Is Florida Still a Good State to Retire In, Like it was When Our Grandparents Moved There?
No. Unfortunately, for too many seniors including new younger retirees, Florida will not be the best state for them to retire to.
But they won’t learn that until after they spent a lot of their hard earned money and putting up with the hassle of moving their stuff, and lives, many states away.
I know, you think I’m crazy, but if you read further you’ll have a much better understanding of what is actually taking place.
I’ve wrote this article because I spent years selling homes to people “permanently” moving into Florida for retirement, and then later sold those homes as those same people moved out of Florida, after learning it wasn’t right for them.
Here are 8 things you should know about whether Florida is still a good place to retire…
1) Your Chances of Living in Florida for as Long as You Planned Are Not As High As You Would Think
Many People move to Florida for retirement to escape cold weather and snow.
Or for tax reasons or because there are less restrictions.
Or because they’ve always enjoyed vacations to the state, and assume that it would also be a great state to retire to.
These reasons are all completely understandable.
However, as time passes and they learn what living in Florida is really like, many (most?) come to realize they made a big mistake and eventually move out. Don’t believe me? Keep reading…
When I fist moved to Florida in the 1990’s and started selling real estate, I spent much of my day as I expected, finding homes for people giddy with joy because they were finally moving to Florida, often for retirement.
However, I was shocked by how many calls I got from seniors who had previously moved to Florida, who wanted to sell to leave the “Sunshine State” and move back home, or yet another state that they have never lived in before.
Those listing appointments were often filled with them telling me their horror stories of retirement in Florida, and all of the reasons why they wanted to move out.
What I learned over time from communicating with 1000’s of these retirees, is that moving long distance can be far move expensive, disruptive and difficult the older we get.
At first, I thought maybe there was just something wrong with the particular part of Florida I moved to, Then I saw this…
I found a 28 year study by population researchers from a well respected Florida university (my son graduated from it) documenting 13,164,695 people who moved to Florida during that time, from another U.S. state.
However, during that same time, they documented 9,540,260 that moved out of Florida to a different US state.
After studing their research, I realized there is a well established pattern of 1) people retiring to Florida, 2) and then eventually moving out (after what I call the honeymoon period, almost everyone loves it in the beginning). That is, if they could still afford to move again. Unfortunately, many who wanted to leave could no longer afford to do so.
I wrote the Florida Move Guide to thoroughly explain the reasons why many move to Florida only to later learn it was a mistake, how to avoid expensive mistakes and how to learn if Florida is really right for you before you start selling and buying houses and moving long distance.
2) People Living in Florida Tell Pollsters It’s Not a Great State to Live In
Even after a record number of years without a major hurricane swamping or leveling big chunks of the state, only 11% of Floridians said Florida was the best state to live in (2013 National Gallup Poll of all 50 states).
Keep in mind most of these people previously believed Florida was the best state to live in, why else would they go through the expense and disruption of moving 1000 miles?
What happened? Perception met reality.
What reality? As you’ll see if you care to read further, the truth is that many other states actually offer a higher overall quality of life than Florida.
This includes many of the states these people spent a fortune to move from. Yes, they moved from a better state to retire in, but moved to Florida because they didn’t know how its quality of life factors compared.
Florida is one of the best states to visit as a tourist. But for your own sake, learn how it compares as a place to live. Especially if you plan to live in Florida year round.
Please Note: Some links open pages on other websites. If any of the links are broken, please leave me a comment below and let us know so I can fix it (thank you).
3) Florida’s Crime Rate is still in the bottom half of all US States?
See where Florida’s crime rate is compared to other states, and the one you’re thinking of moving from (worldatlas.com).
4) Study Finds the Most Depressing Cities Are in Florida
Where are there more places with higher anti-depressant use, divorce rates and other “sadness” indicators? Learn here at MensHealth.com
5) Florida Cities and Towns Often Aren’t #1 on “Best Places” Lists Anymore.
The number of “best places” lists that use actual data rather than tired old myths to compile their article is increasing. So now, many times Florida places don’t rank well, or they’re absent from the list altogether. Florida is Absent from AARP List of 50 Best Places for People 50+
6) Thinking of Moving South for “Warm” Weather?
You might want to read this first: Report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Shows why Florida and the South in Particular are Poor Places to Live in, 10 Charts
7) Will your Moving to Florida for Retirement story end up like this one?
Just One Couple’s “Moving to Paradise” Story: After move from NJ, Florida has been no paradise for this couple (from BayNews9.com)
8) After the 6 month annual hurricane is over and winter arrived, there was a time when you could count on the hot humid weather to go away for 3 months in Florida so you could enjoy the outdoors in winter.
Unfortunately, some Florida winters now include storms, flooding and tornadoes (from an ABC news outlet).
So if you are asking yourself any of these questions about Florida for retirement…
- Should I move to Florida for retirement?
- Is Florida the best place to live while retired?
- Is Florida still a great state to retire to?
- Is Florida a good place to retire?
Here’s the bottom line about whether Florida is still the best state to retire in 2022
- Many decades ago when home prices, taxes, and the cost of living were all lower than just about any other state in the country, Florida was a great place to retire to because it was a far cheaper state to live than elsewhere. That’s not true any longer.
- Yes, there are many other reasons why many soon to be retired folks believe Florida is the best state to retire to in 2022 for them. However, the reasons that cause a 1000+- people to move out of Florida every day, have only grown stronger.
