Mrs Jake and I met in Tampa and lived in Tampa for a long minute prior to moving full time to Chicago. We have many close personal friends here and we obviously know the area very well. These among a few other factors were personal drivers for why we chose to make the move back to Florida but there are also some pretty compelling non personal reasons. This post is in honor of those reasons. Perhaps they can inspire you as well. Enjoy!
1. October Through March
I don't like extremes. That pretty much goes for just about everything. Whether it's stuffy conservatives, raging liberals or arrogant atheists and religious fanatics. I'm simply not into it. For the most part, I'm a middle of the road kind of guy and that includes the weather. For example, I think Florida in the summer is God awful and unfit for human habitation. On the flip side, I hate being cold more than I hate being hot and muggy. Chicago in the winter sucks and not seeing the sun for months on end makes me feel sad and depressed.
Having said that, for 6 months out of the year (October through March) Florida is fantastically moderate. Currently it's November and the weather here is pretty awesome. It's not too hot, not muggy at all and the evenings and mornings have a clean crisp chill in the air. I love it. The great news is that it doesn't get much colder than this as the winter months roll in.
Note: I recognize that most people don't have the ability to live somewhere for only six months out of the year. We are blessed in this regard and it makes #1 on my list an option for us.
2. Salt Water & Sandy Beaches
Living close enough to salt water so that it's easily accessible and not a chore to get to, is very important to both me and Mrs. Jake. From boating and fishing to snorkeling or just enjoying a day at the beach with the family, we get our energy from the water. I enjoy fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. I enjoy watching the sunset over the water while sipping drinks with friends and family. I enjoy watching my kids play in the water and looking for seashells, I like seeing dolphins swim by unexpectedly which somehow never gets old and always makes me smile. Finally, living close to the water makes me feel like I'm on vacation.
3. Florida is a Popular Vacation Destination For Out of State Family
Mrs. Jake and I both have large families and they are either clustered in areas where we don't want to live or they are spread out over several states. Either way its hard to make special trips to go see everyone. One of the things that we appreciate about Florida is that our family has several reasons to visit, beyond just coming to see us. whether it's taking the kids to Disney, escaping the winter, passing through to catch a cruise or yes, to visit us, our families have several reasons to come to us thus greatly reducing the need for us to go to them. Gotta love that.
4. No State Income Tax
There are only 7 states in the US that have no State income tax:
- Alaska (Too far away from family and friends and too cold)
- Florida (Winner!)
- Nevada (Land Locked and too far away)
- South Dakota (Land locked and too cold)
- Texas (This was a possibility. Particularly Austin)
- Washington(Too far away and not exactly moderate temperatures)
- Wyoming (Land locked and too cold)
In addition to no State income tax, Florida also has pretty low real estate property Taxes. In Tampa the average property tax rate is 1.09% compared to 6.867% in Chicago. To put that into real perspective, a house assessed at $300,000 in Tampa would cost you $3,270 per year compared to $20,601 per year in Chicago. I love Chicago but not that much! Renting a smaller, secondary residence in the city is a much better financial model for us.
So there you have it. My top 4 reasons for Loving to live in Florida.