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Why You Shouldn’t Retire to Florida: 11 Iffy Reasons

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

March 13, 2019 — Over the years millions of Americans from the Midwest and Northeast have packed up and moved to Florida for their retirement. They move there because of the warm winters and long coastlines, and retirees have been doing it for at least 100 years. But the Sunshine State has its detractors too; a Florida retirement is not for everyone. To wit, a recent article from Kiplinger, “11 Reasons Not to Move to Florida,” caught our eye.

We agree that there are some valid reasons against retiring in Florida (and we will include them later in this article). But we have to say that the ones cited in the Kiplinger article seemed a bit grasping. These are the basic reasons why their editor said you shouldn’t retire to Florida:

  • Florida is crawling with baby boomers
  • It is crawling with critters
  • Too much weirdness
  • Makes up for no income tax with other taxes
  • It makes you too sweaty
  • You’ll be inside more than you think
  • Swimming pools are expensive
  • The state is hard on your skin
  • Hurricanes are a problem
  • So is hurricane insurance
  • You’ll miss your family

Let’s take a look at their reasons:

Certainly there is some validity to many of the reasons expressed in the Kiplinger piece. Particularly if you retire in Florida full-time, summers are sunny, hot, humid, and stormy. Critters from alligators to giant bugs abound. Hurricanes are a big and increasing problem, although not necessarily the most serious climate issue its residents face.

But many of the other objections raised in the article seem petty. More notably, they are not the only states that have these negatives. Florida doesn’t have a monopoly on weirdness, swimming pools, hurricanes, and baby boomers. We can think of many places that are either so strange or so boring that we wouldn’t want to retire there. Swimming pools are ubiquitous in any state. Seventy six million strong, baby boomers are numerous enough to blanket any place in this nation. Hurricanes Sandy and Irene cut a huge swath across the Mid-Atlantic and southern New England in 2011 and 2012. Ever increasing insurance bills are a problem in many places besides Florida – if you live in the path of a hurricane (most of the East coast and Gulf of Mexico), forest fire (California and Pac Northwest), tornado (midwest), or flood (just about anywhere).

Their tax argument against Florida seems particularly weak. The state has no income tax, which means your IRA and 401k distributions, your Social Security income, and any other money you have coming in is not going to be taxed. There is no estate or inheritance tax, unlike some 20 other states (see Further Reading below). Florida is ranked 29th highest in per capita property taxes, which puts it in the bottom half of all states. At 6.8%, its state sales tax ranks as the 28th of all states (and unless you are buying automobiles or luxury items, sales tax is a minor budget item for most people).

So what are some good reasons not to retire to Florida?

Like we said earlier, there are some valid reasons to move your retirement dream to somewhere that is not Florida. Here are some of those (and again, they are not all exclusive to Florida):

  • Rising coastlines. Most of Florida is very flat and not very much above sea level. Rising oceans mean that a many Florida cities and coastal communities are facing flooding, higher tides, and wave damage. Some cities are working on it, most are not.
  • Traffic. The most popular retirement destinations in Florida are jammed to overflowing in season. Going out for shopping, eating, or entertainment in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, etc. is increasingly an excruciating experience with bumper to bumper traffic and endless waits at gigantic intersections. New Urban communities and small towns that are walkable offer some escape to these traffic problems.
  • Critters. South Florida is home to mosquitoes that can transmit dangerous diseases like dengue fever or zika virus. There are programs to help control them, but… Alligators can kill small pets and unattended children. Invasive species like burmese pythons abandoned by reckless owners are a threat to other wildlife.
  • Concentrations of senior citizens. Although not the only place with too many retired boomers for comfort, there are communities where the sight of a young person is a rarity.
  • Powerful storms. Again, Florida doesn’t have a lock on dangerous hurricanes, but almost anywhere in the state is susceptible to experiencing one. Insurance rates increasingly reflect that.
  • Endless strip malls. Many Florida towns grew too fast to control zoning. The result is often mile after mile of boring strip malls where one sees the same retail and restaurant chains endlessly repeating themselves. The result is charm that can be hard to find and a rarity of interesting downtowns.
  • High humidity. Florida does have a humid climate. Good for people with dry skin, terrible for those who hate humidity.
  • Sinkholes. There are parts of Central Florida where sink holes are a very serious, even catastrophic problem for homeowners. It often has to do with acidic groundwater dissolving limestone type bedrock (thanks to several members for suggesting this negative).

Plenty of reasons to retire in Florida. The most obvious one is its warm winters where you can enjoy outdoor activities year round. The tax situation is excellent. The state has relatively good fiscal health and a growing population. If you live in Florida as a snowbird you get the best of both worlds – warm winters and an escape from summer humidity. We’ll talk about more on these positive reasons in an upcoming article.

Comments? What do you think are the negatives about retiring to Florida? Would you, or have you already, consider retiring there? What are the positives? Please use the Comments section below to share your opinions.

For further reading:

Posted by Admin on March 13th, 2019

71 Comments »

  1. Snowbird sounds like a win/win situation!

    by Tommy Peay — March 13, 2019

  2. I volunteer in the Visitors Center of our mountain town in western North Carolina. We see a lot of folks who have moved to Florida for retirement and then, for one or more of the reasons enumerated in your article, choose to move to North Carolina. We call them “halfbacks”—they moved to Florida, then came halfway back (and seem to be much happier).

    by Patty — March 13, 2019

  3. Coming from the Northeastern state of NY I’m able to comment on many things listed:
    1. Florida is crawling with baby boomers
    So does many other states.

