For many people, retiring in Florida sounds like the dream. It allows them to escape the cold and snow they put up with for decades in the Northeast or perhaps other parts of the country. Instead of the biting cold and gray skies, you get nonstop sunshine and warm weather. Sounds like a great deal, right?
Perhaps. But there are also some potentially serious downsides of retiring in Florida. Of course, there are the snakes and gators and endless traffic, but there are also financial concerns. If you dream of retiring in Florida, here are some reasons you may want to reconsider.
Homes Can Be Expensive
Many states have watched their housing prices balloon over the past few years, thanks in part to a shortfall in new construction that dates back to the Great Recession. However, none have seen their housing prices skyrocket the way Florida has.
For example, housing prices increased by 22.7% from the year before as of the third quarter of 2022, according to Statista. The median home price in Orlando is $345,000, Redfin reports. So if you intend to retire in Florida, you’ll need to be financially prepared from the get-go.
Healthcare Can Be Costly
Florida has numerous excellent medical facilities where patients can receive top-quality care. As great as that is, though, healthcare can be costly in the Sunshine State. That’s especially problematic for retirees, who are more likely to need expensive medical care.
While Medicare does cover most medical expenses for retirees over 65, there may still be out-of-pocket costs. These include deductibles, premiums and co-pays. There are also costs like long-term care, dental care and vision care that are typically not covered. Plus, Florida’s aging population could further push prices upward for everyone.
Retirement Communities May Be Expensive
In addition to healthcare costs, there is also the cost of retirement communities, which is something many retirees eventually need. On the plus side, retirement communities offer many seniors a comfortable and welcoming lifestyle.
However, these communities can be expensive in Florida. The real cost might vary significantly depending on things like where the community is located and the fees it charges. But some retirement communities charge significant fees for maintenance, security and other services. If you see yourself living in one of these communities, investigate the rates in Florida.
You Might Get Hit by a Hurricane
Florida is known for being at risk for hurricanes, which can cause severe damage to property and be costly to repair. The risk can be significant depending on where you live in Florida. Plus, the risk of hurricane damage may increase due to climate change.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th, putting you at risk for a large portion of the year. This is one reason the average homeowner’s insurance premium is $1,981 in Florida, making it the 10th most expensive state in the country for homeowner’s insurance.
You May Need Flood Insurance
In much of the country, flood insurance isn’t something people think about as a necessity. But it’s often required in flood-prone areas, which includes much of Florida.
Homes with government-backed mortgages in high-flood-risk areas are required to have flood insurance. It isn’t federally required if you have a mortgage from a private lender, but they may still require it. The average cost of flood insurance in Florida is a little over $600. However, premiums may vary significantly depending on where you live and your property’s risk assessment.
Property Taxes Can Be High
The average property tax rate is 0.89% in Florida, which puts it right in the middle in terms of property tax rates. However, even Florida’s relatively modest property tax rate can still result in significant property tax thanks to the state’s rapidly rising home costs. For example, 0.89% paid on Florida’s median $345,000 home would equate to $3,070.50 in property taxes per year.
Plus, property tax rates may vary depending on where you live within the state. Property tax rates may vary by city, county and school district. This means you could end up paying even more in property taxes if you move to Florida.
Don’t Forget Sales Tax
One thing that sometimes draws people to Florida is its lack of income tax. On the one hand, this could be seen as a good thing for retirees, many of whom live on a fixed income. But don’t forget state and local sales tax, which is 7.02% in Florida. That can significantly impact retirees when they purchase goods and services.
One positive is that certain goods, such as groceries and prescription drugs, are exempt from sales tax in Florida. However, some jurisdictions might still add a tax on these items. The bottom line is that if you are flocking to Florida to escape income taxes, its sales taxes can quickly sour your plan.
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