For many years, Florida has been considered a popular retirement destination. And some experts and publications have touted why it makes financial sense for some demographics like retirees.
For example, for 2022-2023, U.S. News + World Report listed Pensacola, Florida as one of the top three places to retire in the nation.
However, in September 2023, some experts are recommending that retirees consider states that aren't Florida. This article will discuss why these recommendations were made and the alternate states that were recommended.
Unexpected High Taxes: Some retirees are attracted to Florida because it doesn't have a state income tax. However, Florida does have sales and property taxes to consider, with some counties having higher taxes than others.
“Florida’s lack of state income tax is often touted as a benefit, but it’s important to note that the state relies heavily on sales tax and property taxes to generate revenue. The state sales tax rate is relatively high, which can impact retirees who make significant purchases...Additionally, some counties in Florida have high property tax rates, especially in desirable retirement communities. Retirees should research property tax rates and sales tax implications in their desired Florida retirement location to ensure it aligns with their budget.”
A Lack of Culture: Although Florida was found to be 64.1% diverse according to 2020 Census data, an expert who spoke with Go Banking Rates didn't think it offered enough culture.
John Grace, who was mentioned above, told Go Banking Rates that he sees Florida as one-dimensional when it comes to culture, saying, in part:
“While Florida offers a range of recreational activities and beautiful natural landscapes, it may fall short in terms of cultural and educational opportunities compared to other retirement destinations. Retirees seeking intellectual stimulation and cultural experiences may find Florida lacking in world-class museums, theaters, and educational institutions.”
Expensive Homeowners Insurance and Pricy Properties: While the cost of living has previously been considered to be reasonably priced for retirees, some experts told Go Banking Rates that retirees must consider all costs to determine if a Florida lifestyle is truly affordable.
According to CNN, Floridians pay the highest homeowners insurance rates in the nation, almost four times as much as national averages at around $6,000 per year.
Brian Quigley of Beacon Lending says retirees should understand that parts of living in Florida may not be as inexpensive as assumed, especially when one considers homeowners insurance and rising housing costs, telling Go Banking Rates:
“This means higher homeowners insurance premiums, especially if you opt for waterfront properties, which are abundant in the state. Additionally, while some areas of Florida offer affordable housing, popular retirement spots like Naples or Sarasota can be quite pricey.”
What States Were Suggested Instead?: The experts mentioned above suggested states that, like Florida, do not have an income tax such as Texas, Nevada, and Tennessee.
However, Colorado, Oregon, and California were also mentioned for their natural beauty and culture.
Of California, John Grace said:
“States like California or regions in the Pacific Northwest might have higher living costs, but they also offer unmatched scenic beauty, gourmet dining, and top-tier entertainment.”
Opposing Opinion: Go Banking Rates is one publication, but we can look at another for objectivity. In early September of 2023, WalletHub picked Tampa, Florida as the best place to retire in the entire nation.