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Dueling Retirement States: Arizona vs. Florida

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Updated Nov. 3, 2021 (originally published August 2010) — Note: We added a similar article in early 2017: See “Which State Is Better for Retirement: Arizona vs. Florida“.
When it comes to comparing retirement destinations, how do various states stack up against each other? There are some natural rivalries such as: the biggies (AZ vs. FL), north vs south (as in North Carolina vs. South Carolina), the Pacific Northwest (Oregon vs. Washington), the Mid-Atlantic (VA vs. DE vs. NJ), and so on. To help you decide which might be better places for you to retire, we present the first in our series of articles comparing retirement states. We welcome ideas for future comparisons (see all in the series at bottom).

Our approach in this article will be to evaluate various factors for each state, letting our readers draw their own conclusions from the facts. As always, reader input is extremely important. We encourage you to use the Comments section below to tell your stories and express your preferences.

Arizona vs. Florida for Retirement

Population (Data from Wikipedia and the Census Bureau).
Arizona is the smaller of the two states, but the population in both is growing fast, and older. Its 2020 population was 7,728,717 as compared to Florida’s 21,477,377. In 2020 18% of AZ’s population was 65 or older,  while Florida had many more, with 20.9% of the population 65+. In our experience, most retirees who immigrate to Arizona tend to be from west of the Mississippi and east of California. Florida immigrants tend to be from the northeast and midwest. Of course there are many exceptions to that.

Sedona area

Economics and Home Prices.
In 2019 the Census Bureau estimated the median value of owner-owned Arizona home to be $255,900, slightly higher than the $215,300 figure in Florida, and also above the national median of $217,500. The Census Bureau’s figures lag the explosion in real estate prices since the pandemic, however. Looking at September 2021 Home Value Indexes from Zillow, the national Index is $308,200, compared to the Florida Index of $321,000 and Arizona’s $383,000.

Mid-2021 selling prices from the NAR show further comparisons, where larger markets tend to be pricier than smaller ones, and individual cities within states can vary greatly. In Tucson (AZ) the median price was $332,400 and in Phoenix it was $408,700. That compares to $485,000 in Miami and $360,000 in the Clearwater/Ft. Myers (FL) market.

The 2019 median household income in Arizona was $58,945, a bit higher than Florida’s $55,660. Income in both states is below the national figure of $62,843.

In the area of climate there are striking differences between the 2 states. Most of Arizona has slightly cooler winters than Florida, and in the northern parts of AZ there is not only snowfall but a ski resort. A desert state, AZ’s humidity and rainfall are far lower than Florida’s. Comparing 2 central cities in each state, the average January low in Phoenix is 48 vs. 50 in Orlando. The average July high in Phoenix is a blistering 104 vs. Orlando’s 92. March is the wettest month in Arizona’s Phoenix area (1″), while June is Florida’s wettest (7.3″).

Tax Environment
Florida is one of the most tax-friendly states in the U.S. (the Tax Foundation ranked its State and Local Tax Burden the 27th highest in 2010). It has no income tax and a 6% sales tax. Counties and states can and do charge additional sales taxes) and no inheritance or estate taxes. Its Save Our Homes initiative prevents property tax assessments from going up higher than the rate of inflation, a major help in keeping property taxes down for seniors. Arizona is also considered a tax-friendly state (ranked 40th highest), although it does have both an income tax (highest marginal rate is 4.54% on joint income of $318,000). Its sales tax is 5.6% but it can go as high as 10.725% locally. Retirees are generally not very affected by the AZ income tax, as Social security income is not taxable in Arizona. In-state and military pensions have a $2500 exemption. Property tax protections are a big reason for Arizona’s tax-friendly ranking. See our Florida and Arizona Retirement Guides for more on taxes.
Physical Environment and Diversity

Both Florida and Arizona are good sized states with a fair amount of diversity within each state. Arizona would probably win the geographic and physical diversity prize between the 2 however. The Grand Canyon State has much higher elevations (Flagstaff is just under 7,000′) and a greater range of climates, ranging from temperate Flagstaff to very hot Tucson in the south. Arizona has plenty of mountains, forests, national parks, and deserts. Florida has several geographic features that Arizona does not have, and that is a gigantic coastline (over 2,200 miles of tidal coastline), over 11,000 miles of rivers and streams, plus many large lakes.


Places to Live
Florida has many more cities and towns (we have reviews of 135 FL towns on this site vs. 42 for Arizona ), so it has to win any “choice” contest. It has towns and cities along the gulf (Pensacola), along the north coast (St. Augustine), in the interior (Ocala), and in the southeast (Miami), and southwest (Fort Myers). Florida has any number of college towns, large and small. It also has many charming smaller towns such as Winter Park, Lake Mary, and Key West. Arizona, by contrast, is mostly concentrated around the Phoenix area, with smaller offshoots to the north (Sedona, Prescott, Flagstaff), and south (Tucson). Most of the towns around the Phoenix area are suburban and often predominated by new growth. Arizona has some nice places to live, but they are fewer in number.

Choice of Active Communities
At Topretirements we count 320 communities in our Arizona Directory of Active Communities, vs. 960 in our Florida Directory. Arizona has the original active adult community (Sun City), but Florida gets the edge for the diversity of communities available in that state, as well as having the largest (The Villages).

Retirement Popularity
The relative popularity of states as retirement destinations is hotly contested, but unfortunately, not well supported by data. Del Webb conducted a recent survey that found that the Carolinas (both North and South) had gone ahead of Florida and Arizona as preferred retirement destinations. That survey, however, should probably be viewed as future indications rather than past performance, since more retirees currently live in AZ and FL. Meanwhile at Topretirements, we receive more visits to our Florida retirement guide than any other, followed by North Carolina, Tennessee, California, South Carolina, Arizona, and Texas. (all of our guides can be found at //

Political Situation
Up until recently Arizona was generally considered a Republican and a conservative state, but it is now purple. In the 2020 election the State narrowly voted for Joe Biden, only the second time it went Democratic since 1952 (it went for Bill Clinton in 1996). The governor and the state legislature ara Republican but both U.S. Senators are Democrats. Florida is narrowly Republican. Its cities tend to vote for  Democrats, while rural portions are Republican and more conservative.  In the 2012 Presidential election Obama won its electoral college votes, but since then it has voted for Republicans.

Aesthetics and Intangibles
Both states have their admirers and each has its detractors. Both have many new communities that lack charm and good transportation. Rather than take sides on the issue, we recommend that you visit cities and towns in both states and see if you can’t find the place of your dreams. Certainly both states have some of the most desirable communities in the world, waiting for you to discover them.

For your reference:
State Retirement Guides
Gulf Coast Retirement: Sun, Tax-friendly, and a Lower Coast of Living
Retirement 101 Mid-Atlantic States: MD, DE, VA, NJ
Florida Retirement 101
Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC
Dueling States: Arizona vs. Florida
Dueling States Mid-South: TN, GA, KY, AL
California Retirement 101
Retirement in the Southwest: AZ, NM, and Utah
The Mountain States: CO, ID, MT, NV, UT, WY
The Pacific Northwest: Oregon vs. Washington

What state do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.

Posted by John Brady on August 23rd, 2010


  1. Arizona gets my vote. Live in Prescott. Best trails in the world, mountains, desert, no humidity, no hurricanes, four seasons, no giant bugs, and the snakes here rattle. Lots of lakes to boat, fish and kayak on. Missing the ocean, but it’s not that far away.

    by Jenny Cobb — August 25, 2010

  2. Best place to retire is Sarasota FL! I’ve been here since 1987 and cannot imagine living anywhere else. Sarasota has everything… St. Armands Circle for shopping, incredible and edgy restaurants for foodies, Cultural Arts activities like live theater, opera, symphony orchestra, ballet and not to mention our wonderful golf courses, miles of white sand beaches and temperate winter climates. It’s like living in paradise.

    by nicki conway — August 25, 2010

  3. I would choose Florida. I am retiring with a company pension, but since it’s not an “in state” pension, Arizona will tax it as income. Florida won’t. Also, lots of frustration about crime on Arizona’s border with Mexico, and it’s movement up into the metro areas. Mr. Kapp is right in his comment about crime in Metro Phoenix and Tucson, even Yuma. But I also hear that Miami is bad. So, I will stay away from Southeast Florida. Sarasota sounds nice. I’ll check it out.

    by Rob McCulloch — August 25, 2010

  4. My husband & I are about 10 yrs from retirement, but we looked at AZ possibly for retirement. Needless to say, there are MANY problems with AZ – from over-building and huge inventory of unsold NEW homes, to the political unrest and dangerous situation at their border. We took a look at Las Cruces, NM and found none of these issues. The beautiful climate due to the Organ Mountains, pride in community, and friendly people, led us to buy NOW in a 55+ active community called Boulders on the Green at Sonoma Ranch. The builder has a stellar reputation, and we are in a gated community with active retired seniors, who enjoy all the amenities of a gym, swimming pool, hot tub, and busy social activities calendar held at the beautiful club house – all maintained for a ridiculously low monthly maintenance fee. On top of this, the gated community is situated on a public golf course, so our maintenace fee is NOT used for this purpose. We rented out our house in NJ with a view of NYC, and moved to NM without hesitation. We are extremely happy here with 350 days of sunshine, and no snow to shovel!

    by Lisa Evans — August 25, 2010

  5. Omitted are Ethnic Diversity, Crime breakdown, the quality and the prevalence of teaching hospitals.

    by goldengrain — August 25, 2010

  6. I think someone should, at the very least, pay for advertisements, don’t you?

    by goldengrain — August 25, 2010

  7. Let’s face it-you are either a desert lover or an ocean lover. I have lived in California for 58 years & have never found the desert beautiful. So needless to say; my choice would be Florida. However-the humidity is the major
    reason I am hesitant about retiring there. Now the dry heat of Arizona would be just fine!!

    by Laura B. — August 25, 2010

  8. As usual, as the above comments show, your retirement choice depends on
    (1) the size and the sources of your retirement income, for income tax purposes)
    (2) the size of your house, for real estate tax purposes
    (3) your recreation activities. I love bicycling back roads and trails – but this warning from the Arizona Trail homepage scared me: “The AZT along the AZ/Mexico border continues to be impacted by illegal border crossers. Many new side trails are being created by the border crossers. And trail users should watch for illegal trails, intersecting the Arizona Trail, as the illegal trails are often more distinct and heavily traveled. Trail users may meet illegal border crossers and are advised to not hike alone in these areas. Also, overnight users are advised to camp away from the trail as far as possible.”
    (4) Back in 2005 – 6, hurricanes would have loomed in respondents’ minds.
    (5) Maybe: Florida in the winter (and residency); Az. in the summer.

    by oldnassau — August 25, 2010

  9. I”ve been living in the suburbs of Phoenix for the past five years and LOVE it! We live in a community called Fountain Hills and the crime rate is so low here. Any big city has high crime and since Phoenix is the fifth largest(?) city in the US, of course, there is crime there, but you do not have to stay away if you “value your life/safety” as Michael states above…that is sooo ridiculous!! We’re driving distance to Vegas, California, Mexico. We can be sunning ourselves at our pool one minute and take a two hour drive and be fishing, relaxing in the cool high country. In winter, we can drive 2 hours and go skiing. You have the best of both worlds here and NO HUMIDITY. Even in winter you feel “wet” in Florida. I’ll take AZ any day over Florida.

    by Janine — August 25, 2010

  10. You always forget places like Oregon with all the diversity, beauty and culture combined with serenity that one could imagine.
    But I hate to give away the secret…

    Morgan P.

    by Morgan Paull — August 25, 2010

  11. You’ve got to be kidding. Wrong facts on AZ. I live here; both my social security and military retirement are taxed. And by the way, the State sales tax is 9.1%; not 5.75 as reported. And the powers to be are talking about raising it to 9.6% in Tucson. How do you feel about home invasions? We’re near the top of the list. We will be leaving as soon as my husband retires.

    by Scottie — August 25, 2010

  12. Scottie, We respectfully differ with some of your information about taxes. Social security income is not taxed in Arizona. However, there is a subtraction, of up to $2,500, for pension income received from the State of Arizona and its political subdivisions or from U.S. government service, including the U.S. military (so amounts above that are taxable, as you say). The information below is from the Arizona Department of Revenue website (
    As a general rule, the same portion of your pension is taxable for Arizona purposes as is taxable for federal purposes. However, Arizona allows a subtraction for pensions from the State of Arizona and its political subdivisions or from U.S. government service, including the U.S. military. For the amount of the subtraction, see the instructions for your Arizona form.

    For Arizona filing purposes, figure your gross income the same as you would figure your gross income for federal income tax filing purposes. Then, you should exclude income Arizona law does not tax. Income Arizona law does not tax includes:

    * Interest from U.S. Government obligations
    * Social security retirement benefits received under Title II of the Social Security Act
    * Benefits received under the Railroad Retirement Act
    * Active duty military pay
    * Pay received for active service as a reservist or a National Guard member.

    We were incorrect about the AZ state sales tax – as of June 10, 2010 it is 6.6% . However, as you suggest, most counties and cities levy additional taxes on top of that.

    by Admin — August 25, 2010

  13. Arizona vs. Florida Hmmm. I work Homeland Defense in the valley of the sun. I can tell you crime is quite high. What was not mentioned was that we are number one in the nation for auto theft (DO NOT come here with a Cadilac Escalade. We are also number two in the WORLD for human smuggling. Yes there are some wonderful communities such as Fountain Hills if you can afford the home there however most retirees are trying to downsize. Sun City was mentioned and in addition to it becoming a ghosttown, it has no law enforcement agency and is patroled by the county. The lack of humidity is nice especially when it is 114 degrees out. The good side is the diversity of the state. It has it all. In contrast Florida is plaguedwith demographic issues, humidity, and bugs. I don’t think anyone can say which state is better however I can assure you Arizona is no heaven, however no one place is. As for me and my wife, we are out of here as soon as we retire (2 years).

    by Tom Lark — August 26, 2010

  14. We live in Calif but will retire in Payson, AZ. Nice cool nights and warm days. Play golf 364 days a year. Just 75 minutes from Scottsdale but removed enough to be quite and peaceful. ASU campus hopefully coming next year which will modernize the town. Check it out.

    by Mike F — August 26, 2010

  15. Tom Lark: So, Tom, where do you think is a good place free of bugs and bad demographics?

    Dave R.

    by Dave R. — August 29, 2010

  16. Just returned from Arizona. I think both Arizona and Florida are great; however, healthcare in Arizona is deemed better than Florida.

    by Gail Patyk — August 30, 2010

  17. Yes, our sales tax here in AZ is high, but the property taxes make up for it! We only pay about $2,000 year for a 4bed/3bath home! I owned 2 homes in FL and we were paying about $10,000/year for property taxes and insurance on EACH home!! Just the insurance alone will put you in the poor house. You need wind, flood, hazard, blah, blah, blah…so all in all, I guess if you can afford to live in FL, it’s a nice place, but don’t be fooled…their crime rate is through the roof, too; my sister lives there and can’t wait to get out…

    by Janine — September 1, 2010

  18. Been to both, Arizona is the place to be!

    by Noma — September 7, 2010

  19. I prefer Florida. Somewhere in the Jupiter area, Sarasota, or south of Jacksonville Beach down to Daytona. Stay away from Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami of course. The ENTIRE east side of Orland is hispanic gangs. Not kidding, and the west side is where the home invasions happen. If you move to AZ or FL get a concealed carry permit and CARRY everywhere, seriously.

    by Jim Cahoonzie — September 12, 2010

  20. […] in our series comparing various states as retirement destinations. Don’t miss the first, Florida vs. Arizona Retirement, or the second, Delaware vs. Maryland vs. Virginia vs. New Jersey. We welcome ideas for future […]

    by » Dueling Carolinas: North Carolina vs. South Carolina As the Best Retirement State Topretirements — November 15, 2010

  21. Admin,

    Unless I’m missing something, AZ does tax military retirement.

