so you will never be able to venture out to a different field of that profession…….you are basically stuck in one area…..and that is just rotten…………. I am very happy for those who have found “their place” in FL……..that is great that it is all you imagined it to be and more……I wish you all the best……….

    • Ron Post author

      Homebody, thanks for sharing your “living in Florida” experience on this site. Millions of people have moved to Florida for paradise, only to realize (after the Florida “honeymoon period” ended) that where they moved from wasn’t so bad after all. Hopefully sharing your experience will prompt more prospective new Florida residents to do more thorough research before moving to Florida because moving is an expensive hassle, especially somewhere many states away. It’s worse when multiple real state purchases and sales are involved. Too many people pay too much for that home in Florida and end up up selling it at a big loss when they want to sell and move back. Over 30,000 people a month pack up and move out of Florida on average, from senior citizens that made what was supposed to be a permanent relocation for retirement, to young people looking for greener grass. Here’s a video of a young guy who moved back to Ohio from Florida. It’s interesting because the whole time he’s talking, he’s riding a motorcycle where there is snow on the ground and occasional patches of ice on the otherwise cleared road.

  • homebody

    Funny that Englewood is on here….2 videos…..that is the town we lived in…..that towers plaza was literally 1 mile up the road from where we lived……..anyone who has given us crap about leaving should really look at the videos…..that speaks for itself!!!

  • Homebody

    Today my husband had to call our local gas & electric company to look at our gas stove….we found out yesterday the oven part wasn’t working….apparently the person who lived here before for years never used the oven, so, our landlord’s son told us to call the gas & electric company and just bill the landlord…….So my husband called & the company sent over someone right away…..he was stunned…no waiting, here within 2 hours……The guy was here for about 1 hr & 15 minutes……all fixed up, back up & running..he even cleaned everything inside the stove around the lines….it only was $53.00 and change………I was totally stunned at how cheap that was….my husband is still in shock….he even thought it had to be a mistake & even questioned the gas company person who came …..we were both expecting a $300.00 + bill for the housecall……….if that were FL, we would have waited a week & been charged at least $300+ $$$$ easily…….. amazing!!!!!!!! We just don’t understand how FL can be so expensive yet people make less than 1/2 of the $$$$…..something is very wrong there……..

  • Nick

    I live in CT right now and have lived here almost my entire life. I am 29 years of age and have come VERY close to making a move to FL. I even landed a job interview in Fort Lauderdale last May, but didn’t get the job. I just want to say….thank god it didn’t work out! The more I researched and thought about moving to FL, the more apprehensive I became about actually pursuing a move down there.

    One thing that really turns me off about FL is that it’s just about totally FLAT everywhere. Very boring topography compared to New England. And I love to go hiking in the woods and hills and see waterfalls and rocks. This type of scenery simply doesn’t exist in FL. Also, although I am a summer lover, I still like to have seasonal change that makes me appreciate summer when it comes. I can’t imagine having heat and sunshine just about all year round. How boring! Most of the major metropolitan areas in FL are essentially large flat urban grids with endless boulevards, strip malls, fast food chains and traffic congestion in some areas. The zoning, topography and scenery is very monotonous and boring, in my opinion. Here in New England, the residential zoning is more natural and doesn’t have a “planned” appearance.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have always enjoyed visiting FL. Even the scenery is nice to see while I’m there. But at this point, I’m just too attached to the undeniable natural beauty of the northeast, seasons and natural zoning that simply doesn’t exist in FL.

  • the beagle

    well its interesting to find this site to say the least .my wife and i are currently living in a hellhole that goes by the name of buffalo ny. we have friends in pensacola that we have visited and we totally fell in love with the gulf coast. my wife works in the hotel industry and i’m most certain that she will have no problem finding work in the pensacola industry . you would not believe what is really like to live here , the taxes , the brutal winters we are famous for and the place is just a run down rust belt city . we have an avowed communist governor that is intent on taking what little freedoms we have left away from us. my wife and i decided that this place is no longer tolerable !! a couple of years ago i got really sick from a nuerological condition , it just came out of nowhere .while dealing with this condition after going through an intersection an idiot ran a red light and nailed me now i have a horrible back injury. we now have a dilemma . as a result of this we had a really hard time financially and had a lot of bills we simply couldnt pay . because of this our credit score plummeted and now i’m worried we are going to have a hard time finding a decent apartment. i now get disability and i dont want a prospective landlord to look at me as if i’m a bum . i have enough money to wipe the slate clean and pay off all of my debts . can anyone give me advice how to convince a landlord to rent to us . i would even be willing to pay the first six months rent on a lease . but i dont want to live in a ghetto. i’ve never been evicted nor do i have a criminal record . just a horrible credit score .

    • Ron Post author

      Moving over 1000 miles to “paradise” after one visit? Your sure she’ll find a job? There is so much more i’d like to say about your comment but lets just leave it at: you may want to do more research about your move.

      I do have to warn you though. There are still a ton of foreclosures in Florida because many owners are still underwater by 30% from what they owe. There are scammers who prey on people with poor credit. You should be checking the landlords credit because many “rentals” are in foreclosure and the landlord’s credit may be worse than yours. So you move 1000+ miles, pay 6 months rent in advance, move in, and 2 months later get an eviction notice from the bank that just foreclosed on the property. Now you have to move again because if you don’t, the Sheriff will help you (out onto the street), your rent in advance will be gone and you’ll wish you never left NY.

      There are landlords who will rent to people with bad credit. Some even advertise “no credit check”, “bad credit OK” and even “rent to own with no credit check”. It’s risky dealing with these people. Many are sharks that make the ones that live in the water seem like just nice fish. The safest route would be to deal with a well established real estate company with a rental department. But most landlords they represent will require good credit because they’ve been through this so many times, people move to Florida with high (but unrealistic) expectations that soon can’t pay the rent or afford to move and rip the place apart before they are evicted.

      If you move to Florida I hope things work out as you expect. I hope you find the humor in this video.

      • the beagle

        the cartoon is hilarious ! thanks i needed a good laugh, i couldnt stop laughing when i heard the comment about the postcard . well my wife and i talked last night and we decided that florida wouldnt be such a great idea . the biggest factor is that we have no family there , and her employment would be seasonal at best . she has been offered employment in pensacola but we would loose our benefits and she would only work 29 hours a week because of obamacare. we lived in washington state for years prior to moving back here . we have plenty of family out there and there are so many jobs out there. my sister in law is an rn and seeing that my wife is from south america she told us that my wife could get a job as a translator in a hospital . my wife has a nursing degree from her home country and is well versed is medical terminology. my sister in law said they use translators all the time and are always lokking for them.but if you want to know the main reason we decided against a move to florida , it really is the heat, growing up here in buffalo the heat in florida would be unbearable. and my wife and others totally agree that in heat like that i turn into a total jerk ! even i will admit it hahaha.plus i think about my dogs and how much they would suffer in that humidity.we liked pensacola and we have been there a few times sorry if i wasnt clear about that in my first post .we will be there again to vacation there . we found the people to be wonderful and the seafood was awesome , loved the beaches and enjoyed going to blue wahoos games . so the evergreen state is our destination it is very beautiful however it does rain a lot, but its better than buffalo !!!!! take care

  • John

    This is regarding South Florida. We moved from Cali because of tax reasons. We live on the water with a dock. We thought FL would be perfect for us. As a child we had a winter home in Boca and I still have family here. We have only been here 8 months and are moving back to Cali. Why?

    The schools are terrible and we have to shell out money for private schools. In Cali they go to public. The people are RUDE, cockroaches, bad traffic and it’s HOT everyday. I’m not kidding about people being rude!
    However, if your a snowbird this place is great for a few months in the winter. I have met some super nice people. I would look north of Palm Beach to live and raise a family. Before we moved here, I remember reading over and over that South Florida is not nice place to raise a family, I wish I listened!

