What do you think of when you picture Florida? Beaches. Blue waters. Theme parks like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. The “Florida Man” jokes. And probably also people of a certain age.
Yes, Florida is a very appealing spot for senior citizens. There are countless jokes about all the retirees who populate the Sunshine State. But what brings them there? There are a few major draws.
Like a lot of states, the coldest month in Florida is January. Unlike a lot of states, the average temperature in January hovers around 60 degrees. Snow is pretty much nonexistent. Other states have winters that seem to last six months, while Florida’s winter seems to last six days, if that. Elderly people didn’t always leave their snowy homes in the North to flee to Florida, but it’s certainly become in trend in the last few decades. Not everyone can afford to do it, but if money isn’t a factor, doesn’t it sound much more pleasant to spend your golden years in Tampa or Miami rather than Detroit or Minneapolis? Sunshine is good for both our physical and mental health, and Florida offers it in spades.
When the weather’s nice, life in general seems more manageable. If a pipe bursts in your bathroom, most people would prefer to call a South Florida plumber rather than a Northern Michigan plumber. Bad days happen everywhere, but a bad day in the frigid Northeast somehow seems worse than a bad day in Florida.
One big caveat to the weather comes in the form of hurricanes. Before Irma struck in September 2017, Florida had gone 12 years without a major hurricane strike. There’s no guarantee that Florida will go another decade without facing the likes of Irma. Florida is long and narrow, which means it’s hard to get very far inland without leaving the state entirely. Despite those disadvantages, people keep moving to Florida because it has so many other things going for it.
Florida has a reasonable cost of living overall, although the price of real estate varies wildly depending on what part of the state you’re in (places like Tallahassee will be cheaper than Miami). It ranks squarely in the middle of the pack when you rank all 50 states by their cost of living. California is sunny and full of beaches, but much more pricey.
Another nice thing about Florida? There’s no state income tax, which is one reason so many celebrities and pro athletes make their home there. For people trying to live on retirement savings, the lack of income tax can make a huge difference. Six other states are also income-tax free, including places like Texas and Washington, but they don’t necessarily have the appeal of Florida.
The lack of an income tax is helpful for people on Medicare as well. Medicare covers a lot, but it doesn’t cover everything, which leads many people to look into supplemental Medicare plans to fill in the gaps. In cases like that, a bit of extra money on your taxes can go toward making sure you get the best healthcare possible.