    2. It is crawling with critters
    “Critters” exist everywhere.
    3. Too much weirdness
    (See answer #2)
    4. Makes up for no income tax with other taxes
    NY’s TAXES are squandered by wasteful state government spending and rampant nepotism and sweetheart deals.
    5. It makes you too sweaty
    You’re gonna sweat it out in NY too, wondering if you’ll be able to make ends meet after the HIGH TAXES.
    6. You’ll be inside more than you think
    You’ll be inside more often than you think in NY too because you’re going to have to work several jobs in order to pay the TAXES.
    7. Swimming pools are expensive
    In NY they’re expensive too, especially considering that you’ll only get a few preciously short amount of time to enjoy it.
    8. The state is hard on your skin
    So is a NY winter.
    9. Hurricanes are a problem
    They’re a problem in NY too. Superstorm Sandy & Hurricane Irene among others.
    10. So is hurricane insurance
    In NY too. Ask any coastal resident.
    11. You’ll miss your family
    Don’t have any left in NY…ALL down South.

    Editor’s note: Love this, thanks!

    by Curt R — March 13, 2019

  4. A plus: You don’t have to shovel sunshine!

    by Jan — March 13, 2019

  5. I am frozen in Connecticut surrounded by tons of snow! Dreaming of Florida! I wanna be a snowbird!

    by Jasmine — March 13, 2019

  6. There’s a good way to beat all of the negatives – retire in two places – Florida in Winter (establish a residence for the tax breaks) and then escape the heat, humidity and critters in the Summer by going North to New England, Michigan or Wisconsin. Take your RV there.

    by Nomadic Pilot — March 13, 2019

  7. And sinkholes are not even mentioned! How about rising sea levels and high tide flooding (already a problem in some cities)?

    by David Moewes — March 13, 2019

  8. Florida summers are MUCH better than summer in north Texas.

    by lynnda — March 13, 2019

  9. You forgot to mention sink holes!

    Editor’s comment: Good point Bruno, we will add that “gaping” omission!

    by Bruno — March 13, 2019

  10. I spend winters in SE Florida in an over 55 community and summers in a retirement community in Louisville, KY. I hate the traffic and the crazy driving and the high insurance and the crowded restaurants in Florida. But I just love Florida’s weather in the winter. But would never want to live through a hurricane there. Or spend any time at all in most Florida hospitals or nursing homes/rehab facilities (overcrowding and a lack of regulations). I think the ideal situation would be to spend November – April in Florida and April to November to either the upper Midwest or New England.

    by Janet Greenlee — March 13, 2019

  11. We closed on a condo in Fort Pierce last November, and moved the 2nd of January. We kept our home in Tennessee because of my wife’s parents, and our kids and grandchildren. We’re going to go back and forth until her parents are no longer living, but we love it. If it wasn’t for family, I don’t know that we’d ever go back to Tennessee.

    by JD — March 13, 2019

  12. Well, I don’t know where all these mosquitoes are that are allegedly an issue. I haven’t seen one yet since I moved here. The mosquitoes in Minnesota would carry you away. Also haven’t seen a gator. Or a python.

    Hot and humid in the summer? So is Minnesota. That’s why air conditioning was invented. At least I’m not stuck indoors year around like I was in Minnesota, with either the furnace or the AC running. Have never turned my furnace on here.

    The taxes in Minnesota will carry you away just like the mosquitoes. There is no way I could afford to live on the water in Minnesota. Here I live on a lovely wide canal and an intersecting canal which goes out to the river and thus to the Gulf. Get to watch the boats, dolphins, manatees, jumping mullet. My friends who have boats can stop at my dock and pick me up.

    People ask me if I miss my friends. No. They all come down here in the winter. Had lunch with one last week. Going to lunch tomorrow with another one.

    by Linda — March 13, 2019

  13. Too late, got tired of Southern California’s (I live near the Orange County Order) crazy standstill traffic, even on weekends. Sales tax is 9.75-10%. So, I recently made a deposit, and are awaiting completion of, my brand new 3000sqft single story home in a gated 55+ retirement community in Pt St Lucie, which is 45 minutes from Palm Beach County. Amenities includes, gym, entertainment center, community gardening, walking trails/park, etc., and it’s anticipated to have its own town center for shopping, etc. There’s a fairly new hospital, hotel, an existing town center for shopping (Target, Bed, Bath n Beyond, grocery stores, etc.). Florida, here I come this Fall, God’s willing. Just a reminder that almost every state has its pros and cons. It’s how well you adjust to your new environment that matters. Enjoy your retirement while you still
    can!?

    by Eloise — March 13, 2019

  14. Florida is a great state to visit in the Winter and even late Fall and early Spring but the potential for a major disruption to a peaceful life like hurricanes, sinkhole, tornados (they have them), when we get less able to deal with those things keeps The Sunshine State low on my list. Right now I’d have no issue hopping in the car to evacuate before a hurricane (good excuse for a “road trip”! ) but cant say that if husband or I became disabled it would be foo much fun, and I think even now would not be happy if the house was destroyed or even suffered damage from a hurricane, tornado or sink hole, let alone trying to deal with those things in my super senior years. When I think about moving anywhere I imagine what’s the worst thing that could happen, how would I deal with it, and how well will I cope with whatever it is in the coming years. That’s one of the reasons we are now in Bucks County, Pa; much more willing to deal with being housebound for a day by occasional snow than to being forced to evacuate for who knows how long by occasional hurricane.

