16 Honest Pros and Cons of Retiring in Florida

Florida, situated in the southeastern region of the United States, is often a dream destination for retirees. Florida is home to gorgeous beach towns in the world.

The Sunshine State undoubtedly offers its warmth, but one must consider how much warmth one can truly embrace. Did you explore the bare beaches in Florida where you can go topless?

Retiring in Florida Pros and Cons

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This blog on retiring in Florida, pros and cons, is going to spill the true beans that you need to know before relocating to Florida. I want to add that Florida is a paradise for beachgoers.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in Florida

In this section, I will outline reasons that some may view as advantages while others may consider them disadvantages.

I cannot definitively label these as cons or negative aspects of Florida, as it entirely depends on your personal preferences, requirements, wants, and desires. But, Florida is indeed home to some amazing liberal cities with thoughtful people residing there.

For example, my mother adores Florida’s Caribbean-like climate, and even if you offered her $50,000 to move to New York in the winter, she wouldn’t consider it. 

On the contrary, I am willing to move to New York for its snow, even without any incentive. So, let’s know the pros and cons.

1. Embrace the sun’s warmth all year long

Florida is aptly known as “The Sunshine State”. On average, Florida receives approximately 2,800 hours of sunlight per year. Can you imagine that? 

You can sit by a tranquil lake under the sun with your friends or spouse and enjoy the warmth, which, at your age, is beneficial for getting a good amount of Vitamin D. Winters are no exception, Florida is home to many affordable romantic getaways attracting couples, youngsters, retirees, and travelers all over the world to enjoy its warmth! If you are in December or January, you should check out the warm beaches of Florida, they are amazing!

In the summer, you’ll find the climate to be humid, while in winter (from December to February), the weather is dry. However, July is the warmest month; trust me, everything around you is about to sizzle! 

As a resident of Florida, I can tell you that sometimes the heat and humidity can be overwhelming.

Furthermore, excessive sun exposure can lead to leathery skin and result in spots. However, if you are mindful of avoiding the sun’s rays between 10 am and 4 pm and use a good spectrum sunscreen, you can protect your skin.

But it’s true that due to its warm weather, retired Americans often come here to settle in Florida’s retirement communities with like-minded individuals. You’ll find affordable places in Florida to retiree too!

Sunset by the beach, Retiring in Florida Pros and Cons
Sunset by the beach

2. Lifestyles like social influencers and magazines

Your daily life may look like this: you’re wearing your beach clothes, basking in the sun, sipping coconut water, swimming, playing golf with your friends, or having dinner at a fancy place. 

You go out to taste seafood and encounter many tourists, travelers, and backpackers exploring the city. 

That’s what life in Florida can be like—a life filled with meeting new people of all ages. No matter what type of entertainment you’re seeking, Florida offers it all.  

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If you’ve ever dreamt of cliff jumping, there are spots for bungee jumping, and if you love boating and fishing, Florida has numerous spots for that too. Oh, even tide pooling!

Regardless of your preferences and location in Florida, the options for entertainment, events, and celebrations are endless.  

For me, sometimes it can become overwhelming. It seems like there’s always something happening in Florida. 

Every other day, I encounter new faces when I leave my house or go shopping. It’s as if Florida is always bustling with activity!

Terrace Grille Restaurant Lakeland
Terrace Grille Restaurant, Lakeland

3. Florida is a peninsula – it is Beach, Beach, and Beach

With 1350 miles of coastline featuring crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, lakes, underwater caves, and springs, it’s no wonder that Florida’s beaches have consistently ranked in the Top 10 beaches in the USA.

Your retirement story in Florida will undoubtedly involve spending time along the Gulf Coast or enjoying the gentle breeze of the Atlantic Ocean.

You may find yourself sitting by the fishing pier, watching the sunset on the horizon, or exploring the calm shores while collecting shells.

Your grandchildren will be fortunate to have you by their side as they play in the sand, build sandcastles, or take pictures by the lighthouse. 

Sometimes, you can also take them to spot turtles or dolphins, but you’ll never be able to show them a mountain goat, white-tailed deer, or grey wolf because they can only be found in the mountains.

Sight at Florida Beaches
Sight at Florida Beaches

4. Healthcare quality and affordability are poles apart

The most significant advantage of retiring in Florida is the presence of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), which provide essential protection for elderly individuals in the event of health emergencies.  

CCRCs are akin to Life Plan Communities, offering a continuum of care services to senior citizens who require such assistance. 

As a result, older adults can access government benefits and CCTC’s care, enabling a comfortable lifestyle, especially for those whose daughters and sons reside in foreign lands.  

Additionally, WalletHub ranked Florida as the 40th best state for healthcare, while U.S. News & World Report ranked Florida’s healthcare at 27th place. Hospitals like Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Mayo Clinic, and Cleveland Clinic are renowned names, but they may not be affordable for middle-class populations.

Retirement healthcare options in Florida are great but for patients with heart problems, and affordability as a whole becomes a huge question!

