TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida has long been a popular retirement state due to beautiful beaches, sunny weather and summer-like temperatures all year round. However, as the cost of living in the United States has gone up, yes including in Florida, the state’s attractive tax benefits aren’t helping cut down on the costs.
A study on the best and worst states to retire from BankRate ranked Florida as a great place to retire, but not if you’re looking for affordability. Among all 50 states, Florida ranked 18th for how easy it is affording to live.
According to Bankrate, the top 10 most affordable states to retire to are:
The BankRate study assigned a percentage weight of 15% to weather and 40% to affordability. Despite the lower rank on expenses, Florida ended up in the top ranks for overall retirement. Florida is listed as the best.
Here’s the top 10, when combining factors of affordability, well-being, culture and diversity, weather and crime rates.
- South Dakota
However, part of the affordability issue is insurance costs due to hurricanes. According to a certified financial planner interviewed by BankRate for their study, important things to consider are tax structures and insurance rates.
“From a financial perspective, there are a lot of things to consider. How will your income be taxed? Some states offer tax breaks on retirement income. Maryland not only has an income tax, but we’re also one of only seven states that has an estate tax,” Clark Kendall, CFP, CFA, the president of Kendall Capital Management in Rockville, Maryland said. “Look at how you’re going to spend your money, too. Even though Texas and Florida have no income tax, they do have higher homeowners insurance costs because of hurricanes.”
Even with the high property taxes, retirees and other new Floridians save on income tax – the state has none. But housing prices have been on the rise in the last two years due to changes in migration caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
BankRate said that while Florida has been a “haven for retirees” for a long time, the affordability “advantage is fading.” Still, the state’s culture is diverse and with more than a fifth of the population at retirement age, “you’ll have a good chance of finding” friends.
“Florida’s population exploded in the decades after World War II in part because the state’s housing industry catered to bargain-minded retirees,” BankRate said. “These days, Florida is no longer the super-cheap place to live that it once was.”
The company named Florida the best retirement state due to its culture and diversity rankings ,even with the affordability changes. In their 2021 ranking, Florida was No. 2.