    by jean — March 14, 2019

  15. Wow, it sounds like bring around baby boomers is disgusting. Heaven help the U.S. when we are all dead in the ground.

    by Karen — March 14, 2019

  16. Don’t know where all the mosquitoes are??? Well that’s plain rubbish. Even when we visit in winter in Ft. Myers, there are a lot of no seeums that come out in the pm. We have friends who have bought on the intercoastal rivers and they slather themselves with deet, whilst they enjoy the lifestyle. The bugs might not be as big as other places, but saying that there are no mosquitoes and bitey thingums in Florida is like saying people from Florida go to Minnesota for the winter!

    by sandyw — March 14, 2019

  17. Good things about Florida…and bad about New Jersey shore towns

    1. Empty beaches in most places, as compared to the jam packed beaches of the New Jersey seashore towns, especially on a holiday weekend.

    2. No biting bugs on the beach, as compared to the greenheads and black flies in New Jersey seashore beaches, especially if there is a “land breeze”.

    3. Ocean water temperature in Florida (I live in Palm Coast) is like a nice bathtub during the summer, as compared to the freezing water of the New Jersey seashore, especially if there is a ocean water “inversion” .

    by Dave M. — March 14, 2019

  18. Here’s another reason to maybe avoid Florida….. Kidney stones!

    by jean — March 14, 2019

  19. Lived in Florida for 12 yrs. prior to any retirement in Orange Park (next to Jacksonville) and Deleon Springs. Once you get out of coastal or tourist trap areas, living is nice. Yes you deal with cockroaches, palmetto bugs (really big cockroaches), etc., you adapt. Florida publishes many guides on plantings to limit bugs plus growing fruit and veggies. Yes, it’s humid but during Christmas you’re sitting outside and Facebooking pics to northern friends. It’s your choice..live near the ocean or Gulf a d deal with the mess or find those areas where living is good and less stressful. Also, Florida natives know when it’s snowbird season..they’re not fans.

    by Nancy Noonan — March 14, 2019

  20. @sandyw: Well I guess you have your experience and I have mine. I live in the Cape full time and am not bothered by either mosquitoes or no see ums. Rather rude to denigrate another person’s experience as rubbish, in my view.

    by Linda — March 14, 2019

  21. Linda and SandyW – Regarding mosquitoes, It might come down to your blood type and genetics. Controlled studies have shown that mosquitoes land on people with type O blood twice as often as type A with type B being in the middle. Also some people emit certain chemical signals thru the skin that attract bugs while other do not. Havent read anything about other bugs’ preferences but garlic has been shown to repel werewolves. 😉

    by jean — March 15, 2019

  22. In response to all Florida I’ve lived in Conn, Texas, and now
    SE Florida. I’ll take Florida hands down 12 months a
    year! After many cold and snowy winters and tax on top of taxes it’s a wonderful change where you can enjoy the
    outdoors twelve months a year. Regarding Texas,
    the summers are very hot and too many hail storms
    and tornadoes. On the plus side the cost of living is equal
    to Florida lower taxes without the extra burden of
    State Income Tax. If you enjoy fishing, boating, the
    ocean, outdoor then Florida may be the place for
    your Golden Years.

    by Skip — March 15, 2019

  23. We beach vacationed in SW FL for 25 years and loved it. We moved to New Smyrna Beach 6 years ago. I retired but my husband still works (full time) from our home running our small radio station located in OH. We have experienced 1 tropical storm and 2 hurricanes. Evacuating with 1 cat, 1 small dog, 1 Rottweiler and a horse is not easy (read not likely to happen). I’m ready to move. I miss my family. I miss 4 seasons. I would move back to TX or up North in a heartbeat. I find the humidity here unbearable. I live in a lovely neighborhood. Ponds are everywhere here, including our back yard. And yes, there are alligators in it so you have to watch dogs and kids closely. In our neighborhood we’ve had water moccasins, pigmy rattlers, black racers, and roof rats. Noseeums are miserable certain times of the year. I’m always fighting to keep teeny tiny light-color ants out of the house. You MUST spray for termites and other bugs. We have a near constant layer of white sandy dust everywhere, inside and out. You have to pressure wash your driveway, sidewalks, pool enclosure, and street gutter frequently. I bicycle and about 9 months of the year I have to leave the house by 6:30 am at the latest because it’s too hot and humid by 9 am for that intense exercise. Restaurants, stores, the beach are packed during the season as well as all summer and fall. Traffic is bumper to bumper. Quality of local healthcare here is not up to the standard of Texas and Ohio. The salt mist is very damaging to cars, AC units and all other metallic items. Property taxes are high but less than the NE U.S.
    The positives: beautiful tropical flowers, swaying palm trees, the beach. You are close to the ports in Cape Canaveral, Ft Lauderdale and Miami. Millions of people love living here and gladly trade the snow and cold for year round hot weather.
    My advice is to consider all the factors before you make a permanent change. If you have the finances to be a snowbird, you can eliminate many of the negatives.
    Thanks for the opportunity to vent! Lol. Good luck!

