What’s it like to relocate to Florida for retirement?
What are some of the issues you’ll face making this move?
In this episode we talk with Dennis, who recently moved from Minnesota to retire in Florida. Get his first hand experience and perhaps learn some tips from someone who just joined the growing wave of people moving to the Sunshine State.
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Daniel Wendol 0:00
Every year, more and more people are moving to Florida to retire. The numbers are growing, and as the population of Florida grows, so do the number of retirees. There are a lot of reasons why they do it. And there are a lot of reasons that you should do it. And today we’re going to explore those. But not just Tony and I…we’re going to bring in a special guest who just moved to Florida to retire and get his opinion.
Hello and welcome to another Dolphin Financial Radio with me Dan Wendol, owner of Dolphin Financial Group. Alongside me today is Tony Shore, my favorite co-host and we have a special guest today that we’ll introduce in a minute. Today’s topic, like I mentioned, is going to be retiring in Florida. Some of the pros and cons of it but more importantly we’re going to talk to someone who just did it. Someone who moved from the beautiful state that Tony’s from as well, Minnesota. We’re going to talk to Dennis about his experience. And I’m going to get some opinions and ask him some pros and cons and maybe get a few tips and nuggets on what it’s like to actually be a retiree from another state moving to Florida. What do you say, Tony?
Dennis 2:22 Oh, that sounds great. A fellow MinneSNOWtan is here with us today! A former Minnesotan and I guess I should say, but that sounds great. Can’t wait to talk to Dennis. Ask him about the move. And what fueled that move? I think I know, because I’m coming to you live from Minnesota right now. And so I realize why he’s there and we’ll talk some more about that. But yeah, I’m excited about the show today. Great topic. I love how you refer to me as your favorite co host. I want to remind our listeners I am his only co host that he’s ever had.
Daniel Wendol 3:00
For now! So now that now that Tony’s onto me here, let me talk to the new, I mean guest, co-host today we’ll call him not permanent, but guest. All right, Dennis, why don’t you introduce yourself? Let us know where you’re from in Minnesota and where you live now in Florida.
Okay, originally, Minnesota grew up in St. Paul area, all my life and then my final homestead was actually right in Vadnais Hieghts and then I also have a cabin up on the Whitefish Chain up in Cross Lake and then from there decided to move down here to beautiful Florida and get out of the winter weather.
Daniel Wendol 3:44
So we’re in Florida Do you call home now?
Okay, it’s the area is called Placida, which is close to Cape Hays and the Gasparilla islands.
Daniel Wendol 3:56
So that’s just that’s north of Fort Myers.
Yeah, north of Fort Myers but south of Venice.
Daniel Wendol 4:01
Okay. All right. And so you moved from Minnesota. And this was what a year ago?
It’ll be two years here in April.
Daniel Wendol 4:15
Okay. So, I mean, let’s let’s be real. Minnesota. Minnesota is freezing cold. And Florida is beautiful. That was the obvious reason…but you lived in Minnesota your whole life like you Tony, right? Oh, no, Tony, you lived outside of Florida
Tony Shore 4:32
Yeah. For five and a half years I lived in LA and six years in Nashville. But other than that, Minnesota.
Daniel Wendol 4:38
So your family, Dennis, is all from Minnesota. So you’re, this is brand new for you. You’re moving out. What made you do it?
Well, we decided that we wanted to move somewhere warm and get out of the cold weather. And so my significant other, we just decided to make the move down here and actually came down in the month of August when there was nobody down here when it was just extremely hot. But the nice thing about it is then you can get a realtor to help you out with finding either a house or property.
Daniel Wendol 5:22
So that’s obviously the scary part about moving down. Well, I don’t know if it’s scary, but I would say if I was moving, let’s say I was going to move to Minnesota…well, you didn’t know anyone around here in this area, right?
Daniel Wendol 5:34
So I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, Tony, but that sounds kind of crazy. I don’t want to make Dennis think I’m calling them crazy, but I think it is just to say I’m going to up and move to someplace I’ve never been to. I don’t know anyone there. I mean, how do you do that? That’s it sounds. I mean, people are doing it all the time.