  • Ashley

    Another native Coloradan here! I’m 27 and thinking of moving to Florida. I’m sick of the cold weather here in Colorado and I feel like I would flourish in a warmer climate. From my research, it looks like housing prices are a lot better in Florida comparatively. I’ve read that the school systems aren’t the best in Florida, but I’m not concerned since I don’t want children. I am concerned about the job market. I want to eventually build a solid career. Is unemployment higher in certain cities/counties?

    • Ron Post author

      Absolutely. There are counties that have far higher, and far lower unemployment rates than the rate for Florida or the US as a whole. In February will be finishing up our posts for best places to live in Florida in 2014 in general, including posts about the best places to live and need a job.

  • Paul McGraw

    I’ve come to the conclusion..FLorida is a nice place to visit, but as far as living there full time is concerned. THINK VERY HARD BEFORE YOU SIGN THE DOTTED LINE FOR THAT NEW HOUSE DOWN THERE !

  • jackson brown

    this is an awesome blog/post, we are in our mid to late 50’s and thinking of moving south from PA when we retire. Lots of things to think about here and I want to thank Ron for being so honest. I am thinking of renting in Florida for 2 to 4 weeks in the winter to get a feel for the state and the area before making a move. We will be fairly well off after retiring with no pensions but $2 to $3M as a nest egg so we will have options.

    • Ron Post author

      Hello Jackson,
      You said “I am thinking of renting in Florida for 2 to 4 weeks in the winter to get a feel for the state and the area before making a move.” That is exactly the WRONG thing to do, it clearly says so in the “Florida Move Guide” and explains in detail the reasons why. Winter in Florida weather-wise is about as close to “paradise” as you can get. It’s warm, not humid, tropical storms and hurricanes are unheard of, the snakes, alligators, swarming bugs, are lethargic and not a factor, etc. The problem is, that only lasts 3 months a year on average, depending upon where in Florida and the year.

      The rest of the year is nothing like the winter months. Most people move to Florida thinking it’s just hot and humid during the summer and then it’s warm the rest of the year. That’s wrong. Summer lasts about 9 months, hurricane season alone is 6 months every year.

      I can’t tell you how many homes I’ve sold in Florida for people moving out, that can’t figure out where they went wrong. The had been to Florida 20 times over 2 decades so they thought they knew what living in Florida was like. The problem? They always visited in the winter. This is extremely common. Any Florida resident will tell you more people visit during the winter months. Many residents feel even the winter isn’t enjoyable anymore because the roads are clogged and the stores and restaurants are jammed like “black Friday” for three months.

      Please don’t make the very common mistake of basing an expensive life disrupting 1000+ mile move based on a winter visit, especially if planning on living in Florida full-time. Doing so and learning it was a mistake could take a huge bite out of your nest egg. With your assets, you can probably enjoy Florida the way the happiest Floridians do, again, fully explained in the book.

      The University of Florida study found that during the time studied, 13 million people moved to FL from another state, and 10 million moved OUT of Florida to another US state. Don’t become just another of the millions that signed up for a one way relocation, but ended up getting soaked for the far more expensive round-trip. Those U-hauls and moving vans are loaded going both north and south on I-95/I-75.

  • jackson brown

    I guess i was thinking that we would only buy and live in florida during the winter…and keep our PA home…..and to rent in an area first to see if we like the area before we buy
    Another Florida option after retiring is to never buy and just rent for a few weeks each winter…..and avoid the hassle of year round ownership.

    • Ron Post author

      Renting in Florida for during the winter is a great option that many look forward to each year to shorten the northern winters. Most seasonal rentals are rented for a minimum of a month during winter due to condo and community restrictions but can be your home away from home, usually coming fully equipped. If purchasing in FL and owning in another state, one should consider the tax and asset protection benefits of being a Florida resident and making the property in Florida your primary address on tax forms. The tax savings may help pay the expenses of owning two homes. Your tax pro can help you there. Good luck and thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  • rightleftright

    My husband and I have been going to Florida on the gulf coast for several years now and we are planning to buy something down there in the near future. We live in Canada and most of our time together lived in Toronto, a vibrant city with great restaurants, culture, fantastic public transportation, accessible health care, etc. What is also has is bone chilling cold temperatures in the winter and humidity in the summer. People joke there are only two seasons in Ontario, winter and bug season and sometimes that’s not far from the truth.

    I have been retired for several years, took an early retirement and have a very comfortable pension. My husband is several years younger than me and still works. He is so looking forward to living part time in Florida, dreaming of endless days by the pool, a short stroll to some world class restaurant, a night cap and off to bed for a dreamless sleep lulled by waves. I am the realist; I’m the one who worries about our pets, you rarely see dogs out and about during the day because of the heat. I worry our pets will be snatched by gators. I worry about the health care, even though we can continue our OHIP coverage for stays less than 6 months. I worry I’ll be bored stiff by the sameness of it all.

    The videos on this forum are eye opening but I wasn’t shocked by them. A couple of years ago a realtor called me after I had logged onto his website and I guess he could see where I’d been looking. Thank God for Google Earth. I had entered lots of addresses into it and had seen first hand the images of huge homes sparsely dotting a planned community, with rough roads surrounded by….. nothing. What he told me was so disturbing; that many of these communities had had their utilities cut off because many houses had been abandoned, the tax base depleted and nothing to spend for upkeep of roads, etc. Empty homes stripped of anything valuable, taken over by squatters, no police patrols, again that diminished tax base. It sounded like a modern day Apocalypse. I hope for all Floridians, native or otherwise, this disaster will come to an end.

    I continue our search for a place in Florida but I have tempered my approach by looking further afield. I now troll real estate sites that include the panhandle (less driving time), the Atlantic side up closer to St. Augustine (hopefully with less humidity), even out of the state of Florida! And wonder of wonders, thinking wouldn’t it be great to walk on a beach sometimes with a thick warm sweater to ward of the chill!

    Ron, this is a wonderful site and I would be very interested in reading your book.

  • AngelFish

    Hi Ron, I’m a 44 years old man father of three. I’ve just accepted and offer from a company in Merritt Island, FL. I’ll be making $75K a year. I’m planing to move my family by the end of June. I’m originally from the caribbean, so hot/humid is well known to me. I’m living in south CT right now. I have done a lot of research about schools and neighborhoods and think Melbourne would be a good place to raise my family. I’m planing to rent a 3b house for a while before attemping to buy. Your comments will be truly appreciated.

    • Ron Post author

      Hello Angelfish,
      People who move to Florida because they have a compelling reason to do so, in your case a job offer that probably includes a better position and or compensation, have a much higher chance of being satisfied with their relocation. Before moving to Florida a long time ago, I often vacationed in Cocoa Beach and traveled what was called the Beeline Expressway (now the “Martin Andersen Beachline Expy”) into Orlando to the theme parks on some days, so we had the beaches and parks. I had free use of a friends vacation condo (when it wasn’t is use) in Satellite Beach, just south of Merit Island. Also watched launches at Cape Canaveral (night launches were great). My son actually lived in Merritt Island after graduating from UF for a short time before leaving for law school on the US west coast. Brevard County was also a pick of this website’s best places to live in Florida for bargains in 2014 in a recent post. I think you’ll like the area, I feel it’s one of the better places to live in FL.