    by Helen — March 16, 2019

  24. Dear Helen, thank you for a balanced view. I value your opinion.

    by Daryl — March 16, 2019

  25. After living in Florida for 48 years,coming from the northeast, I have listed my house for sale and making a break for it. Moving to a lovely small town in So Carolina, where I can get to the mountains to the north in a little over an hour, and if I ever want to go to a beach again I could get there in less than 2 hours to the south. Florida is getting hotter and more humid every year, I find myself trapped in the house with the A/C going most of the time, and I am a gardener who loves to be outside. Snowbird season and the crowds associated with it, is getting longer every year with crowded roads, hour long waits at your favorite restaurants and crowded supermarkets. I live in a very nice beach city on the east coast that unfortunately has been discovered. Big developers have moved in, the citrus trees are gone and they are building humongous cookie cutter homes in gated communities with ridiculously high HOA fees and HOA Commandos. Folks moving here think they are getting a good deal compared to prices up North until the tiles are falling off the bath walls and their A/C needs to be replaced in three years. The threat of hurricanes (and the cleanup involved after) every year is getting old (I have been thru 5, during the back to back hurricanes just two weeks apart in 2004 I was without power for 32 days.) I have always missed the change of seasons esp. the Fall and Spring, the winding roads, hills, etc. Florida is flat and topography is boring. My family is finally raised and I can head for the hills! Yes SC has hot humid summers but it’s only 3 months, not 12, there is Fall, Spring and mild,no snow Winter. SOOOOO……if any of you folks that are wanting to move to FL …I have a lovely house for sale… LOL ?

    by Diane — March 16, 2019

  26. OH! I forgot to mention the coyotes! Yes, never mind alligators and mosquitoes (which have never been a problem) coyotes have invaded residential areas and have even been seen downtown at night. Have to be very careful out walking your dog, as they have been snatched…have to carry small dogs and lots of cats have disappeared ?

    by Diane — March 17, 2019

  27. Diane and Helen: The reasons you mentioned are the reasons I will NOT be locating to Florida unless to stay for short periods with my Aunt in Naples or a nice hotel. I hate snakes and alligators terrify me too. Why go where there is nearly as much traffic in season as we already have here in Washington, DC? Many of my patients were relocating back up north to Virginia when I was still actively a nurse due to the hurricanes and the insurance which is soaring. It takes three weeks to get reservations to a nice restaurant and then for my Aunt to get out of her development takes time due to all the cars. Good luck to all who want to live full time in Florida.

    by Jennifer — March 17, 2019

  28. Diane, enjoy yourself in South Carolina. Hope their terrible roads don’t swallow up your car!

    I’ve not noticed summer lasting 12 months in Florida, but I guess everyone’s experience is different.

    by Linda — March 17, 2019

  29. Helen and Diane, Your experiences echo my sister’s and that’s why she moved north after 10 or so years in Jupiter. Diane, Coyotes are everywhere! SC has plenty and they even show up in NYC from time to time!

    by jean — March 17, 2019

  30. I’ve noticed some overemphasis by people posting here who are, for whatever reasons, not enamored of Florida. We bought a condo here five years ago and have been snowbirding from New England during that time. We like it here so much, we have decided to move to the condo permanently. The flowers and trees (especially palms) are beautiful at all times of the year. We got a reservation last night at a nice new restaurant with about three hours’ notice, and for 7 PM on a
    Saturday, too. The idea of many restaurants, even in season, taking three weeks to get a reservation is basically preposterous. I lived in Florida full-time for 6 years and in 2004, with its 3 hurricanes, we were out of power for 6 days (4, 2 and 0). It would be almost unheard of for people to be out of power for over 30 days, although if a Category 4 or 5 hit, it could happen (like Hurricane Michael on the panhandle coast last year). In the 11 years I have lived full or part time in FL, I have never seen an alligator except on a nature cruise, and even then the alligators were only about three feet long. As to bugs and mosquitoes, our condo has a 6 x 15 screened-in balcony, so we can enjoy outside time with nary a mosquito or other insect bothering us. Nice breezes, too, especially in the mostly glorious days from December through March.

    I guess what I’m saying is that people who don’t like Florida for full-time living seem to bask in pointing out what they perceive as flaws, to the point of exaggeration.

    by Clyde — March 17, 2019

  31. I would add that, as to traffic, if you are retired, you can fairly easily adjust your driving to avoid the heavier times. And in grocery stores, etc., during the season, you just need to know when to shop. 8-10 AM and 6:30-8:30 PM usually work. But I honor people’s reasons for not liking Florida. I just don’t like to see them overstated. However, the bottom line is that we should all be entitled to live wherever we want in this country.

    by Clyde — March 17, 2019

  32. We moved to southeast Florida 5 years ago from Connecticut and the advantages of FL outweighs anything in CT. We are 1miles from the Atlantic Ocean so we don’t see the humidity and the oppressive summers that the middle of the state has. We are 2 miles to RT 95 so traffic is not a problem. Everyone has their must haves and we have ours.

    by Ralph — March 18, 2019

  33. Clyde, I agree, people should live wherever they want to. Maybe we shouldn’t share how nice it is in Florida–we don’t want too many people to move here! I have to laugh when I hear all the fussin’ about snakes and alligators.