    Taken from the website you linked;

    “What portion of my pension is taxable?
    As a general rule, the same portion of your pension that is taxable for federal purposes will be taxable for Arizona purposes. However, there is a subtraction, of up to $2,500, for pension income received from the State of Arizona and its political subdivisions or from U.S. government service, including the U.S. military.”

    Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 43-1022
    Only the first 2500 is tax exempt.

    by Rob — December 22, 2010

  22. Thanks for this important correction. We have amended the original article and our earlier comment to reflect it. Good thing we have such sharp-eyed readers to keep us on the correct path.

    by Admin — December 23, 2010

  23. Forgive me, but a state that does not tax social security or government pensions is number one on your list? What is the real criteria and motive behind this? Has anyone considered the housing costs and decline in value of Arizona or Florida? What kind of cultural events occur in Texas? This is not a well researched or informative attempt. Very shallow in substance.

    by Roger Norman — December 27, 2010

  24. Why not just go to Chicago where the weather is cold, wet or humid 7+ months a year, all the mold you can shake a stick at, snow blizzards, high taxes on income, property, you name it, bad politics, pot holes, ugly neighborhoods, high crime, high crime, oh and high crime! Please…….I’ll take AZ, the mountains, dry climate and concealed carry any day & we will as soon as we sell our high taxed house.

    by Sue — March 30, 2011

  25. Orlando has some of the worst crime and is now about as bad as Miami! My friend lives in what used to be upscale Dr. Phillips and came home to an armed invasion! I don’t know anything about Arizona, but if you choose Florida look at Jacksonville Beach south to Hobe sound on the Atlantic. Any more south east is crime and expensive real estate with nasty rich people from NJ/NY. Any of the beach towns between Jax and Hobe are nice with the exception of Daytona and all of Brevard County (very depressed). West coast is hotter and more humid in the summer, and the big hurricane is due in the Tampa area. Ft Myers (SW) is too expensive! Like the other poster said get your CCW and proper training regardless of where you live. It’s getting dangerous everywhere now!

    by Larry Hagerman — September 25, 2011

  26. We are from N.J. We are upper middle class and not rich. By the way we don’t drive a pickup truck with a shotgun hanging in the rear window and we are not nasty.

    by Rob — September 26, 2011

  27. Lots of considerations, but one big factor for me was the draw of the ocean (and its associated cooling breezes). I personally prefer coastal beauty to desert beauty. We lived along the East coast – Md. and NJ, and in Ohio before this move. No regrets with our move – we are delighted with our FL community and our neighbors. As far as the comment about healthcare being better in Arizona, of course location is everything. For example, the Mayo Clinic is in NE Florida.

    Jan Cullinane, author of The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Rodale)

    by Jan Cullinane — September 27, 2011

  28. Always many many many considerations … one could get into grid-lock (procrastination) mode. One of the interesting developments in the past decade has been remote medicine (thanks Jan). Thanks to computers, high speed communications and the Internet, world-class medical institutions can have clinics and branches well outside of their traditional area. This includes overseas in Central America and elsewhere. Of course, such technology also allows for great education institutions to provide online courses to anyone with an internet connection, Thus, one could learn from professors at MIT, UC Berkeley, etc. This in no way lessens the opportunities available in the communities beside universities or that have their own educational programs. Life can truly be rewarding in retirement … whether one decides to be a vagabond and travel extentsively, settle down to full-time residency, or some area in between. Happy Days.

    by Mad Monk — September 28, 2011

  29. […] For further reference: State Retirement Guides Florida Retirement 101 Dueling States: Arizona vs. Florida […]

    by » Retirement 101: Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah Topretirements — May 22, 2012

  30. With the ridiculously high crime rate in Miami and Orlando is not much better) how can anyone seriously consider Florida to retire plus the terrible humidity and rains. Arizona is close to many exciting attractions and State & National parks and Arizona doesn’t have hurricanes or sharks lol.

    by James — May 23, 2012

  31. Such interesting dialogue within the comments. Some, I feel, are based on generalities and online research. Each retirement destination has its pros and cons. If one place isn’t for you, isn’t for you. No one will convince you otherwise. I have found that NW active adults typically choose CA, NM, AZ, TX for retirement. NE residents typically stay within the Southeast — that’s just been the market for decades. AZ vs FL are incomparable. I would say, in my opinion, if you lived your entire working career in NY, NJ, PA, OH, MI, WI, etc., chances are that Florida is in your dream for retirement. Before settling on hearsay, or online jibber-jabber, do your OWN research. During the last few years of your working career, take vacations to unique places within your Retirement State Destination. Don’t go to the typical places that every tourists in the world is touring. That’s not helpful,..and that’s not doing your homework. Your homework should be, “If I live here, what do I want?..What do I need?..” You’ll be surprise when you do your homework what you stumble upon. Also, look at smaller, unique developments and communities. Many times those big communities are the most expensive, and their cost assessments, HOA fees, and bond fees don’t stop. Make sure you examine your buy closely for fees that eventually add up to an extra $20k+ in your final purchase (and sometimes it doesn’t stop there, because of growing interest on fees). In a word, “Do YOUR OWN homework, Kids.”

    by Neil S. Schuster — May 24, 2012

  32. […] Communities State Retirement Guides Florida Retirement 101 Retirement in the Southwest Comparison Dueling States: Arizona vs. Florida Dueling Carolinas Posted by John Brady on June 26th, 2012 Comments (0)  Email This Post […]

    by » California Retirement 101: More Diverse Than You Think Topretirements — June 26, 2012

  33. […] For further reference: North Carolina Retirement Guide Florida Retirement Guide 7 States to Avoid Sun Setting on the Sunshine State Where are Baby Boomers Retiring Tax Friendly States for Retirement Dueling States: NC vs. SC Dueling States: AZ vs. FL […]

    by » How North Carolina Climbed over Florida as Favorite Retirement State Topretirements — June 16, 2013

  34. New Mexico has been mentioned only a couple of times but I think it should be considered for retirement… Many of our travel magazines consistently rate Santa Fe and her surrounding communities as wonderful communities for retirees. I lived there 4 years and the medical care is top notch; my doctor is not only an MD but also licensed as an integrative and holistic doctor. The state has Many wonderful health care providers who practice outside the more rigid medical model.
    The northern part of NM, such as Taos, is gorgeous.. The 4 seasons are beautiful, i dont think i have ever seen anything as breathtaking as the Mts lit up with the gold from the aspen trees in the fall. Both SF and Taos has amazing skiing. Downside? It’s not for faint of heart. The drought of the last few years is frightening- water is precious. I am also hearing that a few of the Mexican drug gangs are moving into some of the outlying communities… A great disparity between the wealthy Texans and CA residents buying into SF and the extreme poverty one sees outside the cities many of Hollywoods biggest stars have ranches in NM.
    Having said this, however, the right place could grab your soul. The amazing writers and artists of the 1920’s, Georgia OKeefe, et/al? The spirituality that makes one feel like no other place? Magic.

    by Deborah — June 17, 2013

  35. We considered NC – Smokey Mountain area but found the taxes and houses extremely high compared to FL and some other states.

    Still want to get outta FL (God’s waiting room) but have ruled out NC even though that particular area is very beautiful and would love to be able to afford living there. As “seasoned citizens” we always have to keep our budget in mind – especially since it is very limited.

    Some of the suggested places we visit from this site are waaaaaaaaaaay out of our financial reach. Even if I had the money I wouldn’t want some of these BIG houses people are purchasing. At our age we just want a small home – easy to heat, cool and maintain. Heck – we raised 3 kids in a 1200 sq ft rancher with one bath nowadays everyone wants 15 ft high ceilings, 3000 sq ft home, 4 baths, 5 br’s etc. Oh well, if the have the money it’s their choice.

    Everyone has an opinion and you know what they say about opinions.


    by Robert — June 17, 2013

  36. To Robert – Take a look into the Smoky Mountain area on the Tennessee side. You’ll find condos, cabins, townhouses, single-family homes, pretty much anything you desire. All priced quite reasonable. Most have low, low taxes; you’ll find taxes well under $1,000 a year. These are not the 55 and over communities though. Do a search on and you’ll find everything you’re looking for. Most listings will show you the past year’s taxes, as long as the listing has a street address displayed.

    by Gene Smith — June 17, 2013

  37. To Gene smith – thanks for the input.


    by Robert — June 17, 2013

  38. Scottie, I also live in Arizona, and my social security is not taxed. Neither is my husband’s SS taxed. I don’t know why yours is. The state tax is not 9%, the state rate is lower, but towns and cities can add to the state tax and it can go up, depending where you live. I live in Show Low, and sales taxes are around 8%.

    by Theresa — June 17, 2013

  39. I agree with Deborah. Santa Fe is a wonderful place to retire for those who want an artistic community, lovely weather (I hate humidity), and interesting people. There is no end of things to do. It is much less expensive to rent a home there than to purchase. We are looking forward to doing just that. Happy hunting y’all.

    by Jony — June 18, 2013

  40. I live in Arizona, and definitely Social Security is not taxed, also you can deduct $2,500.00 from military and civil service pensions. You get to deduct medical. Sales tax varies, but is about 9%. It’s a great place to live, and retire, in my opinion!

    by kayleen — June 18, 2013

  41. really value all the commnts about retement locations..
    however many comments about Florida do not discuss the research that I have done about homeowners insurance and flood insurance on your home..
    when I contacted several insurance companies and was suprised by the results…specifically, some major carriers no longer will issue home insurance policies in Florida (any location)..and the ones that did had restrictions on age of homes..and costs were extremly high compared to
    many other I would say ‘do your homework’ before signing the contract ..please, any comments/recommendations fron Floridians would be appreciated..

    by Robbie — June 18, 2013

  42. Robert. thanks for your comment
    been looking at North Carolina. so far it looks pretty pricey. I want to move out of New Mexico. the crime rate is really high in Albuquerque. love Santa Fe can’t afford to live there. Tennessee sounds possible.

    by nancy — June 18, 2013

  43. Thanks for your feedback on Santa Fe. You touched on its most important attributes and I still feel the people there are the most open, accepting people I’ve ever met, and genuine and non-judgmental. The summer festivals are world class and I miss the native American influence.
    And 320 days of sunshine. I never had to think about weather, yet the 4 seasons are outstanding.
    What am I doing back east??? I know I’ll be going back for a visit this fall. Maybe I’ll stay!

    by Deborah — June 19, 2013

  44. to James May 23rd.

    You forgot to mention the now large snakes in Southern Florida migrating to the North of Florida – of course those Pythons go along with all the other snakes we have here in “Paradise”/ “God’s waiting room”!! Lets see – What else do we have? Alligators, Tornados, Hurricanes, very hot weather, bugs,
    high crime, Almost need to learn a 2nd Language. Guess which one – Spanish.
    I could go on with some more but I guess I have depressed some to the Max and made some more lovers of Florida mad.

    Well at least you know why we want “outta here”.

    Got a nice modular home for sale in a nice park with only $346 lot rent to anyone that would like to move to FLORIDA


    by Robert — June 20, 2013

  45. Yes Robert, I have mentioned before about the pythons not to mention the non-venomous brown snakes. Florida is a sub-tropical climate and lots of large rattlers and coral snakes also thrive in Florida. The problem with the pythons is they are killing all the other native animals and do not hesitate to go after pets! They are extremely large and nasty if confronted–we’re talking the size of a large tree trunk and very long in length and as adults they are mostly found on the ground as trees cannot support their weight. They love to swim in the canals as well. The younger ones are lighter and avid climbers so you might see them in the trees before adulthood. In Tampa a snake was found in a toilet, from the p0lumbing–not that this cannot happen anywhere, but Florida certainly seems to have an abundence of snakes

    by Jennifer — June 20, 2013

  46. I have lived in Tucson, AZ for 20 years, and love it here. I lived in FL as a kid and have family in the Tampa/St. Pete area, whom I visit at least once a year. Crime is high in both states, although my experience here is there is a lot more publicity about crime moving up from Mexico than there is in reality. Tucson does benefit from the Gulf hurricanes or rare Pacific hurricane in the form of rain. This desert is the wettest in the world and beautiful. I want to travel between the two states, and throw NW Arkansas and the Pacific NW into the mix – all places I have lived and love for different reasons. Maybe I’ll become a snowbird and live in a motorhome or trailer. But then how what will I do with my horses?

    by Elaine — October 9, 2013

  47. One should consider the daily double of Vancouver, WA over both of these and enjoy 4 seasons. WA has no state income tax, and as Vancouver, WA is across the bridge from Portland, OR, you can do your shopping in OR and pay no sales tax!! How can you beat that?

    by Fred — October 9, 2013

  48. We had been thinking about Tucson AZ but there are some pretty serious water issues there. Also, the sprawl is pretty horrendous and when we are too old to drive, what then? I lived in Key West in the 70’s and 80’s so not going back there. Too expensive now anyway.
    We recently talked about staying put and going somewhere different every January just to avoid the horrible part of the winter here in Boston. The truth is that we love where we live. And it will be a great place to be old in since we don’t need a car. Just those pesky winters. Some great comments here. Thanks for this interesting comparison.

    by roberta — October 9, 2013

  49. We have been searching for a place to retire for about 3 years now. Here is what we found (based on our priorities, of course):

    North Carolina,especially in the Research Triangle (Durham-Chapel Hill) area is the best place for culture(NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke), foodies, intellectual stimulation (lots of retired professors), hiking (in the mountains), near the ocean, great medical care. For us, it would be a stretch financially and is 10 hours from family. Taxes are very high, but (until recently), the state was known for good services.

    Florida: We inherited a “villa” in SE Florida — Boca Raton. This would be the least expensive way to go. But . . . the place is crazy (imagine driving on roads shared with 90 year olds — who didn’t start driving til they were in their 70s) and young people from South America (for whom traffic rules are considered suggestions). The humidity is awful in the summer. The bugs are awful. Electricity is intermittent (really — if it rains, off goes the electricity). I think most of the people are nice wherever they are from, although that may just be me. However, the cost of insurance is unbelievable — and we are almost 40 minutes west of the beach! Supplemental health care insurance is 1/3 more than in NC. Plus, many physicians have opened “concierge services” where you pay an extra $1,500/year or so for a dr. who remembers your name. There are so many older people that everything is packed all the time: dr’s waiting rooms, traffic, hospitals, etc., etc. I am not convinced the health care is that great. Now the good side: no income tax at all, cultural opportunities are vast, awesome restaurants (with very reasonable prices) and great shopping, lots of activities for retired people. Oh — and neither I nor my parents (from whom I inherited this place) have ever had any problems with crime — we don’t even know anyone who has.

