Thinking of retiring to Florida?

No, not me, I’m not thinking of retiring to Florida! But many of our clients start out by thinking of all their retirement options and Florida is often one of them. They might say,

“We are just beginning to plan for our retirement and we want to check out Florida, the Carolinas, maybe a few other places, and also take a look at Delaware.”

seniors tug of war textYou might think that by retirement age, people would have a solid plan and know where they want to live. Not everyone does you know but many people retire right where they are. In industry terms, most people want to “Age in Place” and prefer not to move at all when they retire.

Aging in Place…

Demographers agree that as people age, they tend to stay where they are. “Older people don’t move that much,” said William Frey, demographer and senior fellow  at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

“The boomers might have moved into the city for a while to feel their oats, go to college or sample the nightlife. But typically they moved back to the suburbs when they had kids and pretty much stayed there,” Frey said. And now, because boomers are such a big group, the senior population is set to surge all across the country.

Boomers are expected to live longer, and retire later, than earlier generations. But they also have higher rates of chronic disease, and don’t have the retirement savings their parents did. Many members of the generation that sang “I hope I die before I get old” have not planned for old age. -By Jenni Bergal, STATELINE June 21, 2016 at 8:47 AM EST

So, if most people stay right where they are when they retire, who are all these Boomers that are relocating? I think they fall into one of these groups:

  1. With higher taxes and cost of living in many states like New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, some retirees just can’t or don’t want to pay those $$ anymore. When they were raising a family, they saw the return on their tax dollars, but now that the kids are gone, they just cannot justify the expense.
  2. The children have all moved away from their home town. For example, you always lived on Long Island, but now you have one child in Manhattan, one in DC, one in Boston and another in Colorado – now what?
  3. Career moves have taken you to many parts of the country but you are originally from New Jersey (or New York, Maryland, etc.) or somewhere in the Mid Atlantic Region. When you retire, you may not want to remain where you ended up due to work.

What about Florida?

Ft Meyers Beach-blogLet’s face it, a lot of people retire to Florida. My husband Bill and I just got back from a 10 day vacation on the Gulf Coast of Florida. We spent time in Naples, Ft. Myers, Sanibel and the surrounding areas. Wherever we went there were large gated communities filled with retirees. I mean there was one after another, after another. Each one had more than 1,000 residences, pools, clubhouses, golf courses and more. How did all these people ever decide on a particular community?

People we spoke to and some we visited say that a lot of the decision was based on where friends had already moved. We see a lot of that in Delaware as well, but in Florida, where there are so many choices of neighborhoods, I think that proximity to friends is a big consideration. In Florida also, we found that communities with golf courses are more common and the golf membership might even be included in the HOA fees, or at least it was in communities we saw in Naples. We stayed with friends in Heritage Bay and learned that it was developed by the same people that designed and developed Heritage Shores here in Bridgeville, Delaware. At Heritage Shores, the golf course membership is optional; at Heritage Bay in Naples, golf in included in the HOA fee and boy did we see a lot of people playing golf every day we were there.

How are the home prices?

The home prices in Naples are higher than at comparable communities here in Delaware and the housing choices within each community are more varied. For example, at Heritage Shores in Bridgeville, there are almost all single family detached homes. In the beginning, both Lennar and Brookfield were also building attached homes, but they discontinued that and recently began building smaller detached cottage homes. Home prices tend to be in the $300s. At Heritage Bay in Naples, they have condos that sell in the $200s and $300s , larger coach homes with 3 bedrooms and 2 car garages that sell in the high $300s and low $400s and executive and estate homes that can sell well into the $700s!

There are almost more differences than similarities since Heritage Shores is an age restricted 55+ community while Heritage Bay is not. Could I tell the difference? Absolutely not since almost everyone we saw was definitely over the age of 55 and most were retirees. The point I am trying to make is that retiring to Florida is not necessarily going to cost less than retiring to Delaware, but it will all depend on where. Just like in Delaware, the closer you want to live to the beach or the shopping and great restaurants, the higher the price of the homes. But just look at the size difference. Because Delaware is such a small state, you can find a reasonably priced home or community and still not be very far from the action. Whether we were staying near Naples or Ft. Myers or Ft. Myers Beach, we spent an awful lot of time in the car driving to get to town or the beach or other activities. And the traffic was pretty awful.

We explored the area around Naples, Ft. Myers, Ft. Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Pine Island, and Punta Gorda and we had a great 10 day vacation. On our way home to Lewes, Delaware, we realized that our plan is the one that works best for us.

We live in Lewes and we can travel for a few weeks or a month at a time to Florida or the Caribbean or anywhere on our Bucket List.

If you’ve been reading my Blog for any length of time, you know that I have lived in many parts of the country, but now I can’t think of anywhere I would rather call home than Coastal Delaware. Need more information, Email me.

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