I think I think a lot of people do it. But it is amazing. I mean, I’ve thought of it myself. Especially after this winter, but…
Daniel Wendol 6:02
Right, but the Florida Keys you talked about though?
Tony Shore 6:04
Oh, yeah, yeah, that would be where I would want to go.
Yeah, everybody talks about the Florida Keys. But the problem is down there is real estate is so high. And it’s just sure it’s a nice place to visit and if we want to go down there, it’s a four hour drive.
Daniel Wendol 6:18
How did you pick the location that you did?
Well, we decided to make that leap of faith and come down here in August and see what you know, take a look at the market as a whole. So we started in Sarasota and Sarasota was just way too busy for both Sandy and I. Then we decided that we go a little bit further south and went to Venice, and it still was really kind of crazy, but here it is, it’s summer. There’s not a lot of people down here, right? Totally opposite from what it is right now. So then we ended up we got the realtor, and we ended up start looking at houses and the houses weren’t contemporary enough. And we started looking at houses and the houses just weren’t what we wanted so we ended up finding a piece of property on a lake. And it’s beautiful. And we’ve only got like three neighbors, which is great. So there’s not a lot of people around us.
Daniel Wendol 7:12
So you had to build a brand new house?
Brand new house. Yep. And from our realtor he introduced us to a builder and thank God we got the right builder because there’s a lot of problems down here right now, making sure that you get the right builder because there’s a lot of people that give money to people and they steal all their money are never finished their house for them.
Daniel Wendol 7:32
So that’s probably going to be one of the major concerns of someone moving to Florida that isn’t buying a house that exists. You’re going to build something new. That’s even worse. I mean, you’ve never been here before. You don’t know anyone and you’re paying someone to build a house for you that you don’t know, really.
Do the background checks. I mean, that’s so important for these builders now because there’s so much of that going on down here.
Daniel Wendol 7:56
So you actually did a background check on these guys.
Daniel Wendol 7:59
Full vetting. Yeah so listeners out there if you’re thinking about moving you can do it you just got to do a background check, right? Trust but verify.
Oh yes. Trust but verify no doubt.
Daniel Wendol 8:08
So tell me about the experience of moving when you sold your house in Minnesota, obviously you had a lot of stuff up there from decades of living there.
Oh boy you know 4,500 square foot house with a lot of stuff and then stuff from the lake. So you know, first off finding the right mover. I’ll mention this this mover Berger Brothers. I believe they’re in Roseville and a gentlemen came out, gave us an estimate as far as how much it would cost and what he would take and what he wouldn’t take. Then basically from there then you start boxing up stuff, you know for bedroom number one, bedroom number two, kitchen, so forth, and marked it all…the stuff that we were going to take, which we put on purple little stickers and then anything that was yellow, that’s the ones that the mover had to take. So we knew we laid it all out. And of course, that all takes time. And that took a good nine months as far as going through everything.
Daniel Wendol 9:09
So it wasn’t an overnight and let’s just get up and go. Nine months. During that nine months, it was cold. You’re like, I can’t wait.
Oh, yeah, there’s no doubt. There’s no doubt about it. Yeah.
Daniel Wendol 9:20
But what about all the stuff that you didn’t box up? I mean, because certain stuff you just can’t take with you. Right? What did you do with that?
Well, the stuff that we didn’t take with us ended up at the lake. So that was basically the stuff up ther for the summer.
Daniel Wendol 9:33
Did you try selling some of your furniture and things that…
Oh, yeah, we got an auctioneer that came in and priced everything. That went so-so, and of course you end up with some of these big pieces of furniture, you know that… Literally, the couches were $4,000 apiece, we couldn’t sell them. So what did we end up doing? We gave them to the Catholic faith, you know.
Daniel Wendol 9:57
So you couldn’t sell it because people wouldn’t pay the price?
Wouldn’t pay the price and and now we’re coming to the crunch time and we don’t want to go through online or doing any of that, so we just said okay, take it all, and we’ll write it all off on taxes, which we did.
Daniel Wendol 10:09
Oh my goodness, speaking of taxes, how do you like the tax bills here in Florida versus Minnesota?
Well, the tax bills down here is it’s a little bit cheaper. The nice thing about it here is as far as anybody that would come down here and work, then you don’t have to be any state tax.
