Retiring in Sarasota – Key Considerations

Ken Hargreaves

If you’re looking for a great place to retire, Sarasota may have come across your Google searches. That’s because US News has rated Sarasota the nation’s best city for retirement two years in a row! But people aren’t retiring here solely for the great beaches and temperate weather – not that those factors don’t play a key role.

So what exactly is driving retirees to Sarasota?

Taxes

One of the key reasons has to do with taxes – or the lack thereof. Florida is one of the few states that doesn’t have a state income tax. This means that none of your retirement income streams will be taxed by the state of Florida – not your social security benefits, nor your 401(K), nor your IRA, nor your pensions. On the other hand, Sarasota does have a property tax, but at .84% of assessed home value according to SmartAsset.com, it falls well below the national average of 1.10%. By paying fewer taxes overall, your retirement portfolio will last longer than it otherwise would in a high-tax state, such as New Jersey or New York.
Besides not having a state income tax, Florida also doesn’t collect inheritance and estate taxes. For those with large estates or planning to leave an inheritance, Florida provides great opportunities to reduce not only your own lifetime tax bill, but also those of your loved ones.

Medical Care

Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) has received not only top rankings in the US, but in the world, offering a wide array of services by a world-class medical team. Not far from SMH is John Hopkins Children’s Hospital, whose name precedes itself. The area is also sprinkled with smaller and larger clinics and care centers of varying degrees of specialization.
Due to Florida’s renown for being a retirement hotspot, it attracts top-of-the-line medical providers for your twilight years. Florida has been ranked #1 nationally in the quantity of senior facilities that have received awards by the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL). To date, 144 and 99 assisted living centers have earned Bronze and Silver Awards respectively, while 2 have earned the coveted Gold Quality Award from the AHCA/NCAL.
To more practical matters, when it comes to getting around there are many programs that facilitate the transportation of seniors around the country or state, especially if they are enrolled in Medicare. These programs greatly ease the burden on family members as seniors oftentimes require expensive and specially-outfitted paratransit vehicles. They also provide senior citizens with vital ease of mind knowing that they can not only make it to medical appointments, but also stay socially active and able to visit friends and relatives that don’t live in close proximity. In Sarasota, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll always be in good hands if the unthinkable happens.

Retirement Communities

There are 45 communities in which residents are strictly 55 years old and up. This allows retirees to live in a community of their peers who have similar life experiences and lifestyles. Real estate prices greatly vary from community to community, with some having homes going from $400,000 to $1,500,000 to communities with more humble prices in the $100,000s, and everything in between. There’s a little something for everyone, and living in such a community would ensure you are surrounded by a close-knit support structure as you venture into your golden years.

Other Factors

The above-mentioned are the key things to consider when choosing Sarasota to retire as they will have the greatest influence on your bank account and health. But, we definitely shouldn’t write off the more traditional factors as to why people love Sarasota, Florida – factors that drastically improve one’s mental well-being once the health and money issues are resolved.

Arts & Entertainment

For the more culturally-inclined retirees, Sarasota is known as the ‘cultural capital of southwest Florida.’ It even boasts a world-class opera house located right in the heart of the city. You can also meander through the Ringling Museum of Art or the Ringling Circus Museum for contrasting visions of what people expect a museum to be like. Other cultural sites include theaters, halls, a ballet troupe, and numerous art galleries, more than enough to keep retirees intellectually engaged. For the cuisine lovers out there, Sarasota has a burgeoning cuisine culture, offering fine dining along the coast and a slew of seafood restaurants, enough to keep any foodie busy.

The Weather

Sarasota has a temperate climate, though in the summer it gets quite humid. It boasts 251 sunny days a year, compared to the national average of 205 – so it truly brings out the Sunshine in the Sunshine State. Wintertime temperatures hover between 55 at night and 70 during the day, and in the summer between 75 and 90. Fortunately, Sarasota hasn’t had a major hurricane in over 100 years, so unlike many Floridians, you won’t have to worry about boarding up your house and sheltering in place. The abundance of sunshine and good weather raises the spirits of Floridians both young and old!

Leisure Activities

For those who love to hit the greens, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere as golf-friendly as the SRQ area. There is nearly a century-long legacy of playing golf in the area. Of notable mention is the legendary Bobby Jones’ namesake – the Bobby Jones Golf Club, which is currently being reconstructed as the area seeks to revitalize its historicity. In the Sarasota area alone, there are 32 golf courses. Once you tack on the courses in Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, you have over 50 golf courses to choose from.
Once you’ve worked your way out of the sand traps, you can hop on your bicycle and ride the 9.3-mile-long Legacy Trail that links Sarasota to Venice. You’ll get the chance to see local fauna in a variety of habitats as you enjoy the serene views. The North Port connector is also nearing completion with further expansions in the works.
Somewhat new to the scene are the pickleball courts that have sprouted up in the Sarasota area. Pickleball is a fun, energetic game combining elements of tennis, ping pong and badminton. It can be played with 2 or 4 players either indoors or outdoors. It’s a great opportunity to not only stay in shape, but also to meet other retirees.
And finally….

The Beaches

Florida has some of the top-rated beaches in the country and in the world. Sarasota alone has 14 beaches, many of them with white sands and excellent opportunities to observe wild sea turtles and other fauna. For the more adventurous, kayaks are available for rent and fishing charters are plentiful. If you have a yacht, there are harbors and ports along the coast to store it – or you can charter a boat to spend the day sailing with family and friends in the pristine Gulf Coast waters.

In Conclusion

With Florida’s tax advantages for seniors, Sarasota’s medical infrastructure, and a warm, easy climate with pristine nature to top it off, it simply makes sense to retire to Sarasota, Florida. Reach out to us today to start the path of a stress-free retirement in the best place to retire!
  • Ken Hargreaves

    A Florida native, and full-time Sarasota resident, Ken founded WealthGen Advisors, LLC after spending more than fourteen years in the financial advisory industry. Prior to founding WealthGen Advisors, Ken spent almost a decade in New York and then Texas as Vice President at The Capital Group, a $2T global investment manager serving institutional clients and pension funds.

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