    Next is Denver — wonderful city, great weather, lots of cultural and outdoor activities, great for foodies, great medical facilities. Problem: high taxes, horrible traffic (this is true for all the places), very, very far from family. Also — more expensive.

    Last (for us): Louisville, KY: our family lives there, so that’s probably a big plus. Great culture, restaurants, near places to hike (not in the Rockies, but they are hill-like), reasonable prices, good (don’t think great) medical facilities (but there is a medical school there). Traffic is reasonable. Downsides: far from any ocean, not so much intellectual stimulation (re: who else retires there) — this is a very tough decision, but since I’m retiring in a few months, it has to be made. Thoughts anyone?

    by Janet G — October 9, 2013

  50. Also — we aren’t looking to “buy” a home, but are looking into Continuing Care Retirement Communities, where you “buy in” and then pay a monthly maintenance fee, which pretty much stays the same whether you are in “active independent living” or skilled nursing. We are serious planners!

    by Janet G — October 9, 2013

  51. I’ve lived in Sarasota, Florida for the past 12 years and hate it. It wasn’t too bad when I came but boy has it gotten built up! Plus I dislike the hot and humid summers (not to mention the hurricane threat) and just when the weather begins to get better, the snowbirds show up. Restaurants get crowded as well as the roads. I’ll be retiring this year and then North Carolina here I come!

    by Marianne — October 9, 2013

  52. Florida; sticky, humid heat. Arizona; dry, sauna like heat.
    Florida; Rain, rain, rain. Hurricaines and musty smelling. Arizona; no extreme weather.
    Florida; No state sales tax but high property taxes. Arizona; Has state sales tax but property taxes only 1% of home’s value.
    Florida; Has beaches but only Disney world. Arizona; So much diversity. Lakes, mountains, desert, hiking trails, biking trails, Flagstaff mountains and pine trees and Tucson high desert and greenery.
    Florida; NOT the sunshine state. All it does is rain. Arizona; tons of sun 365 days of the year. Monsoons in summer rain about 10 minutes and then done.
    Florida; days ride to nowhere. Arizona; days ride to New Mexico, California, Las Vegas, Colorado.
    Florida; Crime is very high in all the big cities. Arizona; Has as much crime in the big cities. But the smaller retirement communities are very safe.
    Sounds as if I’ve made my point. Arizona is more than Phoenix. Green Valley is a gorgeous green community, very safe, very clean, very low cost of living. We wouldn’t retire anywhere else. So, we would love to keep Green Valley our hidden secret and refer people to Florida.

    by James — October 9, 2013

  53. I grew up in Tucson and now probably visit once a year…..folks, it is HOT there in the summer! I was there last June 2012 and it was already 104 degrees….folks who say yes, but it is a dry heat, don’t know how hot hot can be! I still have family/friends there and this past summer was really hot….like 110. I would advise you go stay there for a month in July or Aug before you move there….Of course, you should probably do that where ever you think about retiring….again, I grew up there, visit and many people don’t realize how hot it gets….you truly can’t get in your car if it has been parked outside for an hour or more. Northern AZ has less heat….but Tucson has many amenities and good health care….also access to a major airport, which I think is important.

    by Sandy — October 9, 2013

  54. I’ve looked into both Florida and Arizona , Both have there good and bad. But the things that concern me the most about Arizona is the very bad air all around the Phoenix area being right up there with LA, the water is also a concern. but most of all the sickness of Valley Fever. So I ruled out Arizona.

    by Bill — October 9, 2013

  55. These are both good size states such that there are vast differences within their cities, demographically, politically, racially, environmentally, etc. I refer readers to Sperling’s Best Places on the web to do more valid city to city statistical comparisons.

    by High Yield — October 10, 2013

  56. I read of all of these different description of places around the country and then I have to go on line to see what kind of allergy problems there are in the area. We live in the Ohio Valley near Louisville and because of the respiratory problems my wife has we need to move. The Louisville, Lexington area is considered to be the worst place to live for allergies.

    by Keith — October 10, 2013

  57. Elaine, there’s lots of land owners who would be happy to house your horses and care for them in return for the privilege to ride them. Bring them on down to me in Texas, I will love them for you! 😀

    by Nancy — October 10, 2013

  58. Lots of good info here. I’d like to add that the temperature in summer is lower in FL near the coast than it is in the Carolinas. Sure it rains afternoons but that’s fine with me. I’m not outside 24/7. I’ve also visited Tuscon some time ago and from my experience and discussions with locals this place is crime ridden. The police presence was less than satisfactory the – now – well just read the statistics.

    by Russ — October 10, 2013

  59. A few comments about Florida: Look in Central FL; right in the middle of the state, low property tax, has three season’s, lower humidity because you are located half way between each coast, during the summer months there might be showers every 2-3 days. Rain is more frequent if there is a storm front. Central FL is spared the Hurricane impact encountered along either coast line. Large oaks and a more rolling topography plus, it is horse county. Various lifestyles coexist; large/small farms, regular communities, gated communities and a diverse age group. Yes, there are snowbirds. However, most persons who retire to any sun-belt state either head for cooler states during the summer months or take advantage of air conditioning and get out and about after 4pm.

    I retired to Central FL 15 yrs ago and have very much enjoyed the experience.
    One learns to modify their schedule based upon the weather, as with any state/location. The greens are never crowded. If a person craves culture, etc, there is Gainesville and/or Orlando. There is also local theater, symphonies,coral societies, art museums, small college campus’, extension classes, etc. Also, there are some really good deals to be had. The Central FL climate supports the growing of beautiful gardens. Trees/shrubs that require an extended hard freeze, to set new buds, do not fare well; etc. apple, pear, tree peony and so on. Efforts have been undertaken to develop warm weather fruit trees. Thus far, there is Zone 9 peach; tiny but, very delicious.

    I love my home and area but, it is time to venture forth. Discover new wonders. I am investigating Eastern TN.

    Blessed Be and Much Happiness To All.

    by Rae — October 10, 2013

  60. It’s interesting how people who have a negative view of a place tend to paint it in extreme tones. I’m an Arizonan who wants to retire to Florida because I don’t want to be without the ocean. That said, I think it’s nuts to rule out Arizona on the basis of crime. The talk of border crime, as a matter of statistical fact, always was the overblown product of people motivated by a certain political point of view. I live in Tempe, right next to Phoenix, and it’s as safe as most any large suburb that I’ve seen. (Nice town, too. If you want ton retire to a university community, consider it). And retirement communities here — many gated — are just like retirement communities anywhere, which means generally without crime.

    In other words, while I might not like to stay here to retire, if you think Arizona might be for you, don’t be discouraged by reports of crime. You’re probably not going to move to inner-city Phoenix or Mesa, where the heavy crime is.

    As for Tucson’s climate, it is farther south than Phoenix but generally cooler. Make no mistake — it’s the desert, and those folks are right. It gets to a dry 105 in the summer. But on that same day, it may be 117 in Phoenix. I know this sounds crazy to a northerner (which I used to be) but after a few years, a dry 105 is pretty comfortable, as long as you’re not doing hard physical labor. Phoenix high temperatures, however, demand that you be indoors a lot of the time.

    A special word about Prescott, where we have a little summer place. If you don’t mind some snow in the winter (think mountain climate), Prescott is a special and beautiful place with lots more going on than a town its size should have. No wonder some places rate it a top 10 retirement town.

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure we’ll pick up and move to Florida in a couple of years. We’ve been to most coastal areas except the panhandle (which holds no appeal for us). We’ve been looking for areas near a coast that are not top hurricane targets (understanding that a hurricane can hit anywhere in FL) and unlikely to have sinkholes. We’re attracted to the Fort Pierce-Port St. Lucie-Stuart area. Beaches are not overdeveloped, there aren’t really big cities ocean temperatures are bearable year-round, and it just seems calmer there. Prices are not outrageous, either. Sarasota, which some have mentioned, has its attractions and amenities, but I find it pricey. And speaking of pricey, we are very concerned about property insurance rates. If you want to spend up to live close to or on the coast (which we won’t do) you most likely will be in a flood zone. Depending on your house, you could be looking at a yearly insurance bill of $5,000 to $10,000.

    As some folks have said, there are pluses and minuses to everywhere. Sandy was right: Pick the most extreme month and live in your target area for the entire month. Then you’ll know if you really should make the move.

    by tomcat3333 — October 10, 2013

  61. Regarding Florida coastal insurance rates…
    The short answer on rates is, it depends.
    Depends in what FEMA flood zone you are in. Period. We have a home in Naples, FL that was purchased for mid 500’s 10 years ago. It is about 2 miles from the gulf beach. 2012 FEMA Flood Zone AH. 2012 FEMA Flood Zone Rating AE. The required flood insurance costs $504/YEAR through American Strategic Insurance. Our property insurance runs about $1,400/year with a hurricane deductible of $10%. We suffered some hurricane damage from WILMA in 2005-6 – 12 roof tiles were replaced at a cost of $250. We think these rates are reasonable and are on a par with our property insurance in the Midwest.
    Hope that helps on the insurance issue.

    Regarding weather, July and August are the “hot” and rainy months. I lived in this house for 18 months, walked and rode my bike everyday and didn’t mind the heat or humidity at all. Trust me, I hate heat as I was born and raised in Minnesota! Summer temps in Naples are in the low 90’s everyday. Naples has never seen a 100 degree day! Also, we find that the humidity in FL is very healthy for our skin. Scottsdale, AZ, where we once owned a vacation home, was very harsh on our skin. We found the summer heat unbearable and so bailed out to Naples, FL. The gulf and beaches are very attractive to us.

    The winter months are dry and sunny – an absolute paradise with temps in the high 70’s and low 80’s.

    ‘Nuff said.

    by Tb320 — October 11, 2013

  62. Hi Rae-thanks for the insight into Central Florida. We just bought a small farm-like place in Webster. The taxes with homestead and agriculture benefits is 386.00/year. We are paying over 5,000 in Vermont. Very country setting yet an hour to Tampa, a bit longer to Orlando. Looking forward to moving soon. Absolutely hate to leave Vermont, but the taxes are outrageous, no jobs(even for nurses) and low paying jobs. The politicians have ruined this state.

    by Roxanne — October 11, 2013

  63. This was a very interesting article and your findings were consistent with the retirement research I have done. We have considered both Tucson Arizona and Pensacola Florida. Pensacola wins for a couple of reasons. First, notwithstanding hurricanes, Pensacola is beautiful, the access to water is a strong draw, and the seafood is to die for. Tucson is also a nice city and the southwestern flavor of the housing is a definite plus. However, we decided against Tucson for one simple reason: We have five cats who like to be outdoors. There are so many predators, both on the ground and in the sky, that we were concerned that they would not survive – and they are family. So, Florida it will be!! Thanks again for the enlightening content.

    by Don Schmidt — October 11, 2013

  64. Tb320
    Thanks for the information, it was very interesting. We ruled Florida out after reading about the high insurance, or inability to get insurance as well as property taxes being high. It sounds like this might not have been accurate information as yours are quite reasonable.

    by marilyn — October 11, 2013

  65. Marilyn,

    Glad you use the info. Regarding taxes, Collier county is at 1% of assessed vaue (sale price). Lee county (Ft Myers) is 1.25%.

    Contrast that to Austin, Texas where our daughter lives at 2.37%.


    by Tb320 — October 11, 2013

  66. We have also been having this discussion over and over. We are already retired and currently live in northern Michigan. We love it here in the summer, but would really like to escape for a good part of the winter. Our daughter lives in Prescott, AZ, and we have spent several months there in the winter. Love the fact that it has 4 seasons, albeit all of them moderate; not too cold or severe in the winter and not nearly as hot as southern AZ in the summer. That is the only place we would consider in AZ. We just sold an apt we inherited in SE FL, because we really didn’t like it there at all. I have lived in Miami, and would never consider living there again. Actually would never consider living year round anywhere in FL. Have not explored NM, but it sounds interesting. We are planning on checking out SW FL this next winter, but I think we are definitely leaning toward AZ or NM. It is a most difficult decision.

    by Ellen — October 12, 2013

  67. We just came back from a house hunting trip in SW FL. FT. Myers is very isolated and Cape Coral has too many canals which raises your flood insurance premium. We settled on Venice as it is still a nice small home town feel, lots of new homes being built there and very close proximity to Sarasota. We have also found that compared to MD, we will be saving substantial amounts of money on property taxes and home costs. There is a breeze that comes in off the Gulf daily, so the humidity never feels oppressive. There are two months out of the year when you can expect cooler temps, but compared to the Mid Atlantic summers, this will be a breeze.

    by Nancy — October 13, 2013

  68. To Marylyn, We have pretty much ruled out Florida after we read a book Called “Why you shouldn’t Move to Florida” It wasn’t all negative either. The big thing is insurance is high if you can get it. Got a quote for Orlando for $3200 per year for a 2000 sq ft house, just north of there it drops dramatically but I think there may be a high deductable and possibly a limit as to the total amount covered, not sure of the latter. I also read where the State run Insurance, Citizens has it coffers built up substancially but the next storm could wipe it out their surplus.I also read if a major storm occured their phone lines could ring off the hook 24 hours per day for 2 weeks. So with all that and the stifling humidity we are looking around ARizona and the Big Island of Hawaii.

    by Mark P — October 13, 2013

  69. If you are considering NM, AZ, or CO

    don’t discount southwest Utah or northeast NV.

    The climate is awesome, taxes favorable, affordable housing, and very safe.

    Just moved here from WI and absolutely love it. We have been welcomed by all our neighbors.

    by Carol — October 13, 2013

  70. To Mark P.,

    Re: Florida Insurance Rates

    I live in Central Florida. On a 2000 sq ft house, I pay $1,852.45 annually: replacement coverage on dwelling and personal property;other structures, loss of use,sink hole coverage, sewer/drain backup coverage; mold,mildew,fungus,wood rot coverage. All this with the following deductibles: 2% hurricane, 10% sinkhole and $500 for other perils. Food for thought;1. Do not live near either coast or the panhandle thus, decreasing direct hurricane exposure 2. review the area sink hole maps for known activity 3. know the FEMA flood zone prior to making your decision, etc. Dot not make assumptions. Always gather the facts then, proceed. FYI- all states have sinkholes (check the maps), certain state locations receive decreased hurricane wind and rain. While visiting NJ,in 2011,they experienced not only a hurricane but, also an earth trimmer; who would have guessed. Please do not forget SANDY that hit the upper east coast.

    All said, one cannot escape the upsets of Mother Nature. One can only rely on an informed decision process. The only other selection would be land locked states where one might experience earth trimmers, mud slides, falling rock and/or dust storms. Even the middle states have their set of problems. One pays for the locations risk exposure.

    Florida is nice. So is TN, NM, KY, SC, GA, West VA, CA, OR, WA, etc. Every state has it’s concerns; too dry, too wet, too humid, too rocky,too cold, etc.

    I would never consider a state run Insurance Company, unless it was the only company “writing” in a given state and/or location. You must do comparison shopping.

