Author Topic: Moving to FL  (Read 934 times)

a-rab

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Moving to FL
« on: September 23, 2018, 09:23:10 AM »
Hello all!

I hope this is a good place to post this question. In a nutshell, I am looking at potentially moving to the Tampa Bay area within the next 1-2 years. I currently make around $40k, which is low for FL, but after completing the CPA certification, will be making a much higher income. No kids, all consumer debt will be paid off and I will most likely only owe student loans. I will be looking to purchase a home at this point as well.

Really just looking for people who live or have lived in the area within the last 5-7 years or so. Numbers are important, but this post is about lifestyle offered and not so much the other nitty gritty, which is equally important, yes. I can make anything work and enjoy it, I want to know if it's a good decision and quality of life matches the cost.

Thanks in advance!

Cranky

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Re: Moving to FL
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2018, 09:29:52 AM »
Where are you now? I don’t think of Tampa as being super expensive.

What lifestyle do you want?

I love Florida, having grown up there, but first of all, it’s reallly hot and humid for a good half of there year. There are lots of bugs. There are alligators. Really, any body of water in the Tampa area, including drainage ditches and decorative ponds, are apt to have alligators in residence. Also, snakes.

And Florida is more The South than you might think, even today.

a-rab

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Re: Moving to FL
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2018, 09:38:03 AM »
Cranky thank you for the quick reply! I am in Southern IN and am from W KY originally. Humidity is terrible here as well, bugs suck, you walk out to your car and by the time you sit down, you've got that moist sweat ring around your neck....I can do heat. I love heat. I know humidity heat sucks, but I welcome it.

I personally love the beach (although I know you probably become accustomed to it). We have rivers/lakes up here, and they are always a good time. I guess what I'm primarily looking for is a place where after work, I can go out and find free things to do (spending time outdoors, hiking, fishing, etc...which FL has plenty of water for), hangout spots to meet friends, good gyms (indoor or outdoor), good music scene (concerts, music festivals), different places to visit and walk around (can't stand just driving around new places), cool shops, non-chain food options, friendly people, etc.

That's actually a good question I need to define for myself more now that I try to add it here.

I am completely okay with Southern values/lifestyle. That's essentially what I've known my whole life.

Snakes and gators don't bother me. We have plenty of snakes here.

LifeHappens

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Re: Moving to FL
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2018, 09:46:40 AM »
I guess what I'm primarily looking for is a place where after work, I can go out and find free things to do (spending time outdoors, hiking, fishing, etc...which FL has plenty of water for), hangout spots to meet friends, good gyms (indoor or outdoor), good music scene (concerts, music festivals), different places to visit and walk around (can't stand just driving around new places), cool shops, non-chain food options, friendly people, etc.
If that's what you're looking for, the Tampa area has many, many neighborhoods and suburbs where you can find that. The cost of living is pretty reasonable. Access to wide open spaces is good. You can get to some pretty out of the way places within an hour's drive. The parks and biking/walking infrastructure is pretty good and getting better.

Generally on this board we suggest you just visit a place for a while before moving and if you decide to move, definitely rent for at least 6 months before deciding to buy.

a-rab

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Re: Moving to FL
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2018, 10:04:51 AM »
I went back in March for a week and I had the time of my life. I would definitely want to probably rent for 6 months to a year and explore as much as I can.

Some of the things that concern me as well are increased costs for things like auto insurance (which I have been told FL is the insurance fraud capital of the world), groceries (Publix vs Aldi for example), health costs, etc.

Can you speak to what your experience has been with some of life's daily costs and what that looks like?

terran

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Re: Moving to FL
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2018, 10:51:05 AM »

LifeHappens

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Re: Moving to FL
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2018, 10:57:57 AM »
Some of the things that concern me as well are increased costs for things like auto insurance (which I have been told FL is the insurance fraud capital of the world), groceries (Publix vs Aldi for example), health costs, etc.

Can you speak to what your experience has been with some of life's daily costs and what that looks like?
Well, insurance in general costs more here. Terrible drivers + hurricanes = increased premiums. Electric bills can be high during AC season, which is at least 6 months of the year. Water is more expensive than it was in my former Great Lakes state. Gas is pretty much at the national average. I haven't found groceries to be more expensive than the Midwest. We have Aldi, Costco, etc. Plus fresh produce from Florida farms most of the year.