Daniel Wendol 10:23
You What is the state tax in Minnesota right now? Tony, do you know?
Tony Shore 10:27
Um, I don’t but it’s, it’s hefty.
Daniel Wendol 10:30
Yeah, it’s much more than Florida. Can we say that much.? I don’t want to rub it in!
This is something that I noticed when I moved, because I came from New York, I thought auto insurance rates would be cheaper here in Florida. New York is just like crazy for drivers. But here in Florida, it was more expensive.
Yeah, definitely more expensive as far as insurance for down here because there’s a lot of people down here that don’t carry insurance. So we got a we made sure that we got insurance to cover us here. But then we also kept our insurance in Minnesota because of we have a car up there so we kind of got a double insurance deal here in case something would ever happen.
Daniel Wendol 11:22
And you’re paying for flood insurance here. That’s something new.
Yeah, that’s definitely something new and of course, in the area that we’re at we’re in an area is called evacuation A. When Erma came in we were the first ones to get booted out of here. But we had already left at three o’clock in the morning. We went up to her sister’s place up by Orlando. And we walked inside her house that morning, at seven o’clock and then we hear over our phone that Evacuation A – everybody has to leave A and we’re already here.
Daniel Wendol 12:05
Well, I mean, you have you have tornadoes up in Minnesota, right? Tony, I don’t know, Twin Cities.
Tony Shore 12:11
Yeah, not very often. But yeah.
Daniel Wendol 12:15
You don’t have to carry any flood insurance living by the river over there do you?
Tony Shore 12:18
No, we live far enough away, but they’re building a 15 foot wall of sandbags right now because there’s gonna be major flooding.
Daniel Wendol 12:27
Wow. You don’t know major flooding, though. Well, actually, you might. So the hard part about moving was that leap of faith. Not knowing the builder, that kind of thing. What would you recommend to anyone that’s still on the fence about moving down here and not sure where they want to live? I would recommend people come down here and stay for an extended period and get to know the area.
Yeah, there’s a lot of people that do that. You know, Fort Myers has got a tremendous amount of people from Minnesota that live down there. We had just gone to the Twins game here last week. And that was Minnesota Day and it was amazing the amount of people that were there from Minnesota and of course then they have signs so if you’re from or Winona you can meet your friends from Winona. It was a huge party atmosphere. So you get to see a lot of people from Minnesota that day.
Daniel Wendol 13:24
One of the negative things that I hear about people that move down is they say everyone’s old. You know, everyone’s old down here. They’re all retirees but that’s, that’s life. You’re in that group now Dennis.
Yeah, there’s no doubt about it. But it’s what you want to do in life. Go out and do new adventures or both my wife and I are very, very much into meeting new people.
Daniel Wendol 13:52
But you decided to live secluded in a way.
Yeah, I mean, if we if we want to be in the mess, we can drive 10 minutes to the mess. What I mean by mess is you know, you can get in these big huge housing developments they got a new area down here like they have up in Orlando which is called Villages West. And they’re not affiliated with The Villages up there but the construction down here is totally off the charts. After 2008 there wasn’t too much going on but now it’s coming back extremely strong.
Daniel Wendol 14:27
For the listeners that are familiar with me, they know I have a lot of clients in The Villages which is closer to Orlando. Not the same down here but the same concept. A giant community of similarly age people that are retired. And you said I don’t want to deal with that. So you don’t have to go in one of those communities if you don’t want to.
No. But you have to search it out. I mean with the community we’re in, the HOA or some of these places as much as $1,000 a month. Our HOA, we have two lot, swe have to pay $200 dollars a year. That’s it. We only have 147 houses within this huge area. The infrastructure is there. The water’s there. And that’s what we knew when we were looking, we wanted to make sure that the water and sewer were there…but the most important thing was the power lines. There was only power lines down some of the streets. So if you wound up building a house further in, well then it’s $1,000 per power pole to get to your property. So that’s why there’s not a lot of houses being built here right now.
Daniel Wendol 15:32
So you literally had to pay to get power to your house?
No. The power poles were here when we looked for the property.
Daniel Wendol 15:39
So you’re like all right, let’s drive around where there are power poles. I didn’t realize, $1,000 bucks for the one of those? Iguess that includes install.
