Retiring in Florida Pros and Cons
Warning, there are cons or negatives to retiring in Florida. Actually there are quite a lot of them.
However, as a real estate broker and talking with 1000’s of new retirees moving to Florida, you wouldn’t think so.
Most people retiring to Florida learned all they know about the state during one week vacations. Florida is a great vacation destination. We spend 10x as much as we normally would and live like royalty for a week while on vacation. Is that how you’ll be living on a daily basis after retiring to Florida?
Most don’t feel the need to investigate the pros and cons of Florida for retirement, and whether the state is actually a better place to retire (live, not vacation) than where they were moving from.
The problem with that? Seniors retire to Florida for the pros, and then later move out because of the cons.
So you are smart for seeking to learn both the advantages and the disadvantages of retiring to Florida, before you actually spend a lot of your retirement savings to sell, buy and move 1000 miles south.
What Are the Advantages of Retiring to Florida?
The Pros/Advantages/Benefits of Retiring in Florida
- You will love going to the beach all the time, in the beginning.
- You’ll enjoy visiting theme parks without the hassle, time and expense of 2000 mile round-trips. At first.
- You can buy that boat you’ve always thought about, because there’s water everywhere and now you’ll have the time to use it.
- Florida offers it’s residents the best built in protection of your assets than any other US state (Okay, maybe it’s tied with Texas on that). Seriously, if you have a sizable net worth, or if you want to protect what you have no matter how much that is, becoming a Floridian has a wide range of specific advantages not found in other states.
- Big tax savings for high income individuals. Every state must tax it’s citizens to fund everything from roads to schools, to state trooper salaries, patrol cars and training on how to remove 10 foot alligators from your pool. Okay, maybe not the alligator part, but every state needs to raise money to run its government. Florida doesn’t have a personal income tax, but it does raise funds through gas and liquor taxes, car registration fees, etc. The bottom line is although many of these other fees and taxes may be higher in Florida than in other states, if you are a high income earner, you will keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket by paying a lower overall tax burden, by living in Florida. If you don’t earn a lot of income or live on social security or other fixed income, you may not benefit or may even pay a higher overall tax burden to Florida than where you live now, according to this report.
- You will love the change of place/pace. If you aren’t affected directly by a hurricane, or a well intentioned mandatory evacuation, you will love living in Florida for a period of time stretching from months to many years. Almost everyone loves living in Florida after they first move there, during what I call the “honeymoon period”. But over time, the bad morning breath and other irritations start to build that you never thought of before you got married, I mean relocated, so eventually the honeymoon ends and you’re trapped.
- The weather in Florida is as close to perfect as you can get in the US, during the winter months. The hurricanes season is over and the threat is gone. The horrible humidity is gone or is minimal. It rains less. The sun doesn’t start burning the skin within minutes, it actually feels good for awhile. The central air takes a long deserved break as your electric bill drops like a Florida home’s value during a recession. People start to venture outdoors and there’s festivals and a lot more to do. Mosquitoes, snakes, alligators, etc make themselves scarce. Even birds, butterflies and fish that spend the rest of the year elsewhere come to Florida for the winter.
- You will feel like the smartest investor on earth when your Florida home is worth more each and every day during good economic times.
What Are the Disadvantages of Retiring to Florida?
The Cons/Disadvantages/Drawbacks of Retiring in Florida
- You’ll learn why the mosquito is the official state bird and the state animal is the fire ant. Okay, maybe that’s not quite official, but the alligator is the official reptile.
- You’ll learn that Florida is prone to potentially home destroying sinkholes. The state even has a part of it that’s known as “sinkhole alley”. You may have to pay for sinkhole insurance to protect the value of your home.
- A long bout of red tide can make you regret retiring to Florida for the beach.
- If you’ve lived your whole life where the biggest weather “threat” you faced was a snowstorm, you may be in for a shock the first time a hurricane heads your way. Snowstorms don’t usually destroy miles of homes.
- Many retirees want to live on the coast or at the beach. Much of this is only a few feet above sea level and is designated a hazardous flood zone. To protect yourself, you may have to pay for a flood insurance policy in addition to homeowners insurance.
- Most retirees find going to the beach often, can get old. Quick. If not, we look wrinklier quicker from the sun damage.
- You’ll never look the same again after you live in Florida, because no one in the state knows how to cut or style hair.
- The cost of homeowners insurance can rise quickly and at times be difficult to secure. Having your policy renewed doesn’t always happen.
- You will miss the grand-kids. Maybe not at first, but… Actually, almost everything you are worried about before moving to Florida, will likely happen.
- People from “home” will come to Florida to visit you at first, but that will tail off and then become rare.
- You will travel back to visit often, at first, but that will tail off and then become rare as long distance travel becomes more difficult.
- Your love for Florida will start to change when you learn there’s a difference between the perceived “warm and sunny all the time” and the reality of “I can’t stand it” hot (high temps + even higher humidity). But you can say you were right, every winter, when it is actually warm and sunny most of the time.
- In winter, when the weather is horrible elsewhere, but as close to perfect as you can get in America, Florida is now so crowded full-time Floridians complain about the human snowbirds and tourist. Florida is now the 3rd most populated state with over 20 million residents. More than 100 million tourists a year now stay in Florida. All during the winter. And all in the very town you relocated to. Okay, of course that’s not true but it will seem like it is. Expect traffic jams, long lines, no place to park, rudeness, drunkenness, etc. This gets worse every year.
- Many people think everyone in Florida is old. That’s not true. They just look that way, prematurely, from from sun damage.
- You won’t enjoy doing anything outdoors quite the way you imagined you would, or as often, or as long, unless it’s winter. But that’s when the beaches, theme parks, golf courses, restaurants, etc. are badly overcrowded, plus you get the privilege of paying higher fees for everything after a lot of waiting.
- Unless you plan on selling your Florida home, those steep appreciation gains only mean you get to pay higher real estate tax bills and insurance payments to cover the higher value.
- If you don’t sell your Florida home and cash in during those good times when prices are high, you’ll be depressed when it’s worth less each and every day when recessions hit and now you can’t sell, no matter how much you want or need to.
- You’re going to miss that good doctor you had before you moved to Florida.
- If you thought finding a good dentist was a challenge where you moved from, wait until you retire in Florida.
- As a Floridian, you will have the “privilege” of paying more for homeowners insurance than anywhere else. Are insurance agents just greedier in Florida? No, there are just more risks that threaten to damage your Florida home and result in a claim, than elsewhere. It’s not just hurricanes and flooding.
- The cost of living in Florida can increase faster than your retirement income. Unfortunately, I’ve met a lot of seniors who never thought they would have to work again, toiling away their limited time at low paying jobs just to make ends meet. I’ve also sold homes for retired folks who had no other choice but move out because they couldn’t afford to live in Florida any longer.
So, Will You Find More Pros, or More Cons After You Retire to Florida?
Will you retire to Florida, only to become one of the roughly 1000 people a day that move out (that no one selling stuff in Florida wants to talk about)?
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.