Florida ranks as one of the worst states to retire on a budget, study says

Florida has long been the state that the rest of the country, at least much of the eastern part of the country, couldn’t wait to retire to. It’s known for its beaches and golfing communities peppered with, or even created for, senior living communities like The Villages.

But because of the state’s soaring prices for everything from groceries to health care, selecting Florida as the place to retire is not as easy a choice.

In August 2023, financial services company BankRate released a list of the best states to retire to. That list ranked Florida in eighth place, placing Iowa in first place because of its affordability.

In January 2024, WalletHub released its list of the best states for retirement, and Florida ranked as the best state in the U.S. for retirees.

But a more recent study from Seniorly, a platform for senior living resources, says Florida is one of the least affordable states to retire to.

Whether retiring to Florida is right for you really depends on your budget.

Here’s Seniorly’s list of the best states to retire to and where Florida ranked on that list.

What is the best state to retire on a low budget?

According to Seniorly’s study, the best state to retire to on a budget is Iowa.

“Iowa is the Most Affordable State,” the study says. “Its high score was driven by a low median rent ($1,100, third-lowest), high SSI payments ($834 per month, fifth-highest), and because it does not tax retirement income for people over 55 – making it one of the most tax-friendly states for retirees. Iowa ranked well across the board.”

Here are Seniorly’s top 10 best states to retire to on a budget:

  1. Iowa

  2. New Mexico

  3. Tennessee

  4. Oklahoma

  5. South Dakota

  6. Idaho

  7. Michigan

  8. Wyoming

  9. Pennsylvania

  10. Utah

What are the cons of retiring in Florida?

Florida is the 15th-most expensive state to retire to, according to Seniorly’s rankings.

In the individual category of cost of rent, Florida ranked as one of the most expensive states, tying for 5th-most expensive with New Jersey.

The low taxes don’t outweigh the high cost of living in the Sunshine State for most prospective retirees on a budget. The high price tag that comes with living in Florida is what ultimately led to the state’s low ranking on this list.

Here’s how Florida ranked in some of Seniorly’s individual categories:

  • 45th place in rent prices ($2,500 average)

  • 45th place for cost of electricity ($155 per month average)

  • 44th place in inflation

  • 41st place for cost of groceries ($321 average)

  • 37th place for Medicare spending

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Florida isn't the top choice for retirees on a budget. Here's why