Florida and other sunny parts of the South are a favorite retirement destination for many people from much colder parts of the country, but increasingly, people aren’t waiting until they retire to head to the Sunshine State and other popular Southern destinations, such as Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Moving companies report that states in this region have become among the most popular for people to move to, and it’s no longer just people relocating for work. The COVID pandemic has caused a shift in many people’s lifestyles and values. Remote work has made some industries less location-dependent, and people are heading south for the lifestyle benefits and, in some cases, to be closer to family.
The cost of living in even pricier Southern cities, such as Atlanta, pale next to what people pay to live in tech or financial hubs such as San Francisco or New York City. Not all of those jobs are portable, but when they are, families increasingly see the benefit of heading somewhere less expensive, less competitive, and less stressful. Many of the states in the area have lower tax rates as well.
The region remains attractive to retirees as well, who can stretch their savings and Social Security payments further if they are coming from a more expensive part of the country. Those at or nearing retirement may be able to turn to other assets as well to cover the cost of the move or simply supplement their savings. Some may be able to access the monetary value and sell a life insurance policy through a life settlement. Reviewing a guide that explains how to determine eligibility and what the process is can help retirees decide if it is right for them.
While the hot, humid climate of Florida is attractive to many, year-round, it may be a bit much even for those who enjoy a week or so on its sunny beaches. Fortunately, there is a good amount of variance in the climate, but those seeking cooler areas, such as the mountains of Georgia or Tennessee, can still count on relatively mild weather year-round. Much of the region offers a full four seasons but without the winter extremes that drive people from Boston to Buffalo and Michigan to Montana to seek a warmer refuge. In 2021, it was the Sun Belt that people relocated to in large numbers.
Lifestyle may be one of the biggest reasons people choose to head South. The temperate weather means that the season for swimming, boating, cycling and many other sports is longer. There’s also the food, from the Lowcountry cuisine of coastal South Carolina and Georgia to every state–and every town’s–version of barbecue to fusions of traditional Southern food with that of growing immigrant populations. Beyond that, the region is still associated with a slower-paced lifestyle and an appreciation of leisure, even as it becomes increasingly cosmopolitan. Those considering a move have a diversity of cultures and landscapes to choose from as well, from the Appalachians to coastal islands and small-town neighborhoods to big city glamour.