The deed is done. The years have flown by. The retirement accounts are ready to be tapped. The dream is intact. Florida beckons, a sandy retirement haven drenched in sunshine – on average 266 days of at least some sunshine if you've settled on retirement in Fort Myers, for example.
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However, before you buy that high-rise condominium, or perhaps the townhouse in the smaller beach-side development, just how far will your dollar take you? As with all things, it depends on how many dollars you have and where in Florida you decide to take retirement. Sound daunting? There are some online tools that will help. CNN Money
offers a cost of living calculator and it's a good place to begin, although it doesn't allow you to enter random locations.
Choosing from the list, let's say you're working in Brooklyn, New York, and making about $45,000, which was the average national wage index in the United States in 2013. If you've dreamed of retiring in Sarasota, you'd need an annual income of $26,819 to maintain the same standard of living. According to the calculator, housing is 65 percent less in Sarasota than Brooklyn.
Change the cities to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Tampa, with the same $45,000 salary, and the calculator says you'd need slightly more than $40,000 in income to maintain your standard. However, if you live in Columbus, Ohio and you dream of Florida you'd need up to $5,000 more in annual income to maintain your standard of living. There is additional data available if you're willing to crunch numbers around the internet before your retirement in Florida.
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If you're considering the Palm Beach area for retirement, which can be one of the more expensive areas in Florida, you'll find that it's still cheaper to live there than New York City. The consumer price index in West Palm is 14 percent lower than New York City. Tampa's is 25 percent less. New York was ranked the most expensive city in the U.S. in 2014 by Kiplinger
In one 2014 study, Florida was ranked 27th overall in cost of living, making it more affordable than 23 states. One of the best, low-cost retirement areas in the country is the Daytona/Deltona/Ormond Beach area of Florida, according to a story by the AARP
that lists best places for retirement on $30,000. The median house price in that area is $108,000.
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