Yeah, it does.
Daniel Wendol 15:50
Your HOA is very minimal, relatively speaking, I would say. Does it include free snow removal?
No problem there.
Daniel Wendol 15:58
How about alligator removal? Have you had to remove any alligators?
We have had to remove a couple of them here from the pond. They still have not been able to catch the 12 footer yet, he’s pretty elusive, but they did get the 10 footer here about six weeks ago.
Daniel Wendol 16:12
So what do you say to the people up in Minnesota or outside the state that never had to deal with an alligator before? Is it realistic for them to to constantly be worried about that?
No, not necessarily. Not unless you have a dog, you know? If you had a dog running along the shoreline, it’s not such a good deal. I got a pool person and she had just come by here two weeks ago. And her friend came down with a German Shepherd and they were chasing the ducks along the shoreline. And the alligator got the big German shepherd and pulled him in. Somehow he was able to get out of the mouth of that alligator, but hundreds of stitches on the dog, the dog did live. But tell you that you really got to watch the the shoreline. From our shoreline it drops into 16-17 feet of water and our lake is about 27 feet deep and it’s about four football fields in size, so it drops off extremely fast. When the water gets a little murky, I mean you don’t want to be down there during the night walking along the shoreline.
Daniel Wendol 17:28
So it’s a little different. I would say though, that for most people from outside of Florida, they’re afraid of snakes and alligators but it’s something to be aware of, but not something to deter you from moving down. You live front and center from it and it’s not really bothering you.
No. You see some snakes here and there other things.
Daniel Wendol 17:46
But it’s a legit concern. The other concern people have well, in Minnesota, they love their hockey up there but we’ve got a pretty good hockey team down here The Lightning. Speaking of lightning, we are in the lightning capital the world over here. Tampa area.
Yeah, you know, and I didn’t realize that when I came down here too so when people ask what’s it like down there with tons of lightning? I say why do you think they call them Tampa Bay Lightning? We’ve seen some extreme lightning storms here since we’ve been here. We face the West. We have the Gulf of Mexico in front of us, which is about six miles away. And then behind us, we got this Port Charlotte, so we’re kind of stuck out in here. But they said to look out over the Gulf of Mexico that it wasn’t coming in, but you can watch the lightning show. And I did. I actually sat out there for two hours. It was the most unbelievable lightning show that I’ve ever ever seen.
Daniel Wendol 18:48
It’s nice. It’s good. It’s a good thing to see. I mean, then again, you have to get that surge protector going.
Yeah, can get a surge protector from Florida Power & Light and they put that on there. But that doesn’t help everything! It was about 13-14 months ago when we were first living here, the wife and I were in bed and all of a sudden lightning thunder storm came across and a bolt of lightning hit the front of our property right at the Lakeshore and it was blinding. I mean we had our curtains closed. It’s just this big huge white bolt that came down and of course everything shook. And we thought we’d be ok with the surge protector. But then the next day we went out, found out that it blew out the TV on the Lanai. It blew out the computer, blew out a router, blew out a motor for our automatic curtains, blew out the other TV in the other room, and then also blew out a circuit plugin deal within the kitchen. In talking to the guy from from the internet…they call it leech lightning. So when it hits the ground, it goes underneath the ground until it can find a power line and it’ll go back up into your house. And I mean, just all those things were completely fried out.
Daniel Wendol 20:15
So just in general sense your happy with your move. You still have your small cabin up in Cross Lake. So you can still go to Minnesota. But do you miss it? I mean, do you miss Minnesota. I mean, obviously your family is a big thing. Right?
Yeah we definitely miss it. I mean, last year, we only went up for a month, first year we were down here the whole summer. And that’s another whole experience in itself. Summers in Florida. I mean, you go outside and are working and you gotta come back in and put a new t shirt on. It’s unbelievable. The humidity.
Daniel Wendol 20:53
Yeah, that’s a experience. If you can survive a summer in Florida. You can you can get through.
Yeah. So we’re planning on coming up to Minnesota for a couple months here this year.
Daniel Wendol 21:02
What would you recommend in terms of anyone thinking about pulling the trigger and making a move to retire in Florida? What would be a top suggestion to them? If they’re still in the thinking about it stage because it is an appealing concept.
