Thinking about moving to florida

Moving to Florida was the best decision we ever made. However, we realize that everyone is different and will ultimately have varying experiences once they arrive in the sunshine state.

As you’ve probably seen on the news the last few years, Florida is one of the most popular states to move to and it has everything to do with its amazing climate, pristine beaches, and laidback living.

But before you start packing your bags, there are some important factors to consider. We’ll explore eight reasons why you might want to think twice before moving to Florida.

In addition, we’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of calling the sunshine state your new home.

Whether you’re considering a move for retirement, work, or just a change of scenery, it’s important to weigh all your options before making such a big decision.

1) Weather: The sunshine isn’t for everyone

Depending on where you live, the sunshine isn’t for everyone. Don’t get us wrong, we love the sunshine and thrive in the Orlando weather.

However, we’ve met people who move here, soak up the sun, and leave a year later.

It happens…not often…but it happens.

For example, someone moving from Alaska will have a blissful, out of body experience when they first step off the plane in Florida and shed their parka. And then after the first year, they may begin longing for fall and winter weather.

By their second year, they will realize the weather doesn’t change, the foliage doesn’t turn bright red and orange, and their clothing options more or less… remain the same… month after month.

Depending on where you are moving from, the weather in Florida can present a drastic shift.

Let’s see how Florida it compares with other big cities around the country. We will use Orlando as our Florida example.

The following are very popular cities in the United States and we will compare their average weather with Orlando, FL across the year:

CityAverage High Temperature (°F)Average Low Temperature (°F)
Salt Lake City6139
Orlando vs Major US Metropolitan Cities Average Weather

Looking at the table above, Florida is at least 20 degrees warmer than many other cities in the United States.

You will experience a far greater shock moving to Florida from somewhere like Boston with cold winters than somewhere warmer like Dallas.

In general, the warmer your summer, the lesser your shock will be and the more seasonal change you experience, the more shock you will experience.

And you will probably miss Autumn…

A survey in 2022 was collected by Morning Consult and found that autumn or “fall” was the most popular season across every age demographic and region in America. It wasn’t even close.

Morning Consult Autumn Survey

For many people, fall/autumn weather is a break from the long, hot summer. Hot chocolate, sweaters, scarves, and crunchy leaves are universal symbols of autumn joy.

In Florida, leaves won’t change and the weather won’t drop much below 75—except for a few short days.

In fact, in 2022, According to the National Weather Service, there were 10 days in Orlando below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

The average daytime high in Orlando during the month of October will reach the upper 80’s quite often. It won’t be fall, it will be summer. Halloween will be Hallowsteam.

Take a look at October in 2022 as captured by Weather Spark. It was balmy.

Weather Spark Orlando October Temperatures

How do we feel about the weather?

After living in New Orleans, Seattle, New York, and Chicago, we can confidently say we love the weather in Florida. Is it hot? Yes. It’s the tropics and it’s what we expected.

However, just like people in northern states run for the heater in the winter, we run towards the shade or a cool body of water in the hot summer months. We love having 365 days of great weather.

The mornings? Amazing. The sunsets? Spectacular.

We never have to shovel our driveway. Gone are the days we need gas in our garage for our snow blower. We never have to keep a scraper in our car. Our wardrobe has shrunk considerably without the huge coats, boots, and bulky sweaters.

And best of all, we don’t have to spend money on plane tickets to visit here anymore—we live in our vacation spot.

2) Taxes: Not all Florida taxes are zero

One the things we hear most often from people moving to Florida is, “I’m moving to Florida because I hate paying high taxes.”

We get it. Florida has gotten a lot positive press lately about its tax system. And sure, there are certainly benefits.

But not everything is cheaper. It’s not that cheap here—sorry to inform you.

Income Tax (the good news)

Florida is one of seven U.S. states that do not have a state income tax, which means you will not have to pay state income tax on wages or earnings in Florida.

This can be a significant advantage for those who want to keep more of their income.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the average American will make $1.7 million over their lifetime ($50k per year) and pay $532,910 in taxes throughout their lifetime. The average American will pay $287,901 in federal income taxes, $113,839 in state income taxes, and $10,510 in sales taxes.


All this means is that getting a break on state income taxes can be a major deal as it’s one of the biggest personal taxes you’ll incur in your lifetime.

If you are moving from one of the states below, you won’t experience much of an income tax break because you aren’t paying any state income taxes right now anyway.