    by Linda — March 18, 2019

  34. Is everyone’s ego so heavily invested in their community that they are threatened by someone expressing his own personal experience? When I’m looking for a new locale, or car, or toaster for that matter, I want to hear the pros AND cons so I can decide whether I want to trade a few Pygmy rattlers for warm ocean breezes. I really value the people who fill me in on the potential flaws of various paradises, brings my expectations back down to earth before I spend my money.

    by Daryl — March 19, 2019

  35. BTW, my sister lived in a subdivision of converted former farmland outside Gainesville and her cat was killed by a coral snake in her backyard, no canal or retention pond nearby. She still preferred living there to the gloom of our hometown—Pittsburgh, and gleefully reminded me of that each dreadful winter. So you makes your choice.

    by Daryl — March 19, 2019

  36. We are 14 miles from the ocean not 1 as stared earlier.

    Daryl,
    I agree that the pros and cons should be included.
    Pros for us where we live. Here are some.
    Cost of living much lower than CT.
    Close to the ocean.
    Warm /hot weather year round, no snow.
    Utilities much cheaper
    Gated community 55 plus.
    3 live theaters within 30 minutes.
    Proximity to West Palm Beach airport, Orlando airport and Ft Lauderdale airport.

    Cons
    Good restaurants travel 20-30 minutes.
    Traffic going to ocean in season
    Publix grocery stores appear to have a monopoly.
    Insurance costs are approximately 20-25 % higher than CT
    Hurricanes we have seen 1 but no damages

    I’m sure there are more like bugs and animals but they have not impacted us.

    by Ralph — March 19, 2019

  37. I agree with Daryl…no one should be so offended or touchy about comments made of the area they chose to live in. Don’t take them personal…If we all agreed, what would be the purpose of this site, plus it’d be pretty crowded where you live!! I, for one, appreciate all of the comments made and look forward to more.
    So, with that being said….I’m looking for comments about the Charleston, SC., area which we plan on visiting in a couple weeks. Want to rent the first year, (single story) finding rentals in communities with pool access has been difficult online. Also want to be within relatively short drive to spend time at the beach. Thank you in advance for ANY comments!! I notice there are a lot of lakes…We don’t have to worry about snakes or alligators there, do we?

    by Brenda — March 19, 2019

  38. Brenda – I can not speak directly about Charleston, SC but these details are from a friend. She and her husband currently own a snowbird condo and plan to retire there in the future. They absolutely love it and from what she describes the town has lots to do and wonderful restaurants. She has mentioned being cautious when walking her dogs near waterways as there are alligators. Any postings for missing cats may possibly be missing for that reason.

    by JoannL — March 19, 2019

  39. Bugs and mosquitoes……. I wish I knew what makes a person delightful to them. The biters seem to love me here in SE TN, whereas they do not bother my hubby here. Back in MN, they don’t bother me too much anymore, but they seem to really like my husband. They DID really come after me during my 40’s. So weird.

    by Cap — March 20, 2019

  40. Brenda, Historic downtown Charleston is very charming and well-preserved. It is somewhat reminiscent of New Orleans French Quarter architecture, and quite a bit of it is on the bay. It is not far from Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach and Savannah. Being right on the Atlantic Coast, it is subject to hurricanes.

    by Clyde — March 20, 2019

  41. Spent many winter breaks as a child at grandparents in St Pete. Later took our family vacations in Florida all over the state. Looked seriously as a retirement destination but chose Arizona due to the many reasons listed in this article. Arizona homeowners insurance is around $400 a year without added flood, hurricane, or wind mitigation.

    by Matthew S — March 20, 2019

  42. An alligator that’s an estimated 10 feet in length was recently spotted swimming in a body of water behind a Cape Coral, Florida woman’s home. https://www.foxnews.com/science/huge-alligator-in-florida-spotted-swimming-in-womans-backyard

    by Rich — March 20, 2019

  43. CLYDE, After reading all of these comments re reasons that some folks are leaving FL or have decided not to move to Florida , I do not find any of them “preposterous”, or “overstated” as you called them. I have lived in FL for over 48 years on both coasts and can relate to most statements made here. By the way, it does not “take a category 4 or 5 hurricane to hit” as you stated, to be out of power for 32 days as some of us were, here in my lovely city by the sea, it only takes a 3 with some small tornadoes thrown in. Florence and Jeanne hit us in September 2014 only 2 weeks apart, and what Florence didn’t get, Jeanne made sure she took. The power plant here had back to back damages. The roof peeled off my condo and I lost most of my windows. I slept on the bedroom floor for a month as it was cooler than the bed. HOT AND HUMID is an understatement! We spent our days driving around in the car so we could have some A/C..and lived out of a cooler buying ice every day .I and many others were out of work for 6 weeks or more due to the fact that so much was devastated. Dealing with a condo association and the many damage assessments that followed was another matter, FEMA was here for months, I was lucky , many folks lost everything. Bought a house, Hurricane Michael hit that roof in 2018, $38,000 worth of damages. It is not “basically preposterous ” (your words) to wait 3 weeks for a restaurant reservation during season as one writer stated, many nice restaurants won’t even TAKE a reservation during season.( Locals don’t even try to go out to eat during season if they are smart) As far as “adjusting your driving to avoid heavier times” there are no “heavier times” …It’s heavy ALL the time now here in my pretty city on the ocean, and during season the police and ambulances can attest to that. It is getting hotter in FL every year , record temps of 89 and 91 degrees in February of this year feels like summer to me! EVERY state has its pros and cons, mosquitoes are not a problem, my city sprays for them, alligators I have seen plenty, they don’t bother me, have removed plenty of snakes, possums, raccoons and armadillos from my back yard, they don’t bother me. I have a beautiful home and backyard that hummingbirds, butterflies, cardinals etc visit on a daily basis. Increasing heat, traffic and crowded and longer snowbird seasons, increasing hurricane insurance rates and big cookie cutter developers throwing up these “communities” with their HOA commandos I am not a fan of. THAT is why I am leaving for a pretty SC town eight hours drive north from here with four seasons…no snow…close enough to the mountains to visit every day if I wanted , less expensive housing, no hurricane insurance, etc. My children and grandchildren have been raised here, but plan to leave when they reach retirement in a few years and can take their retirement with them to another state, as they recognize the changes in FL in their lifetime. So please, Clyde, don’t put down the opinions of those who ” know” .

