Florida has long been known to be a retirement haven for seniors from across the country. While the year-round warm weather certainly plays a part, the Sunshine State has a lot more to offer than just a comfortable climate. From financial incentives to lifestyle benefits, Florida should be on every retiree’s short list.
Low State Taxes
Anyone coming from a high tax state will appreciate the lack of state income taxes in Florida. Whether it’s a part time “retirement” job income or 401k withdrawals, anyone living in Florida will be taking just a bit more of that money home with them. State sales tax is currently a reasonable 6%, with additional exceptions for some purchases, making the state an affordable place to live even on a budget. For seniors on a fixed income, that can make a huge difference in overall quality of life.
Fully recovered from the housing crash of 2008, property values in Florida are now growing steadily, making the state a good place to buy both a home and also potentially invest in additional property. Property values are up about 22% over the last 15 years, according to the National Association of Realtors. Business Insider has the average price of a home in Florida at $233,300, not too far from the national average of $227,000. Even the most appealing beachside destinations aren’t out of reach—Marco Island real estate, for example, ranges from the mid-300,000s for a small home to the mid-700,000s for a grander retirement pad. What these numbers mean is that buyers can feel relatively safe that the home they buy is both reasonably priced and likely to keep appreciating, which is good news for anyone who is looking to put down roots.
Culture and Nature Combined
Florida also has an appealing combination of rural and urban environments. There is plenty of culture and international flavor to be found in the bigger cities, such as Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Nature lovers will have much to explore as well, though, from the Everglades to the wide open stretches of undeveloped and preserved land found throughout the central portion of the state. It is equally easy to find a rural community where horseback riding and camping are common weekend activities as it is to find a home in an urban center, next to world class museums and restaurants.
It is also easy to maintain lifelong ties when living in such a tourist-friendly state. Retirees worried about not seeing enough of their friends and family can rest assured that living in Florida is an added incentive for their nearest and dearest to make the cross country trek for a visit. Airline prices into the larger cities tends to be affordable, due to the state’s reliance on tourism, and Amtrak runs down the length of the state, for more rail oriented visitors. Adults can enjoy the perpetually sunny beaches and the many shopping destinations while grandkids can be treated to a day at one of the many nearby theme parks. Older kids will love Busch Gardens or Universal, while even the youngest of children will be excited to meet Mickey at Disney World. Florida is just as appealing as a vacation destination as it is a home.
Whether financially motivated or based on lifestyle choices, moving to Florida during retirement has a lot of clear benefits. One of the most appealing states in the country for retirees, it is at the very least worth a visit. And who knows—once there, it may be hard to leave.