    Happy searching.

    by RAE — October 13, 2013

  71. :cool:Regarding Florida as a retirement consideration – there is a senior community, actually has evolved almost into a city of itself near Ocala (horse country). It has everything – the arts, sports, crafts, recreation plus medical care facilities, shopping, restaurants etc – everything you could possibly want plus it’s very close to Gainesville (university) for a day-out adventure. We looked into it but we cannot afford it – we’re very low on the income totem pole but I wouldn’t consider it out of reach for the middle-class-income people. It’s ‘mid-state’ so hurricanes crossing over it are rare. If you want to get an idea, and, no, I’m not into real estate 🙂

    by JEanne C — October 14, 2013

  72. What a lot of great information. We will be retiring early next year. We currently live in Michigan but would like to spend the winter months in Florida. We would like to rent two to three months in the Bradenton, Fl. Area to start our search. Any suggestions of nice retirement communities?

    by Tim — October 15, 2013

  73. Hello Tom,
    If at all possible, identify a county and I might be of assistance. I am not in Real Estate. I have been retired in Florida for 15+ years. I agree with JEanne C, the Villages are very nice. Everything a person could want for and approx. 30 mins from Ocala. Not a lot of Horse Farms. They did have a Tornado rip through there approximately 4 yeas ago; leveling certain areas. But, that can occur anywhere; Mother Nature at her best. However, be mindful of the fact that although The Villages are lovely, the residence can be snobbish. It is a high-end community. Everything thing , in my opinion, is pricey and structured to separate a person from their money. The Villages encompasses individual “little” communities within one huge community. There are lower priced areas ;which are still expensive; up to the 1M plus communities. One is not allowed to use the facilities outside their given community and one pays, bonds, for all the beauty. If an individual might like this type of community then, it is definitely the place for them.
    The comments expressed are my individual observations and opinions and do not represent any other entity.
    Happy searching.

    by Rae — October 16, 2013

  74. Hello Tim,
    My 10/16/13 blog response is for you, Tim. My apologies.

    by Rae to Tim — October 16, 2013

  75. Hello,
    Please be so kind as to share with me the keys you used to obtain facial expressions in your blog responses. I clicked on a few faces but, was unsuccessful. I am a novice user.
    Thank you.

    by Rae to JEanne C — October 16, 2013

  76. Hi Rae,
    Having been to The Villages several times, I come away with a completely different perspective. For the most part, I didn’t find the people snobby at all.I am sure they have their share, but it isn’t an attribute that they deserve.
    So long as you are a legal resident of The Villages, and pay the amenities fee, you are welcome to use any facilities that are located anywhere within The Villages without restriction.

    by Fred — October 17, 2013

  77. Fred,

    I appreciate your insight. However, as a former resident, my experiences were much different. I supposedly lived in one of the higher-end communities. Individual experiences vary thus, my personal disclosure statement.


    by RAE TO FRED, — October 17, 2013

  78. Wife and I have travel quite a bit and there are many places we have found we like so narrowing it down was hard but we settled on South Carolina and in particular the Bluffton area…Hilton Head Lakes is the place…Close enough to Hilton Head about 20 miles Savannah about 20 miles and Charleston about 80 Miles…Many new and exciting things to do in the area and the food is really good there…Medical care is decent and hope that it will continue to expand in the area…although Hilton Head Hospital is a top rated hospital…

    by pschmidt — October 17, 2013

  79. :cool:@Rae: below the area where you type in your name,etc, is an xhtml explanation & below that you should see all kinds of (faces).

    by Jeanne C — October 18, 2013

  80. Oops – forgot the rest of the instructions – just click on the ‘face’ of your choice. It will enter it into this typing space.:oops:

    by Jeanne C — October 18, 2013

  81. Where will I get the best value of my pension, if I move from Denmark to USA. I do not like a cold place. Will we be able to get visa as now 70 years of age but will have a 15 year old child to follow uys over there.

    by Axel Pedersen — October 18, 2013




    by Rae to Jeanne c — October 18, 2013

  83. Axel, I have a friend from Denmark who relocated to Charleston SC. she is still working at Medical University of SC, but relocated because she wants to stay there after retirement. She loves it there.

    by Elaine — October 18, 2013

  84. the click will not look like the face until submitted…it will have name of face:roll:

    by Elaine — October 18, 2013

  85. Axel, you should contact American embassy about your visa…I doubt anyone here would know. Best value for your pension depends on what sort of situation you are looking for. Florida is very cheap, but also has high humidity and hurricanes. Some areas are more prone to hurricanes than others. Arizona is also very good. The price of housing is a little higher than Florida. Arizona has different climates depending on where you live. Tucson and Phoenix have very hot, dry summers but wonderful winters. About 4 months are really hot…June, July, August and September. The rest of the year is very pleasant. Low low humidity year round. Prescott is cooler, both summer and winter, with some snow. Flagstaff is very cool in winter. Going west, Oregon is reasonably priced and along the coast has mild but wet winters with lots of rain. Or you could go somewhere in the middle like Oklahoma, which is super cheap. Bartlesville is a lovely mid-size town, with fairly short and mild winters, but some snow, beautiful spring and fall, and hot humid summers. Oklahoma also has tornadoes. Many choices, depending on what you are looking for. Provide us with more details.

    by Ginger — October 18, 2013

  86. Back to the FL vs AZ debate, does anyone have any personal knowledge about retiring to the Orlando area +/- 10 miles, instead of the communities an hour or so away? I actually like the idea of being near the parks (and having visitors all the time LOL). I also like the idea of being near the University of Central Florida, the outlet malls and all of the other amenities of the City of Orlando. I’m researching the crime statistics, and they don’t appear out of line for other comparable urban areas. I’m just guessing that there might be a problem with short-term rentals in many condo associations? Any personal knowledge would be appreciated.

    by Ted — October 19, 2013

  87. Ted,

    My husband and I rented in Solivita when my husband’s job took him to Florida. It is in Kissimmee, approximately 10 miles outside of Orlando give or take. It is a 55+ development with a great town center and lots of amentities. The prices were quite reasonable in our opinion. I find everywhere I look now, I am comparing it to Solivita which we were very happy with. Go look up and you will learn more. I hope this helps.

    by Nikki — October 19, 2013

  88. Greetings Elaine,
    Thanks for the info. 🙂

    by Rae — October 19, 2013

  89. Thanks Nikki. I’ll look at condos in Kissimmee too. I’m not too sure about 55+ communities (probably another good topic for a blog article). Sometimes I hear negatives about a bunch of Baby Boomers being overly involved in their neighbors’ lives, and sometimes I hear positives about supportive and friendly neighborhoods. I’ve also heard about communities aging in place, so that the active 55+ folks eventually become 75+ year olds who don’t want to spend money to keep community amenities since they won’t be around to enjoy them. It seems like a mixed bag. I’m also considering the value of having a condo in a vacation destination that can still be used as a rental property or enjoyed by my kids’ and their families if I fall over.

    I really don’t want to make the wrong choice, but this is a very complicated process. I’d consider renting, but I want to put down roots (not to mention the wear and tear of storing or moving some very valuable possessions more than once). Love this site, since I am learning so much.

    by Ted — October 20, 2013

  90. To Ted, We got a homeowners insurance quote for a $2000 sq ft house in Orlando and it was $3200 per year!! 4 times what we are paying here, but if you go just a little to the north into the next county you are in central? Florida shielded from the hurricanes somewhat so ins rates are a lot less. MP

    by Mark P — October 20, 2013

  91. This retirement news letter has defnitely helped my husband and I decide many of the complicated issues of retirement. I have done what I said I would never do. We bought a mobile home in South Florida – not far from the ocean in a 55+ community. It is very well kept and you don’t rent the land – you own it. Also there is no hidden agenda with the HOA, just nice folks running an efficient community. My only problem now is getting my husband to retire and move there full-time.

    by Karen — October 21, 2013

  92. To Karen, Is the insurance very high? would you mind telling where it is as I am looking at SW florida.

    by Dianne — October 21, 2013

  93. Karen,
    Can you tell us the name and location of this community?

    by Lou — October 22, 2013

  94. We’re on the Atlantic side at Hobe Sound, Cambridge at Heritage Ridge. This is right above Jupiter, Florida. The insurance is a little high but in weighing all the pros and cons we decided it was definitely location, location. We looked at central Florida, specifically, the Sebring area, but while the insurance and taxes may be cheaper there’s really nothing there for us. There are lots of lakes but that also means lots of mosquitos! On the southeast side of Florida there is always a nice breeze unlike the gulf side where it is quite stifling. It all comes down to what’s important to each of us and what our priorities are. We’re very happy with our choice.

    by Karen — October 22, 2013

  95. Hello everyone! I have read ALL of your comments and now I’m in a quandry. I will soon lose my husband to cancer and will be alone. I used to live in Surprise, AZ and loved it there. Why I came back to Philadelphia is beyond me, except that I had family here. They are now gone and my plans are to move back to Sun City Grand in Surprise. I cannot afford Jupiter, Florida, but I can afford The Villages in north central Florida. This community was rated #1 by this website. However, I prefer dry to humid, but I miss the ocean terribly. I am an avid golfer and both The Villages and Sun City Grand both have beautiful golf courses. The cost of living is definitely lower in Arizona and I am only 63, so I plan to continue working part-time once I get to wherever I’m going. So far, it’s Arizona, but after reading a comment about Sarasota, Florida is gaining some ground. Since I will be a widow, I would like the best suggestions you can give me for meeting new friends–no husbands, please. I’m done with that for sure. I have old friends in Arizona and no one in Florida. As for snakes vs. hurricanes, well I can shoot a snake, but hurricanes scare the hell out of me. It’s the same with crime. I am insured by Smith & Wesson and have a carry permit. Living within my means is very important to me. Can someone PLEASE

    by Joanne — October 23, 2013

  96. Joanne: My sympathies – just lost my husband this year too. Sounds like AZ is probably your preferred destination, with some trips to the ocean. I have found that there are many single women looking for new social networks, particularly in newer retiree neighborhoods. Red Hat Club, volunteering, and condo associations are good places to meet people. Just be friendly and let people know that you’re sociable, and you’ll find a new network very quickly. There may be a community bulletin board or newsletter to find golf partners. Hang in there – I found that even though my spouse’s death was expected for many years (early onset Alzheimers – I’m also now in my early 60s and still working), his final passing and becoming a widow has been more difficult than I expected.

    by Sharon — October 24, 2013

  97. For Joanne: So sorry for your loss. I also lost my husband to cancer a while ago. It is a transition, but somehow you will get through it, as we all have no choice. I moved from California to Phoenix/Scottsdale area, about 3 years ago, and absolutely love it. It’s soooo easy to meet new people here, and all kinds of fun things to do. I lived back East and in the South for the majority of my life, and would never go back to humidity, hurricanes, bugs, high home insurance rates in Florida, etc. I know the Festivals in Surprise, nice community, and I am sure you would meet tons of people. I go to the beach in San Diego every summer for my beach fix… its awesome that we can drive or a short plane ride. I feel very blessed and happy. Good luck on your decision!

    by loralee — October 24, 2013

  98. Thank you Loralee and Sharon! My sympathy to both of you. My sister’s husband is going through late stage Alzheimers and is now in hospice, so I know what she is going through. She lives in Kansas City where her husband used to be a doctor. I told her that I would consider moving there because she is there. She told me that under no circumstances should I do so because of the winters. Her vote was Arizona as well and both of you were very convincing. Thank you both so much for your comments.

    by Joanne — November 4, 2013

  99. :grin:Sure glad you ladies are coming back to AZ. We miss you. Just wondering if they have a red hat club for men? Been retired here in E. Mesa for 20 years and love it. I don’t even live in a 55+ park, I live between 3 of them and just make friends by walking and talking. You will get invited to many functions by great folks that just want to socialize and spend some time with like folks. My hang out is the VFW, not for drinking, they have a great band for dancing. Everything is AC so who cares about some heat, makes them old bones feel great and don’t need flood ins.

    by charlie — November 5, 2013

  100. 🙄 Hello everyone. I would like to start a new thread regarding those of us retirees who own a home but have little else. Most of the ‘senior villages’ etc cost more than what we could gt for our home here in Florida (N of Orlando)

    Does anyone know how to do that? Thanks in advance.

    by jeanne c — November 5, 2013

  101. NEVER stay in the KC area!
    AZ, here we come…

    by catlover77 — November 6, 2013

  102. Charlie, glad to see that you are waiting for the ladies to come down. I am planning to move from Colorado next spring and have been trying to figure out where to go. Thinking of a 55+ retirment community and have heard good things about Arizona for retired folks. Need to meet people my age and get involved. It also have to be dog friendly as I have 2 dogs. So for Joanne and Loralee and Charlie maybe we will see each other there

    by Svenska — November 6, 2013

  103. To Svenska and others that are planning to move to Arizona. You guys will love it here! Svenskia…I meet a lot of people that move here from Colorado, they can’t take the cold winters anymore. Yes the summers are hot, but 8 months of the year are wonderful, here in the valley of the Sun!! You wake up everyday to sunshine, it makes you happy, and I will tell you the magic of the desert grows on you! Can’t say it enough how much I love it here…Happy Girl here!!!

    by Loralee — November 7, 2013

  104. To Jeannie, you may want to consider a manufactured home in an age 55 community. Fl is loaded with new and re sales. New can be had for under $80k and resales are available for well under $50k. The manufactured homes are not trailers but real homes made in factories and delivered to your site. They meet the hurricane standards as well.
    We just completed our house hunting in Fl and we researched all options. Yes, it was exhausting, but for our lifestyle, we decided to sell our home up north and buy a traditional home and live full time in Venice Fl. The community is The Plantations.

    by Nancy — November 7, 2013

  105. To Jeanne C…I agree….new thread for this topic: needing community with affordable housing for those of us who have funds from selling a home but not of the amount once anticipated…and have little else. Can’t afford the high end retirement places with all the bells and whistles…surely there are options for us kind of folks….just have not seen or read any/many here.
    I am aiming for NC…preferable the northern section? Or would welcome other locations with this kind of option. Did live in FL…so been there, done that! Thanks to all for input. I await….

    by EJ — November 7, 2013

  106. Jeanne C…I’m surprised that the On Top of the World community in Ocala gets very little, if any, mention in these discussions. OTOW is a 24/7 gated community of concrete block homes. All are at least 2br & 2Ba, many with Florida rooms, either under air or not. These homes (except for the new home sales and most recently built resales, are attached (most have 5 or 6 units) one story homes. They range in price from about $30,000 to $70,000, depending on size, condition etc. In 2005/06, the prices were over $100,000 in many cases. The amenities include two private golf courses, three pools, hot tubs, tennis, pickle ball, bocce, mini golf, softball, a nice size gym etc. They also have a pretty extensive program of educational classes that are either free or a few dollars to join. There is even a facility for Radio Controlled airplane enthusiasts. The HOA fees are about $393 per month, which includes your building insurance, outside maintenance, and the amenities. Golf is reasonably priced as well. The ownership structure is single family home, with a 100 year lease on the land (cost included in HOA fees. The corporation that runs it all is a family owned business that is 100% debt free. For folks with limited funds, this is a great option

    by Jim — November 7, 2013

  107. Thanks Jim for your imput re Ocala. We are somewhat familiar with the Ocala area having passed thru the outskirts to reach Shands at Gainesville. The car got so it could drive itself there – but that’s another story! We will definately put this on our ‘what should we do’ meeting schedule for discussion.