Pros of Retiring in Florida

As VOANews publishes, “Aging Americans Live It Up in Florida Retirement Communities,” it’s clear that there are advantages to retiring in Florida.  

So, this section is all about explaining why you should consider retiring in Florida and how it stands out as the best option compared to other retirement destinations in the USA.

5. The Florida Government cannot impose a tax on your income

Yes, that’s true. There is no state income tax on income from Social Security benefits, pensions, IRAs, 401(k)s, and other taxable retirement sources in Florida. Retirement taxes in Florida are nonexistent!  

I understand this point might already have you dreaming of living a magazine-worthy lifestyle in Florida. However, please pause for a moment and listen to me carefully.  

You can’t simply arrive in Florida one day, claim residency, and expect to enjoy a tax-free life without consequences. Remember, tax agencies have auditors in place to scrutinize such claims!  

To establish residency in Florida, you need to spend time here, obtain a registered voter ID card, open bank accounts, establish connections with healthcare facilities, and local shopping centers, and integrate yourself into the local community.

So, once you’ve developed your citizenship you can enjoy –

6. Florida’s robust economy can always find you a great job

As everyone knows, Florida’s economy has been ranked 4th in the USA. Consequently, you naturally have a higher chance to enjoy life in the USA’s economic powerhouse. 

Its economy is predominantly driven by tourism, agriculture, education, aerospace, and international trade. Let me explain how its economy can be a benefit for you.

First, your grandchildren can live with you and access the best education facilities while being part of a city with a vibrant tourist presence.

Second, I’d like to illustrate this with an example: my grandfather was a psychology professor at Wake Forest University. 

After coming to Florida and spending a year exploring the city, he told us that he missed the college environment and teaching students. So, thanks to his talent, he started teaching three students in the area.

Moreover, if you’re looking for part-time jobs, you’ll definitely find one. That’s the magic of a robust economy! You have the opportunity to earn and keep yourself busy if you so desire!

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7. Florida also has theme parks, something different from beaches

Disney’s U.S. park is located in Orlando, Florida, and you can bring your grandchildren for the fun they’ve always desired. 

Truly, Florida, with its Magic Kingdom Park, fireworks displays, and exciting rides, will surely bring out the inner child in you.  

I remember during my school days when my maternal uncle used to visit us with his family, we would all go for family fun, either at Busch Gardens, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, or Universal Studios.

If you show them or use your Florida citizenship card you can avail of discounts too on the tickets. Just imagine how less you’ve to pay to enter the House of the Mouse.   

However, please note that the crowds here can be immense, and if you’re not accustomed to it, it’s better to plan accordingly.

Freedom Flyer rollercoaster at Fun Spot America
Freedom Flyer rollercoaster at Fun Spot America

8. A land of diverse sexuality, culture, and art

Florida stands out as the LGBTQ-friendly destination in the USA, celebrating diverse lives, cultures, thoughts, and lifestyles. Its diversity is its greatest strength!  

People from all corners of the world have flocked to Florida since 1914, drawn by opportunities for good health, warm weather, fertile farmlands, and religious freedom. 

In Fort Lauderdale, you’ll encounter a Danish population, while the town of Yamato is home to Japanese immigrants. Florida also boasts Greek, African American, Native Hawaiian, and many other communities.  

This rich diversity is the reason why there’s always something happening in Florida in terms of celebrations. Everyone is marking their festivals, offering you a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in new cultures and lead a joyful life.

LGBTQ Welcome Center in St. Petersburg
LGBTQ Welcome Center in St. Petersburg

Cons of Retiring in Florida

9. There are high chances of YOU getting scammed

Retirement in Florida needs planning and if you think you’re smart and no one can scam you or you’ll never meet a con person, then you’re wrong. Florida has hundreds of phishing stories

Also, the Federal Trade Communion’s Consumer Sentinel Network report publishes a report that Florida has been ranked as the USA’s 4th fraud state with 1, 445 reports per 100,000 residents in 2022.

These scammers often target people whose cognitive skills decline to rob their personal information, financial information Medicare coverage, tax returns, and more.  Action News Jax even publishes Florida’s scam news too!

10. Get ready to say hi! To alligators, Burmese pythons, and more… 

In the evening, you make a cup of tea and decide to sit in your backyard to enjoy the sun and fresh air. However, when you step outside, you see an alligator sitting there before you!  

Similarly, if you have a swimming pool and decide to take a sip, you might approach it only to find a big, fat, poisonous snake lurking nearby. 

Yes, Florida is home to a variety of creepy animals. One such creature is Florida’s rat, known as the Molly Elliots, which poses another potential danger. 

You can encounter them on the beach, in trees, and sometimes even in your own home if you don’t pay $300 annually for pest control to keep them away.

In 2021, Florida was ranked as the Top 50 U.S cities with termites. In fact, Miami tops the list. It’s very common for Floridians to see panthers and pythons.

