Florida’s Boomer Diaspora is Crunching the State’s Affordability

Some 2.7 million Americans 55 and older are thinking about retiring earlier than planned thanks to the pandemic, according to US government data.

So it’s no surprise more than 550,000 people waded into the Sunshine State — more than anywhere else in America — between January 2020 and April 2021. But the fattened wallets of the new boomers among them are putting a premium on life in paradise, according to a news analysis by Bloomberg on Thursday.

Boomer And Bust

In the last two years, boomers — born between 1946 and 1964 — piled up $1.6 trillion in excess savings while listening to their Fleetwood Mac records, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s double what Generation X — born between 1965 and 1980 — put away while rewatching Quentin Tarantino movies on DVD (well, maybe Blu-Ray for some).

Florida’s housing costs skyrocketed as early retirees, flush with cash, opted to put their feet up in the sun over another miserable Minnesota winter. Meanwhile, the state’s less-moneyed younger people, are staring at an excess of low-paying hospitality and service jobs, and watching the cost-of-living, well, boom:

  • The average wage in Florida fell 87.2% off the national mean last year, the lowest level it has been in 20 years, according to the Florida Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
  • The median cost of a home in waterfront retirement haven Sarasota County climbed to $407,000 in September, up 28% from a year ago, with 355 homes sold for $3 million or more this year — versus just 81 in pre-pandemic 2019.

“What I’m seeing is a lot of the folks that are in their late 50s, early 60s that were looking at their 401(k)s, and suddenly their 401(k) is worth $2 million, and they’re saying, ‘Hell, I can do this,’ ” Scott Pinkerton, a partner at wealth management firm FourThought, told Bloomberg Businessweek.

Mom? Can I Sleep on the Couch? Rents have climbed 20% in Sarasota in the last year. Over 33% of households there are now “cost-burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing. Maybe alligator-free Minnesota ain’t so bad.

become smarter

Subscribe to The Daily Upside.

Become smarter with only 5 minutes every morning.