    And to Nancy: Yes, we have & are considering a mfg home or mobile home community. We have also considered an active living center which includes its own nursing home in case we would need that. I’m not quite ready for that but we’re finding it more & more difficult to keep up things like lawn care, outside house painting, crawl-space (no attics here) inspecting, plus just the cost of all that. I watched my mom & dad struggle with the same issues until they ended up w/no choices they liked. So trying to avoid that!

    by Jeanne C — November 8, 2013

  108. Jim: I looked at Top of the World in Ocaloa. As you describe, there are a lot of good things about the community but I was turned off by the 100 year lease on the land. I want to own my property outright, even if the price ends up being higher.

    by Sharon — November 8, 2013

  109. Aaaack. I wish we had the opportunity to edit posts. I hit submit just as I noticed the typo. My English professors would scold me.

    by Sharon — November 8, 2013

  110. Morning..bloggers..great site..looking for some info about Dekaware, specifically; maost retirement communities there that we visited told us once they are completed all the roads will be turned over to Govt Municipalities who have that jurisdiction of area..
    we are a bit skeptical to whether that makes all roads within community public apths thru and greatly cause traffic volume? has anyone done any research in that area ..and would be glad to have a link or info on how that works..and costs and whatever? Thanks as usual keep up this great info site

    by robbie — November 8, 2013

  111. To Jeannie C. One other item we learned that may help you; find a community that calls all their homes condominiums and have an HOA fee that covers everything on the exterior of the home. We came across this information and were pleasantly surprised to find that single family homes (not duplexes) can be covered this way. This will eliminate all your maintenance of the roof, exterior painting, lawn and plant care. The cost of a roof in Fl is much higher than northern home roofs. Shingle roofs need to be replaced more often and tile roofs cost a lot to repair/replace. Yes, you can put the money you would save on the HOA fee in an escrow account, but who wants to deal with that issue in your 70’s or 80’s? Let the experts handle it. You saw what your parents went through, this is one way to avoid it if you want a single family home.

    by Nancy — November 8, 2013

  112. Another thought on the Ocala site; Not owning the land for a house would be no different than owning a manufactured or mobile-type home – Right?

    @Nancy – Great idea, also. I was unaware that such places existed.

    @EJ – I would love to move to the North Carolina area but my sons live here as well as my hubby doesn’t want to move til it’s time for the active living center choice. We are both in our 70’s. He still works part-time, but very part-time – like the ‘shoemaker’ – designing others’ landscapes. Cancer took all of our meager savings & then some. But — we’re still here so onward & upward 😎

    by Jeanne C — November 9, 2013

  113. 😳 Sorry EJ – I meant Tennessee, closer to the mountain areas. NC & SC are still too humid for my taste & has the scenery of Florida, as well.

    by Jeanne C — November 9, 2013

  114. Hi everyone,
    Jeanne C brought up a really great topic for discussion. There have been some good responses so far, but doesn’t this subject deserve its own thread (we are still in AZ vs. FL territory, after all)? How does one go about setting up a new thread? Or is that up to the editor/admin? Something like “Low Income Retirement” ?

    by Judith Keefer — November 9, 2013

  115. Jeanne-To answer your question about land lease, I don’t it’s not really the same. In a manufactured community you pay rent on your “property” but I’m not sure you can do much with it. At On Top of The World(OTOW), I can, for instance, put in a concrete patio outside the house and a screen cage over it. I don’t know if that’s possible on a mfg home lot. Another thing, we looked at some mfg communities and found the monthly rent, often with few amenities, to be quite high. We saw them up between $500 & $600 a month. Lastly, someone mentioned roof replacement. At OTOW, the homeowner is responsible for replacing the roof every 15-16 years. The cost tends to be around $4,000 depending on the size of your roof. It makes sense to keep this in mind when looking at properties. We bought a 1993 model, so our roof will need replacement in 2023-24. Unless we’re there into our 90’s, that’s the only time we’ll have to put on a roof. The association will pay for roof repairs, and does insure the roof against insurable damage (hurricane, hail, fire, etc.

    by Jim — November 9, 2013

  116. Just came from visiting Top of the World. You now OWN your land you don’t lease for 99 years anymore. Beautiful community and totally debt free. Definitely worth looking at…it’s now on our short list

    by Vicki — November 10, 2013

  117. @Judith Keefer: You are absolutely correct & if you follow this conversation backward you will see that that was my original question – how do I ….

    I’ve received enough information to give our search of ‘what/how to do’ to drop this if that’s the group vote or I would also like to continue it on a new discussion board. Again, I don’t know how to start a new thread. I did send an e-mail to the ‘help people’ & never received an answer in return.

    Thanks all for everyone’s input. Very helpful.

    Editor’s Comment: Thanks for the suggestions for a new thread. Although the best way to start a new thread is to go to our Forum (see top navigation links), we decided to start a new Blog post that people can respond to. Here is the link to that – so if you want to discuss retiring on a low income/renting, that would be a good place for it.

    by Jeanne C — November 10, 2013

  118. Hi we plan a trip to Beaufi=ort SC area to look at retirement homes..we (Spouse an I) had visited Del Webb in Summerville ,,loved the homes but not surrounding area..any tips about the HiltonHear dare and/or communities would be greatly appreciated..we are also curious as to that being a ‘flood zone’ or not..and medical availability there Thanks

    by Robbie — November 11, 2013

  119. I thought picking a retirement location was going to be fairly easy. I am thinking about Arizona or Nevada. I would consider Florida, but I have lived here since 1969 and want to experience something new and my husband has never lived anywhere else and he would love to go out west. When I read things on the blogs I get excited about a certain area and then I hear negative things about it and I change my mind. Then I hear great things about the areas and I think perhaps it would be OK! Arizona sounds really nice, but I know it is a “Red” state and we are definitely the more liberal type. I am wondering if this would make us feel uncomfortable in a 55+ community that leans conservative. We live in a great home in Southeast Florida built very well, but it is in a family neighborhood and since our daughter (who has moved away) is grown (with daughters of her own), it is harder to make any friends. So we thought a 55+ community would be the best option. But then I hear that at the golf communities (which most of them are) all the people are interested in is golf and talk about it 24/7! My husband and I are not golfers. We are also finding communities with poorly built homes. We have Family in Henderson Nevada and were 99% sure that is where we would move, but the homes are getting pricy there in the 55+ communities. We should have bought in 2011 when we were visiting, but retirement seemed too far off! Hindsight is always 20/20!! We have found more reasonable, newer homes in Arizona but then when I hear people say that they can’t move away from there soon enough, it makes you wonder! Is anyone out there as confused and frustrated as we are? Just when we get excited about an area, we find that the nearest grocery store is 20 miles away, or the homes have defects or the price of the homes while sounding reasonable increase like crazy if it has any upgrades or is on a decent street. Seriously thinking about just “retiring in place”. No question taxes and insurance are high where we live, but as to hurricanes, I have been living here since 1969 and the only impact I’ve seen from Hurricanes have been Andrew (lost a few roof tiles and bushes) and Wilma when we lost our fence and some tiles. I would say for almost 45 years of living here, those aren’t bad odds. We also have hurricane shutters now, so I think it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Besides Hurricane parties are fun! But, on the other hand, since we have been here forever, we are getting bored to death exploring the same areas a million times. I’ve never been so confused. 😕

    by Margielyn550 — December 17, 2013

  120. To Margielyn550,

    Your letter could have been written by me! My husband and I are on the liberal side too and as I read the blogs, I wonder if we could be happy in some of the places that are so conservative. It’s good to have different points of views but some people sound a bit adamant and downright mean so I wonder if we could truly be happy in that type of environment.
    I guess every place has it’s positives and negatives. Right now we live in a very well-built one level home which we love but I also wonder if we would make more friends, get more involved in activities and be more active if we moved to a 55+ active adult community. We love our next door neighbors who are also retired but they are the only ones we socialize with on a consistent basis.
    I’m looking for a non-golfing 55+ community in Florida too. Although our 2 kids do not live in the same state as us, we are somewhat wary of the west coast, specifically Arizona. I hear about water shortages and huge bugs and snakes.
    Surely, there must be a place that is well-built, reasonably priced (under 200k) with good weather for people like us, Margielyn!

    by Lana h — December 18, 2013

  121. Hi Lana,
    Sounds like we could be friends!!! About Florida, the ironic thing is that there is a lot of talk about bugs and snakes in Florida too. We live so close to the Everglades where you would think pythons would be seen more often, but other than a tiny garden snake which I think I’ve seen only a couple times since I’ve been here, we have been snake free. That is not to say that there aren’t an abundance of Pythons here as I read about it in the paper, but I’ve never seen one. (Watch there will be one in my yard when I get home tonight!) There are also Palmetto bugs (big roaches), but I’ve been living in my present home 24 years and haven’t even seen one. I guess pesticides work. You are quite right that every place has its good and bad. I guess we both have to find a place that is more good than bad. What part of Florida are you considering? Maybe I can give you some insight. There are probably some places in Florida in which you would feel more comfortable and have a great time. No doubt the weather is fabulous here. I moved here from NJ in 1969 and never regretted a minute of it! Some people assume that it is very hot here in the summer and it is, but compared to some other places, it isn’t that bad!! And when I see the weather reports throughout the country of snow storms, I am sooo glad to be here!

    by Margielyn550 — December 18, 2013

  122. Margielyn550….Arizona is a red state but Tucson and Bisbee are both very liberal.

    by Ginger — December 18, 2013

  123. I agree all the posts seem to be for the south. I do not want to retire in a red state. I just do not like their hard core politics. Also, we do not golf. I don’t mind living in a golf community as long as there are plenty of other activities. I wish that people who live in retirement communities, such as, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, would post more so those of us could investigate retirement places other than the south.

    by Jane — December 18, 2013

  124. I am 63 years old, and have lived in the Los Angeles metro area most of my life. California is very expensive. The total cost of living is high. Coastal regions are extremely high. As you move inland the col decreases. My personal belief is the very far left politics of the state is the cause of the serious financial and debt crisis the state faces. As much as Arizona is red, California is blue. However, the weather is golden. I have been reading on the internet about New Mexico,and politically New Mexico looks pretty moderate and centrist. Their philosophy is “live and let live.”

    by Bubbajog — December 18, 2013

  125. Don’t care about red or blue, care about sun and warmth. I’m 66 and from Michigan. Renting for 4 months in Bradenton, FL. My arthritis is worse here than in MI. May rent in AZ next winter.

    by hontre — December 19, 2013

  126. Ginger, Thanks that is interesting information and Bubbajog, I love the “live and Let Live” way of thinking which is exceedingly better than extreme Left or Extreme Right. 😆

    by Margie Rosenthal — December 19, 2013

  127. Hello, I am new to this blogging and am wishing and hoping to retire by the time I am 70 (6 years or so!). Does anyone have an ideas, suggestions, information about retiring in Maine. Yes, I love snow and cold so that’s no problem. My funds however will be. I am alone and have little to bank on for my future but SS and a small pension. I am saving like crazy and time will tell if I even can retire.

    by Bonnie Metzler — December 19, 2013

  128. It seems like the elephant in the room regarding retirement decisions between Arizona and Florida is climate change. Florida will be increasingly challenged by rising sea levels, stronger, more frequent hurricanes as well as sinkholes as water if pumped out of the state’s aquifers. In Arizona’s case, the Colorado river is tremendously over-subscribed and wide-spread droughts have decreased water storage supplies. Currently both Lake Mead and Lake Powell are under 50 percent capacity. Given the current water agreements, Arizona will lose part of its share of Colorado River water if water levels continue to fall. Its no coincidence that wild fires have devastated the west and Arizona in particular. Availability of surface water should be paramount in anyone’s search for a retirement community in the west.

    by Dave M — December 19, 2013

  129. Hi Margielyn – we stayed in Naples for a couple of weeks. We enjoyed walking around a real town center and since it was May, there wasn’t too much traffic although I hear it’s terrible in the height of the busy season. We’ve also stayed on the east coast near Boca and West Palm Beach.
    Palmetto bugs and pythons sound so scary! I’ll take your word for it that you haven’t encountered any. What places do you recommend? I’m also afraid of hurricanes!

    by Lana h — December 19, 2013

  130. Hurricanes can be a problem on the coast line in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, etc. When they hit they can do a lot of damage. On the other hand, we haven’t had one in South Florida since Wilma in 2005. That’s 8 years of beautiful weather. Additionally, even if there is a hurricane in Florida, there is no guarantee that it will strike your area. As I said before, I’ve only experienced two hurricanes since I have been here in over 44 years! We have accordion hurricane shutters which close up quickly when a storm is pending. Unlike some other natural disasters, you get a long lead time to prepare for a hurricane. Even before we had the shutters, Wilma only caused damage to some tiles on the roof and our fence. Dave M is correct about some water issues in Florida and Arizona. I work for a construction company and we have a contract to fix some water issues in Miami Beach. So, while I agree there are some problems, what area doesn’t have problems!!!??

    Naples is very pretty. We only live about 1 hour 20 minutes from there. We go across to the West side for the day just to walk around, shop and have some great food. It is a nice get away. However, Naples is very expensive. the homes are out of our reach. You may find that Ft. Myers offers more reasonable homes. We looked into Pelican Preserve in Ft. Myers and we were very surprised to find out that if we moved there, our insurance would be quite reasonable as we spoke to an insurance salesman who said it would be about $1000 to $1300 a year. I don’t know if that is expensive where you are, but it is quite reasonable in Florida! What this tells me that statistically there are not as many hurricanes in the Ft. Myers area. Also, check out the taxes where ever you will be moving. Everything counts when you are on a fixed income. If we lived out West, or anywhere else besides Florida, most like we would consider moving to Florida to retire. It would be a no brainer. Lots of great facilities, healthcare and support for seniors. However, living here for so many years, we are looking for a new adventure!

    by Margie Rosenthal — December 20, 2013

  131. Lana, take a look at Vitalia at Tradition. It is a 55 and older community in Port Saint Lucie.

    by Ralph — December 20, 2013

  132. in all these comments, I read only One about Valley Fever in Arizona. I am renting a mobile home one hour from the Phoenix area and have been here only one month and already gotten a positive lab result. it can range from mild to deadly and requires long term treatment. Fungus spores attack the Lungs. It is endemic in southern Arizona, especially Mesa .where there are many 55+ retirement communities. Very little is said about it here in AZ — worried about the economy? I Am otherwise healthy. Seniors here are in denial and don’t believe they will get it; but you can read about Valley Fever all over the Internet. Needless to say, I’m not returning to AZ. Does anyone know of a senior retirement community I could Rent in the WINTER months with no bugs?

