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The Sunshine State or Land of Regret? The Truth About Moving to Florida

Flordia’s warm weather and state income tax-free policies may draw you to call it your new home. But The Sunshine State doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Is Florida the right “move” for you?

Pro #1: No State Income Tax

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Florida is notorious for not collecting personal income tax from its residents. That saves many individuals hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per year.

Note that corporate income tax doesn’t have the same leeway, so speak with a tax professional if you have questions about how this law applies to your situation.

Con #1: Other Taxes Are Higher

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It’s not all sunshine and “orange groves” in the Florida tax department.

Timothy Uihlein is a Certified Financial Planner at Vincere Wealth Management. He says that some of the biggest disadvantages of moving to Florida include “higher property taxes and sales tax, a necessary evil in lieu of state income tax.”

So, before you dream of how you can spend the money you save in state income tax, work with a financial planner to crunch the numbers to get a better feel of how much money you may (or may not) have left over.

Pro #2: Warm Weather

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Arthritic joints, rejoice! There’s a reason why snowbirds flock to Florida in the winter. That said, northern Florida can get quite cold in the winter, often seeing frost and sometimes snow. 

In contrast, southern Florida’s heat can be excessive for some during the summer. So, do your homework to determine where in Florida is the best place for you weather-wise.

Con #2: Natural Disasters

Hurricane in Florida.
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Florida receives its fair share of hurricanes, tropical storms, and tornadoes. That means you may need to evacuate your home at times if you live along the coast.

You also might also have to pay higher property insurance rates.

Pro #3: Lower Cost of Living

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Not only will you save money in income tax in Florida, but the state is relatively inexpensive compared to many in the U.S.

According to data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Florida is the 32nd least expensive place to live in the U.S. 

So, you’ll feel a financial pinch if you’re moving to Florida from Missouri, which ranks as the lowest cost of living in the U.S. But you’ll feel richer if you move to Florida from states like Hawaii, Massachusetts, or California.

Con #3: Cockroaches, Oh My!

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Bugs are a pesky nuisance that comes with living in Florida’s tropical climate. Mosquitos can be present year-round, but they arrive in droves during the rainy season.

So, it’s wise to hire a pest control company as a preventative measure against cockroaches, termites, and other insects in your home.

Unfortunately, pest control won’t prevent alligators from paying you a visit. Whether you live on the west coast, east coast, or an inland destination like Orlando, alligators abound in Florida state.

Pro #4: Beautiful Beaches 

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From trendy beaches in Miami to quiet beach towns on the Gulf Coast, beautiful beaches abound in Florida. 

Generally speaking, the water is clearer and calmer on the Gulf Coast than on the Atlantic. The exception to this is southern Florida, where beaches in and around the Keys enjoy Caribbean-blue water.

Con #4: Traffic Congestion

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Traffic jams can be brutal in Florida. Unless you’re moving to Florida from a major city in the US, you could be in for an unwelcome surprise at how long it takes to drive from your house to the grocery store.

As a silver lining, the traffic tends to be worse in the winter, when all the snowbirds flock to Florida’s warmer shores.

Pro #5: Great for Retirement

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The Census Bureau’s 2020 data revealed that Florida came in second after Maine as the state with the highest percentage of residents aged 65 years and older.

While a portion of the 21.3% number undoubtedly accounts for people born and raised in Florida, it isn’t surprising that many retirees move to Florida, making it their state of residence.

Florida offers an excellent quality of life for retirees, along with a sense of community, retirement-friendly recreational activities, and more.

Con #5: Crime

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Florida sits smack-dab in the middle for homicide crimes in the US, ranking at #25. So, your new town in Florida may feel more or less dangerous to you, depending on the state — and the area within that state — you’re traveling from.

Can’t Stop Me

Based on the U.S. Census numbers from July 2021 to July 2022, Florida has the highest net migration of any state. A massive 444,500 people moved to Florida during that one-year period, which increased by 185,000 from the year prior.

A Looker

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Florida also has the most people moving in per day, at 1,218. Texas is the second state with the highest net migration (349,575) and highest number of people moving in per day (958)

Florida Transplants Tell All

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Many retirees and sunshine seekers dream of moving to Florida. But how do Florida transplants ultimately feel after they move?

16 Florida Transplants Reveal Whether They Regret Moving to the Sunshine State

Best Cities to Retire in the US

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Your Golden Years should be your best years. But according to research by U.S. News & World Report, that may not be the case depending on where you choose to retire.

50 Best Cities to Retire in America That Won’t Destroy Your Mood and 401(k)

Are You a Top 10% Earner in Your State?

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Whether earning income in the top 10% of your state feels like a pipe dream or a plausible reality, one thing is certain: What constitutes a 10% earner varies wildly by state.

How Much Money It Takes To Be in the Top 10% By State

Younger Baby Boomers Are Poorer Than Their Older Boomer Peers

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Are you a younger baby boomer who feels financially behind where your older boomer peers were at your age? Statistically, that’s true. Here’s why.

Why Younger Baby Boomers Are Poorer Than Their Older Boomer Peers

21 Travel Bucket List Ideas for Retirees

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Stay young at heart after your Florida move by exploring the world with these 21 must-see destinations during retirement. Options for active and low-impact travelers.

21 Travel Bucket List Ideas for Retirees

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