Retiring to Florida seems to be the quintessential dream of many Americans. It is as enticing a goal as owning a home. To be sure, there are many advantages – as well as some disadvantages – to making Florida one’s retirement haven, and first among them is universally stated as the weather.
For those relocating from the frigid north, where temperatures plummet to below zero or are snowed in, retiring to the sunny shores of Florida is a dream come true. No more shoveling snow and risking heart attacks, no more frozen pipes, no more bulky clothes or dirty boots. But even though the weather is the principal seducer, there are other incentives that lure many people to Florida.
One example is the cost of housing. Compared to real estate prices in many other parts of the country, Florida, in general, is less expensive. Median prices in areas such as Tampa and Orlando are around $325,000.00, while those in Boston are $585,000.00, according to Zillow Price Value Index. Property taxes are also higher in Massachusetts compared to Florida, with Massachusetts levying anywhere from 1.222 percent to 1.627 percent of assessed property value, as compared with Florida’s average of 0.95% of assessed property value. In dollar terms, that is a difference of thousands of dollars that can be put to better use once regular income is gone. Moreover, hidden costs exist when living in colder climes, such as furnace oil and heating costs that eat into one’s budget.
To be sure, there are cheaper places around the country for real estate, such as Ohio and Arkansas, for example, but those who retire to Florida seem to be mostly concerned with the weather and easy living, and not exclusively focused on costs, although those can figure dramatically in one’s plans.
Once the decision has been made to relocate to Florida, the next step is to look for a place to live. There are many Central Florida Retirement Communities eager to welcome newcomers with open arms. With glossy brochures displaying single-family homes, villas or condominiums, with shiny new appliances and smiling faces of current residents, these communities are definitely worthy of a visit. Many builders entice potential buyers with extras, have their own mortgage financing, and provide leisure activities within their sprawling acreage, including tennis, swimming, fishing, and many other activities.
But it is not only all-inclusive communities that deserve a visit. Many areas boast pleasurable walking trails and bicycle tracks, are located near bodies of water where one might wish to dock a boat, or offer better access to airports or theaters.
Aside from all the bells and whistles advertised by Central Florida and other Retirement Communities around the state, there are other considerations that should be front and center in potential retirees’ minds. For example,
- Is the retiree ready to move away from family and friends they have known their entire lives?
- Has the retiree considered the substantial costs of the move itself, that can cost many thousands of dollars.
- Is selling one’s home in another part of the country sufficient (after all selling costs) to convert those funds to a new home in Florida?
- Is the retiree ready for the extreme heat during Florida summers?
- Is the retiree ready to face the threat of hurricanes?
These are general considerations, and there are many more. But in summary, here are a few pros and cons to considering retiring to Florida:
- The weather. No more shoveling snow.
- No more bulky clothes.
- No more frozen pipes or buried vehicles.
- Housing is less expensive.
- Property taxes are much lower.
- Home maintenance can be much cheaper.
- Retirement communities provide an all-inclusive lifestyle.
- Easy access to golf, tennis, boating.
- Many more opportunities to engage in preferred leisure activities.
- Some Central Florida Retirement Communities have several restrictions that may not appeal to many retirees. Check the facts first.
- Being away from family and friends.
- Selling one’s family home can be traumatic – and costly.
- Moving one’s furnishings can be very expensive.
- The weather can be stiflingly hot and uncomfortable.
- Entertainment is quite different – retirees should investigate their preferred lifestyle.
There are always advantages and disadvantages to tackling any new enterprise in life. The same is true of retiring to Florida – or anywhere else, for that matter. A judicious assessment of one’s finances and lifestyle desires should be a crucial step in any decision. For many, however, retirement in Florida is a dream of a lifetime.