- Protect yourself. If you’re reading this, you have a good idea of why you want to retire to Florida. Now learn why so many who retired to Florida before you, with many of the same reasons you have, ended up moving out. Multiple home buys and selling plus long distance moves can break retirement nest eggs
Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”
- Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
10 thoughts on “Is Florida Still a Good State to Retire?”
You have some great information on your website, but I feel you need to find an update to the above article. It was written in 2011, I’m hoping that you are aware how much this country (and almost every state, city and town) has changed since then. I mean look at New York City; Los Angeles, CA; Portland Oregon, and others in between. In this 2011 article of the most (and least) depressing cities and towns, NYC got graded a “C” Have you been there lately? I live 45 minutes from NYC, and Absolutely No One I know wants to set foot there, it’s like the Wild Wild West, second only to Los Angeles, CA. Would you want to live there?
Hello Della, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.
This particular article was originally published Sep 28, 2018, is regularly updated with the last update written on Dec 11, 2021.
On other subjects you mentioned, you certainly are not alone in your way of thinking.
Here’s a couple of things to consider…
1) In my opinion, if the quality of life goes down drastically in any given place, that really doesn’t make Florida any better, just better in comparison to.
2) There has always been a massive amount of people moving into Florida, and out of it every year. Almost half of the population of NY state now lives in Florida (OK, that’s a slight exaggeration). After the last election for Governor in the state of Florida, it took forever until a winner was eventually announced, it was that close. Florida could be just 1 election away from big big changes.
3) The reasons people use to talk themselves into retiring to Florida vary and can change with the times, like now. However, the reasons that cause those same retirees to later leave the state, haven’t changed and in fact have grown much worse.
Have a great day Della.
Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc
We totally agree with the article. Thank you. As a tourist Florida was great. As a resident dealing w tourists nonstop- it’s horrible. Just getting to do errands takes so long. We are moving back to Connecticut where it’s very expensive but has great healthcare, culture and a sense of belonging. How we wish we had read your book first.
I have lived in Florida for 24 years and I love it. I moved from Massachusetts. It is different then up North. Many good things go on in Florida and all I could see is you give it a negative report!! Where are the good things about Florida? You don’t have any I guess!! Believe me lots of people love it here!! Yes, we do have hurricane but other states have different problems. That is what homeowner insurance is for! I feel you gave Florida a bad place to live have you lived here?? Well to each his own opinion. We really don’t need more people coming it is growing so fast we can’t keep up with the growth. Thanks for your negative report.
So you’re angry about an article that provides facts and sources showing that there are negatives to retiring and living in Florida? I guess you’re fine with the billions of one sided “Florida is paradise” pages on the net.
You wrote: “I feel you gave Florida a bad place to live have you lived here??”
Yes, I have lived in Florida for a long time, thanks for asking. In fact, I started as a real estate agent and then opened a real estate company when I became a broker. Half of my day was spent with retirees thrilled about moving to “paradise” to retire. The other half of my work day was spent selling homes for those retired homeowners after they learned that retiring to Florida was a mistake for them, so they could move out. Selling a home, moving long distance, buying a home in Florida, selling that home and moving long distance again to buy yet another home outside of Florida can devastate a retirement nest egg. I’ve seen the reports from population researchers at a Florida University, so I know how many people have moved in, and out over the years. Do you? So excuse me for trying to help the newly retired decide if Florida is really right for them, before going through all of that expense and disruption at a time in life that they should be enjoying the fruits of their decades of labor.
Thanks for sharing your opinion and have a nice day.
Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc
we have thought about selling our home here in mo and moving to Florida but after reading this I’m not so sure. our other place we considered moving to is San Antonio texas. we are sick of the cold weather here and as we get older can’t get out in winter which are very long sometimes. thanks for the insight what do you know about San Antonio ?
San Antonio does not qualify for our best places to live or retire in Texas list on one of my other websites, because of high crime rates. There are places right outside of San Antonio that are far better places to retire.
This article on the Florida specific website that you commented on, may shed some light on whether Florida or Texas is a better state to retire in.
Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”
I moved to Florida from New Jersey. I need an opinion on how long it will take for me to get adjusted or if I made a mistake and need to move back!
What is it about retiring in Florida that you don’t like, that you feel you need to get “adjusted to”?
Here’s a few thoughts…
1) After talking with 1000’s of seniors who moved to, and from Florida, I can tell you that their first year in Florida was usually their best. This is because they were happy to have moved away from what they were tired of (such as cold weather), and haven’t lived in Florida long enough to be tired of Florida’s many negatives yet.
2) You had reasons you moved from New Jersey, and now you seem less than satisfied with Florida. Did you know that there are other states with higher overall quality of life and resident satisfaction ratings that may be far more
3) As far as your particular situation of possible relocation remorse, which is very common by the way, I guarantee reading the Florida Move Guide will answer your question(s). Of course, it’s recommended that people read it before they actually move to Florida, but we do ship a lot of books to the “Sunshine” state when people don’t find the paradise they expected.
Good luck Karen.
Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”
This article confirmed many of my serious concerns. We put our home in PA on the market and we’re in the process of purchasing a manufactured home in Florida. Right after listing our home I instinctively felt extremely uneasy. Things weren’t going as planned. Your article addressed all my “what if” concerns. After much prayer and discussion we decided it was wrong for us. Thank you for saving us from emotional and financial disaster. As soon as we pulled out of the deal knew it was the right choice. We needed much more information resulting in the right choice for us.