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Retiring in Miami: Pros and Cons of South Florida Living
Miami-Dade County has a population of almost 2.7 million people.
In the 2010 census. 17.3 percent of Florida’s population was aged 65 and older – the highest percentage nationwide. Miami-Dade County didn’t skew quite as old, at 14.1 percent aged 65 or older, but that was still higher than the national average of 13 percent.
What makes South Florida so attractive for retirees? And are there any drawbacks? Let’s consider the pros and cons of retiring in Miami.
Pros of Retiring in Miami
Retiring in Miami means living on or near water.
Retirement certainly doesn’t have to be boring. Not here. Miami has an abundance of recreational outlets, including waterways. golf courses. and beaches. The Miami-Dade County Active Older Adults program will hook you up with cardio, tai chi and Zumba classes. If a cruise is your kind of getaway, PortMiami is the largest cruise-ship terminal in the world. However, if you’d prefer to relax at home, enjoying peace and a good book, there are plenty of Miami retirement communities designed for seclusion, too.
Florida’s weather is, without a doubt, one of its biggest draws. Sure, four seasons are beautiful – until you slip on ice or hurt your back shoveling snow. If you live in a climate with harsh winters, you might have had enough by now. If you can’t afford to be a snowbird, moving to Florida permanently may be a good alternative. The lowest average low you’ll encounter in Miami is 60 degrees Fahrenheit in January. The average Miami high in January is a balmy 76 degrees. Ahhh!
Income, including retirement and Social Security benefits, are not taxed in Florida. There’s also no estate tax or inheritance tax. If you buy into a retirement community, property taxes in Miami-Dade County are slightly above the national and Florida averages. However, Florida residents 65 and older may be able to take advantage of an additional homestead exemption of $50,000 or more.
As a retiree in the Miami area, you won’t run out of museums to visit or possibly volunteer at. Miami boasts dozens of museums. covering arts. history. and science. Works in the many Miami-area art museums range from classical Renaissance and Baroque paintings to out-there avant-garde installations. Quirkier museums display vintage aircraft and historical railroad cars. If you’re more interested in theater and the performing arts, venues around Miami offer everything from Broadway shows to opera and ballet.
Cons of Retiring in Miami
That South Florida sun gets hot in the summer.
The Weather, Part 2
Yes, Florida weather is both a pro and a con. The Sunshine State, though bright and moderately warm most of the time, can become sweltering and humid in summer. Average highs in July and August are 91 degrees Fahrenheit. Florida is also in the midst of hurricane country, so you should expect to bear down through a few bad storms if living here. New residents should study hurricane preparations to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
High Cost of Living
Because Miami is such a hot destination, many areas are densely populated. If you don’t have a sizeable retirement income or savings, it may be difficult to find an affordable community. Overall, the cost of living in Miami is about 10 percent above the national average. Some of the outlying areas of Miami like West Park, Lauderhill, and Richmond West are good places to check out if you’re on a budget. You also might be interested in low-income senior living options in the Miami area.
Medical Care Issues
With such a high concentration of seniors, you’d think Florida would rank among the top nationwide when it comes to healthcare. However, a 2011 study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that isn’t the case. In most areas, including cancer care and quality of patient care settings, Florida was at the median; however, chronic care and nursing home options ranked below average. Though you might be in good health now, it is important to consider your options should you need specialized care in the future.
Ready to Retire in Miami?
Art Deco-style homes in Miami, Florida.
Of course, not all retirees and snowbirds flock to Miami proper. Vero Beach and West Palm Beach also offer numerous retirement communities where you can rent or buy. But without a doubt, Miami tops the list. If you have your heart set on South Florida, check out the full list of Miami-area retirement communities on After55.com.
Your turn:Have you lived in or retired to Miami? If so, share your experiences with others in the comments below.