StateState Income Tax Rate
FloridaNo state income tax
AlaskaNo state income tax
NevadaNo state income tax
South DakotaNo state income tax
TexasNo state income tax
WashingtonNo state income tax
WyomingNo state income tax
6 lowest income tax states

On the other hand, if you are from one of these state, you are in for some serious savings.

StateState Income Tax RateRanking$250k per year
New Jersey11.75%47th$29,375
New York14.78%50th$36,950
7 highest income tax states

However, while Florida does not have a state income tax, it does have other taxes that you will need to consider.

The other taxes (the bad news)

Sales Tax

Florida has a sales tax of 6% on most goods and services, which can be increased by local surtaxes depending on where you live.

This may not be cheaper than where you live and depending on your spending habits, sales tax could really add up in Florida.

The following six states have far cheaper sales tax rates than Florida.

  • Oregon: 0% sales tax
  • Delaware: 0% sales tax
  • Montana: 0.00% to 0.69% sales tax (depending on the county)
  • New Hampshire: 0% sales tax, 9% on prepared meals, 7% on hotel rooms
  • Alaska: 0% state sales tax, local sales taxes 0% to 7.5%
  • Hawaii: 4% state sales tax, local sales taxes 0.25% to 0.5%

Property Tax

Property taxes in Florida can be moderately high, particularly in areas with high property values.

It’s important to note that property taxes in Florida are based on the assessed value of your property, which means that if you purchase a more expensive home, your property taxes will be higher.

Florida is middle of the road when it comes to property taxes, ranking 29th out of 50 states.

Below are the ten lowest property tax states in the country (average property tax). If you are moving from one of these states, you may feel some sticker shock.

StateProperty tax rate (% of home value)
District of Columbia0.56%
West Virginia0.59%
Lowest Property Tax States

It’s important to note that tax laws can be complex and are subject to change, so it’s a good idea to consult with a tax professional or financial advisor if you have questions about taxes in Florida.

Check the table below for an average of the various taxes different states pay. Data may have changed since this was posted. We utilized the database from Tax Foundation in 2023.

StateSales Tax RateAverage State Income Tax for Highest EarnersAverage Property TaxCorporate Tax
New Hampshire0.00%5.50%0.65%7.60%
New Jersey6.32%10.75%2.22%11.75%
New Mexico5.125%4.9%.774.8%
Alabama through New Mexico (Average Taxes)
StateSales Tax RateAverage State Income Tax for Highest EarnersAverage Property TaxCorporate Tax
New York4%8.82%1.21%6.50%
North Carolina4.75%5.25%0.92%3.00%
North Dakota5.00%2.95%0.75%5.00%
Rhode Island7.00%5.93%1.28%7.00%
South Carolina6.00%7.00%0.80%5.00%
South Dakota4.50%0.00%0.68%5.00%
West Virginia6.00%5.70%0.79%6.00%
New York through Wyoming (Average Taxes)

How do we feel about the taxes?

We don’t mind them at all because we are happy to pay for the sunshine.

We moved from Chicago to Orlando and found that despite Orlando not having the cheapest property taxes in the country, they are a fraction of what we paid in the Naperville/Aurora area of Illinois ($13k per year) or what Tom would have paid had he stayed in New York ($$$$).

In addition, our income is no longer state taxed at 5%. Yes!!!

If we add up all of our taxes from our move from Chicago, we are way ahead.

But here’s the kicker: If we had to pay the same amount of taxes we paid in Illinois in order to move to Florida, we would still have made the move for a higher quality of life. We love Florida.

3) Hurricanes: Coastal living has its disadvantages

Living in coastal Florida is a lifestyle fit for postcards. White sand beaches, delicious frozen drinks, walks at sunset—what’s not to love?

Sunset on the beach in Treasure Island Florida
Sunset on the beach in Treasure Island Florida

Well, hurricanes. We don’t love hurricanes.

They are destructive and can turn living in Florida from a dream to a nightmare.

Florida is surrounded by warm water on three sides which provides energy for dangerous storms. In addition, most hurricanes start deep into the Atlantic Ocean and Florida is the closest state to this hot-zone of storm of activity.

To make matter worse, Florida’s low coastal sea-level makes storm surges and flooding especially dangerous. And it’s the storm surges that ultimately cause the most destruction.

Florida gets hit by a lot of hurricanes

According to the National Hurricane Center, Florida has experienced 122 hurricanes between 1851 and 2020. Of these hurricanes, 39 have made landfall on the Gulf Coast side, 55 have made landfall on the Atlantic Coast side, and 28 have affected the Florida Keys.