      You seem to have done your due diligence on areas and schools, thereby further increasing your odds of a successful move. For what it’s worth, If I was moving there right now with 3 kids, I would rent a caged pool home. Elementary school age kids (and their new friends) will easily occupy themselves and less rarely complain of not having anything to do with a pool in the backyard. If they’re in high school, they may not use it much and middle school kids can go either way. When renting, pool homes can be had for little or no more than a home without a pool in many cases, especially if pool maintenance isn’t included. Maintaining a pool yourself is easy and the cost is trivial once you’re done with the learning curve. A caged pool is preferable, keeps the swarming mosquitoes away and reduces the amount of dead bugs and debris in the pool. Older Florida homes generally had larger pools but many newer homes come with smaller pools that work just fine, especially if they have an attached hot tub. If you rent a pool home now, when it comes time to buy (where there WILL be a big difference in cost) you’ll know whether the extra cost will be worth it or not.

      Contrary to what some people think, I’m not trying to talk people out of moving to Florida. Just the ones who have a very high chance of joining the millions who moved to Florida for the wrong reasons, found it to be an expensive mistake and moved out. That’s not you, wish you the best and thanks for taking the time to comment.

      • AngelFish

        Ron, thanks for your comments and best wishes. Now I feel more confident about making the move. I just read your book and didn’t see any comments on crime. Does that means Florida crime rates are not that bad? I also have read that there are roaches in other states, so being Florida one of the warmer and humid states it is understandable that bugs like it. But it is really that bad?

      • Ron Post author

        Hello again AngleFish,
        No, it doesn’t mean that Florida crime rates are not that bad. In fact, Florida’s cities often make the FBI’s 10 most violent list, particularly Miami that made the #1 worst city for violence just a year ago. Overall, Florida was the 4th most violent state in the US last year according to FBI stats. Just take a look at some of the “con” videos in the Florida pros and con videos (for cities) on this site. The reason it isn’t addressed in the book is because in all the years and all the homes I sold, it was rarely mentioned to me as a reason for moving out of Florida. That was probably due to the fact that I always ensured I was moving into a safer county (larger area), not just a safe neighborhood because we all have to leave the neighborhood to shop, or work, etc. The other reason is that it’s more of a local issue, hard to address in a book about a state. For instance, even crime ridden Miami has areas of lower crime. Crime rates also change too and I think it’s best handled by research when someone has narrowed their options down to a certain area, like you and Merritt Island. The next update of the book will have a chapter on crime and how to best research it because one problem that really concerns me is people choosing an area to live because it’s safe, but having to travel to unsafe areas (that they didn’t realize or weren’t told about) for goods and services. One incident in particular bothered me, where a child was beaten unconscious right on a school bus, on her first day of going to a new school.

        As far as bugs go, is it that bad? Yes, and no. While bugs were never mentioned to me as the only reason for leaving Florida, they were mentioned as part of a laundry list of reasons fairly often. The lower half of Florida is mostly swamp, and bugs thrive there. There are bugs, rodents, snakes and other pests that hitchhike to Florida on ships and thrive because they have no natural predators in Florida to control their population. I grew up in the northeast in the suburbs and never saw a cockroach in any of the homes I lived in, only saw them while showing homes nearby cities. When I visited Florida on vacation I never saw a cockroach at Disney or Universal Studios. But living in and showing homes in the “suburbs” in Florida, in Golf course and waterfront communities, I quickly learned what large flying cockroaches are. I’ve lost more than one sale because the wife was freaked out when a cockroach took flight while showing a home. Some people are OK with the bugs, but it’s a deal breaker for others, mainly women and young children. Here’s two videos about “lovebugs”. One is clear and you can see the bugs. They other one is blurry but you can see how the husband and wife react differently to the same bugs.
        “Lovebugs” clear video

        Unclear video, but shows how it freaks some out, and others laugh.

        Flying cockroach video

        The purpose of the book is to show people what living in Florida is really like and why so many end up hating the place so much they move out. If someone reads the book and little or none of it particularly bothers them, they have a better chance of their relocation to Florida working out. AngleFish, after reading the book, if all you’re really concerned with is crime and bugs, I think you’ll be OK because you’re moving to FL for a compelling reason, the bug issue is less of a factor the farther north you relocate to, and Brevard doesn’t have the crime issues the larger cities have. You’ve done more homework than most people so I think you’ll make the right decision, no matter what that is.

  • animatedlisa

    I am planning on moving to the WPB area and securing a room. I live in PA and plan on selling my car (it will not make the trip – I want to get a bike while down there). I moved down to Orlando in 1992 and worked for Disney and it did wonders for my health. Unfortunately, I got so homesick while down there I had to move back to PA. This time it’s 22 years later, I’m a lot wiser and feel living my years out in the Sunshine State will benefit me greatly. I hope to find a job; it can be two jobs if I have to. ANy suggestions?

  • Flyboy

    I am considering a permanent move to the area of between S. Jacksonville and St. Augustine. I am retired. I love to fish and I am a Ham radio Operator. I like photography too. I have started to hate the intense cold & snow. I will be looking for a property with 1 acre or so, and a nice house maybe with pool. I will not need a job or care about schools. You have mentented MANY negatives with living/retiring in FL. Will this general area be better?? and how which REAL bad negatives will I have to accept in this area ??
    Thanks,
    Flyboy

  • SMaudlin69

    This is a great site Ron. Very helpful. We are considering doing the summer/winter snowbird option as we approach retirement age over the next few years. We live in MA currently and the winters are really starting to take their toll for a variety of reasons. We’re drawn to northern FLA, specifically St. Augustine’s. I like that it’s not as hot/humid as southern FLA. We wouldn’t be looking for work or school systems but rather a peaceful, laidback type of living but relatively close to the ocean (within 1 mile). What are your thoughts about that city/area of FLA for folks with our requirements?

    • Ron Post author

      Hello SMaudlin69,
      If I understand you correctly, you are looking to become a snowbird, which means that you will only be in Florida during the winter. If that’s the case, as the Florida Move Guide says, you don’t have to concern yourself with humidity because it’s not a factor during the months of December, January and February no matter what part of Florida you’re in (with the possible exception of Miami or Naples that are on either side of the everglades, but even there it will only be a day or week here and there and rarely reaches the oppressive point). It’s only if you planned on living in Florida full time that you may want to consider location if, like for most people, extended periods of humidity will become as annoying over time as the cold up north. All of Florida is usually hot and humid for 6 months or more every year, and it really doesn’t matter where in Florida you are, you won’t be able to escape it. There’s really not much difference between 95 degrees and 95% humidity in Miami and 91 degrees and 91% humidity in Jacksonville on the same day. The difference between north and south Florida is the amount of time the uncomfortable humidity lasts. Only 7-9 months in northern Florida compared to 9 months plus in south Florida, depending upon the specific location and the weather that particular year.

      As far as laid back and relaxed, the Florida Move Guide says that as a general rule, the west coast of Florida is more laid back than the east coast. Most people can notice the difference just the way people drive on I-95 on the east coast compared to driving on I-75 on the west coast. You must realize that Florida gets “crowded” during the winter with snowbirds. Anywhere worth being in Florida will see a swelling of the population during the winter months. More cars means slower traffic and longer drive times, the parking lots and beaches are crowded, there’s lines at the restaurants (often even the bad ones). But I’ve met hundreds (thousands?) of snowbirds and very few ever complained about the crowds, they are generally relaxed and sociable and enjoy themselves. It’s the full-time residents that complain (not business owners or residents that make a lot more in tips, etc.). They complain because just when the weather is nice enough to be outside without sweating profusely after 30 seconds, it’s more of a hassle to go anywhere. A simple trip to the grocery store means a longer drive to get there, a longer walk to get inside, more people blocking the isles that pretend they don’t see you (or don’t care), longer checkout lines, longer walks back to the car and a longer commute back home. And this happens every time you leave the house, for 3 months every year. As a real estate broker, the extra people never bothered me (for obvious reasons), I was glad to see the snowbirds. But most working people were annoyed because they felt crowded conditions consumed more of their free time without benefit and I found many older residents aren’t fond of anything that upsets their regular schedule.