    by Diane — March 20, 2019

  44. I have retired in Florida since 2010. I previously lived in California since birth. Calif has a 10 to 14% income tax which is also applied towards my gov’t pension. So I can save $500.00 a month to be in FL where there is no state income tax. Texas, Washington, Tenn., NV also don’t have state income tax.
    Since housing costs to buy and usually rent are much less in FL then CA., means property taxes are about half for the same living unit. I mean a $500,000 condo in CA costs $250.000 or less in FL for equal size, style, etc. Therefore you pay half the tax rate since it is based an property value. CA tax rate is about 1.2%. FL is 1.1% to 1.2% in most counties, 1.6 to 1.8% in a couple and 2% in a couple. So buy where you can afford. Gasoline is less in FL than CA. About the same as some states. CA has high gas taxes and talks of more increases. Vehicle registration is less in FL than CA but maybe about the same as some smaller states.
    Hot humid summers in Fl is true but I don’t mow lawns anymore and walk my dog in the morning and after sun down so it is not much of a problem. If I were a construction laborer I would prefer to work in CA. I have a modern insulated home with AC. Electricity is less costly in FL than CA and many states. All businesses have AC as do today’s cars so a short walk from the car to the store in the heat is OK for me.
    FL has critters aka wild animals like most states. No moose or elk but an occasional coyote, bear, cougar or even an alligator. Other states have their own animal issues just as bad if not worse. FL officials will remove nuisance gators when notified but many enjoy seeing them in the ponds and golf courses. Just don’t walk your dog near the water if alligators have ever been seen there.
    I have had fewer mosquitoes bites in FL than CA. I understand other states have bad seasons of these pests.
    FL has its share of traffic in certain areas. I lived in Naples and the winter snow birds as they were called increased the population greatly in winter months. Ft Lauderdale it was less noticeable maybe due to larger population. Orlando area seems to busy more consistently busy but Southern California and SF bay area are traffic nightmares. It would take me an hour or two to commute to various jobs in Los Angeles each way. In Miami it was about half the time spent when I would work there part time. Besides if you are retired you don’t have to live in the mega traffic cities. Find a nice mid sized city.
    Overall I find FL a better place than CA for many reasons even beyond what I have discussed here.

    by Chris — March 20, 2019

  45. Diane, I am pleased for you that you’ve made the decision to move from Florida to
    SC. The most important part of my recent post was its final statement, “the bottom line is that we should all be entitled to live where we want in this country.” I try to be satisfied about the decisions I’ve made and the lot I’ve been cast in life. I certainly didn’t say that all negative postings about Florida were preposterous, only the one that people can’t get reservations to a good restaurant less than three weeks in advance. There undeniably were some other thoughts about Florida, though, that were overstated in a broad-brush manner. It is my hope and wish that everyone finds their dream retirement home, which, as I’ve said before, may be right where they’re living now. Best of luck to all!

    by Clyde — March 21, 2019

  46. Clyde, I gave up trying to refute all the naysayers. Some of the claims were definitely preposterous, like the ability to go out to dinner during season. I go out to lunch and dinner during season all the time. Also not during season. I too hope everyone finds a place that makes them happy. My happy place is on my canal in Cape Coral. Yes, I’d probably be happier directly on the ocean, but that’s out of my price range.

    by Linda — March 22, 2019

  47. I never thought I’d retire in FL but I wanted to retire on the East Coast, NC or SC. Economics and frequency of hurricanes drove me to NE FL. Happy with everything but the numbers of those who’ve come to love the same area. The county is expected to double in population in the next ten years. Find your happy place and enjoy being there! Gandhi said, “To truly find yourself, lose yourself in the service of others”.

    by Richard — March 23, 2019

  48. My solution is to go to Florida right after Thanksgiving in November and come back to my lovely New England town in April. The humidity in Southwest Florida, to me, is unbearable in the summer. While I was there, it was important to put all your food stuffs in the refrigerator or you will be swamped with those little red ants among other pests. We have been going down to the Ft Myers area since the early 1970’s. The traffic during the winter months is ridiculous, just bumper to bumper all the way to Naples and beyond. No thank you, I will visit, not become a resident. The tax savings for us is not that great……..not when you have to spend $3000.00 plus for homeowners insurance on a $200K house. Just my experience talking.