    by Becky Olson — February 15, 2014

  133. We were a Navy family and lived in P-cola and Key West But would never live there again We Would recommend Mississippi if you want cheaper housing Yet the ocean in South MS They were good on senior citizens s far as we paid NO fees on trash pick up, car tag and property tax once my husband became disabled or over 65 (Neshoba County) We came to Az because we had family here and we were tired of all the rain ,ticks, fleas, & mosquitos( Like Florida)We live in Phoenix currenty But will move to Kingman (north west on I-40)It is cheaper housing, a growing town, yet just right .It is 25 minutes from BullHead City ,on The Colorado River With Laughlin Nv across the river with Casinos , 100 miles from Las Vegas and 130 miles from Flagstaff, if you want to snow. and The grand canyon is near by.60 miles from Kingman is also Lake Havasu City With Phoenix a 2.5 hour drive.The winters can be cold( 30 to 40 degrees)But short term and summer a lot cooler than Phoenix. Most used Evaporated coolers in the summer Also NO emission tests required.It can get windy at times So NO mosquito’s :smile .And YES we would raise a chld here Down fall only ONE hospital
    The VA is building a brand new larger clinic .Yet if you want Phoenix The West valley Surprise, Waddell, or Buckeye is good. The East Valley is Gilbert, Chandler Queen Creek, Most parts of Tempe , North Sun City West,North Peoria North Glendale North Phoenix Paradise Valley and Scottsdale.are my favorites as the smog and traffic usually styas central to south, of these nareas. If money is no object Care Free or Cave Creek,.Oh no matter what The news says There is NOT illegals crossing in masses. Though There are a lot of (mostly) good, family oriented and hard working jegally or American born ones here)

    by chief — February 26, 2014

  134. Becky,
    I couldn’t agree with you more. I first read about Valley Fever on this blog and since I was planning to move to Saddlebrooke in Tucson, I thought I should investigate it. The article in The New Yorker Magazine

    Pretty much convinced me that I shouldn’t move there. People new to Arizona and older people are more vulnerable. I would meet both categories. If I were living there and I heard about it, I probably wouldn’t move, but knowing of the potential, why look for trouble? My husband just had some major surgery and his immune system could be weakened. Also this past weekend I reconnected with an old friend of mine who just moved to Florida from Arizona. I asked her about Valley Fever and if she had heard about it. Not only did she hear about it, she had it. She had to take medication, was very sick for a while and had to have follow up MRI’s to make sure it hadn’t spread to other parts of her body. I don’t know a lot about statistics, but I know only one person from Arizona and she had it! It’s not like I know 5000 people from Arizona and one had it! 2/3 of all cases are in Arizona. I was really looking forward to moving to this beautiful State.

    by Margie — February 27, 2014

  135. Well I wish I had known about valley fever before I bought my house! I have COPD and am diabetic…thus I am at higher risk. Crap!

    by Ginger — February 27, 2014

  136. I live in Phoenix, and love it. I know a lot of people here, and have never heard of anyone having or getting Valley fever. It is not on then news, so I would not worry about it if I were you Ginger! We all have to live our life and not worry about each little thing that is reported. Tons of new people retire and move this way everyday. It’s booming here with new construction and transplants as the economy picks up.

    by georgiabelle — February 28, 2014

  137. I admit, reading about Valley Fever is a good thing,and something to consider perhaps if you’re medically compromised. But Ginger, just enjoy yourself there…just think, leaving upstate you’re leaving all the increased risk of Lyme disease, which is perhaps more prevalent and can be just as nasty (for some people) as Valley Fever. Every region has its environmental risks. NY city, for example, has neither of these, but getting run over as a pedestrian is more of a risk than here in upstate…There’s always a tradeoff. Take precautions, be informed, but live each day to the fullest without too much anticipatory worry about what might happen (that’s a reminder to myself as well!).

    by Paula — February 28, 2014

  138. […] your reference: South Carolina North Carolina Arizona vs. Florida Retirement The Best of the Best Places to Retire How North Carolina Climbed over Florida as #1 Retirement […]

    by » Retirement in the Mid-South Comparison: Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama - Topretirements — December 9, 2014

  139. I love how you hit on so many different aspects to compare the two states. It’s important to take into consideration on how tax-friendly a retirement state is. I love the atmosphere in Arizona! It has a beautiful climate and great adult communities, especially PebbleCreek in Goodyear. It has a great community with so many great activities. Although Florida is a great retirement state, I believe that Arizona is a much more beautiful place to retire that fit the needs of most adults.

    by Mary Couzens Realty — January 9, 2015

  140. I agree with Jane, we need more people to post about retirement in California, Nevada and Oregon. Thank you!

    by Virginia — January 10, 2015

  141. I will be visiting my son in Phoenix in a couple of months and would like to look at 55+ communities. I do not play golf or tennis but like to swim and walk. Could any one suggest places to visit or areas? Thanks.

    by SharonA — January 18, 2015

  142. Can anyone let me know what the water situation is out West? The states most people seem to be interested in including myself are Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. I thought there is a significant drought going on and the water supply is in danger. Is that true? Thanks

    by Gerard — January 19, 2015

  143. Gerard, I have come across comments that there is a water situation in Arizona and Texas.

    by Janice — January 19, 2015

  144. Here’s a reputable report from an NPR affiliate on the water situation in central Texas. Not good!

    by Carole — January 19, 2015

  145. For anyone thinking about coming to the SW Florida area of Naples Florida think again. I have only been here 5 years but my amazing wife (and best friend) has lived here for 38 years and the uncontrolled growth is killing this region of Florida. Naples used to be a very iconic region with a beautiful downtown and one or two streets of beautiful VERY expensive home. As so often happens growth takes over and now this wonderful beautiful SW Florida community is (during season) a parking lot for self absorbed entitled rude people. Try driving around whole foods or total wine for 20 minutes just to find a parking spot. No one uses turn signals and if you ride a bicycle or motorcycle you are taking your life in your hands. Not to mention all the iconic homes and historical buildings that have been torn down and replaced with cookie cutter mansions and strip malls. Plus the attitude has changed from laid back OLD money to novena-riche arrogance.

    by Jeffrey Gilfoy — January 20, 2015

  146. Absolutely agree with Jeffrey Gilroy. My parents retired to Naples in 1982 and Naples was a beautiful town with lovely people. We moved to Naples in 2005 and stayed to 2010. We couldn’t stand it and moved to Tennessee. Love it here!

    by LisaJ — January 21, 2015

  147. I have been thinking about retiring to the south west coast of Florida, have a visit scheduled soon to the Fort Myers area. It’s disappointing to read Jeffrey and Lisa’s comments about Naples. But that’s part of the reason I chose to visit at this time of the year, get a feeling for just how crowded things have become. One of the areas I have been considering is Pelican Preserve, so I would be interested in hearing opinions from those living there or those who have considered moving there. Thanks!

    by Thomas — January 21, 2015

  148. Yes, Naples is overcrowded. It’s not the only game in town in the SW coast of Florida, however. Broaden your horizons.

    And, no matter the community, it will be more crowded during the season. Same in Arizona. Just a fact of life.

    by Linda — January 21, 2015

  149. Living most of my life in the Los Angeles metro area; I am well aware of too many people and way too much traffic. During my working years I spent way too much time stuck in stop and go traffic on the 405, 101, and 10 freeways. When I watch late night traffic reports; I question whether I could do that again today. I am grateful that I don’t have too.

    I use to travel to Dallas and Houston for business. I would depart the obnoxious traffic crunch of LAX, and 3 hours later find myself in the same mess in Dallas or Houston.

    California, Texas, and Florida contain way too many people. If you live in these states, then you will feel the pressures of overcrowding and everything that is associated with it. Yes, that is a fact of life.

    by Bubbajog — January 21, 2015

  150. Also like the 4 seasons. July and August are hot and humid (which I don’t care for) however, it is nothing like the oppressive heat/humidity in Florida. My only other dislike is the sales tax on food. 2 of our children live in Raleigh and we would like to live closer to them. Hubby and I go back and forth on being closer to the kids or staying in an area we love. Of course we might like Raleigh too BUT what if we don’t. Hope this helps and if you have anymore questions, please ask.

    by LisaJ — January 22, 2015

  151. to Lisa J. Stay in the area that you love and either have your kids visit you or you visit them. We just made that mistake moving to Pa TO BE NEAR THE KIDS and it is costing me quite a bit of money in RE taxes, school taxes etc. It was a terrible mistake and probably one of the dumbest financial moves I ever made. Did not do my home work well enough. Now I am stuck trying to sell our house and move back South or where ever.

    Since you state that you live in the city would you mind sharing what your RE taxes are. Usually city dwelling cost more in ones yearly taxe bill. Don’t want to be too nosey but what size house do you own? We as Seniors are really downsizing and a 2 br/2ba would be more than sufficient. I will check ur area out. Do you know a GOOD RE agent. tks, Robert

    by Robert — January 23, 2015

  152. I agree with Sandie and Linda. I would like to know abut the area around Phoenix.

    by SharonA — January 24, 2015

  153. to SharonA = One ans to ur question. Phoenix & Fl = HOT!

    to Sandis and Linda = maybe there is a helpful clue here for you to ponder-??????

    by Robert — January 25, 2015

  154. To SharonA…I moved to N Phoenix four years ago and love it. Great area, nice people, and fun things to do. Loralee

    by Loralee — January 25, 2015

  155. So sorry to high jack the thread, just wanted to answer others questions. Ella, please send your email and I will answer your questions. Now back to the topic. Many people love Florida and we did too however, our experience was when we were vacationing. When we actually had to deal with the hot, oppressive heat year round, the traffic and crowds, we decided it wasn’t for us. Please don’t let me discourage you if your dream is to retire in Florida.

    by LisaJ — January 25, 2015

  156. To Loralee:
    Thank you for the note. If you don’t mind where did you move to. I would like to put it on my list when I visit my son.
    Thanks Sharon A

    by SharonA — January 25, 2015

  157. The Discussion did get headed toward the wrong state, so the comments concerning Tennessee have been moved to a more appropriate Blog found on the link below:

    by Admin — January 26, 2015

  158. This comment was sent in by Jeb:

    Does anyone have any info on St. Augustine, FL? Seriously thinking about that area. Any 55+ communities anyone could suggest.

    by jeb — January 27, 2015

    by Admin — January 27, 2015

  159. The place on the top of our list is On Top of the World in Ocala. We viewed the models last summer and like the Saxony model. We are looking in the Tampa area. I would appreciate any feedback from current residents of OTOW. Thanks!

    by Patti — January 27, 2015

  160. For Sharon A…Sharon I bought about 14 minutes N of Scottsdale Rd off the 101 in 2010. I got a “smoken” deal as nobody was really buying homes here at that time. I am blessed that my home has appreciated quite a bit in 4 years. I don’t know what you are looking for so if I can help you in that area, let me know. My cost of living here compared to Calif in amazingly cheaper, and I love the weather and all the things Phoenix/Scottsdale has to do, plus outstanding health care, and off course we have the Super Bowl here this year…so many fun things going on now. Come spend some time and drive everywhere so you can get a feel for the area. Loralee

    by Loralee — January 27, 2015

  161. I’M looking to buy a retirement home in Jacksonville Florida ; Does anyone have any sujestions?

    by george dardonis — January 27, 2015

  162. For Loralee:
    Thanks so much. I am looking for a condo as I was never the one for working around the house. I just would like to do my crafts, volunteer, take classes and really enjoy life. Go Patriots. Sharon A

    by SharonA — January 28, 2015

  163. There is a reason Phoenix is called VALLEY OF THE SUN!! Love it here and I totally agree with what Gunderso said!
    Good luck to SharaonA on finding your condo in AZ! Loralee

    by Loralee — January 28, 2015

  164. Harv sent in such and interesting and informative posting about Tucson. Due to its length we decided to create a separate blog for it:

    Thanks, Harv!

    by Admin — January 28, 2015

  165. Phoenix is a part of Maricopa County. There is also Mesa where I live, Glendale where the Super Bowl was played, Scottsdale where the Barret Jackson Classic Car Auction was held, Tempe where the Arizona Sun Devils play for ASU, Gilbert a nice bedroom community,Chandler where the Ostrich Festival is held. When you say Phoenix, it usually means the Phoenix metropolitan area, that is made up of all of these communities. There are also Sun City and Sun Lakes retirement communities. I have lived in most of these communities and my favorites are Scottsdale and Mesa. I love the diversity of Arizona. Northern Arizona is allot cooler in the summer and some folks have summer cabins there. You can go skiing in the winter, white water river rafting in the summer. Antique hunting in Prescott, and rockhounding is excellent throughout the state.. I have lived here in the Valley of The Sun on and off since 1963 and there are still places that I have not seen. I have been to Texas and Florida and they also have their merits but it is Arizona for me pardner.

    by Alan — February 2, 2015

  166. Hi All. I won’t get into a discussion about the merits of each state (AZ vs FL). The comments about weather, humidity and cost of living have all been discussed ad nauseam . Let me tell you about my experiences living in Phoenix since 1998. I grew up and lived in NJ for many years and still have a Jersey attitude, the good kind. Moving to Phoenix was such a dramatic change with scenery and just the lay of the land. The Phoenix metro area is huge but once outside that area, towns are very spread out. It took me a few years to really start appreciating the AZ lifestyle. It really is very laid back and, for the most part, people are very nice just like anywhere else in the country. The scenery is drop dead gorgeous – springtime in the desert needs to be seen to be appreciated. I’m still an east coast liberal and pretty political. I don’t like the conservative agenda and do what I can to be active with political issues. I don’t really run into crazy uber right wing people and we don’t just stay in our neighborhood. I’m still working, 66 years old, and will be wrapping it soon. We’ve thought about Mexico and Spain but when you look at what you get for the money housing-wise, it’s a very good deal. We did initially live in the suburbs but moved into Phoenix 5 years ago. The suburbs are somewhat sterile, it was ok but dominated by chain restaurants and a lot of retail. Living in the city is the way to go for us. There are so many independent restaurants and one-off stores to explore, not sterile at all. The options you have here are many – LA and San Diego are around a 5 hour drive. LV is around 4 and 2.5 hours to Flagstaff. This is not like the east coast at all. Hey, you’ve worked hard all your life. Slow down and enjoy no matter where you end up.

    by Ed — February 4, 2015

  167. […] 101 Mid-Atlantic States: MD, DE, VA, NJ Florida Retirement 101 Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC Dueling States: Arizona vs. Florida California Retirement 101 Retirement in the Southwest: AZ, NM, and […]

    by » Dueling Retirement States: The Pacific Northwest (OR vs. WA) - Topretirements — February 16, 2015

  168. […] The 2013 List of 100 Best Places to Retire 100 Best Active Adult or 55+ Communities – 2014 Dueling Retirement States Series (Starts with Arizona vs. Florida) 10 Worst States for Retirement – […]

    by » Florida Tops Most Popular Places to Retire for 2015 - Topretirements — February 21, 2015

  169. I first posted in 2010 and just reread through these posts. I’m still in Tucson and haven’t retired yet. Still have my horses, Nancy, and won’t move them to Texas because I want to be with them, but I have no plans to live in Texas. It’s a fun place to visit and a long drive-thru to NW AR. I want to say that even though Tucson is south of Phoenix, summers are 5-10 degrees cooler here, and much less humidity. Yes there is crime from Mexico, but the border patrol has been increased and there is actually less undocumented immigration into the Tucson sector than into Texas or California – it’s gone down over the past 5 years. Yes, we have crime, but it’s everywhere. BTW, one of my trucks was stolen about 10 years ago, and I’m sure it’s in Mexico now. I club my vehicles now, all the time. So far, so good. I’m still working and plan to past retirement age because I’m healthy, like my job, and like earning money. I’ve not decided where to retire, still, but I like it where I am so maybe I’ll just stay here. I’ve lived all over the U.S., and I choose to live in the southern states, although FL is not on my list. I enjoy visiting, but I won’t buy there. I considered it, but decided my lifestyle wouldn’t be supported the way I want it to be. BTW, AZ is now purple, not red or blue, so keep an eye on our politics for some fun! Tucson is definitely blue.

    by Elaine C. — April 18, 2015

  170. We’ve decided to leave CA for TX. Looked at AZ and loved the homes (and prices) in Buckeye, Goodyear, Vail, etc. Looked too much like Cali and too hot. Even the models’ exterior furnishings were dry rotted and they were just models!!!!! Also concerned that all the Cali retirees who want to be near family and friends are going to cross the border as they age, drive up prices and drink up all the remaining water (LOL). Quiet, cozy communities will rapidly become little LA’s.