      There are things mentioned in the book that bother some snowbirds but for the most part they are a happy bunch. There’s even less beach closings due to high bacteria counts to spoil the fun, but that could be a result of the state cutting back on testing the water a few years back to save money. Have fun!

  • Jim

    I love it here in North Florida and it kills me to leave my mild winters, friendly people, it’s like a trip back into time. But it’s time I get to know my grandkids while I still can. Any of you thinking of coming to Florida, I agree don’t go way south. Most people in Miami & Ft. Lauderdale want to move north to about Daytona and near St. Augustine and a live on one of our many waterways just like I did. I’m thankful I was able to retire at 48, well at least semi retire. I’ll be selling a slice of paradise geared for young retires later this month. I would stay until the end if I could but I promised the wife we would live closer to the kids before we forgot their names.

    • Ron Post author

      Jim Says: “Most people in Miami & Ft. Lauderdale want to move north to about Daytona and near St. Augustine and a live on one of our many waterways just like I did.”
      Not the case. Jim is just using this blog to try to sell his home, his other comment was one of the cheesiest classified ads you ever read, “Florida is so wonderful and my place is paradise but I’m selling it because…”, complete with his phone number. The truth is that most people who sell in Florida do so to move out of the state, just like Jim now wants to do. Most sell to move back to the state they came from, the next largest group sells and become “half-backs” (they move half way back to states like North Carolina.)

      Jim: “I would stay until the end if I could but I promised the wife we would live closer to the kids before we forgot their names.”
      Ah, the truth. Missing family and the events that take place back home is a very common reason for moving out of Florida, rarely the sole reason, but often a main reason of a among a list of issues.

      All honest comments about moving to or from Florida are welcome, but comments shouldn’t be used a classified ad to sell a home.

  • Doug

    Hello all,
    So I might have some input as well. I’m originally from Buffalo NY, but moved to South Florida for work about 6 years ago, I spent about 3.5 years there. I moved up to Washington DC area for reasons I won’t go into on this. It was more personal. I miss South Florida so much compared to here. The cost of living is outrageous here and what do you get…lots of traffic, stressed out people, over priced homes…48% higher home costs. Life is short. I’d rather live where its nice with lower cost of living, not to mention no income tax, and maybe plan a trip or two year during fall or winter, to get a “taste of seasons”.

    Pro’s for florida: cheap golf, beaches, lower cost of living, no income tax, sunshine(vitamin D), water sports, fishing, laid back(less stress), healthier lifestyle, cheaper groceries, potentially you can just retire there…buy a home and have it paid off before retirement(makes sense), less depressed people in warmer climates(holy seasonal effective disorder in the north)

    Con’s in florida: long hot humid summers(tolerable compared to Washington DC), it never goes over 95 degrees(It does in DC), crappy drivers(same in DC), Hurricanes(you get plenty of time to get out), family will be farther away

    I disagree with the bug comments in Florida….I have always been able to play golf in the summer without having to use bug spray…you must wear bug spray in the northeast in the summer.
    Best advice, is to live closer to the beach, so that you can get a nice ocean breeze. If you live in Orlando, or central Florida, I could totally see how that would suck in the summers. Be smart and be close to the ocean.

    People are a bit selfish in florida, but honestly…if you go out of your way to make friends, people will open up….I have an idea, why don’t you say hello and join social groups or play golf on your own and meet new people that way. Not everyone is going to go out of their way to make friends with you. Its not like that anymore, people are generally more interested in themselves.

    All in all, everywhere has its pros and cons. We all have different values/interests. I’m going back and I plan on retiring there in 30 years, ha. I’m going to enjoy many activities now, that I would enjoy during retirement. Cheers

    • Ron Post author

      Doug,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment, unfortunately your comment is filled with misinformation and outright untruths that are usually only spouted by those trying to sell something in Florida. Your comment will provide a teachable moment though, to show how far from reality many Florida myths actually are.

      “over priced homes…48% higher home cost”s
      Yes Doug, the cost of Florida homes are lower, that’s because Florida homes lost an average of 60% of their value during the last recession and are still recovering. That drastic drop didn’t didn’t happen in DC or anywhere else in the country. But don’t worry, Florida prices are increasing rapidly in most areas, and unless hurricane destruction or another recession slows them down, in another 2-3 years they will be so overpriced again setting up the next bubble to burst and another rapid loss of value. The sad thing is when people move to Florida to buy a home when prices are “cheap” but are forced to sell or (go into foreclosure) when prices shoot up. They are forced to sell because they can’t afford to pay the higher taxes that comes along with higher values, and the higher insurance cost (Florida now oficially has the highest homeowners insurance rates in the US as of Jan 2014), because as values rise so does the cost of insuring that “more valuable” home. I’ve sold many homes for people who could no longer afford their homes as prices rose. This affects many retirees on a fixed income and those who aren’t in high earning occupation. This constant turn over of homes does bring in money for the state (transfer fees/taxes), lawyers, real estate agents, etc.

      “I’d rather live where its nice with lower cost of living”
      There was a time when Florida offered a consistent lower cost of living than most other states, but that legend has been nothing but a myth for decades now. You can see here that Florida ranks 30th in cost of living, with 1 being the lowest cost of living, for 2013. As home prices increase faster in FL than most of the US, the cost of living will rise faster too, until the next Florida bust.

      “not to mention no income tax”
      You say that as if you are getting something for nothing, but there is no such thing as a free lunch any more. Florida is about to become the 3rd largest state by population, overtaking New York. How could a state with so many people provide the same level of law enforcement, fire protection, education, and other services without an income tax, as states with a tax? You just make up for it in other taxes, or you chop services, or both. For people who are in the top tier income brackets, it may make sense to live in a no income tax state, especially one with the asset protections that Florida and Texas provide. But for most people, the other taxes and fees you’ll pay more for in FL will make up for any savings.

      “Pro’s for florida: cheap golf”
      This statement is so ridiculous it makes me laugh. The truth is, the only time to comfortably play golf in Florida is in the winter months, 3-4 months. The problem is, that unlike other states, Florida gets invaded by golfers from other states with money to burn and the courses get so packed that you spend 90% of your time waiting to take your next shot. It has gotten so bad that every year more public courses are becoming semi-private, going membership-only during the winter or charging far higher fees if they allow non-members to golf at all, to keep the wait times in check. When the 7-9 months of Florida heat and humidity return and the snowbirds leave, and weather-wise golf becomes unbearable, they lower the rates. Cheap golf in Florida is now only available when the heat index is high (temp + humidity) and most people will not play, the alligators won’t even leave the ponds (they call them lakes in Florida) and the swarms of mosquitoes retreat to the wooded areas no matter how thirsty for blood they are, until dusk. Florida is also known as the lightning capital of the world, and people have been struck by lightning that came from miles away, while it was sunny and clear on the fairway. Those fast moving Florida thunderstorms storms will often arrive before you make it back to the clubhouse. Cheap golf is worse than cheap scotch because cheap scotch won’t kill you, I know because if it did, some of my old golf buddies would be dead (do you get a free lunch with that cheap golf?).

      >”buy a home and have it paid off before retirement(makes sense)
      Best advice, is to live closer to the beach, so that you can get a nice ocean breeze.
      Be smart and be close to the ocean.
      I plan on retiring there in 30 years, ha.”