In terms of entertainment costs, they are pretty standard for a MCOL area. A draft microbrew will cost $5-7. Concerts and shows are anywhere from $10 for community theater to $$$$ for the touring Broadway shows and marquee musicians. The museums and amusement parks offer lots of discounts during slow seasons for Florida residents. Florida is also the early bird and happy hour capital of the US, so a deal conscious person can find good value if you dig.

One of the best things about this area is the abundance of free recreation. I'm not kidding about how bikeable/walkable some of the neighborhoods are. The Tampa/St. Pete metro area is putting a lot of investment into bike infrastructure. There are some amazing parks in the urban area and even better ones a short drive away. Free concerts abound. Meetup groups exist for just about any kind of sport you can imagine.

If you like the climate and can live with the storm threat there is a lot to like about this area.

Cranky

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Re: Moving to FL
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2018, 11:40:21 AM »
I went back in March for a week and I had the time of my life. I would definitely want to probably rent for 6 months to a year and explore as much as I can.

Some of the things that concern me as well are increased costs for things like auto insurance (which I have been told FL is the insurance fraud capital of the world), groceries (Publix vs Aldi for example), health costs, etc.

Can you speak to what your experience has been with some of life's daily costs and what that looks like?

There’s an Aldi in New Port Richey, so you may find one in whatever area you land in.

However, as a Floridian transplanted to Ohio, do not mistake Indiana “hot and humid” for the Florida version. Not even close. Florida has, IMO, 6 months of delightful weather, and 6 months of HOT. (Which I like, but many people do not.)

BTDretire

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Re: Moving to FL
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2018, 12:11:26 PM »
Both my kids 24 and 27 grew up in Panama City, moved to Gainsvilles for college and now live in the Tampa area. My daughter hates the weather, even though she spent several years in Gainesville, also known as the swamp.
 My son doesn't have much to say on the subject.
 Incomes vary much in Florida. Panama City has a lower income,

The Median household income of a Panama City resident is $37,453 a year. The US average is $53,482 a year.

The Median household income of a Tampa resident is $43,740 a year. The US average is $53,482 a year.

More Tampa info, https://www.bestplaces.net/city/florida/tampa

a-rab

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Re: Moving to FL
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2018, 02:39:10 PM »
Some of the things that concern me as well are increased costs for things like auto insurance (which I have been told FL is the insurance fraud capital of the world), groceries (Publix vs Aldi for example), health costs, etc.

Can you speak to what your experience has been with some of life's daily costs and what that looks like?
Well, insurance in general costs more here. Terrible drivers + hurricanes = increased premiums. Electric bills can be high during AC season, which is at least 6 months of the year. Water is more expensive than it was in my former Great Lakes state. Gas is pretty much at the national average. I haven't found groceries to be more expensive than the Midwest. We have Aldi, Costco, etc. Plus fresh produce from Florida farms most of the year.

In terms of entertainment costs, they are pretty standard for a MCOL area. A draft microbrew will cost $5-7. Concerts and shows are anywhere from $10 for community theater to $$$$ for the touring Broadway shows and marquee musicians. The museums and amusement parks offer lots of discounts during slow seasons for Florida residents. Florida is also the early bird and happy hour capital of the US, so a deal conscious person can find good value if you dig.

One of the best things about this area is the abundance of free recreation. I'm not kidding about how bikeable/walkable some of the neighborhoods are. The Tampa/St. Pete metro area is putting a lot of investment into bike infrastructure. There are some amazing parks in the urban area and even better ones a short drive away. Free concerts abound. Meetup groups exist for just about any kind of sport you can imagine.

If you like the climate and can live with the storm threat there is a lot to like about this area.

I appreciate this insight. Thank you. That sheds a lot of light on some of the things that I had questions on.

a-rab

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Re: Moving to FL
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2018, 02:40:49 PM »
I went back in March for a week and I had the time of my life. I would definitely want to probably rent for 6 months to a year and explore as much as I can.

Some of the things that concern me as well are increased costs for things like auto insurance (which I have been told FL is the insurance fraud capital of the world), groceries (Publix vs Aldi for example), health costs, etc.

Can you speak to what your experience has been with some of life's daily costs and what that looks like?