    by shirley — March 26, 2019

  49. Having lived in Maine for much of my life, I am happy to be retiring to two areas. Tampa Bay and Black Mountain, NC. As hikers and kayakers, this split of time is nearly perfect. Our dogs (a blue nose pit and golden doodle) love the mountains, and jumping in the gulf.
    This last year was unusual in that hurricanes affected both areas. At least I hope it was unusual.
    While Maine is beautiful, I saw Portland turn into a traffic laden summer destination, with waits at restaurants pretty bad. The price of popularity.
    Still – it’s all about what you do. In Maine, 2 hours outside in the winter is about what normal folk can stand. Then there is the lack of sunshine to deal with. The wait for July-October for good weather is legendary.
    In Florida, I found that kayak fishing during the winter is tremendous. Tampa Bay also has an excellent music scene, museums, great restaurants, festivals, and solid sports availability. Yes, there is summer heat (ideal to avoid) and winter traffic that comes with the territory. Like Maine in the winter, if you don’t get out in the harsher seasons, why live there?
    Finally, splitting time between relevant areas for us is attractive and we are fortunate to be able to do so. The older we get, the more we focus on the positives about these areas, and are willing to put up with negatives. Truth is, the negatives don’t constitute all that much of having a good time.

    by Mike C — March 27, 2019

  50. Does anyone live in the Gulf Breeze or Navarre Florida area? If so, your comments would greatly be appreciated. Any pros or cons…also anyone know information about living in the Holley By the Sea area to rent a home in? Is it a respectable area?
    thanks

    by Brenda — March 27, 2019

  51. Shirley, $3,000+ for HO insurance on a $200,000 home? I live in a condo worth approximately that amount. My HO6 policy is under $700/year. And I’ve experienced considerable tax savings in transferring my residency from Minnesota to Florida.

    by Linda — March 27, 2019

  52. Insurance on a detached home in Florida that is not maintained or owned by an HOA can be quite high. Most home/building insurance on an attached condo is built into the HOA fee. But you can get contents and interior insurance, which also includes some additional liability protection, on your own. Mine for a condo of 900 square feet, and five miles from the ocean, is $600-700/year at present. If you live on the second floor or above, you usually don’t need flood insurance, which can be expensive and is not covered by homeowners policies. It is usually necessary if your house or condo/villa is at ground level.

    by Clyde — March 28, 2019

  53. Yes, the figure I quoted was for walls-in coverage on my condo. Our HO master association policy covers the building, grounds, and the pool. Our premium this year worked out to about $720/unit. So, still nowhere near the $3,000 figure quoted above. I do not carry flood insurance, despite being on the ground floor. Neither does our association. It was a choice, which we declined. The concrete block buildings aren’t going anywhere. My condo is not located in a mandatory flood insurance zone.

    by Linda — March 28, 2019

  54. I had a strange question as I was on the phone with Hartford insurance and I asked if they do insurance in FL. I was told NO, most major insurance companies will not do policies in FL. Is that correct? I am having a hard time find out if that is true. Thanks

    by Tricia — March 29, 2019

  55. Tricia,

    I have lived in multiple states and each time have quoted numerous insurance firms before settling on an insurer for home, auto, earthquake, flood & umbrella policies. Seems like Farm Bureau is the best combination of coverage/price/service regardless of where I have lived (presently live in KY). They have offices in each county of every state they serve so easy to speak directly with an agent and/or an adjuster. I included the link below for the Florida website.

    https://www.floridafarmbureau.com/

    Good luck to you, Danno

    by danno — March 30, 2019

  56. 3000 per year for hurricane and flood insurance is a reasonable estimate for anyone owning a home and living within 5 miles of the ocean! This is in addition to your regular homeowners insurance!
    This trend is going up as Globall Warming accelerates! If you are in a flood plane it is even higher even if you live far from the coastal !
    Condos are small and not representative the cost to home owners!!

    by Ron — March 30, 2019

  57. Tricia, just because the Hartford has decided not write homeowners insurance in Florida doesn’t mean that other major insurance companies don’t. At least one of my neighbors has State Farm. Also, insurance companies come and go in Florida. When I first started looking at property in Florida, USAA did not write homeowners insurance in Florida. Now they do. So take what the Hartford told you with a grain of salt.

    by Linda — March 30, 2019

  58. We live in southeast Florida and are 14 miles from the ocean. We had to really look around to find reasonably priced insurance. Prices ranged from over $3,000 to around $1,400. We selected a $1,400 policy that included flood and hurricane insurance. It is more than we paid in Connecticut but figuring our total costs FL vs CT our savings are substantial.