      You obviously never owned a home in Florida, especially near the ocean, so you don’t know how high the costs of carrying one is. You obviously don’t know about the issues that affect owners of coastal Florida today like insurance and hurricanes. http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/money/2013/12/18/florida-has-highest-homeowner-insurance-rates-in-us-despite-lack-hurricanes/ So your “best advice” is like a 14 year old without a drivers license telling someone how to operate a car. The “Florida Move Guide” explains why NOT buying on the coast may be the wisest move for most people who buy homes in Florida today. You can be excused for not know what the (near?) future issues that will affect coastal homeowners are, because most buyers, sellers and real estate agents aren’t. Most people who represent or work with individuals and companies that own lots of coastal Florida real ARE aware of the changes taking place in Florida because it could them billions, this is why: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/11/09/v-print/3742641/rising-sea-levels-falling-real.html

      Doug: “less depressed people in warmer climates(holy seasonal effective disorder in the north)”
      This “myth” is one of the most dangerous ones of all. Yes, people who vacation in Florida have a great time, and love the state. Snowbirds who visit during the winter and leave to go back north when the humidity returns to Florida, love the state despite the winter crowds. It’s the people who moved to Florida to live year round that aren’t happy. The University of Florida study that showed 13 million people moving to the state, and 10 million moving out during the time studied, showed the real story wasn’t the big gain in population at a time when other states population count is stagnant or declining. No the real story (I saw it in my real estate business) is that so many people who move to Florida, end up disappointed and move out, 13 million moved in, 10 million moved out, and the state grew by “only” 3 million. So out of 13 million, only 3 million were happy? If you are moving to Florida, what does that say about your odds? Those 13 million would not have moved hundreds or a thousand+ miles, unless they thought their life would improve.

      The truth is, Florida is one of the worst places to LIVE in the US, according to a study done by Men’s Health Magazine. Not only was St Petersburg the most depressed city in the US, but the study noted that people who lived in Florida in particular had higher rates of anti-depressant use, higher divorce rates, higher suicide rates, etc.
      You can read about the study here Repeating myths that may cause people to uproot their lives and move to a state far away from family and friends (and spend a fortune doing it) because they’ll be “happier”, when there’s evidence that shows the opposite, is dangerous in my opinion. If you want to see people in Florida “so happy” that they are rioting, take a look at the Florida pro and con videos here

      There’s more nonsense in Doug’s comment that I’ll respond to as time allows, so keep back.

  • Brendan

    My god! Most of the people posting on here just need to eat their cyanide tablet and get it over with. Oh no, you have to sweat, and cut your lawn? How about some exercise? Or better yet some respect for your home and your neighborhood? Douche! If you don’t want a lawn live, in an apartment. You don’t like to sweat? Move to Canada. Why are you here if you don’t like it? I have lived in Chicago my whole life, now my wife has been offered a job in Florida. We are en route now, can’t wait. So it’s hot, so,what? How about so cold you actually can’t go anywhere…for days. Or needing to start your car 30 minutes prior to going anywhere. Prepping yourself, the car and the kids for 30 minutes just to run to the store. Oh yeah and don’t forget what the snow and salt do to EVERYTHING YOU OWN, car, shoes, pants, floors. We may move from Florida, but weather will not be the reason.

    • Kyle

      eat their cyanide tablet and get it over with…???….There may be seriously depressed people who may read your inappropriate and unhelpful comment…..We may move from Florida, but weather will not be the reason….??? If a hurricane wipes out your wife’s workplace, your kids school and your home, will you live in a condemned structure?….Why are you here if you don’t like it?…??? Maybe they’re upside down with a mortgage, can’t afford another relocation, or they have convinced themselves they hate where they moved from and now Florida too, so where do you go now?…your future?…..You may want to see someone about where that anger is really coming from…. now my wife has been offered a job in Florida. We are en route now….Maybe it’s because your wife wears the pants in the family?…. Sorry, but I think calling people douche! makes you fair game.

  • Sammi

    New England sucks just to be clear! the seasons are NOT pretty it is cold 75% of the year including spring and summer is too short! Florida still gets cold at time and it has snowed there including this past winter. My husband and I are moving there next year just because we HATE new england. The snow the ice and the breeze are horrible. i CANT even go outside with a heavy jacket on and be somewhat warm. the only thing I would miss is my family and that is still NOT enough for me to stay! All this crap you people are saying it has NOTHING to do with that state it has to do with the people and how well they can adapt to change and their life style. im moving to ORLANDO and i will LOVE it!

    • Ron Post author

      Sammi, You didn’t say how long you lived in New England before you decided you hated it so much. Did you know that according to a report published by the University of Florida, more people moved OUT of Florida during the period studied, than NOW live in all of the New England States combined? You realize you’re bypassing many states with more moderate temperatures, to move to the only state with a less moderate, humid tropical (or subtropical) climate.

      I hope you don’t come to realize that trading uncomfortable cold for uncomfortable heat was a wash, but you gained far more negatives to living in Orlando than what you bargained for. I suggest you learn what living in Florida is really like, and why so many people who have moved to the state now strongly express their dislike for the place, just as you do for New England, BEFORE you move. These people moved to Florida because they once felt like you do, that’s why they moved. You know what you hate about New England, but like most people who move without doing enough research, you will only begin to learn what you will hate about Florida after you live in the state awhile.

      Your statement about missing family is especially troubling. People with absolutely no concerns at all about moving to Florida, have found it was a mistake. But people that had concerns before moving, often found that their hunch was right, because that concern grew to become one (just one of many reasons for most people) of the main reasons for leaving Florida. The “Florida move Guide” devotes a whole chapter to people moving out of Florida because they only realize how important family really is, after they move 1000 miles away from them.

      If you do decide to move to Florida, please don’t bring that anger to Orlando with you because Florida doesn’t need any more angry people WARNING: Don’t watch this video if foul language or seeing self described gang members with guns will disturb you.

  • Diane Y

    I am SOO glad I found this site. My husband and I are retired and thinking of moving to Florida. All the comments were informative and FUN reading.We are in Richmond,Va and moved from New York 7 years ago.What I’ve learned is that northern culture is quite different from southern culture,All they do is wade in the rivers ,go to church and EAT. Do not move to Richmond to avoid Stupid crime.Pick another area.After reading the comments I now realize I am really a visitor to Florida and probably would not like living there.Thanks.

    • Ron Post author

      Diane,
      Thanks for writing in. I think Florida is different from Virginia because the state of Florida has seen a much larger influx of people from all cultures, for a far longer period of time, than VA. While the population of Virginia is growing, Florida has been growing at a much faster rate. Therefore most of Florida is more like the rest of the US than the rest of the south. There are still “old southern Florida” towns but they are generally smaller and away from the tourist, coastal and high growths areas that incoming new residents generally move to. If you’ve ever driven on US301 to get from the east coast of Florida to the west coast and passed through Starke, Waldo or Hawthorn, that’s about as “southern” as most new residents ever see. There may be reasons Florida may not be right for you, but living in an area that is too “southern” is probably not one of them because you can easily avoid that if you wish. What you will have to get used to if you move to Florida are the just plain bizarre actions of Florida residents that make the news. Florida has long ago grabbed the crazy news title from California. Here’s a recent example where a woman was caught on video wrecking a store while naked.