According to the University of Florida researchers, there have been nearly 900 hurricanes since 1851 when we began record keeping. Of those 900, 289 have hit the United States, of which 120 (36 major hurricanes) have impacted Florida—directly or indirectly.

Florida is hit by a hurricane every 1.38 years on average. That’s pretty often is you ask us.

That’s a lot of hurricanes.

Some of the most devastating hurricanes to hit Florida include Hurricane Andrew, Michael, Irma, and Ian which all caused billions of dollars in losses.

In addition to these major hurricanes, Florida also experiences numerous tropical storms and smaller hurricanes which still cause significant damage and pose a threat to public safety via flooding and wind damage.

How do we feel about hurricanes?

We don’t worry too much about them. And it’s not because we are thrill seekers, but because we have strategically chosen Orlando as our home for a number of reasons we outlined on a recent blog here.

Reasons why Orlando is a great place to live during hurricanes:

  1. Orlando is in the middle of the state which makes flooding and storm surges much less likely.
  2. Hurricanes weaken over land because they need warm water for energy and Orlando is at least 60 miles from the coast.
  3. Orlando has never experienced a serious hurricane.
  4. The area we choose to live in near Orlando is Clermont which is one of the most elevated cities in Florida. Higher is better when we are talking about water.
  5. We recently experienced Hurricane Ian’s winds and rains as it traveled north from Fort Myers and we found Orlando is well protected and has excellent emergency and communication services. Check out our experience below.

4) Traffic: Florida traffic is as bad as most cities

Florida hasn’t received the best press as of lately for its traffic.

In fact, a recent survey by hireahelper researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey and found that Florida is the worst state for commuters.

Now, you might be thinking, “How can Florida be worse than my city of (insert horrible traffic city)?”

And, you’d probably be right if you are from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, or San Francisco.

But do we think the recent headlines are overly dramatic? Yah, probably.

You see, headlines like these aren’t always grounded in reality. A recent report from the data mapping company Maptive found that the longest commute times were from cities outside of Florida.

U.S. CitiesAverage Commute Time (in minutes)
New York City37
Jersey City36.5
San Francisco34.4
Riverside-San Bernardino32.7
Los Angeles30.8

Now, does that mean that Florida doesn’t have its fair share of traffic? Not at all.

We don’t like rush hour in Miami, Orlando, Tampa, or Jacksonville. Whenever you have a million people rushing home from work, it never makes for a pleasant experience.

However, we think the headlines about Florida’s traffic are sensationalized.

The average commute time in the United States is 26 minutes. And Florida’s busiest two cities have commute times of 28.9 minutes (Miami) and 28.2 minutes (Orlando)—2 minutes off the average.

Definitely not “crazy” commute times.

Now, Florida car accidents are another story. We are third in the nation. We need to fix that. Stop looking at the sunsets while driving people!!!

How do we feel about Florida traffic?

It’s not great, but its not nearly as bad as Chicago where we moved from. Thank goodness.

We don’t travel into the city of Orlando that often and we know how and when to avoid Disney tourist traffic.

We get it, we used to be those tourists trying to figure out which entrance had the best parking while simultaneously passing crackers to the backseat of a car with screaming kids. Chaos.

However, we have noticed a trend in Orlando traffic: while you aren’t delayed that often—when you are—no one moves fast to clear accidents or get the flow of traffic moving again.

We guess it’s the “sunshine tax” of living in a laid back state.

If you are moving from a major metropolitan area (3+ million people), the traffic won’t be anything unexpected. If you are moving from one a stoplight town, the traffic may surprise you.

5) Income: People make less in Florida

Do people make less money in Florida than many other states? Yes.

In fact, according to the the 2018 ACS 1-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) from the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida ranks 21st in average income across 50 states for millennials.

Why did we chose millennials for this section to compare incomes with other states? The reason is simple: millennials will make up 40% of the workforce by 2025—by far the largest group. Millennials are also moving to Florida in droves to chase an easier life.

Millennials will also be the U.S. generation that is moving into executive and management roles and will begin establishing generational wealth as they enter their prime earning years. Yes, the same kids with NSYNC posters on their walls 20 years ago will be running the country. Gulp…

Millennials will also make up the largest percentage of tech workers, medicals workers, and skilled workforce labor in Florida. These jobs have a higher income potential that the oversaturated hospitality, recreation, and tourism jobs Florida is traditionally known for.

