It’s not exactly news that Florida is the first place that comes to mind when thinking about retirement. Although nowadays, retirees have also started checking out new places to enjoy life after years of hard work, Florida still remains the number one searched-for state.
But what exactly makes the Sunshine State so desired by retirees? Could it be the warm weather, the recreational places, the wide variety of healthcare facilities oriented towards the needs of older people or simply because of the lower taxes that Florida has? No matter the reason, Florida seems to remain the paradise of seniors.
One of the Most Tax-Friendly States
One of the main reasons Florida is so liked by retirees is the low taxes. Florida is one of the seven states in the country that has no state income tax. This means zero Social Security taxes, zero pension taxes, zero inheritance or estate taxes. And when you are living on a fixed income, this can only be for the best. Of course, to benefit from all those advantages, you will have to prove that you spend more than half a year in Florida and state tax auditors will really look into it.
If you plan on keeping a second home in another state, it may be smart to make a few changes to prove that your main residence is in Florida. There are plenty of ways to do so, that will weight well in front of tax auditors.
- Registering to vote in Florida
- Changing your driver’s license and car registration
- Opening a local bank account
- Filing a Declaration of Domicile are just a few of things you can do to prove residency.
- Florida’s homestead exemption applies to the first $25,000 of a home and for some senior citizens, it can get even higher.
Cost of Living Slightly Under the National Average
Besides the low taxes that seniors benefit from, the cost of living in Florida is just a bit below the national average, making it the perfect place for living on a fixed income. In 2015, calculations from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that Florida has a regional price parity index of 99.5, with 100 being the mark of parity.
This means that people living in Florida are spending 0.5% less than the national average. This extends to the costs of homes and condos also. Sure, in cities like Miami or other metro coastal area can get a bit pricey, but there are plenty of other locations, such as Tampa Bay, where home prices are quite below the national median.
In fact, the so-called “second towns” are becoming way popular than big cities, and not only for seniors. Millennials are also migrating towards smaller cities that have turned into quite a cultural hub. Thanks to new improvements in infrastructure and social and recreational areas, smaller cities are becoming more and more popular.
A good example is Scottsdale, Arizona. The city was named the top city in the country to raise a family in 2014 and The New York Times described downtown Scottsdale as “the desert version of Miami’s South Beach”.
But the reasons people are looking for condos in Old Town Scottsdale are spreading beyond just the price range. The area has turned into quite the place for social gatherings and events, not to mention sports and outdoor activities.
There’s Nothing Like the Florida Weather
Florida has one of the best climates in the country. With average temperatures in summer going around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the annual low temperatures sitting comfortably at 60 degrees, you can’t get any better.
The beaches of Florida are there for your entertainment and nothing compares to a long walk on the beach late in the evening or early in the morning when the weather is perfect and the breeze is there to cool you down.
If you are thinking about moving into a condo, but still have access to a pool, there are plenty of Florida communities that have pools open to neighborhood residents.
There’s Plenty of Things to Do
Florida is well-known for the many ways you can fill your time. With over 1,300 golf courses, plenty of parks to go biking, walking and simply stay active. As we get older, maintaining an active life is extremely important for health.
When it comes to family visits, your grandkids will surely want to come visit as soon as you move in. Especially if they live somewhere in the north, prepare for winter visits when they try to escape the cold and snow.
On top of that, there’s always Orlando, a paradise for kids and not only. There are plenty of seniors walking around Disneyworld, with or without grandchildren, and exploring all the attractions that Orlando has to offer.
Now is the time to enjoy all the activities you wanted to try when work got in the way.