      I do appreciate your thoughts on Virginia, because they may be helpful to other readers. Many people who are thinking of moving to Florida are considering other states also. If you do decide to move, you’re welcome to share with us where and why. Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

  • kaneudeck

    I live in Illinois and am able to retire in 2 years. I am considering moving to Florida, to escape the sinking economic state of Illinois and escape the cold winter weather. Illinois is in a horrific financial state, that is being passed on to all its residence. I live in a small town in southern IL, property taxes are outrageous and the roads are trashed and falling apart. We could only wish to have the roads in Fl, AL, TN or KY that are being pulled up and replaced. I have started my research. I don’t want to live in a huge city or in a tourist area. I have focused in on some smaller towns in the pan handle, but yet 30-45 minutes away from fun areas like Destin and Pensacola. The real estate is cheaper and you get much more than you get in the area I live in. Property taxes much cheaper. No state income tax. Car registation and plates is cheaper. Sales tax is less. In the pan handle you get some seasonal change, but for the most part the weather is warmer and more tolerable than IL. The beach is 30 minutes from the area I am considering. I am a big bicyclist, and there are trails and bike lanes everywhere in FL, they don’t even have shoulders on much of the roads in IL. Gym membership is cheaper and nicer. In general people in Florida seem to take more pride in their health which I would find encouraging, as opposed to most in my area who seemed to have just given up and more dedicated to alcoholism, and obesity rather than taking care of themselves. Pensacola State University tuition is cheaper for a resident of Florida, than it is to go to a local Community College in my area. I am not a huge social person, and I mind my own business, so I am not concerned with rude people. I plan to work, but will not need a huge income as I plan to have a fair amount of equity from the sale of my house that I can put towards the house in Florida and I will have a pension. So the downsides are????? Bugs?? Flood Insurance, but living over 20 milles inland, may not be an issue. Car insurance?? Have not checked on that. I need more negatives to scare me away, than that. The only positive sides of Illinois where I live is, my job, my kids, my friends. Not much else. I long for the year that I don’t start wishing 5-6 months away for a warmer day of sunshine.

    • Ron Post author

      “So the downsides are????? Bugs?? Flood Insurance, but living over 20 milles inland, may not be an issue. Car insurance?? Have not checked on that. I need more negatives to scare me away, than that.”
      If you think those are the only downsides to living in Florida, you posted your comment without reading very much on this site and are setting yourself for a rude awakening. This is so common, you’ve lived long enough in Illinois to know all the negatives of living there. You don’t have a clue about the real negatives in Florida because you never lived there, so you assume it’s so much better. If you don’t educate yourself (no, not by talking with people in Florida trying to sell you something or people paid to sell the dream) you will move to Florida THEN start to discover negatives. After losing lots of cash to move there, one day you’ll realize that overall, you just traded negatives in one state for another state with more negatives.

      “The only positive sides of Illinois where I live is, my job, my kids, my friends. Not much else.”
      The only positive sides???? Your job, kids and friends are your life. Two years after moving to Florida you’ll be enjoying that “warm” weather (95 degrees and 95% humidity sweating like a pig) glued to the TV watching a hurricane approach and realize that you moved a thousand miles from your job, kids and friends for a fantasy. I haven’t posted much on this blog about this, but jobs, family and fiends are some of the main reasons people move out of Florida and back home, as is covered in detail in the “Florida Move Guide”. You can read free preview pages there that will give you a glimpse of what living in Florida is really like and why over 30,000-40,000 people a month move out.

      To help clear up some “the grass is greener” myths, here are some posts on this site, just to get you started:

      “The real estate is cheaper and you get much more than you get in the area I live in. Property taxes much cheaper.”
      Read about the real cost of living in Florida here and Florida’ homeowners insurance problems here

      “In general people in Florida seem to take more pride in their health which I would find encouraging, as opposed to most in my area who seemed to have just given up and more dedicated to alcoholism, and obesity rather than taking care of themselves.” Read why this is a common myth here and here

      • kaneudeck

        Ron, thanks for reply, and your comments give me more to think about, and I do realize I do need to do more research as I have just begun.

        As far as my view of health and being ecouraged by the people in Florida, I don’t see how I can be wrong on that one. I read your link, but coming from an area where most people don’t care, and their is more limited weather and resources to exercise I feel my suspicions will be correct. My sister that moved there has already seen that benefit. This may be one of those things where you actually have to see where I live to understand where I am coming from. I can’t imagine being more depressed there than I am during the long cold winters here.

        As far as the Job, Friends and Family thing. I will be eligible to retire with a decent pension. If I could transfer at the same pay or close I will, because I wouldn’t mind continuing in my field, but if not, I wouldn’t need a high paying job to supplement my pension, and quite honestly I would like to do something else, work wise. As far as my family, my son is graduating HS and wants to move to Florida, my daughter still has a few years, and would not be able to leave till she graduates HS, but I think she would move as well (her not being there is a huge downside for sure), my only other blood family is an hour away, and I only see them a few times a year. I have already gone to see my sister in Florida as much in the last year as I had when she lived an hour away, and I actually spend more time with her now as I stay for several days. Family and friends would visit, pretty sure of that. But would definately miss them at some level.

        Insurance is the big ?? Water and sewer I need to check on, but as I pay more here than any other place I ever lived, I doubt Florida’s rates will be more, but I could be wrong.

        The biggest thing I have going for me, is I am a tight wad, and will go low and more affordable, or mortgage free if I can, before I would over extend myself. I have been around too long, and seen too many people ruin themselves by pushing their financial limits. I feel I would be happier in a trailer in Florida, than a mansion in Illinois, as I have never embraced this area completely.

        I won’t even consider moving for about 3 years so I have plenty of time to research and see how my sister likes it. My mind is open, and I will continue to research. And by the way, humidity doesn’t bother me, I like to sweat.

      • Ron Post author

        If you like to sweat, then there’s no better place than Florida for you because that’s what you’ll be doing anytime your outdoors for about 9 months a year, depending upon location. A very recent poll showed that people who live in Illinois are more dissatisfied with the state they live in, than people in any other state, except Rhode Island, so maybe moving out of Illinois wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

        I responded the way I did because when people move to Florida thinking only about the “perceived” benefits, then learn the reality is far different, that’s when disappointment sets in. As the “Florida Move Guide” explains in detail, missing family is a major reason people move back. Everybody visits relatives in Florida and many travel back for holidays, the first couple years, but that changes. People eventually want to vacation somewhere new, and frequent travel gets harder and harder. Airline security is more of a hassle now and there are more cars on the same roads so travel by car is longer than years ago. I only see that getting worse.

        I also noticed that people who move near family already living in Florida greatly improve their chances of satisfaction with their relocation. I noticed increased calls from people wanting to sell especially after Thanksgiving and Christmas, to move back to be around family again. I’ve had customers whose other family members moved to Florida because that’s where the whole family seemed to be moving, so it happens in reverse too.

        Florida is running out of water, just another issue caused by growth and the cost of water can be ridiculous. Yes insurance is a major issue. Florida’s homeowners officially became the highest cost in the US as of the beginning of 2014. One of the main reasons is hurricanes. This happened despite Florida having a record run of good luck, with no major hurricanes have hit the state for eight years. Why didn’t rates go down? Because insurers know the luck will end. There are lots of other issues but with 3 years to research (and 3 hurricane seasons) you have plenty of time to gather more info so you can be sure you’ll making an informed decision. Good luck.

  • Chelsea

    I’ve been reading these comments with interest as my brother and his wife (both in their mid 50’s) are moving to Florida. They do not have jobs there and intend to find work after the move. Neither of them have college education. Like many others they have vacationed there several times and loved it. They found a house at a bargain price as it was a short sale and used the money they had in savings to buy it outright. I have known 4 people who have moved to Florida over the last 20 years (some single, some retired, some married with children) and within 3 years of moving there they all moved back to where they came from and unfortunately took a financial beating in the process. I want my brother to be happy but I am very worried as I don’t think this is a wise plan. I would feel much better if at least one of them had a job there.

    • Ron Post author

      Hello Chelsea,
      If they bought the house through a short sale, that means they bought for less than the previous owners owed on the home, so it was the previous owners that took a financial beating and probably ruined their credit for about 7 years. Since your relatives paid cash, they will be in much better financial shape than most Floridians since they will need less income to survive. Right now Florida is leading the nation in job creation, so luck is with them on that too.

      Most people love Florida at least the first year or two. Just from the little bit of information you gave, I wouldn’t worry them short term, if they were my family. It’s only if Florida experiences a bad hurricane seasons or when the next recession hits that things may get challenging. That’s when Florida will probably lead the nation in losing jobs, which is common for the state during rough economic times.

