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With a scary hurricane season already, is Florida the right retirement haven for you?

Michelle Singletary on

But lately Florida isn't topping the lists of the best places to retire. On Forbes' 2017 ranking of the 25 best places to retire, only two Florida communities -- Port Charlotte and The Villages -- made the cut, and they were near the bottom.

Bankrate.com's most recent list had Florida in the 17th spot. New Hampshire is the best state to retire, according to the personal finance site.

Bankrate.com found that half of working adults would consider moving to a different city or state when they retire. Are you one of them? If so, here are three key questions to consider if Florida is on your list.

-- Have you factored weather-related costs into your retirement planning? In 2004, Hurricane Charley pummeled Port Charlotte with 145 mph sustained winds. The storm hit the Gulf Coast community "like an angry drunk swinging a billy club," The Orlando Sentinel reported in a 2009 retrospective. About half of the county's 12,000 homes were destroyed or deemed unlivable.

"Residents who couldn't afford to rebuild moved away, while speculators moved in and drove up prices, creating a post-storm housing shortage," the newspaper reported.

Hurricane Irma brought fears of flooding from a storm surge. As the storm approached, more than 6 million Floridians were ordered to evacuate. By early last week, more than 6 million households had lost power.

Coastal cities are increasingly facing costly flood damage due to climate change, according to research by the World Bank. Two cities in Florida -- Miami and Tampa -- made the bank's top 10 list of the most vulnerable coastal cities worldwide.

-- Are you really saving as much as you think on taxes? There's more to taxes than the personal rate. States with no personal income tax, such as Florida, often make up for the lack of this revenue by having higher sales or real estate taxes.

-- Can your family afford to get to you soon enough in a crisis? What would be your support system should you need assistance, especially with health-related issues? And let's be real, having family close can save on the cost of hiring help.

If Florida is far from family and friends, will you have the money to go see them regularly? Can they afford to come to you?

There are always trade-offs when you make a major move. Just don't let the promise of a sunshine paradise cloud your judgment of finding a sustainable place to retire.

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Readers can write to Michelle Singletary c/o The Washington Post, 1301 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071. Her email address is michelle.singletary@washpost.com. Follow her on Twitter (@SingletaryM) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/MichelleSingletary). Comments and questions are welcome, but due to the volume of mail, personal responses may not be possible. Please also note comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless a specific request to do otherwise is indicated.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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