Retiring in Florida

1 min readLast updated March 30, 2023by Kate Morgan

Florida is known as the "Sunshine State" and is a popular retirement destination for many Americans. With warm weather, sandy beaches, and plenty of activities to keep retirees entertained, it's no wonder why so many choose to spend their golden years in Florida. While there is no official count of how many people retire to Florida each year, data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that, in 2020, Florida had a population of approximately 21.5 million people, with more than 4 million residents over the age of 65, making it one of the largest retirement populations in the country.

What age can you retire in Florida?

In Florida, there is no specific retirement age that is mandated by law. This means that individuals are free to retire whenever they choose, as long as they are able to financially support themselves. However, there are some age-related benefits and considerations for retirees in Florida: 

Why do people retire to Florida?

  • No state income tax: One of the most significant financial benefits of retiring in Florida is the lack of a state income tax. This can be a huge advantage for retirees living on a fixed income, as it means they won't have to pay state taxes on their retirement income. 

  • Lower cost of living: Overall, the cost of living in Florida is lower than many other popular retirement destinations. Housing, food, and healthcare costs are all generally lower in Florida than in other states. 

  • Homestead exemption: Florida's homestead exemption laws can provide significant financial benefits to retirees who own their own homes. Under the homestead exemption, homeowners are able to exempt up to $50,000 of the assessed value of their primary residence from property taxes. 

  • Tax-friendly retirement accounts: Florida does not tax Social Security benefits, and other types of retirement income such as pensions and 401(k) withdrawals are also tax-friendly in the state. 

  • Warm weather: The climate in Florida is warm and sunny year-round, which is a major draw for retirees who want to escape the harsh winters in other parts of the country. The warm weather also makes it possible to enjoy outdoor activities like golf, tennis, and swimming. 

  • Health care: Florida is home to some of the best hospitals and medical centers in the country, making it an attractive destination for retirees who may require regular medical care. 

  • Outdoor activities: From fishing and boating to hiking and biking, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep retirees busy in Florida. The state is home to several national parks and wildlife refuges, as well as numerous beaches and golf courses. 

What puts people off retiring to Florida?

  • Property insurance costs: One of the major financial drawbacks of retiring in Florida is the cost of property insurance. Because of the state's high risk of hurricanes and other natural disasters, property insurance can be expensive, particularly in coastal areas. 

  • High property taxes: While the homestead exemption can help mitigate some of the property tax burden for retirees, Florida's overall property tax rates can be relatively high. 

  • Tourist areas can be expensive: While Florida's cost of living is generally lower than many other states, certain areas of the state can be quite expensive, particularly in popular tourist destinations like Miami, Orlando, and Naples. 

  • Sales tax: Florida has a relatively high sales tax rate of 6%, which can add up over time for retirees who are living on a fixed income. 

  • Crowds: Florida is a popular destination for tourists, which means that some areas can be very crowded during peak season. This can make it difficult for retirees to enjoy certain activities, such as going to the beach or visiting theme parks. 

  • Traffic: With a growing population, traffic can be a major issue in some areas of Florida. This can be frustrating for retirees who may not be used to dealing with heavy traffic. 

  • Heat and humidity: While warm weather is a pro for many retirees, the heat and humidity in Florida can be overwhelming for some. This can make it difficult to enjoy outdoor activities and may lead to health problems for some individuals. 

Best places to retire in Florida

If Florida is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in: 

  1. Sarasota: Located on Florida's Gulf Coast, Sarasota is known for its beautiful beaches, cultural attractions, and vibrant arts scene. It also boasts a low crime rate and a high quality of life. 

  2. Naples: This upscale city on Florida's southwest coast is popular among retirees for its luxury amenities, beautiful beaches, and excellent healthcare options. 

  3. The Villages: This planned community in central Florida has become a top retirement destination, thanks to its abundance of activities, shopping, and dining options, as well as its low cost of living. 

  4. St. Augustine: Known for its rich history, charming architecture, and coastal location, St. Augustine is a popular retirement destination for those who want to enjoy a slower pace of life. 

  5. Fort Myers: Located on Florida's west coast, Fort Myers offers retirees plenty of sunshine, beaches, and outdoor activities, as well as a relatively low cost of living. 

  6. Tampa: This bustling city on Florida's Gulf Coast is known for its lively downtown, world-class museums, and excellent healthcare options, making it an attractive destination for retirees. 

  7. Destin: This small city on Florida's Emerald Coast is a popular retirement destination for those who love boating, fishing, and other water activities, as well as for its stunning beaches and laid-back atmosphere. 

In conclusion, retiring in Florida has its pros and cons. While the warm weather, affordability, and outdoor activities are major draws for many retirees, the potential for hurricanes, crowds, traffic, and the heat and humidity should be considered before making the move. It's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in Florida, including property taxes, insurance, and living expenses, in order to make an informed decision about whether the state is the right choice for your retirement. 

Content writer

Kate Morgan

Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.