There’s an Aldi in New Port Richey, so you may find one in whatever area you land in.

However, as a Floridian transplanted to Ohio, do not mistake Indiana “hot and humid” for the Florida version. Not even close. Florida has, IMO, 6 months of delightful weather, and 6 months of HOT. (Which I like, but many people do not.)

I have heard that it is definitely a much different type of heat than the Midwest. I'm used to 90-100 degree days with 80-100% humidity. I don't mind it. But I am also looking to avoid the snow and cold weather altogether, so the other 6 months sound very nice!

a-rab

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Re: Moving to FL
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2018, 02:41:44 PM »
Both my kids 24 and 27 grew up in Panama City, moved to Gainsvilles for college and now live in the Tampa area. My daughter hates the weather, even though she spent several years in Gainesville, also known as the swamp.
 My son doesn't have much to say on the subject.
 Incomes vary much in Florida. Panama City has a lower income,

The Median household income of a Panama City resident is $37,453 a year. The US average is $53,482 a year.

The Median household income of a Tampa resident is $43,740 a year. The US average is $53,482 a year.

More Tampa info, https://www.bestplaces.net/city/florida/tampa

What did she think of the Gainesville area?

Bateaux

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Re: Moving to FL
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2018, 05:39:07 PM »
We just bought our FIRE house an hour north of Tampa in Citrus County.   The heat and humidity is on par with our current home in Louisiana.   Everthing else is nicer than Louisiana and there are less bugs in our Florida location.   Income levels in the area are low.  We'll be retired and that wont matter for us.

Ecky

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Re: Moving to FL
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2018, 06:56:03 PM »
I don't think Florida is a bad place to live if you don't mind much of the year being extremely hot and humid. I grew up there, lived in the Central Florida area for ~22 years. It was a nice place to grow up, but isn't where I'd choose to live.

I'll preface this: I can tolerate heat, but don't like it. Florida doesn't get the insane scorchers the interior gets, but for 6 months of the year it has consistent, day after day after day heat indexes of 95F+, and it doesn't really cool off at night. Humidity is consistently very high. For me personally, I prefer having a break from the heat now and then. For 6 months of the year I was pretty much inside a climate controlled box 95% of the time, very much like most people in the north deal with winters. For ~3 months I had the windows open, and for the other transitional ~3 months it was nice to be outside, but I still couldn't sleep in the heat. I spend more days with the windows open and/or outdoors in Vermont, even with the very long and cold winters. YMMV.

Regarding bugs and reptiles, when I first moved to Vermont, I thought people were suicidal when they would go walking into marshes or tall grass, because in Florida, that's a good way to die. Bugs and reptiles aren't really a problem if you're "where you're supposed to be", but you really don't want to go crashing through the bushes or anywhere near standing water that isn't a beach. Mosquitoes are bad in most places after dark, so if you can get a place with a screened in porch, you'll thank me. But, you're probably already accustomed to this.

There's a lot to do in Tampa and St Pete. I hear it's a great place to live for an extrovert. My brother is, and still lives in the area.

These probably aren't important to you from how you've described things, but what I can say by contrast is that when I moved up north, my pace of life slowed down, and my blood pressure dropped. I make more money and work less. I now have a vegetable garden which isn't eaten by bugs or destroyed by heat and sunlight, and it's normal for people to have chickens in their front yard even in "the city". Density of people is far lower, there are never any crowds. My neighbors are (on average) less materialistic and superficial, though they have their own set of problems. I feel safe enough to leave my door unlocked at night, and the keys in my car. I'm 20 minutes from work, and 20 minutes from some of the best mountain hiking in the eastern US. There's virtually no traffic, whereas CFL was often a traffic nightmare. Billboards are illegal here, and most who visit comment on the lack of ads covering everything. There's a lot less concrete and a lot more grass. The color of things is different. Florida is a sort of muted green-brown year-round, whereas here spring and summer are brilliant green, autumn is red-orange-yellow, and winter is white and blue.

CFL has more restaurants, more concerts, more art exhibits, theme parks, zoos, shopping malls and hundreds of miles of beaches, but the feeling of being in an endless crowded suburb wasn't my choice of lifestyle, and the landscape was (subjectively) considerably less beautiful.