Trading Skyscrapers for Palm Trees: A New Yorker's Guide to Moving to Florida

Written by: Better Ask Me



Time to read 6 min

Have the sparkling lights of Times Square lost their luster? Are you yearning to swap your snow boots for flip-flops? If you're contemplating a move from the hustle and bustle of New York to the sunshine state of Florida, you're not alone. As someone who has made that switch, let me guide you through what to expect from your new sun-soaked home.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt

1. Warm Up to the Weather

After a long week of working, party-ing, coming home at 8 AM to go to meetings at 9.30 AM I had one morning before my flight to go out and shoot. Half awake with the ‘amazing’ taste of last nights’ vodka in my mouth I went out took a few shots and couldn’t even continue after 30 minutes because I was so exhausted. So I went to the beach, sat down and just enjoyed the last few hours in Miami. On my way back to the hotel, I turned around one more time to get a good shot in and took this picture.     For me, this picture is pure perfection. Relaxation with a bit of adventure!
After a long week of working, party-ing, coming home at 8 AM to go to meetings at 9.30 AM I had one morning before my flight to go out and shoot. So I went to the beach, sat down and just enjoyed the last few hours in Miami. On my way back to the hotel, I turned around one more time to get a good shot in and took this picture. For me, this picture is pure perfection. Relaxation with a bit of adventure!

Florida’s climate is one of its most attractive features for newcomers, especially for those coming from cooler places like New York. Average high temperatures during the winter months in Florida hover in the comfortable 60-70°F (15-21°C) range. Summer months can get hot, with temperatures easily reaching 90°F (32°C) accompanied by high humidity.

However, adapting to the Florida climate can be a challenge for those unaccustomed to persistent humidity. High humidity levels can make temperatures feel much warmer than they are, leading to discomfort and potential health risks if not managed correctly. Be prepared to stay hydrated and invest in breathable clothing and a good air conditioning system.

Bear in mind that Florida is known as the 'Sunshine State,' but it also receives more than its fair share of rain, particularly during the rainy season from May through October. Florida also experiences a hurricane season from June to November. During these months, it’s essential to be prepared and have a plan in case of potential evacuations or to hunker down safely at home.

2. Say Goodbye to State Income Taxes

men holding money in hand
no state income tax in Florida

One of the most significant financial advantages of moving from New York to Florida is Florida's lack of state income tax. Compared to New York, which has one of the highest state tax burdens in the United States, this could result in substantial savings.

However, it's essential to understand that Florida compensates for the lack of income tax with other taxes, including property and sales taxes. The statewide sales tax rate is 6%, but counties can levy additional local sales taxes. Property taxes vary by county but are generally lower than in New York. Be sure to consider all of these aspects when planning your budget.

3. Job Market Considerations

"We are hiring" banner
"We are hiring" banner

While the job market in Florida may seem less diverse compared to New York, opportunities are growing. The state's economy is largely driven by tourism, real estate, international trade, aerospace and aviation, and agriculture. Moreover, Florida's tech scene is burgeoning, particularly in cities like Tampa, Orlando, and Miami, which may offer a wealth of opportunities for tech professionals.

However, wages in Florida tend to be lower than in New York. The median income is significantly lower than New York's, but this disparity is often offset by the lower cost of living.

4. Embrace the Cultural Shift

Moving from the fast-paced, always-on-the-move lifestyle of New York to the more laid-back vibe of Florida can be a significant shift. The "hustle and bustle" that defines New York City is replaced by a slower pace, where enjoying life takes precedence. This can be a major cultural adjustment, but it can also be a breath of fresh air if you're seeking a less stressful lifestyle.

Florida is known for its cultural diversity, particularly the influence of Latin American and Caribbean cultures. These influences are palpable in Florida's food, music, festivals, and overall cultural vibe. Embracing this cultural diversity can make your transition to Florida life more enriching.

5. New York and Florida economies in 2050

Renewable energy
Renewable energy

Projecting the future of economies and societies can be tricky due to the myriad of factors at play, but some trends and speculations can guide us.

New York in 2050

  1. Climate Change: New York's coastal location makes it vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and increasingly intense storms. By 2050, the city will likely have had to invest significantly in adaptive infrastructure to protect against these risks, potentially reshaping the cityscape.

  2. Technological Innovation: New York's status as a global financial hub is likely to continue, with advancements in fintech and other technology-driven sectors becoming increasingly important. We may also see further growth in areas like artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and green technology.

  3. Demographics: As one of the most diverse cities in the world, New York's multicultural character will likely continue to evolve and grow richer. Changes in immigration policy, global migration trends, and natural demographic shifts will shape the city's population.

  4. Infrastructure and Urban Planning: New York's infrastructure will likely undergo significant changes, with efforts to make the city more sustainable, resilient, and livable. This could include more green spaces, more efficient public transportation, and more sustainable buildings.

Florida in 2050

  1. Climate Change: Like New York, Florida is highly vulnerable to climate change, particularly sea level rise. Many of its cities will need to invest heavily in resilience and adaptive strategies. Some low-lying areas may even become uninhabitable, affecting real estate and potentially leading to population shifts within the state.

  2. Population Growth: Florida's population is expected to continue growing, increasing the state's economic and political influence. This growth is likely to be accompanied by increased urbanization, with implications for housing, transportation, and other infrastructure.

  3. Economy: Tourism will likely remain a key sector, but the state's economy may diversify further. Tech and healthcare could be significant growth areas, driven by population growth, an aging population, and technological advances.

  4. Environmental Preservation: Balancing growth with the need to preserve Florida's unique ecosystems will be a significant challenge. The state's economy depends heavily on its natural resources, from its beaches to the Everglades, so environmental conservation will be crucial.

In both New York and Florida, addressing climate change and adapting to its effects will be significant challenges in the coming decades. However, these states also have tremendous potential for growth and innovation, and their responses to these challenges could lead to exciting new developments. As always, these predictions are subject to change, and the future will likely bring surprises we cannot currently foresee.

5. Tips and Things to Avoid

  • Cost of Living: While the overall cost of living in Florida is lower than in New York, this can vary significantly depending on where you choose to live. Major cities such as Miami or Tampa tend to be more expensive, particularly for housing. However, smaller cities and rural areas offer a lower cost of living.

  • Wildlife: Florida's wildlife is abundant and varied. It's not uncommon to see a variety of birds, reptiles, and marine life. However, some of Florida's wildlife, like alligators and certain species of snakes and spiders, can pose dangers. It's essential to be aware of your surroundings, particularly when you're near bodies of water or in heavily wooded areas.

  • Driving: Unlike New York, where public transportation and walking are often sufficient, you'll likely need a car in Florida. Public transportation exists in larger cities, but routes may be limited, and service may not be as frequent as you're used to in New York.

  • Sun Protection: With over 230 days of sunshine annually, protecting your skin from the Florida sun is crucial. Regular use of sunscreen, wearing hats and UV-protective clothing, and seeking shade during peak sun intensity hours (usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.) are essential habits to adopt.

Embracing a new lifestyle in Florida can be a thrilling adventure. With its beautiful beaches, vibrant cities, and unique cultural mix, there's a lot to discover and enjoy in the Sunshine State. Understanding the changes and making preparations can ensure a smooth transition from New York to your new home in Florida.

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