Well, I think first off is talk to your friends to see where maybe they’re at. Not unless you’re adventurous like we were. And that’s a good place to start.
Daniel Wendol 21:26
Yes, to try and find a social network already in place.
Yes, yes. And we also we belong to a Minnesota group here down here now too. So we meet with them once a month. So you get to meet some more people from Minnesota and in the areas that they’re at.
Daniel Wendol 21:41
So then you find out it looks like Sarasota, West Sarasota is the Minnesota capital down here.
Actually, it’s Fort Myers, Cape Haze is huge, because you can fly right from Minnesota right into that airport.
Daniel Wendol 21:56
Sun Country Airlines? How about sunburn. You have to deal with sunburn now, you didn’t have to as much in Minnesota.
I’ve been down here two years and have not gotten sunburn. You know, we’ve got a big huge Lanai with the screen. But what we found out that, you’ll find this very interesting, is the screen blocks 80% of the UV rays. So I haven’t had to put on suntan lotion or blockage, unless I go to like the beach or if I go fishing and all that, then I’ll put it on. But just sitting in the Lanai here, I can lay in my inner tube in the pool, and don’t have to worry about getting burned at all.
Daniel Wendol 22:32
So Tony, what do you need to know to move down here? Because I know you’re thinking about moving down there next week, right?
Tony Shore 22:39
Yeah, I wish I would have moved down there about three months ago.
Daniel Wendol 22:42
Well, you would have hit the red tide though, right?
No, yeah, well, the red tide was just about over by then.
Daniel Wendol 22:48
Now what are you gonna do about that Dennis? The red tide.
Well, we’re far away from the ocean as far as that goes, you know, 5,6, 7 miles but we didn’t we didn’t have any of the smell but boy I tell you what, to go down there and see the devastation. There were so many restaurants and businesses that were totally hurt by this. I mean, you couldn’t even get down there it was…the smell was just…it was very overtaking and then you get this respiratory stuff off the smell and from the red tide.
Daniel Wendol 23:17
So you would recommend if someone’s thinking about moving to just be aware of where that might be.
Yeah, especially especially here on the Gulf Coast. Yeah, but now the you know, the other side of the coast now they’re going to they’ve got a little bit of that problem now too. But it’s all that discharge from Okeechobee.
Daniel Wendol 23:39
Tony, what do you think? You’re going to move down to Florida. You talk about Florida Keys like every time we talk.
Tony Shore 23:46
Well…to visit. I don’t know if it’s realistic for me to actually live there. You know, the cost of living things like that, finding a good place. But, once the kids are out, there’s no stopping me probably.
Daniel Wendol 24:03
You’re a beach bum type, right? You’d like to hang out. That’s what you like. Yeah, Florida Keys that would be the way to go.
Tony Shore 24:10
I love the Florida Keys. I really I love Key West. I just love visiting in there. I don’t know if I could live there. I could live there I guess but I don’t know. My wife I probably wouldn’t like Key West.
It’s changed a lot. I started going down there and early 70s I was a young kid I would go down there every year for two to three weeks. I love the Florida Keys, did a lot of deep sea fishing off Key West. I went down there for about 15 years straight when they had only single lane bridges. Now they got double lane bridges, but it was really quite nice. You know it’s real commercial down there now so.
But there’s still some spots though. There’s a lot of some hidden gems that even most tourists don’t know about.
Daniel Wendol 25:05
We’re not gonna share those on the podcast. We don’t want to share the gems.
Tony Shore 25:11
You’ll be lucky if I share it with you, Dan.
Daniel Wendol 25:14
Fair enough. Listeners, if anyone’s looking for a co-hosting position….
Tony Shore 25:22
All right. Well, Dennis, it sounds like you made a good move. It sounds like overall you’re happy and just different things to deal with than you have to deal with in Minnesota. But it is interesting. So many people are relocating. And the thing I found fascinating was that there’s, okay if you’re from Minnesota, a lot of Minnesotans relocate to this one area in Florida. I think that’s fascinating.
Daniel Wendol 25:45
I guess you can look that up, depending on where you’re moving from. You could find out, especially with the internet now, people have these social groups. That’s the way to do it.