    by Ralph — March 31, 2019

  59. Thanks everyone for some names and info on the insurance. Very helpful. Have a great day. Tricia

    by Tricia — March 31, 2019

  60. Tricia

    Foundation Ins of FL
    Boca Raton
    561-994-9333

    by Ralph — April 1, 2019

  61. All great information . Let me leave a little imput . I ve lived in Louisiana for the last 19 yrs ( not retired ) I’m 59. Lived in Naples and Venice Florida , New Hampshire and grew up in Ct . Yes the south is much cheaper then the Northeast . Bugs and mosquitos are everywhere but the south gets palmettos , I don’t think this should be a factor . Wild animals are everywhere , using your brain helps quite a bit . Humidity is a killer from June through September but quite honestly you get use to it and adjust , try living in Louisiana . Yes no snow ! I miss the 4 seasons especially fall but it’s difficult to find a area that gives you foliage but no snow . Snow never bothered me but I don’t want 3 months of it . Restaurants are crowed during season then non season , I was in the restaurant industry and traffic on the Tamiami Trail is heavy . No perfect spot ! I do miss the mountains . I built a home in South Carolina that I will move to in about 2 yrs , I’m not sure if this my answer but it’s a charming area ( Blufton ) . The flat roads of Florida become boring . I loved Venice ( charming) may still go back due to its proximity to Sarasota , beaches and Tampa ( sport teams) . I can’t afford New Hampshire but it was the nicest place for me ( I love mountains) Naples is like living Beverly Hills with wealth being in your vision all the time , gets old ( I’m not rich by any means ) . I still think about maybe North Carolina might be the place for me . Hurricanes are everywhere and so is flooding .
    You will be inside a lot in Florida from June- through late Sept but from Nov to April it’s paradise . Louisiana is just ok , different culture . I have nothing in common . No beaches close at all , great for guys who like to hunt and fish . They seem to only care about LSU football and everything is a party .

    by Brian Vecellio — April 4, 2019

  62. I’ve heard estimates of Florida’s population growing as much a 30% (with many areas doubling) by 2030. How much longer can Florida afford to give the infrastructure away? They already receive more Federal funds than they contribute anyway.

    by Peder — April 5, 2019

  63. Moving to Florida is really a bad idea! The population density exceeds its ability to support
    Global warming will continue to erode Florida as most of the state is barely above sea level! The influx of snowbirds in the winter months makes traffic unbeatable! Yes the beaches are nice but folks visit florida don’t relocate there

    by Ron — April 6, 2019

  64. As I sit on my deck in Florida, wearing shorts and a tee shirt, looking at the boats and birds going by it looks like a pretty good place to live. Went swimming in the outdoor pool, rode my bike to get coffee. Very dangerous and superficial to generalize about an entire state. Like anywhere, there are great places to live in Florida, and some not so great. The trick is to find the ones that click for you – the reasons that make a town and state the right place for you to retire. Enjoy the search!

    by Admin — April 7, 2019

  65. As I sit on my lanai in Florida watching all the activity on my canal, I can’t think of a place I’d rather be. I give thanks daily for being able to live on the water. I never tire of the view. I cherish all the new friends I’ve made here. My wish for those on this site is that you find someplace that clicks for you.

    by Linda — April 7, 2019

  66. Where do you live in Florida, Linda?
    I’m looking for an affordable place that’s not too crowded.

    by Dale Anne Mcclellan — April 8, 2019

  67. I get a kick from people that put Florida down because of bugs, heat, traffic on and on. I live in SE Florida and love it
    12 months a year. This winter I wore long pants three times. Most of the time it’s shorts, T shirts, and flip flops. Cost of living is cheap, this past summer my highest electric bill was $ 110 dollars. Did I mention no State Income Tax? I live eight miles from the beach and too many restaurants to name. For all you negative please stay out of Florida life is too good to listen to petty complaints. Live, love, and enjoying Florida life style.

    by Skip — April 8, 2019

  68. My husband and I bought a condo in Miami Beach to become snowbirds, with a house in Rhode Island (we sold the house we raised our kids in and bought the condo and a smaller house in RI). I’m pretty sure I would not like being in Florida during the summer, not that New England is immune to heat — I’ve never heard so many of my neighbors talk about adding central air as I did last summer. We chose Miami Beach because we like the proximity to all the cultural and other events here and in Miami (the huge entertainment complex for touring Broadway shows, the ballet and opera house etc. is just across the bridge about 3 miles from my condo). But a huge factor is that we can walk or bike almost anywhere in Miami Beach. There’s a free trolley that loops the entire beach. We’ll go an entire week without getting into a car because everything is at our fingertips (great town for handicapped folks who use scooters as well). We LOVE how international the area is; we don’t think it’s strange. And bugs? I have never had to use bug spray in the four winters we’ve spent here. I’ve never seen a mosquito. And even on a hot day when we might spend it inside doing condo “stuff,” by 5 pm everybody is outside taking a walk and dining at outdoor restaurants.

    by Pamela Thomas — April 8, 2019

  69. We have visited FL many times as adults, several while raising our family. Our most recent trip was to the Sarasota area in 2017 and I can confirm many of the comments made by others.
    The traffic was horrendous, exacerbated by the number of seniors that no longer have sharp driving skills.
    The heat and humidity are oppressive, especially in summer. Folks who live there do have a shot at adapting but it’s a challenges if you are active. It seems to go on forever.
    Lack of abundant, good drinking water was a problem. Bottled water in most places was awful; tap water was ok for showering but not much else.

    by Dan — April 8, 2019

  70. “Too many people who live in Greater Miami, housing is far too ex-expensive for their salaries and their wages,” said David Rifkind. He’s the Chair of FIU’s Landscape Architecture and Urban Design Department.

    The FIU study shows 6 out of ten working adults in South Florida spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

    “A lot of South Florida residents at the end of the year, have less than 10,000 dollars left after they’ve paid off their housing costs for everything else they have to pay for,” he noted

    https://miami.cbslocal.com/2019/04/08/south-florida-among-least-affordable-metro-areas-in-the-world/

    by Rich — April 9, 2019

  71. @Dale Anne Mcclellan, I live in Cape Coral. No idea how you define “affordable.” And all of SE Florida is crowded during Season. I get to live where people pay to go on vacation.

    by Linda — April 9, 2019

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