Many people view Florida as the place where old folks go to retire. Yet according to the five-year American Community Survey, which the U.S. Census conducted from 2007 to 2011, 78% of the people who migrated from New York to Florida in those years were under age 60. The ages with the highest proportions of migrants to Florida were 18, 19, 21, 24, 28, 40 and 55. So if you’re finally fed up with the cold of the Northeast you’re in good company if you decide to make a dramatic life change and move to the Sunshine State of Florida.
How do you organize yourself to make a successful move with the least stress possible?
First of all, set up your employment situation and make sure you have a secure source of income.
Second, go down to the area where you may want to live and find a good realtor in that area.
You can find a realtor by going to: https://miamiportal.ramcoams.net/Membership/Directory/MemberSearch.aspx
You will want to scout out apartments to either rent or buy when you move, so taking the time to scout the housing market is crucial
The cost of living in Miami Beach, for example, is comparable to the cost in the Northeast, especially New York, so make a budget, determine what you can afford and give that information to the realtor prior to your search.
When looking for a new house, consider whether you want to live near the beach or more inland, and find someplace near your place of employment. Amy Baez, a pediatric occupational therapist and owner of Playapy (www.playapy.com), moved to North Miami, Florida after living in New Jersey. “I moved down here because I could no longer tolerate the cold weather and my doctor recommended it. I wanted to feel like I was someplace different from everywhere else. The realtor found an apartment with a nice pool area with a waterfall, and because I was working in one county and wanted to live in another; she found me something right between the two counties. Within three years, I bought a house. I love it! Miami has the benefits of living in another country as well as the feeling that you’re always on vacation.”
Here are some more helpful tips:
Prepare to seriously downsize:
Clothing: Imagine where you will be living. The weather is between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit going up to the 90s in the summer. Do your really need a winter coat? Sweaters? Boots? Brianna Shoaf moved to Tallahassee, Florida in 2012 to attend Florida State University and has stayed in Florida after finding a job there. Her main tip is to “Leave all your winter clothes at home. I’m lucky my mother lives up north still, so I could leave some of my things at her house. But it’s very different here. Up north you have to bundle up to go to anywhere and here everyone gets dressed up.”
Tip: Start by packing all of your winter clothing and prepare to toss 99% of everything. Coats? Keep one in case you want to visit the North to see friends or family. Sweaters? You can keep one or two. Boots- not really unless you like those sexy black booties to wear with thin cotton dresses. For men, Timberland and working boots will not be necessary unless you work in construction. Go to a thrift shop or a church with your clothing. There are plenty of poor, new immigrants who could enjoy your designer wool coats and sweaters. Your suits could be sent to Dress for Success.
Books: You will find every book and coffee table book in your house adding up to hundreds of titles. Are you really going to read your anthology of Shakespeare's plays you studied in college? Do you need your old textbooks that have been out of date for years? How about the classic books you always think of reading again but never do?
Tip: Find a local library and drop off your books in as many trips as it takes to get rid of your hundreds of volumes.
Furniture: Remember you will be leaving the dark and dreary weather behind. All of those heavy, thick dark leather lounge chairs and antique furniture may not fit with floor to ceiling windows and marble floors, and sun streaming in all day. Baez recommends: “Keep mementos from your old life, but buy everything new when you get here. You can’t fit old things into a new life.”
Tip: The Salvation Army will pick up furniture if it’s in decent condition.
Cars: Recognize that without a car, you can’t really get around in Florida, so make sure you’re comfortable with driving. Your old car may not fit the climate of the south.
Tip: Sell the car with all wheel drive and buy a convertible and/or a car with perfect air conditioning when you get to Florida.
Ready to leave:
Know the costs: Shoaf said that the one thing that surprised her was the cost of shipping all of her boxes to Florida. “It was a lot more expensive than I thought.” She used both a moving van and sent boxes using FEDEX directly to her FSU dorm.
Tip: Only pack what you will need in the south, including bathing suits, dresses, shorts, sandals, flip flops, tee shirts, thin sweaters. For men: cool fabric suits in linen, thin wool or cotton. Don’t forget to take your medications, documents (passports, licenses, etc.) and any valuables with you for the journey. T.J. Peterson with OzMoving company (www.OzMoving.com) recommends that if you’re doing some of the moving yourself, “Keep in mind that the hot weather could lead to exhaustion and dehydration during the strenuous moving process. Drink plenty of water and pace yourself, stay inside as much as possible, use sunscreen and bug spray and turn on the A/C as soon as possible.”
Make sure your pet will be safe on the way down to Florida. Give him plenty of water if you’re driving down and stop for frequent walking breaks.
Last word: You’re moving to a new lifestyle, not just a new state, when you decide to come to Florida. Listen to Intrapreneur Jodi McLean, Director of Marketing and Business Development of KPI in St. Petersburg, who advises us that “things move a little slower here. I truly think that Florida residents are less stressed and more content. Urgency isn’t the first thing on our minds. This gives us northerners a distinct advantage in business because our proactive sense of urgency that we grew up with rises above the Florida norm, quickly. Don’t lose that….but do relax a bit. Enjoy your beautiful, tropical surroundings and be grateful that there are no ice storms or white-outs. Ever.” Don’t you agree?