Yeah. You know, in Fort Myers, you know, you got the Twin’s stadium down there, which draws a lot. It’s real nice from where we’re at too. Here we didn’t really realize, Tony is, you know, the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team, their spring trainings only 15 minutes from us and now the Atlanta Braves which you know Orlando is absolutely so busy…the Atlanta Braves picked up, they’re building a brand new stadium only 20 minutes from us here this year.
Tony Shore 26:23
Wow. So that’s gonna kind of be the spring training Mecca down there.
It will yeah, 15 minutes one way 20 minutes the other way but you know that they’re going to have one game here at this new stadium this year was 8,500 tickets. I was lucky to get six tickets because it’s sold out in an hour and a half, but that’s really going to be a lot bring a lot of people in that area. Of course it’s right next door to West Villages. They’re building out this infrastructure down here. That’s just incredible. And that’s just gonna be crowded.
Daniel Wendol 26:59
I know that Florida overtook New York as the third largest state I think it, is population-wise. So it’s just out of control down here. Tony gotta get in my you can!
Tony Shore 27:11
Yeah, I gotta buy. Now’s the time to buy property, maybe?
Property or buy a house. I mean, you can get a fairly good house down here with a pool and a lanai for about 3-350 you know. It might be 10 years old, whatever, but you can still build a new house for $400,000 you can build a pretty decent house down here. Yeah.
Daniel Wendol 27:34
Well, it’s and it’s a hotspot, it’s growing. So I appreciate you coming on Dennis and talking to us about it. When moving or relocating there are a whole bunch of things you got to do, but it’s these little things that you don’t think about, especially locally like alligators and lightning. It’s kind of funny, you don’t think about it, but it’s important to do.
And then you want to make sure to that you’re close to all the stuff and we didn’t. Here we picked out this piece of property Tony, we didn’t really know. So where’s the fire department? Well, that’s five minutes down the way. Where’s the Home Depot? That’s 10 minutes away. Where’s the recycling where you can get rid of batteries and everything? That’s seven minutes away. You know, where’s the grocery store? The McDonald’s and the Wendy’s? That’s only five minutes away. I mean, we didn’t realize where we were until we got down and we went okay, now we know that we picked the right spot. And to be quite honest we got damn lucky, man.
Tony Shore 28:35
Those are things that a lot of people don’t think about in the excitement of it. But yeah, I’ve already started making a list. My wife and I, in hindsight, like why did we buy this house? Why didn’t we look at this? We never want another house with this. So we have a list going, of qualifications.
Well, if you ever want to come on down here, just get a hold of Dan, we’d be glad to show you around down here. There’s a lot of really nice places, you know, just depends on your comfortability and what you want to end up doing.
Daniel Wendol 29:06
Well, I I’m happy you came on and talk to us, Dennis and I know we could probably go for another five hours.
And I’m a fisherman for Minnesota, so down here, I can go right out the backdoor here. And now the tarpon are just starting to come in so I can catch tarpon right out the back of my door.
Tony Shore 29:24
That’s great. You’re living the dream over there, Dennis. Well, hey, we’re out of time for today’s show. Dan, is there anything you want to add for the listeners before we go?
Daniel Wendol 29:32 Yeah, if you’re listening and you’re not from Florida, you thinking about moving down here and you want some advice or want to talk to some locals in the Tampa Bay area or south or north even, I got clients all over Florida, give me a call and I’ll put you in touch with them. You could talk to them and get an opinion you know. Sometimes it’s all you need is a local opinion, especially if someone has done it. So thanks for joining me today, Tony. Dennis, thank you and thanks, listeners. Tune in next week and if you want to catch this podcast and others. I’m putting them up on YouTube now. It’ll be something to look at, but you can listen to every podcast on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, or now YouTube. Feel free.
Daniel J. Wendol is the owner of the Dolphin Financial Group. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, licensed as an Investment Advisor Representative, and also has an insurance license. He combines the investing and insurance worlds with a focus on retirement. ‘
Each week Dan hosts Dolphin Financial Radio, a podcast about the wide-ranging issues people face leading up to and through retirement.
Dolphin Financial Group acts in a fiduciary capacity to help people make life’s toughest financial decisions.