ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Advantages of retiring to Florida

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Sure, we all have some very obvious reasons for retiring to Florida.

Sun, warm weather, no estate or income taxes. From my perspective, how many more reasons do you need? As I write this on a Saturday night, watching playoff football, tomorrow morning’s low will be 43 degrees (No, that’s no typo) here in Naples, Florida. Down here they consider that cold. Big jackets, gloves, hats and I suspect long underwear will be essential for natives. For you snowbirds from Minnesota and Wisconsin, we’d be wearing shorts at home.

I see retiring to Florida as a lifestyle choice.

You want to enjoy the great outdoors year-round. You won’t miss the cold nor the snow. You’ve put up with all of that stuff for years let alone decades and now it’s time. The sun, warm weather, walking along the ocean, palm trees, etc.

While in Naples, Florida, I attended the Minnesota Men’s Breakfast (it’s not just men – women do attend and are invited). Prominent speakers, timely topics and a room of hundreds of people come together each week for three months during the winter. It’s almost like a homecoming each week when you see everyone greeting each other. Naples just happens to be Minnesota’s most southern city! Coming to one location, knowing so many people from back home is just darn cool.

Gov. Dayton certainly likes to tax the so-called rich by insisting on having an estate tax. In 2018, the threshold is $2.4 million. I suspect many of you reading this feel like that’s a lot of money. The reality is it’s not, particularly when you start adding everything you have from your home, retirement, life insurance and investment accounts. Remember, you and your estate have to pay taxes because you died. Isn’t that enough? You’re dead. Why does the government need to take my money? For those of you living in Wisconsin, you also enjoy no estate taxes just like Florida residents. But it’s still cold.

With the new federal tax law, living in a higher income tax state is going to cost even more.

For those of us who itemize, we will only be able to deduct to up $10,000 a year on our federal taxes. That seems like a big number, but when you total your state, sales and property taxes, it can easily be well over $10,000. In other words, you will be paying more for the privilege of living in the land of Gophers or Badgers.

Some states tax your Social Security benefits in your retirement years and some don’t. Minnesota’s elected officials have never met a tax they didn’t want to implement including taxing your Social Security. Florida and Wisconsin residents enjoy no tax on their Social Security.

Wisconsin is Minnesota’s Florida. Florida is Wisconsin’s Florida. Florida is just Florida. Taxes play a major role in our retirement years along with friends, family and lifestyle. If you are looking to relocate to Florida full time or become a “six months and a day,” let’s talk about how to make that a successful transition.

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