11. Tropical cyclones can destroy your property and some lives too

In 2022, The Economic Times published a report titled“U.S. Floods Trap Many in Florida as Hurricane Ian Heads to South Carolina”. Such news is quite common for Floridians, especially from June 1st to November 30th, with the peak occurring from August through October.

Tropical cyclones, including hurricanes, are a recurring part of life in Florida, often resulting in significant destruction and loss of lives. Communication lines become completely disrupted, roads flood, and electric poles topple, among other consequences.  

Florida is known for its high frequency of lightning strikes, with 82.8 flashes per square mile, earning it the title of the lightning capital of the USA, along with Oklahoma.  

For instance, Hurricane Idalia brought winds with speeds of 125 mph, leading to complete power loss, extensive damage, and widespread fear for people’s lives.

Damage by Hurricane Idalia
Damage by Hurricane Idalia, Picture- KOMO News

12. Insurance for your house is a must to protect its loss from hurricanes 

The biggest pros and cons of retiring in Florida are living life by the sea. However, when storms come, and you are not insured, you may face the worst fear of your life. As the report released by Bankrate.com, on average a homeowner spends 39% on home insurance. 

Furthermore, I want to add that if you dream of buying a home on Barrier Island, many insurance companies may not be willing to cover you because that area is considered a flood zone.

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Also, insurance companies offer insurance from 2% – 5% and sometimes 10% of the policy. All these expenses surely cost your pocket. However, I want you to read a blog post on Florida’s Hurricane insurance coverage

13. Millions of Snowbirds can sometimes make you feel lost

Snowbirds are the one who maintains a house in the Sunshine State and spend only one or two months here and the rest year in another country.

During that two months also called Snowbird Season the population increases by 5-8% making it difficult for the residents to live.

Usually, in the winter they come here making the roads packed, increasing traffic, high demand for groceries, golf courts increase in price, and more annoyances.

14. Do you know how to drive a car ride a bike or cycle?

Florida’s public transportation is budget-friendly and punctual, but its routes are limited. I’m assuming you are someone from the mid-income earning group who has bought a home in the suburbs of the main cities.

Now, the problem is that the suburbs are not properly connected, which leads to discomfort in traveling. Therefore, you need to have your own car, bike, or cycle

In the main cities, you can get Greyhound buses that cover 54 destinations and it’s convenient for those people who stay near the cities but what happens to the people residing outskirts?

Note that if you’re planning to get a driver’s license in Florida, you can read this article.  

Bike Pensacola
Join the community – Bike Pensacola

15. Florida is not at all budget-friendly and house prices are skyrocketing

Although residents of Florida enjoy an income-tax-free life, they pay a lot to the government in other forms of taxes. Think about property tax and Sales Tax!

The cost of groceries and food for a single adult in Florida is approximately $323.83 per month. 

The average transportation cost rounds up to around $15,530 per year, with healthcare expenses at $7,676 per year, in addition to other miscellaneous expenses.  

Realtor.com published a report stating that Miami is not an affordable place to live. The average rent cost in the city center is around $2,930.  

I would agree that 20 years ago, Florida’s houses were much more affordable, but since the pandemic, people started flocking here, resulting in high demand for houses and an increase in prices.  

The median sale price of a home in Florida is around $404,900, and waterfront properties can go for around $1 million. 

But, again, there are affordable properties as well as budget-friendly places around Florida that can save you money however, those properties are outskirts.

16. Safety and security in Florida for retirement becomes a significant concern

This point is highly debatable, I understand. NeighborhoodScout states that the overall crime rate is 21.30 per 1,000 residents. 

However, it’s true that making a general statement about safety in Florida can be challenging. For instance, Miami-Dade County is considered one of the most dangerous areas to reside in.  

On the other hand, there are safe places in Florida where you can feel secure even while walking alone at 2 a.m. at night. Even if you love to travel, check out the safe and affordable places to travel in Florida.

Pensacola Arts Market
Pensacola Arts Market

Money Saving Florida Travel Tips

There are hundreds of money-saving tips you can find on the internet, advising you on using credit cards, their reward points, and much more. 

However, I’m going to share a few practical tips that may not sound significant but can actually make a difference in your spending.

  • Go fishing only if you know you’re going to get or catch a fish
  • Try to farm and grow your own vegetables. You can use your backyard garden
  • Know, learn, and master the art of negotiating
  • Sit with the expense sheet every month to understand the area in which you spend more 

Read More:

FAQ: Retiring in Florida Pros and Cons

1. How does Florida’s tax system impact retirees?

A. Florida residents don’t pay income tax to the government. However, high property taxes, sales taxes, and product prices compensate for this.

2. What are the best cities or areas in Florida for retirement?

A. The North Central part of Florida, mainly Gainesville, is a beautiful location for retirees. They will be close to live oaks, springs, lakes, rivers, and theme parks.

3. Where should I not retire in Florida?

A. Please do not retire in Bal Harbor, as the cost of living index is 131.4, indicating it’s very expensive, and this area is prone to hurricane damage.

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