Florida boasts 237 days of sunshine each year, 1350 miles of coastline, and over 1100 golf courses. The Sunshine State has everything you could ever ask for in a place to spend your golden years. Plus, it has a surprisingly reasonable cost of living and zero tax on retirement income – among many other impressive perks.
There’s only one problem: With so many unique destinations in the state, picking the best one for your situation can feel impossible. To help with this daunting task, several retirement experts have offered their top recommendations.
Voted the #1 best place to live in Florida for 2022 and 2023, Sarasota boasts a unique charm that attracts swathes of eager visitors and retirees alike.
The origin of the city’s name offers a clue to its popularity. “Sarasota” originates from the Spanish word for “a place of dancing.” That pleasant spirit is evident throughout the city, with beautiful beaches, a flourishing arts scene, and delightful dining opportunities.
David Berns, a financial planner with Sarasota-based Truadvice Wealth Management, recommends the area.
“The Sunshine State is attracting more retirees than ever, with its beautiful weather and no state income tax. The top 3 places are Sarasota, Naples, and St. Petersburg. All three are known for their gorgeous beaches, arts scene, and theaters.”
Sarasota residents’ health is also in good hands, thanks to an easily accessible network of medical centers and the renowned Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
Polk County’s Lakeland may lack the ocean-side appeal of other Florida destinations, yet there are still many reasons to consider it for your retirement.
As the name suggests, lakes dominate the area’s landscape. You can find 38 within city limits and more in the surrounding area. As a result, locals can fish, swim, paddle, and soak to their hearts’ content.
Lakeland is a quieter and more affordable city than you’ll likely find elsewhere in Florida. However, for those seeking access to Lakeland’s natural beauty combined with the vibrance of a bigger city, Chris Shoup, founder of retirement-focused Southshore Financial Planning, recommends settling in nearby Tampa.
“Tampa [is] a top town for retirement. There are great outdoor activities like golf, pickleball, fishing, and boating that can be enjoyed year-round. For those that prefer indoors, we have incredible restaurants, shopping, and championship ice hockey to enjoy!”
Naples is an intensely desirable place to live, from its faultless weather and white-sand beaches to its world-class golf courses, restaurants, and cultural and shopping opportunities. Jorey Bernstein, CEO and Founder of Bernstein Investment Consultants, elaborates on the city’s many draws.
“If you’re looking for a top town in Florida to retire, I would definitely recommend Naples. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Naples boasts beautiful beaches, abundant golf courses, and a thriving arts and culture scene. The city also offers access to quality healthcare and a relatively low cost of living compared to other popular retirement destinations in Florida. Overall, Naples provides a luxurious and relaxing retirement lifestyle with plenty of natural beauty and entertainment options.”
Everything about Naples screams “luxury.” It’s a decadent destination where you can expect a sky-high quality of life, assuming your income in retirement is sufficient. Those with a taste for the finer things in life will struggle to find a better place to retire in Florida.
Fort Myers and Venice
Fort Myers has everything one could need for a peaceful and content retirement. Residents can expect world-class golf courses, restaurants, stunning white sand beaches, and ample shopping opportunities. Housing costs are slightly higher than the national average, but the quality of life may justify the added expense.
If the bustle and crowds of Fort Myers aren’t for you, then Christine Luken, Certified Divorce Specialist, and Financial Dignity Coach since 2008, recommends nearby Venice as a perfect alternative.
“I’m a fan of Venice, Florida, for several reasons. Many of the homes are newer construction and, therefore, less likely to incur major hurricane damage. Venice is upscale yet affordable for the Gulf Coast. It’s not as touristy as Tampa or Ft. Myers, despite having eight beaches. Downtown Venice is quaint, with amazing restaurants and interesting shops. Not to mention almost 20 golf courses within a 15-minute drive!”
Orlando and DeLand
For many people, Orlando typifies what Florida’s all about. While it isn’t a coastal city, this big, lively, and fun-loving place blends an endless array of recreational activities with beautiful green spaces.
Anyone planning an active retirement is sure to love Orlando. Aside from the theme parks, there are plenty of fun things to do. The weather stays temperate all year around, and there’s easy access to nearby beaches. The cost of living is also relatively low, and the area has plenty of quality healthcare facilities.
To capitalize on the delights of Orlando from a quieter vantage, Alexis Hongamen, Certified Financial Planner with Total Financial Planning, suggests shifting your gaze to DeLand.
“I recommend DeLand as a great place to retire. You are right between Daytona Beach and Orlando, so a great location to get to the beach or the cultural events of a bigger city. You are 45 minutes away from a major international airport. At the same time, you are tucked away in a place that has a small-town feel with a quaint downtown. Lots of retirement villages around, so there are plenty of others in the same stage of life as you.”
Settling Down in The Sunshine State
Florida has long stood as an icon among retirement destinations worldwide. Its year-round summer weather, favorable taxation, affordability, seemingly endless coastline, and countless senior-friendly communities and amenities make it tough for any other locale to compete.
With such a diverse and in-demand destination comes the burden of choice. Florida houses a dizzying number of retirement hubs, and narrowing down the options is no small task. For decisions like these, the advice of seasoned retirement experts is an invaluable resource. With these suggestions as a starting point, any prospective retiree should be able to find the perfect new home in the Sunshine State.
This article was produced by Wealthtender and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.