Millions of people dream of retiring to Florida to enjoy the warm weather in a state known for catering to older residents.
But Florida might not be the best place to spend your golden years.
So, before you retire and make plans to head south, here are some reasons why Florida might be the worst place to retire.
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Hurricanes are a threat
Florida is prone to extreme weather, especially tropical storms and hurricanes. These storms can damage your property and cause major inconveniences.
Hurricane season lasts for several months, so make sure you are prepared for this reality before settling in Florida.
Other natural risks loom large
Residents may be well aware of hurricanes, but there are other natural risks that can affect your home in Florida.
The state has plenty of low-level coastal areas that are prone to flooding, and there are also issues with sinkholes.
Home insurance costs are high
Largely because of storms, Florida home insurance costs can be high.
In recent years, some home insurance companies have left the state while others have hiked rates.
According to a Bankrate study, the average cost to insure your home in Florida is $1,981 per year for a $250,000 property. That compares to a national average price of $1,428.
Insurance reform legislation hopes to lower those costs, but time will tell whether it succeeds.
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Housing is getting more expensive
In recent years, Florida has become one of the most popular destinations for people seeking to move. That trend has sent home values higher.
The average home value in Florida is $391,213, according to real estate website Zillow. That compares to the average U.S. home value of $346,048.
Taxes might be higher than you think
Florida famously has no income tax. But that doesn’t mean you won’t pay taxes.
Florida has a 6% state sales tax, and local sales taxes can reach 2%. Plus, the state has relatively high property tax rates.
The state is full of retirees
The median age of Florida residents is 42.2, placing it fifth among states with the oldest populations. That might be good if you're a retiree who wants to be around plenty of other retirees.
However, some seniors might be less thrilled about being surrounded by many older faces. If you prefer to live with people of all age groups, consider another state.
Your family probably isn’t there
Some people dream of a retirement where they spend more time with family. But will your grandkids and other family members move to Florida with you?
It may be difficult to see family members as often as you would like if they live thousands of miles away. Plus, the cost of airline tickets or gas for road trips could eat into your retirement savings.
You might end up moving again
Many people view Florida as paradise. But others who move to the state end up disappointed.
In fact, many retirees from northern states who relocate to Florida and decide they don’t like it move up to North Carolina. The trend is so well-established that people use the term “half-back” to refer to retirees who make such a move.
The beach can get boring
It may sound lovely to retire and sit on the beach all day. But as with anything else, doing the same thing day after day can get boring.
Retirees who want to enjoy a variety of activities might want to consider retiring somewhere other than Florida. Museums, cultural institutions, or educational organizations may be harder to find in Florida than in some other states.
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Too much time in the sun can be unhealthy
Florida is famously known as the Sunshine State. But too much time in the sun can damage your skin and lead to various health issues.
So, if you move here, add a line in your budget for plenty of sunscreen.
Roads are congested and expensive
The influx of residents to the state has also brought many cars to Florida roads, making it difficult to get around larger cities or coastal areas that can only be accessed by one road.
Florida’s Turnpike System might offer some relief from traffic, but you will pay for the privilege of driving on these roads. Such toll costs can weigh on your retirement budget.
You might end up inside more often than you think
Florida temperatures — along with the humidity — can be unbearable in the summer months. And conditions often turn stormy.
That means you might be indoors more often than you think.
Florida has a relatively high cost of living
Florida’s cost of living might be higher than you think. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, the state had a cost of living index score of 101 in the third quarter of 2023.
That puts Florida in the top half of all states when it comes to cost of living. In the South, only Virginia is more expensive.
So, before retiring to Florida, make sure your nest egg is large enough to handle expenses — or be ready to look for ways to supplement your income.
Whether you plan to retire early or later in life, don’t automatically assume that Florida is your best landing spot.
Instead, carefully weigh the potential pros and cons of a move to Florida. Avoid letting visions of endlessly sunny days cloud your judgment about whether this state is the right place to spend retirement.
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