Some retirees are rethinking Florida, post Irma – CNBC
Sammy Musovic was planning to buy a condo in Miami’s Coconut Grove or South Beach at the end of the year, leaving his Manhattan restaurant business to his two sons.
“I was going to retire and go to Florida, but now I’m definitely reconsidering,” the 55-year-old Musovic said after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on Florida. “I want to feel comfortable and enjoy myself, I don’t want to feel like I’m in danger.”
The Sunshine State — which benefits from an overall low cost of living, extensive availability of health-care facilities and recreational activities, including golf, museums and beaches, as well as no personal income tax — consistently ranks among the best place to retire. (Texas has also been considered a top retirement spot, in part because it also has no income tax.)
Of course, that also has to do with the weather, which aside from hurricane season, is generally balmy and beautiful.
But the devastation from Hurricane Irma, fresh on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, which plowed into Houston late last month, has some retirees and soon-to-be retirees like Musovic second-guessing their decision.
Over the last decade, Florida has been the most attractive destination by far for seniors, as measured by average annual net migration for the 55-plus set, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. But it’s been steadily losing ground to states like Georgia, Arizona and the Carolinas.
And still, most American retirees are deciding to stay put, and those who do move usually don’t go far, according to Rodney Harrell, director of AARP’s Livable Communities program. (According to Brookings, less than 1 percent of Americans make an interstate move.)
“These weather events could have a real impact,” said Karen Smith Conway, an economics professor at