In our Facebook group, we often hear from people who want information on relocating or retiring to Florida. We get a good many questions on this subject, ranging from “where is a good place in Florida to move to?” to ” how much does it cost to live in Florida?”. Although the answers to these questions are really specific to the individual, certain facts remain constant.
In our travels around the state, we have made and continue to make observations and fact-gathering that may be useful to persons contemplating relocation to our lovely sunshine state. When we find those useful pieces of information, we will be posting them here.
Remember to check back from time to time as information will be added as we travel around this beautiful state and as other discussion questions and answers come up on our facebook group.
Cost of living Facts and General Observations
- The State of Florida has no state income tax
- You have to have a car and car insurance in Florida as Florida’s mass transit system is, for the most part, nonexistent.
- A location with lower housing costs usually has a higher crime rate
The cost of homeowners insurance is higher than the national average
Due to the high hurricane losses, the insurance companies have had over the last several years, homeowner insurance costs have skyrocketed. In some areas, the cost is so high that it makes homeownership out of the question for some people, or worse yet, some areas are all but uninsurable. Some of the major insurance companies refuse to write policies in high-risk areas. Before purchasing a home or condo in Florida, it will be a good idea to get a homeowners insurance quote first to make sure that it fits your budget.
Car Insurance Rates
When planing your move to Florida you must also figure in the higher cost of Auto Insurance. Florida car insurance costs are one of the highest in the country.
The 5 counties with the highest rates are:
- Miami – Dade
- Palm Beach
The counties with the lowest rates are:
Not all counties are created equal when it comes to Sales Tax. Sales tax in the state of Florida is from 6% – 8.5% depending on the county. The highest county sales tax in Florida is Hillsborough county at 8.5 % Liberty county is the 2nd highest at 8%. The county with the lowest sales tax is Citrus county at 6% all other counties are between 6.5 and 7.5%
How Safe is Florida?
Not the most dangerous state in the union but certainly not the safest when it comes to crime rates. Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2019, ranked Florida 27th on the list of safest states. So somewhere about the middle.
According to the FBI’s 2019 statistics the following are the top 10 cities with the highest rate of property & violent crime per capita:
- Florida City
- Lake City
- Opa Locka
- Miami Beach
- Lake Park
- Panama City Beach
- Daytona Beach
- Belle Glade
And According to those same 2019 FBI statistics the following are the top 10 safest cities – with the lowest property & violent crime rates per capita
- Satellite Beach
- Marco Island
- Long Boat Key
- Key Biscayne
- Indian Harbour Beach
- North Palm Beach
Best City to Retire in? relocate to?
If you were to type in on an internet search “best Florida cities to retire in?” or “best cities in Florida to live in?” you will get a long queue of websites that will give you expert advice. Problem with that is that all the trusted names of so called experts on the subject, all have completely different recommendations. In reality, if you go by all these experts and their top 10 lists, you will end up with a list of about 100 cities to research.
So how do you narrow down your search? Use different types of search questions.
- If you are not retiring to Florida and still plan on working, then your first priority has to be the job market. Where are the jobs in your field of work? Start your city search with the employment ads.
- Do you have children? If so then your second priority, after employment is the cities with the best schools. Check out top ranked schools in the state and what cities they are in.
- Where will you be spending your time? This applies to both the person retiring to Florida and those that will continue to be employed. Make a list of your hobbies and interests and research the cities that will have the most opportunities for you to enjoy those interests. Examples: Do you play golf? research cities with great golf courses. Want to spend more time on the beach? Look for cities with affordable near by beach community. Perhaps you like crafting, you certainly would want to pick an area that had a choice of craft stores? You get the idea. Look for a city that will be convenient to your interests and hobbies.
- Are good quality medical services available nearby? As we age this question becomes more and more important, especially if you are not going to have a group of family members nearby to offer support. Commuting to doctor’s offices and hospitals can become a problem as we age as well. Search top rated doctors and hospitals in Florida.
- City or rural? Traffic in Florida is extremely heavy in areas and there is no mass transit system in Florida to speak of. If you don’t care much for traffic then you certainly don’t want to live in the middle of a congested city like Miami for instance. Try a search on Florida’s best cities to drive in. You could also do a search on worst cities to drive in Florida to get an idea of what cities to avoid.
55 + Communities
If you are over age 55 and moving to the state of Florida then you may be thinking of a 55+ community. The advertisements are everywhere, you know the ones showing an older couple having the time of their life on the golf course or in the pool. Big smiles on their faces, advertising comfort and security. Yes, it is true that most of these communities offer great activities and opportunities to meet other 55+ people, making it easier to make new friends. There is a certain amount of security in being in a community of people that you feel you have something in common with. However, there are drawbacks too and they come in the form of rules and restrictions. Want the grand kids to come spend the summer? Might not be allowed. Make sure you carefully read and are comfortable with the rules and restrictions before you make any decisions.
Other useful Relocation Information
- Florida law states that you must obtain a Florida Drivers License withing 30 days of establishing residency. To get information on what you need to get a Florida drivers license when relocating from another state and also how to transfer your car registration see – Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
- Link to School Districts in the State of Florida
The following information is required to enroll a student in a Florida school:
- Proof of age. A certified birth certificate for US citizens may be requested online athttp://www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w/w2welcom.htm. If a birth certificate is not available refer to1003.21, FS, for other acceptable documentation.
- A Florida Certificate of Immunization, Form 680 (blue card), completed by a Florida physician or by a Florida county health department. Parents should obtain a copy of their child’s complete immunization history before leaving their current residence, as this form is not available to the general public. Information on Florida school immunization requirements is available at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Family/school/parent/parent_info.html.
- Evidence of a medical exam completed no less than 12 months prior to the child’s school entry date. As long as the medical exam meets this 12-month requirement, parents may submit this information on the School-Entry Health Exam Form (DH 3040) or provide a copy of the exam obtained from their current physician before moving to Florida.
- Official documentation that the parent(s) or guardian(s) is a legal resident(s) of the school district attendance area.
Again, this page too is a work in progress and will be added to as topics and questions come up. On our journey through the state we continue to make new discoveries every week so check back often for updates.
To learn more about Florida and all the great beaches, parks, museums and other fun attractions, please subscribe to our site so we may send future posts to your email in box. To be a part of the Florida discussion, ask questions and make new friends, join our facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/THEVIEWFROMFLORIDA/groups/