Florida's Premier Retirement Haven, 'The Villages,' Goes Viral On TikTok

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It's a known fact that Florida is the number one retirement destination for many in the U.S., thanks to its tax-friendliness and warm weather. But one place in the Sunshine State is going viral on TikTok searches for being Florida's premier retirement haven, and here's why. 

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When it comes to choosing a place to settle down to live out the golden years of the American retirement dream, Florida is often the first choice for many because of its tax-friendly policies. Firstly, the state imposes no income tax or zero tax on estates, inheritance, Social Security benefits and retirement plans like 401(k). Melissa Terry, CFA at VEM Tooling, said, "This is a considerable advantage for all retirees thinking of Florida," and added, "The fewer taxes from your allotted pension distributions or passive income checks are the only money available in your budget." 

According to information shared by the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida has one of the highest percentages of retirees (over the age of 65) living in the state, at 21.3%, with Maine just slightly ahead at 21.8%. For example, North Port is number one on the list with 32.4%, and Palm Coast is second with 30.2%. Additionally, another census-designated place in Sumter and Marion counties houses an age-restricted community. 

The Villages in Central Florida is not just a retirement community; it’s a 55-year-old and up community that promotes an active adult lifestyle. Since 2023, The Villages has had over 145,000 residents living across the two neighborhoods, covering around 57 square miles. This retirement haven, opened in the early 1980s by the Morse family, is home to roughly 71,000 households. What sets this community apart is that it's essentially a small city designed exclusively for retirees. With various recreation centers, town squares, parks, shopping and over 3000 recreational activities for seniors, it’s a haven for active retirees. For golf lovers, this retirement destination is what American retirement dreams are made of.      

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Like a city, the Villages has a 307-bed acute care hospital called the UF Health The Villages® Hospital. Residents can also use the UF Health Leesburg Hospital, UF Health The Villages Rehabilitation Hospital, and the UF Health Leesburg Hospital Senior Behavioral Health Center. 

What about the cost of living? While Florida does have higher housing prices of 4% compared to the national average, The Villages' cost-effective housing is a desirable option for retirees. An 850 to 1,310-square-foot home will cost retirees around $860 monthly. These cheapest units are lower than the average rental price in the state. For example, a studio apartment in Florida (approximately 400 and 600 square feet) costs $1,795, and a one-bedroom home costs $1,950. The Villages' designer series homes (1,440 to 2,550 square feet) cost around $1,370 monthly, whereas a standard 3-bedroom home in Florida (approximately 1,480 feet) starts from $2,800. In addition, residents pay an extra $195 amenity fee per month to gain access to the golf courses, sports activities, and all the perks this premier retirement haven has to offer. 

For retirees looking to continue working, which finance guru Dave Ramsey feels is a good idea as he firmly believes that "Hedonism leads to heart attacks," the Villages often have positions available. 

To sweeten the deal for potential residents, The Villages also offers a relocation program that makes moving easier for retirees. The service includes a complimentary evaluation of your home, assistance with selling and national movers when the house is sold. 

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