      You never know, they may be one of the people who can live in Florida long term. If they aren’t, as far as taking a financial beating on their home purchase, it just depends when they get off the Florida real estate roller coaster. And how much Florida homeowners insurance and the federal flood insurance program changes.

      My biggest concern right now is the fact that Florida has gone a record eight years without a hit from a major hurricane. I feel that increases the odds of bad seasons to come, because it always equals out. That could force insurance companies to demand huge increases again, and leave the state (again) if they don’t get them. Bottom line? Anyone who pays cash for a home in Florida, at a price and time when home prices are probably half-way or less to the next peak, are far better off than most, and will stay that way as long as they stay on top of issues that will affect Florida home values in the future.

  • Mike

    ‘ve read studies and surveys for my business for 40 years. Studies can be, and are, weighted toward a predictable result. I’m not going to do it on here, but I would guess I could list 20 influences that could affect the population and reasons why people move in or move out. With many people choosing to move to Florida after they reach retirement age, such people may never intend to stay there for the rest of their lives. They may always have in mind to move back to their hometowns, or where their children live, upon the loss of a spouse, a significant illness of their own or their spouse. A “permanent” move for them may have meant Florida “residency” (versus tourists status) until full time in Florida makes no sense anymore, financially or emotionally. Bottom line, moving out of Florida under these circumstances does not mean they didn’t like Florida, but needs and responsibilities drew them away. I already know things I will not like about living in Florida, but I intend to research moving there if at all possible. So if my own study shows 51 to 49 the reasons I should move to Florida, am I right to move to Florida. So if the reasons 5 years later show 51 to 49 that I need to be among relatives and friends for health or companionship, would I be moving back home because I didn’t like living in Florida. So, a ton of people move to Florida for the warm weather, the ocean, the beach and some new adventures. And THAT makes sense.

    • Ron Post author

      Yes, the University of Florida study does just report the numbers of people moving in and out, and not the reasons for it. If one was to look at just that study, they could come up with lots of reasons why so many moved out. Of course, they would be merely guesses, and that would have to do if there weren’t other studies that explain the reasons. Fortunately, there are other studies, reports and videos on this blog that provide insight into why so many people move to Florida only to move out.

      Allow me to help you with some of your theories. Since I have been involved with nearly 1000 transaction sides of buys and sell in Florida I can share what I learned.

      Almost every one of the seniors who moved to Florida for retirement, used terms like final move, or last move. No one ever said they were moving to Florida for retirement, for only 3 years or some other number and planned on moving back. Most of these seniors have owned their previous homes for decades before moving to Florida. Who would plan to sell, pack, move, sell, pack and move again when there in their 70’s? Selling and moving out of Florida was most stressful for people with school-age children, but was hardest on senior citizens. No one ever said they were buying in Florida to retire but when they turn 80 and come out of retirement they’re moving back. People who weren’t sure about a permanent move would rent or become snowbirds, etc.

      Most of the retirees who contacted me to sell and move out of Florida expressed strong displeasure with their experience of living in Florida. It was not a part of any plan. When they lost a spouse, it often meant an automatic sell and move back home, but not always. If they didn’t like Florida there was no way they were staying alone with all the family back home, but if they loved it they often stayed, despite the concerns of family back home.

      As far as your 51 to 49 an 49 to 51, I saw nothing like that. Most who move to Florida do absolutely no research, they move because they felt they learned all they needed to know about the state from vacations. There was no 51% positive to 49& negative, who in their right mind would move a thousand miles for a 2% improvement? When moving to Florida, most people are at or near 100% positive and 100% negative when they leave. For most people, there’s a line that goes from 100% positive the first 3 months, to 100% negative in 10 years, if they make it that long. Again, they don’t move back when there is only a 2% negative Florida, they wait until it’s gets closer to the 100% negative and then are often to the point of being angry. Just read some of the previous comments on this blog from people who have actually lived here. 100% positive before the move, 100% different years after it.

      You said “So, a ton of people move to Florida for the warm weather, the ocean, the beach and some new adventures. And THAT makes sense.”

      I have to laugh when I hear people say they are moving to Florida because it’s “warm”. When I point out that it gets hot and humid, they say it’s hot where they live too, in the summer. They just sold, packed, moved and bought in Florida because they think that it’s only hot and humid in the summer (3 months) and then the rest of the year (9 months) it’s “warm” (if you find a place in Florida like that’s like that,let me know because I’ll move there right now). What they are about to learn is that summer lasts 9 months in Florida and it’s only “warm” during the winter (3 months). Florida is a lot closer to the equator than Michigan or New Jersey and you have to respect the sun because it’s brutal. Most of Florida only has 3 seasons: 1) 9 months of summer 2) 3 months of winter (when it’s “warm” but millions of extra visitors will force a change in your routine) 3) 6 months of hurricane season.

      The ocean and the beach? That’s a good reason to vacation in Florida. Beach closings because of high bacteria counts from fecal matter, toxic red tide blooms, disappearing beaches due to erosion and a sun that begins to burn skin after 5 minutes and other issues are the reality. Florida is near perfect weather-wise during the winter but overcrowded conditions, burning cigarette butts in the sand and more garbage on the beach and floating in the water and millions of other things you haven’t even guessed yet, work to change the the 100% positive to the opposite over time. You have probably seen the post about the Gallup poll and only 46% of Floridians saying Florida is one of the best states to live. Add a busy hurricane season this year and ask that question again.

      Thanks for making the effort to contribute, have a nice day and I’m glad you shared your thoughts.

  • Kenny

    Hello-

    I moved from Southern Indiana-bordering Kentucky-
    Raised in a small town, lived in a small town from a small town-
    I have now lived in Florida for 13 months-

    Here is my thought process as simply put as I can.
    I don’t think that it is as good or as bad as anyone is really putting it.
    So to address some subjects- Bugs- We had those Palmetto bugs when we first moved into our house- They are essentially huge cockroaches and are very nasty but are easily taken care of by terminex we had them spray and never had them again although you will still see them on the sidewalk and this is 5 miles from Disney’s door step in Kissimmee. If you are just moving down here for the beach, you better move closer than Orlando because we have maybe went 10 times in the 13 months we have been here. If you are moving for the sun, you better damn well be sure that you love the heat and can stand it for more than 3 months its essentially 6 month of any other states hottest month. Fire Ants suck, but they are in Indiana and Kentucky, and Illinois so they were already in my previous state. Cost of Living Here is the major kicker Cost of Living calculators do not make an accurate comparison in the cost of living. It said it would only be 6% more expensive here, I call -BULL SHIT-. If your going to rent expect to pay 1500 per month+ I’m talking 3/2 bath my mortgage in Indiana was only 650.00 a gallon of milk is over 4.00, gas is cheaper, but food, utilities, going out to eat, entertainment, etc you will have at least a 20% increase in expense from anywhere in the midwest besides maybe Chicago. The price of a home isn’t bad but renting is outrageous in my opinion. Most jobs are hospitality, health care, real estate, mortgage, etc. Not much Industry. But in the end I have no plan of moving back, I own my own business so its easier for me to stay doing business nation wide. So financially I can afford it. Also i have no family here.

    Here are the things that keep me in Florida-
    I don’t mind being away from family- Family, Friends are always coming down.
    I love to have endless opportunities of entertainment, if i want to do it, it can be done here for the most part.
    Fishing All Year round is nice.
    Me personally, i like the sun and the heat (this is me most people hate it so make sure you like it)
    (Bugs, i get my house spayed, every house has a Lanai, and where i am there are no Mosquitoes, the lizards really keep the bugs down)
    -The cultural Diversity is very refreshing-
    The Schools- My kids go to the best schools in the state AAA rated and 90% of teachers have PHD’s this is Celebration of course so…. may be different just right down the street.
    Beaches are nice to be close to, palm trees are ok they get old, the grass is different but over all its better then snow in my opinion.
    No State Income Tax, with a low sales Tax thanks to all the tourism toll roads.
    I think if you can financially afford Florida it is a great move, but if you can not then stay away.