    Based upon the experiences of those of you who have taken the plunge wherever, is it better to retire and sell or sell and retire? I’m worried about how we will look on paper once we’re both retired and looking to repurchase? Also any inside info on using VA benefice (pros and cons).

    Thanks and sorry for the rant.

    by Veloris — April 19, 2015

  171. […] 101 Mid-Atlantic States: MD, DE, VA, NJ Florida Retirement 101 Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC Dueling States: Arizona vs. Florida California Retirement 101 Retirement in the Southwest: AZ, NM, and Utah Comparing the Pacific […]

    by » Dueling Mountain States for Retirement: CO, ID, MT, NV, UT, and WY - Topretirements — June 22, 2015

  172. Testing first post before I write at length. I feel qualified for an honest opinion as I have lived for years on the beaches in FL and now live beneath the shadow of a mountain (with vacations in Prescott, Payson and Bisbee) in Phoenix and have a best friend living in Flagstaff

    by Thomas Anderson — October 24, 2015

  173. Thomas Anderson, regarding your October 24, 2015 comments about living in FL and now living in AZ, I would like the ‘long version’ of your experienced opinion. Thanks, Debra Rammer on December 18, 2015

    by Debra Rammer — December 18, 2015

  174. I have lived in both Florida and Arizona (Vero Beach and Scottsdale) and I could list the differences (biggest things being green vs brown, mosquitoes vs no mosquitoes, sandy beaches vs just sand, etc). I could go back to either in a heartbeat, both were great.

    Enjoyed my time in AZ, there desert has its own brand of beauty. Yes it got very hot but you got used to it. Enjoyed my time in FL, I liked the greenery. Yes it got very humid but… well, you get the idea. You adapt to the climate, take precautions, don’t go out during certain parts of the day, etc. At least in both states you don’t have prolonged periods of weather that are dangerous, with snow and ice on roads and sidewalks. At least you can go out and shop in both AZ and FL in the morning without danger of slipping and falling. Been there, done that, I used to live in Nebraska too.

    But the biggest worry to me is the lack of water. See this link from May 2015 for a better explanation:

    While residents in AZ will have a priority claim on water vs farmers and industry, the cost for that water could go very high and at worst even be rationed to residents. While I agree there is a chance that the reservoirs and aquifers could be recharged by the weather (El Nino and all) and that it may not really get that bad, I would not sink a lot of money into a home that I may not be able to sell and costs a bundle to live.

    In my opinion, bottom line is if you chose AZ for retirement then rent. That way you can leave without a big financial hit if worse comes to worse. Florida you could rent or buy. While you may get wiped out by a hurricane, you can at least buy insurance for a hurricane, you cannot buy insurance for a lack of water.

    by artbonds — December 19, 2015

  175. Harris poll indicates that Florida is the state most people would live other than their current state. Oddly, Florida ranks high at #7 among those states least likely to attract people from elsewhere. I just posted an article at my blog site about the Harris survey.

    by Larry — December 20, 2015

  176. This comment came in from Arlene. We told her that we estimate half of the Active Adult Communities in our AZ Directory do not have golf:

    Are there any gated 55 and over communities
    In Arizona that do not have golf courses?
    Some of us don’t golf.
    Thank you so much

    by Admin — December 21, 2015

  177. You should also be aware that just because there is a course in a community, you are not necessarily paying for it. Many of the courses are paid for by the members who choose to join them. In some communities, the course is public and is supported by those who play on it.

    Living on a golf course provides you with a great view, fewer neighbors and, when it is time to sell, a more desirable property to attract buyers.

    by LS — December 22, 2015

  178. LS makes important points. First of all, 50% of all those who live in a golf community do not play golf. They do appreciate the landscaped green areas and, if the club has a good reputation, the upside potential for appreciation when they sell their home. (Although those golf communities with a high percentage of condos pack “more” neighbors into a dense area; and the less densely populated communities tend to have larger homes and higher real estate prices). There are three types of clubs (and different levels of membership) for those inclined to join: public, semi-private and private. Private is self-explanatory; members only but provisions for you to bring guests (you pay a fee for them to play golf and use other amenities.) Public means a club is open to any members of the public willing to pay a daily green fee to play. Semi-private is also accessible for the public, but you can join as a member and play as much golf as you want, without imposition of a daily green fee (although you will pay the prevailing rate to rent a cart). In terms of membership plans, those who do not play golf but want to participate in the life of a private club can join as a “social” member at a rate considerably lower than a “full golf” member. Social membership provides access to the clubhouse for meals and other activities but not for golf. (Some clubs will charge these members for golf rounds and limit the number they can play during the year.) Some clubs also make other amenities, such as tennis and fitness center, freely available to social members, but others charge additional fees or require a “sporting” membership, somewhere between “social” and “full golf.” My own advice to couples buying into a golf community is to purchase some form of membership, whether they play golf or not. It is the quickest way to make friends and get into the flow of the community.

    by Larry — December 22, 2015

  179. Cantamia in AZ does not have golf, is gated, and there is a course within a mile that you can use as an Estrella Mountain resident at a discount. I am also hearing from Buyers that looked in Florida but bought here that insurance premiums are high to impossible to get in Florida for personal contents in a residence due to all of the storms. Anyone experiencing that as an issue?

    by 703 Sue — December 22, 2015

  180. Province in Maricopa, AZ does not half a golf course on the grounds, but there’s one a quarter mile away. I think there’s an arrangement between Province and the golf club.

    Province itself has many green belts and lakes, more than a golf course would have.

    by Carl — December 23, 2015

  181. Homeowner insurance in Florida is expensive, but not impossible to get. If you’re trying to buy property in a flood zone, it is VERY expensive. However, the personal contents are insured in your HO6 policy just like anyplace else, generally at 50% of the value of the insurance on your home. Some things are more expensive here; many are far cheaper than where I came from (Minnesota).

    by Linda — December 23, 2015

  182. Regarding insurance, contents coverage is fairly easy to get. What most people do not realize is that Florida is not only expensive for property insurance, second only to Texas but is the most expensive for auto insurance..

    by Tracy — December 24, 2015

  183. Tracy, we were actually surprised to pay less auto insurance here in FL than we did in TN. Same coverage, same vehicles, same company.
    FL isn’t cheap by any means, and insurance is certainly expensive, esp when living along the coast. But FL also offers many exemptions and discounts. Check it out.

    by godsgirl — December 25, 2015

  184. Anyone have a link to a site where one can ballpark homeowners insurance and/or flood insurance for Florida properties (by location, by flood zone, et cetera)? Example: Del Webb at Ponte Vedra? Thank you.

    by Robert Manson — December 25, 2015

  185. I think Arizona has it all. winter camping in the desert and summer camping in the White Mountains and around Flagstaff. I would like to visit Florida and spend time around the Gulf coast.

    by John — January 11, 2016

  186. is a State of Florida web site that gives rates for various areas. I know Ponte Vedra pretty well and it is a fairly reasonably priced insurance area compared to other areas. It is still much higher that most other states. I moved from that area to Illinois recently (to be near the grandchildren) and my homeowners insurance went from $2,200 hundred to $700 annually.

    by Tracy — January 12, 2016

  187. Tracy, I think the site you mentioned is and states the following when you go there: Sorry! The statewide contract for Florida CHOICES expired on June 30, 2015, and the services that were provided are no longer available.

    by Ed — January 13, 2016

  188. Ed,

    This site works great.

    Assume wind mitigation if built after 2000.

    by Tracy — January 14, 2016

  189. All those looking to move to Arizona.
    Sun City is the big retirement community.
    You must be 55 to live there.
    Surprise and Sun City AZ have many 55 and over apartment and mobile home communities. Very nice. Some are hated. Some are not. My mother in law lives in one
    I think it’s called The Rose Garden Mobile home Park.
    It’s actually very nice.
    In Surprise AZ on Bell Road. Citrus trees all throughout. All these places have pools and a big entertainment facility.
    Bingo. Movie nights. Casino outings. All kinds of groups.
    There are golf courses everywhere. Always a group going on. Plenty of churches.
    Something for everyone.

    by Hannah — February 1, 2016

  190. Hi, how can I find good real estate agents in Green Valley, AZ?

    Sherwin sent this comment in. Can anybody help?

    by Admin — January 29, 2017

  191. I spent 30 years on the east coast and could have retired to Florida – didn’t even consider it. The climate was the issue for me – lots of humidity and BUGS!

    So, for three years I have been in PebbleCreek in Goodyear, AZ, and really loving it. We don’t have ocean – but San Diego is a manageable drive or a short flight away. Everything else is here… events, sports, medical care, snow, incredible views….

    I hesitated to consider a 55 Plus Community – thought it might be a bunch of aging people sitting on tuffets eating curds and whey… turns out it is a bunch of really interesting people living active lives and doing amazing things!

    by Maureen — April 7, 2017

  192. Sorry, but even with bugs in Fla , compared to experiencing the 120 degree Temps in Arizona, I would still choose Fla. Much more to do, best beaches in the US and flying overseas is so much easier. ….

    by Babyboomer55 — April 8, 2017

  193. But I did move to CA after living in Fla for 10 yrs and will be moving to Oregon soon!!!

    by Babyboomer55 — April 8, 2017

  194. Haven’t seen any bugs to speak of in Florida. We had more in Minnesota. Perhaps in the interior? I’ll take being on the water with nice breezes any time compared to the excessive heat in Arizona. And, yes, I’ve been to Arizona in the summer. My son and all my grandchildren live there. Sorry, not for me. I considered it, but Florida works better for me. Everybody needs to find what works for them.

    by Linda — April 8, 2017

  195. Regarding living in Florida and bugs I’m not sure what people I talking about. I’ve had the pleasure of residing in Floridia on both coasts and never had issues with large or small bugs. I’ve lived in Naples, Port St Lucie, and Palm Beach Area and no bug issues. I reside in Texas at the moment and have issues with fire ants. We love Florida and will be moving back to Florida east coast at the end of the year can’t wait. Hope this helps folks worried about bugs.

    by Skip P — April 9, 2017

  196. Skip–why the east coast rather than the west? Are you at all bothered by the hurricane threats that Flordia get? It seems at some point a hurricane can be inevitable in Florida…my aunt lives in Naples and adores it. I am only now just considering looking there to be near her. We are more like sisters than aunt and niece.

    by Jennifer — April 9, 2017

  197. Jennifer we found the summers to be a little more tolerable on the East Coast than the West Coast due to the Atlantic Ocean vs the Gulf. The beach water on the west coast in the heat of the summer can reach 93 and higher vs Atlantic the mid 80s . The breeze is more refreshing during the summer on the east coast than the west coast. I found the humidity to be a little more tolerable on the east coast than the west coast. You will find that the winters are a little warmer than the west coast. The housing is cheaper than the Napels area. We are close to major airports vs west coast.

    Regarding hurricanes we will live approximately 7 miles from the beach and hurricanes can hit anywhere in Florida so I’m not worried.

    My suggestion is to spend some time in the heat of summer on the east coast and go to the beach and decide for yourself which coast is more tolerable.

    Any more questions please let me know.

    Skip P

    by Skip P — April 10, 2017

  198. Setting aside the weather and bugs, how does the retired lifestyle compare between Florida and Arizona? If somebody is not affected by extreme dry heat or high humidity, not bugged by bugs, and can deal with the threat of hurricanes, how do the two differ?

    My wife and I will be retiring in the next 5 years and are scoping options. We may look at 2 places (e.g. FL and MI, or AZ and HI) or recommit to CA or move to Austin or……you get where we’re at ;-). The heat/humidity/storms/earthquakes/snow/rain we can account for in our trade offs, it’s the other lifestyle living conditions we’re trying to assess between FL (we have little experience with) and AZ ( a bit more knowledge).

    by Greg W — April 10, 2017

  199. Skip–one other thing what about snakes?? Florida is sub-tropical and I really do fear snakes…I know that where there are a lot of people this is less of a problem. I do not want to live in or on a gulf course for this reason as well as that I can take or leave golf. I have visited Naples and found it lovely, but I have not gone in July–which I will do this year. In Washington, DC we are housebound by the heat in the summer and the humidity is terrible quite often. I would prefer cool mountain breezes, but I have no family in a mountainous state on the east coast. My brother lives in Portland, Oregon and of course it is a lovely moderate climate most of the year there. I am hoping to find a small condo in Florida close to my Aunt. I have an old friend that lives in Rotunda West and I may look there for fun too.

    by Jennifer — April 10, 2017

  200. Jennifer regarding snakes yes there are snakes, allegatotors, etc. Most will do their best to avoid you. We never encountered issues.

    Regarding your trip in July, we found the hottest part of the summer to be mid August though most of September. I would strongly urge you to rent before you buy. People either love Florida or hate it due to the high humidity. Living in Texas where are summer temps reach 110 or above the humidity does not bother me now. Last summer we vacationed in WPB the first two weeks of August and it was humid but did not bother us. We love the warm weather, ocean, and being outdoors twelve months a year.
    I love seeing flowers, and plant life green year round.
    Rent first before deciding. Good luck.

    by Skip P — April 11, 2017

  201. Skip:
    I totally agree about renting. I certainly will do that. Humidity is not my friend and I also have allergies, but I love warmth and sun. I lived in Cairo, Egypt on and off for six years and loved the dry desert climate. In this country, Arizona and Nevada could have water issues if not now, soon so I am reluctant to look there.

    I may change my plans and to Florida in August as you have suggested.