How well do millennials get paid in Florida?

The average income for millennials in Florida is $50,000. The 10th percentile income for millennials in Florida is $25,000, the 25th percentile income is $35,000, the 50th percentile income is $50,000, the 75th percentile income is $65,000, the 90th percentile income is $90,000, and the 99th percentile income is $166,000.

So how does this stack up against the ten states that most move to Florida (as of 2023)?

Check it out below.

State50th Percentile75th Percentile90th Percentile99th Percentile
New Jersey$68,000$88,000$111,000$148,000
New York$67,700$87,000$111,000$148,000

Depending on where you are moving from, Florida may or may not present much of a difference in earning. Millennials actually do quite well in Florida.

While there are many articles on screaming “low-incomes” in Florida, we have to take a few things into consideration:

First, a lot of data on Florida incomes are skewed because of Florida’s large fixed income population. Florida ranks #1 for number of people retired and people on a fixed income. This will statistically bring down the average income earned across a population of people.

Second, hospitality and tourism jobs are notoriously low paying—in every state in the country—however Florida has an abundance of these jobs; many of which are seasonal. Again, this will bring down the average income.

Third, as you look at the table above, you’ll notice that millennials are actually doing quite well compared to millennials in relocating states. The drop-off may not be as much as you would think when you remove Grandma’s hourly wage as a greeter at Epcot from the calculation.

How do we feel about Florida incomes?

We help people relocate to Florida and we work with people from all walks of life and we can say that most people who relocate to Florida, do so with opportunities that present an increase in salary and quality of life.

In our years of real estate, we rarely encounter people who take a significant pay-cut to move to Florida.

But have we met people who took a pay-cut? Yes. It is usually drastic? No. Have they ever regretted it? Nope.

Frequently asked questions

I’m moving from a city full of culture, does Florida actually have a culture?

While this might seem like a strange question, people often mention the idea that Florida doesn’t have an identity or culture.

For example, when people think of New Orleans, Chicago, Nashville, Boston, and New York, they think of a specific cultural experience.

However, we think Florida is misunderstood. There is a great cultural experience here.

When you arrive, you will see that Florida’s rich Spanish, Caribbean, Native American, and European history is all around you. From the world-class eateries in Ybor City and Little Havana to the relaxed back-porch vibes of the Florida Keys and St. Pete’s Beach.

Florida will invigorate your sense of exploration if you seek it out.

We’ve been to places in Florida that make you feel like you’ve stepped into another country. St. Augustine was built in 1565 and is the oldest continually-habited European settlements in America.

The Palm Coast’ European Village will have you thinking you’re walking through Europe’s cobblestone streets.

Palm Coast European Vibes in Florida

Don’t forget about Florida’s amazing sports culture.

Florida is home to a number of professional sports teams, including the Miami Dolphins (NFL), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), the Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL), the Miami Heat (NBA), the Orlando Magic (NBA), the Tampa Bay Rays (MLB), and the Miami Marlins (MLB).

And college sports? Oh yah, Florida has those too—home to the University of Florida Gators, the Florida State Seminoles, the Miami Hurricanes, and the UCF Knights.

Florida also in inventing its own culture—the beach culture. When you think of beach relaxation, where do you think of? We bet you think of Florida.

With Florida being the most visited state in the country, it’s likely you’ve packed your bags for Florida’s white sandy beaches at some point in your life.

That in itself is an amazing cultural experience: white sand beaches, ocean front seafood, sunsets that light up the sky, breezy nights filled with live music, and all-day sand castle building with the kids.

I’m thinking of going to college in Florida, is it affordable?

Yes, in fact, Florida is one of the most affordable states for higher education in the country compared to its cost of living.

Check out the recent Florida’s #1 rankings by U.S. News in higher education below:

Florida ranks #1 in higher education, #1 in tuition and fees, #7 in graduation debt, and #2 and #6 for two and four year graduation rates.

Wow, go Florida.

There are a number of reasons why Florida is so affordable for higher education.

First, the state has a number of public universities that offer low tuition rates. For example, the University of Florida charges in-state students just $6,380 per year in tuition and fees.

Second, Florida offers a number of financial aid programs to help students pay for college. These programs include scholarships, grants, and loans.

Florida is especially great for military veterans. You can read more about military veterans and Florida schooling in our recent blog here.