    My opinion thanks-

    • Ron Post author

      Ah, you’re still in the Florida “honeymoon” stage, 13 months in Florida, I remember what that was like. Everyone loves it at first. You’ll never love Florida more than your first year in the state.

      Just a couple of thoughts……….

      Yes, there are less bugs in major tourist areas due to heavy pesticide use. Weed killer is also heavily used. They learned long ago that tourist don’t want to see bugs or weeds. Unfortunately, all those chemicals seep into where the drinking water is drawn from, the lakes and gets washed into the rivers and out to the beaches. If you consume the fish you catch, Florida warns about mercury(opens PDF from State of Florida website) but doesn’t test for levels of other toxins as far as I’m aware of.

      Yes, the areas that are safer with better schools will cost more, like Celebration. People often generalize saying that Florida is cheap. That’s mostly true only for less desirable areas. It is one of the best states for business owners, tax-wise especially for s-corps and for asset protection. You are probably better off not being closer to the beach. It’s far enough away that trips there will remain special. Going to the beach everyday for a long period of time can ruin it. Too much of what you want becomes what you don’t want. Besides, I’ve met 45 year old “beachlovers” that have the skin of senior citizens, I myself lived near the beach and the sun gave me a “gift” that a surgeon had to cut off my cheek. Not uncommon in the sunshine state.

      Many full time Floridians buy or rent in cooler mountain towns in north Georgia or eastern North Carolina to escape the heat for awhile every year, just like snowbirds come to Florida.

      Thanks for telling us about your experience in Florida and sharing the area in Florida you reside because it may help other potential new Florida residents. I hope your honeymoon with Florida lasts forever because it is can be one of the smartest states to be a resident of, for business owners.

  • dmaria

    I always too had the dream of living in a sunshine state and wearing flip flops all year long.
    I moved to the Fort Myers area over 10 years ago and could not wait to move back to Michigan.
    I found the school system to be nothing short of a joke. I found I could not relate to the general mentality of the people in the area. The first time I went to the mall in Fort Myers it was shocking to see how people dressed and carried themselves.
    I attended a family festival in Naples Florida… There was no atmosphere or vibe of any kind.
    My first visit to a salon to a salon I overheard two young ladies talking about how they were going to chase boars over the weekend.
    Everything seemed so foreign to me.
    My children would complain during the summer while swimming in the pool that it was too hot. Getting attacked by mosquitoswas almost a daily occurrence. on my 3 mile trek out of my gated community on the way to the grocery store I saw a huge alligator crossing the street. Unbelievable!
    I could go on and on of the ridiculous situations I encountered…
    So anyways, I moved back to Michigan with my three children 3 yrs ago…..my husband owns a business in SWFL and comes up north once a month to visit his family.
    Not totally ideal but the pros far outweigh the cons that we experienced in Florida.

    Children love the changing of the four seasons… Trips to the cider mill, sledding and skiing in the winter, bike riding playing sports for 7 months out of the year outside in decent weather and playing in freshwater lakes with no alligators.

    I don’t know… Maybe the intense heat makes people mean, crabby and unmotivated.

    I don’t think Florida in general is a great place to raise a family.

  • Lea

    I’ve lived all over the place and now reside in North Port FL. If possible I would move back up north. I don’t mind the area, the humidity, mosquitoes, etc. The only bugs that really bother me down here are the roaches!!! We recently decided we didn’t want to rent anymore so we put an offer in on a house. I decided to check the sex offender web site looking for close offenders since we have two children and there were 42 within a 2 mile radius! We canceled our bid and have since put an offer on another house which has 12 within a 2 mile radius. Unfortunately this is probably about as good as it gets. When the snow birds come it is difficult to get into the doctor’s office or into any restaurants. Driving is another issue. We were rear-ended while stopped waiting for an opening to get onto a main road. The lady who hit me said she wasn’t paying attention!!!! What! Our insurance almost doubled when moving down here because this is a major problem. My favorite time used to be the summer because there wasn’t so much congestion, however this has changed since the housing collapse. As for the weather, I don’t mind the hot, humid summer which tends to last for the majority of the year, I would take that over shoveling snow. I do miss stable neighborhoods and being able to let my kids have more freedom when outdoors.

    • Ron Post author

      Hello Lea,
      Thanks for telling us your thoughts on living in North Port Florida for a few years. Honest comments from Florida residents that aren’t trying to sell something can help people from around the US that are now contemplating a move to the sunshine state.

      Before the housing bust, North Port was one of the fastest growing areas in Florida. Not because it was a great place to live, but because it was cheap. Builders could buy lots there (many with well water and septic on a 1/4 acre, so you could have toilets from four homes flushing into the same 1 acre of ground where those 4 homes were getting their drinking water) cheaper than anywhere else in Florida, so they put up lots of cheap houses fast. There are still 1000’s of vacant lots there, many with grass growing up through the street out front. Since the home prices climbed so high in more desirable areas within a commutable distance like Cape Coral, Venice, Sarasota, North Port became a “bedroom community” of those areas. People would work in towns along the coast and go home at night to their cheaper home in North Port.

      Florida is a very transient state with people moving their for “paradise”, then finding it’s not what they expected and moving out. North Port probably more so, so keep on eye on that website because there are more people moving out and in every day. Good luck with your new home.

  • Amanda

    I recently moved back to buffalo after living in Florida for 5 years. I just endured a 7 month winter and now im paying for it. The truth is i left florida not because of the hot weather or any reasons that came up but because most of everyone’s family is up north. People just miss home and all the memories they had. What I realized though is things just are not what they used to be. Now that its summer things are looking up but as soon as october hits back to winter and back to everyone sitting in their homes not doing much. I’m ready to go back to Florida. What really makes it a great place is all of my friends. I get to go to a bars and actually chill outside or drink on the beach all year. The museums, attractions, and wildlife are like no other places. Up North seems run down and not much to do. I love all the diversity and meeting new people. Everyone is also having a good time. If you had the choice to be a snow bird do it, but for someone young like me it’s totally worth it moving their. I’m going to Usf St Petersburg soon and i’m excited to not have to trench through the snow to go to class. My soul feels good there. Even though my family is not there I know we can visit each other often.

    • Ron Post author

      What? I thought Buffalo NY famous for lake effect snow was one of the best places in the world. When I was visiting Niagara Falls Canada, there was a waking bridge that took you to Buffalo. We went across to see what Niagara would look like from the US side. Niagara Falls was a beautiful, impeccably clean and landscaped town but Buffalo was disgusting with garbage blowing everywhere. There are some very beautiful places in the northeastern US that are great places to be in the middle of winter like Lake Placid NY and Stowe Vermont. It would be unfair to rip the NE US using Buffalo as a example.

      You know that St Petersburg was named as the most depressed city in the US by a health magazine because of the highest anti-depressant use, divorce and suicide rate, etc. in the US and according to a poll last year, most Floridians don’t even think the state is the best or one of the best states to live in. There’s more but it really won’t matter to you. If anyone is moving to Florida to rent and can fit everything they own in their car and driving down, they’re risking very little. If they don’t like Florida at any point they can just pack up and drive to another state. It’s when you’re moving to Florida and buying a home, or moving with children of school age or planning on retiring in Florida on a fixed income that you have to stop drinking the cool-aid and be more responsible because there’s more at risk.

      Not even all care free college kids love Florida. Here’s kid in collage one who hates Florida and made a video of it

      Good luck, and have fun while you’re young. I’d recommend using sunscreen when you’re drinking on the beach, I’ve met women 30 year old women in Florida that look 50 because of too much fun in the sun when they were younger.