In the face of the devastation wrought on Florida by Hurricane Irma, the Sunshine State may be losing some of its appeal as the perfect place for retirement.
A Washington Post report points out some of the drawbacks for retirees that have been highlighted by the storm—and that might make you want to change your mind, and your plans, about where to spend your golden years.
Florida has been losing standing as the retirement destination in those lists of states best for retirement—despite the fact that it has no income tax and offers plenty of retirement activities and communities.
The report also points out that no Florida city landed a spot on the top 10 list in the Milken Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging report on the “Best Cities for Successful Aging” report it released earlier this year.
There are a number of reasons for the state’s fall in the standings. Not just the danger from storms like Irma, but also the fact that, according to The New York Times’ Marc Santora and Henry Fountain, so many seniors in Florida are really Johnny-come-latelies to the communities they live in.
The pair are quoted in the report saying, “Because so many older people move to Florida later in life, they often do not have the family and neighborhood connections that would provide support in an emergency.”
The two go on to say, “It remains to be seen how the health care system will handle the increased demands placed on it by evacuations of the elderly and if they can get assistance to the most in need.” No small considerations, these.
Another major consideration is whether seniors and workers who have not yet retired will have enough money left after a catastrophe like Irma to rebuild.
Although the IRS is likely to loosen the rules on 401(k) withdrawals—the only sizeable money many people have set aside—for Irma the way the agency did for Harvey when it hit Texas, that’s no reason for rejoicing; it’s just time for a deep breath in a recovery that will take a long, long time.
After all, if you deplete your retirement savings to rebuild after a hurricane, what will you live on when you do retire—or if you already have?
The National Flood Insurance Program is already under siege—and under water, no pun intended, for years—and whether it can cope with the massive demand that Harvey and Irma are putting on its already depleted resources, there’s no guarantee that the program will be any more solvent in the future, or for that matter whether coastal Floridians will be able to afford coverage (or even get it at any price) now that it’s been forcibly demonstrated just how risky it can be to live in a coastal community or state that will repeatedly be hit by the effects of climate change.
No matter how attractive the state’s positive points are, the fact that a single storm could deplete a lifetime of retirement savings is a pretty heavy inducement to seek retirement elsewhere—particularly since as the years pass, the odds against there being only that single savings-devouring storm are dropping steadily.