    Thank you for your reply.

    by Jennifer — April 12, 2017

  202. Absolutely best realtor in Green Valley AZ is Carolyn Fox with Coldwell Banker. I found her online and she helped me find the perfect place on a tight schedule last month and helped with the remote items (inspections) when I went back to pack and move. She is now helping a friend find a very different property based on her needs. Carolyn is smart, professional and really knows the market.

    by Pat — April 12, 2017

  203. The idea of renting before buying or settling down anywhere is so sensible. There are so many things that can come up during the first year. Interesting comparisons. Thank you.

    by Paul Francis — August 16, 2018

  204. Jennifer, I forgot to mentioned, stay away from the west coast of Florida, we found it more humid than the east coast and the red tide is terrible! We lived on both coasts and we are speaking from experience. The winters are a little warmer on the east coast. Best of luck in your search.
    Skip and Barb

    by Skip P — August 17, 2018

  205. We decided on Arizona over Florida and we did check both. We have always loved mountains since our days in east Tennessee. Arizona has beautiful mountains through out the state, Florida is a bit to flat for us. We built west of Phoenix and live in the White Tank Mountain area, great views from our patio. Another was humidity, and bugs. Most Florida homes need screen enclosures to keep pest out, not needed in Arizona, but all locations have some kind of pest.
    Water will be an issue everywhere some day. Communities wanting to build in the surrounding areas of Phoenix must prove they have water resources secured for 100 years. Our home was built with water saving shower heads and low flush toilets as standard features. Plus most homes here use desert landscaping, so no grass to water only plants and trees. Golf courses here again are designed as desert type courses so only greens, fairways and tee boxes need watering, unlike most courses we have played in other places of the US.

    by Bruce — August 17, 2018

  206. Jennifer, Florida is going to have water issues too. If you loved Cairo, I would definitely suggest you check out Arizona. Too dry for me, but you would probably love it.

    by Linda — August 17, 2018

  207. One year later from my earlier posts… I have decided against Florida in any location. Snakes, red tide and now green algae have put me off. My Aunt who lives in Naples Florida/ Bonita Springs said that many people are cancelling vacation plans and that the algae is the result of the drainage from Sugar plantations up north which is very toxic to the environment and the run off from lakes up north as well. The beaches are littered with dead smelly fish and the people who live on canals cannot go outside of their homes because the smell is horrific. Before all of this, I decided after Hurricane Irma that I would not live in Florida. The humidity and pests–mostly snakes put me off. My Aunt lives in a beautiful golf course community five miles from the beach and she says the whole community is affected. She also had to pay a deductible of $10,000 before her insurance policy would kick in to replace a pool cage which was torn off the house. It was finally replaced this last June. The hurricane was in September.

    by Jennifer — August 18, 2018

  208. Hi Linda:

    I do not want to live in a state where there may be no water. Arizona and Nevada have been ruled out for that. I also now feel I like four seasons if the winter is not too bad. I am still looking. My brother in Portland Oregon has me considering the northwest, time will tell. I may keep my home in DC and just take trips to visit wherever I need to be.

    by Jennifer — August 18, 2018

  209. Have lived in Florida for 49 years, most of that time in Miami. Moved to Florida from Washington, D.C. in July and was cooler with less humidity here than D.C. Still love Florida, but desperately want to get out of Miami. We are considering Ocala area for retirement. Still warm – actually hotter in the summer than Miami, but slightly cooler winters and will feel more like America.

    by Jill — August 18, 2018

  210. Who wouldn’t want to retire where there is/are: alligators, ginormous roaches called palmetto bugs, sink holes, snakes, mosquitos, tons of tourists, high insurance rates, high crime rates, low return on your housing investment, AND red tides???

    my two cents’ worth

    by Liz — August 18, 2018

  211. OK, I have to comment on the above regarding Florida. I moved here 26 years ago from Los Angeles mostly because I would have never been able to afford to purchase a home in CA. People said I would be sorry because of the bugs and Hurricanes but I had lived with Earthquakes and the Rodney King Riots so thought I would be better off here. In 26 years I have only seen 2 snakes. Never have seen an alligator anywhere other than where they belong. Only Palmetto bug I have seen are dead ones. We spray for mosquitos and have screened porches so they are no more problem than anywhere else I’ve lived in the summer. Never been the victim of crime here but was twice in both LA and Denver. My home of 15 years has doubled in value since coming back from the crash on 08/09. Yes the tourists are a nuisance at times but they help keep us a no tax state. The worst thing about the tourists is that they bring their up north germs here in the winter and we all catch a cold or something in Nov/Dec. Red tide and algae bloom is really bad this year but most of us don’t live by or go to the beach anyway. Summer heat and humidity hits my sister in Nebrasha worse than here. Hurricanes come with enough warning to get out of the way if you wish to and I’ll take my chances with a hurricane much sooner than a wildfire or even a bad blizzard. To me we do live in Paradise and you don’t have to shovel sunshine in the winter so enough with the Florida bashing. We all have a choice to take it or leave it. I for one choose to stay!!

    by Laura — August 19, 2018

  212. Laura – you could not have described Florida better. I was raised in Florida, left after school and returned 6 years ago for retirement. Actually our insurances – home, flood, auto are less expensive than where we came from Texas and our utilities are much, much lower. Alligators are a part of what makes FL unique and as long as you don’t act stupid around them, they would much prefer to be left alone. Mosquitoes are here but like you said, we all have screened in lanais. I have never seen a “ginormous” roach here but if you have a good pest control service it is likely you never will see a little one or a ginormous one. I’ve seen one snake in six years and it was a garden snake. Even in 6 years the value of our home has increased considerably. As for sinkholes they are not only in FL but are appearing more and more all around the country so don’t think we have a lock on them. None were we are in Fort Myers. This year is a tragedy with the red tide and algae blooms and we all hope this situation will be resolved as a lot of experts are looking at the problem. All in all I love FL – hurricanes and humidity included. We survived Hurricane Irma just fine last year and actually love the summers – the heat, humidity, daily rain storms and peace (relief from “season”). Favorite time of the year. Every state has good and not so good points so this is my twenty-five cents worth. I’m staying too!

    by Toni Olsen — August 19, 2018

  213. Laura and Toni Olson, thanks for putting across you views so perfectly! I live in NC (which some claim has similar issues) and have traveled extensively all over FL often over the last 30 years. FL remains my one most likely alternative to move should I leave NC. The comments some make about bugs and critters and hurricanes are truly unreasonable and should mostly be ignored. Sure, go looking and acting foolish and you may well find these issues — but most residents stay in these parts because of the positives mostly without being impacted by “fears”.

    by Rich Beaudry — August 20, 2018

  214. Thanks for the back up Toni! I actually gave myself a $3000 a year raise moving here from CA between what I saved on State income tax and the cost of my car tag alone. It isn’t for everone though. My sis in Nebraska wouldn’t live here for any amount of money…she’s heading to the West when she retires. Have to find your own Paradise!

    by Laura — August 20, 2018

  215. Laura & Toni, you described things here in Florida perfectly. I will take the sunshine and the odd hurricane over Minnesota snow and taxes any day. It’s OK with me if other folks don’t consider this Paradise, we probably have enough people already. Everyone needs to find the place that will work for them.

    by Linda — August 20, 2018

  216. Simple:
    Arizona has no ocean! End of story

    by Ron — August 21, 2018

  217. Ron, LOL!! Some of us are ocean people. But some are desert people. To each his/her own. If we all liked the same places, those places would be way overcrowded!

    by Linda — August 22, 2018

  218. Ron, Linda — I agree. To each his own — that’s why it is so important to choose based on visits and even longer stays rather than off a website or book. These pages can get us started, but…

    Many of the comments here got us seriously interested in Arizona — enough to spend a month “try out”. The most difficult aspect? What we missed most? The green of the southeast. A friend from LA visited last week. One of her strongest comments? “It’s so green!”

    So Ron, the ocean is nice, so is the desert. But the green decided that these parts are right for us.

    by Rich — August 22, 2018

  219. Here in Tucson we are only 4 1\2 hours from beautiful beaches of Puerto penasco. I have driven there often and prices are great in Mexico, including the drinks. And my room is always under 50 a night. So I have beach and desert.

    by Pat — August 23, 2018

  220. I live in Phoenix, and it’s a 6 hour drive to San Diego or other beaches in S. Calif. (1 hr flight time). Also we are about 1/2 hour from 2 awesome lakes…Lake Pleasant, Roosevelt lake, plus several others close by. 1 1/2 hours from the green mountains. Would not go back to the horrible humidity of the East and South where I lived for many years. It’s a personal choice.

    by Loralee — August 23, 2018

  221. I love both places. I live in Cocoa Beach, FL, and its small town atmosphere and relative lack of traffic fits me perfectly. But we go visit Arizona as well, in the fall, and we love Prescott. If I couldn’t live in Cocoa Beach or somewhere sleepy on the Treasure Coast, I’d pick Prescott over any of the huge snowbird places in Florida.

    by Con Reeder — February 14, 2021

  222. I am so glad that Top Retirements is rerunning this article. It helps to keep people who are looking for “That Place” for retirement to keep thinking and considering those two states. For the rest of us who found “That Place”, not in those states, this will help keep our Place from being overcrowded by out-of-staters. Thank You Top Retirements!!

    Unfortunately, some people in my “Place” told some of their friends/family in Florida. Shhhhhhh, please!

    by Roland — February 15, 2021

  223. We retired to Tucson 2 years ago. We loved it. Until the election and the pandemic. . Now we are not sure we will stay. But we love the weather. Florida is out due to (politics). Coming from Mass. it is tough to move to a red state. Think twice.

    by Roberta — February 17, 2021

  224. Roberta: This is yet more proof that you need to feel comfortable in your surroundings, no matter what your persuasion. There are degrees of political interest — some don’t care in the least; others are political junkies to whom politics is extremely important. You don’t want to make a mistake and end up in a place where you feel that others came from a different planet. We retired to a community in North Scottsdale, where the split is roughly even between the parties. There are cities and communities in both states where you will find like-minded individuals in the majority. If all your ‘friends’ in Tucson spout off about a politician you don’t like, you might want to say something like, ‘We truly value your friendship, but let’s respect each other’s politics and avoid discussing the topic.’ We have many friends who are at the opposite end of the spectrum but we treasure them for other reasons — things like character, friendliness, sense of humor, spirit of generosity, mutual concern and whatnot. Don’t let this wreck your experience. Not worth it.

    by Ed LaFreniere — February 17, 2021

  225. Enjoyed your comparison of Arizona v. Florida in Dueling States (Feb 17th).
    I would like to see a similar comparison of Georgia vs. South Carolina. How about it?

    Editor’s Comment? Good question, thanks for that. We haven’t exactly compared GA vs. SC although we have some similar. At the bottom of the article above are links to comparisons of SC vs. NC and also the Mid-South including GA. We’ll keep your suggestion in mind!

    by William — February 17, 2021

  226. When they say Orlando’s high is 82, they don’t include the humidity index. May feel even more miserable than Arizona’s 104. It’s just wet instead of dry. As soon as you step outside you perspire.

    by Robin — February 17, 2021


    by Ron — February 18, 2021

  228. Great article re Florida retirement. Has anyone retired to Jacksonville or Tallahassee FL? We’re planning a trip to both next month. Any tips are appreciated.

    by Bob S. — February 18, 2021

  229. Roberta – I’m also in total agreement with you. Observing how some states responded to the pandemic was very informative. How a state was led during a crisis is critical IMO.

    by JoannL — February 18, 2021

  230. I’ve lived in Florida. The spring and fall are wonderful but the summer is TERRIBLE! Hot and Humid with bugs everywhere. You can’t keep the roaches out of your house. You just live with them. I’ll take Arizona high country!

    by Pat Prew — February 18, 2021

  231. I read TopRetirements for advice and opinions on where to go for the next chapter of our lives. I do not read it to see who will be insulted on their political beliefs. Just give us information without being righteous on your political beliefs. If you cannot do that without being tolerant, than do not write.

    Editor’s note: Very good point Janet. We definitely want to hear about people’s retirement plans and perceptions of different places. And while it is OK here to mention how the political winds blow in a particular state or area, if that affects your retirement decision, it is not OK to be unkind about people’s political beliefs. We have edited a few recent comments to keep that out even if they might have been made in an attempt at humor.

    by Janet — February 18, 2021

  232. One problem with choosing a location based on political leaning is the fluidity of these “leanings”. Florida is becoming more conservative. Arizona is becoming more liberal. In large part, I think, that is because of where retirees are coming from. Many Floridians come from the midwest. Many Arizonans come from the west coast. That being said, political leanings tend to differ as much by locality as by State. Here in Florida, though, the Legislature understands this and is working on many preemption bills that solidify state control. So one does needs to be aware of the political climate and the trends, both locally and state-wide.

    by Lynn — February 19, 2021

  233. People seem to believe that the “new place” will be just like the one they left but with better weather and lower taxes. There are lots of things to consider when relocating for retirement. Do your homework and visit. There will be all kinds of surprises,good and bad.

    by Sandie — February 19, 2021

  234. I am fascinated by reading all the different articles and comment threads that follow of people looking for that ideal place to make their “forever” retirement place/home. The one thing that I have observed over the years is that no matter where you settle down, it won’t be the same in 10-15 years (including ourselves). What works for individuals at the moment may not work down the road (maybe even earlier than thought). The dynamics of constant change (like the weather) in this country/world is amazing. We always need to keep abreast of what is happening around us and even in our own home. Having a Plan B and Plan C is necessary and should be updated periodically. Just look at the last 12 months in this country and around the world (and not just with Covid). Amazing!!!!

    by Roland — February 20, 2021

  235. Great point by Lynn. I have noticed that Arizona is becoming more liberal. I can remember (in the 70’s) Arizona being conservative and a ‘red state’ Moved to Alaska to teach and now I spend my winters in Arizona (Tucson area). Have listened to the more liberal candidates and realize that they love this country as much as I do. Our nations problems can be solved only when we work together as one. I would like to visit Florida as see for myself the retirement areas. All I hear is there is a lot of bugs and the humidity can be uncomfortable, but so can Arizona in the summertime .

    by John — February 21, 2021

  236. I am a big fan of Arizona and New Mexico, although we live in Florida. John, as have others, mentioned that he’s heard mainly about Florida’s bugs and humidity. There is going to be humidity if you live anywhere near the Gulf Coast (that’s five states from Texas over to Florida). The winter months in Florida, mid-November to mid-April, are less humid, with many glorious days. The lower part of Florida was the only area in the country to remain in the mid to upper 70’s daily during the recent devastating cold spell. As to bugs, they are almost always controlled by proper pest control. Bugs are no more prevalent in Florida than in most warmer areas of the Gulf South. Florida has fabulous trees, greenery and flowers year-round, while Arizona has beautiful mountain scenery in most areas. It’s a matter of personal preference, and each state has much to offer.

    by Clyde — February 22, 2021

  237. Hi, has anyone considered the impact of tourism in FL -vs- AZ? We’re considering the Pensacola area and Baldwin County AL – VS – a retirement community in the Phoenix area. Last thing I want to do though, is wind up in an area that is jammed by tourists during the summer? How much of that is going on in the various areas of FL? I’m thinking a little less in Pensacola as most seem to prefer Destin. But I also wonder about the west side of the gulf coast down the peninsula.

    by Diana — March 15, 2021

  238. I am currently looking for a new house. I am in my sixties. I sold my home in St Augustine, FL, last summer after it had more than doubled in value after the slump. I have since traveled back and forth across the US searching for a new community which will shortly end up being my retirement home.

    My real estate “homeowners exemption” in Florida more than counteracted the homeowner’s insurance cost, and the lush green gardens, miles of shoreline, and affordable (seasonal) utility bills are making me wonder if I made a mistake leaving. I am currently wearing my winter coat which has been in storage for years and I’m wondering if I even like winter! However, I am really enjoying everyone’s comments and learning a lot.

    One thing that’s important to note is that this article has not had time to update for the dramatic changes of the past 10 years. The climate changes, the move towards rural living and working from home after the pandemic, the huge increases in home prices and real estate and the cost of building in those more rural areas. So weather, politics, and urban safety have become more of a concern within this timeframe, as well as the increases in fires and immigration. I think the water situation is going to be a huge problem. I was glad to see many of the later replies mentioning most of these concerns, however I think statistics are important and I would like to see the article rewritten from AP (arrival of the pandemic) forward.

    by Amy — November 1, 2021

  239. Thanks for this comment Amy, very interesting. We just updated many of the statistics in this article. Both FL and AZ have benefited from rising home prices due to the pandemic, with Zillow Home Value Indexes above $300,000 for both states. Climate change will affect residents of both states, but in different ways.

    by Admin — November 3, 2021

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