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Is Punta Gorda a Good Place to Retire?4 questions to ask if you’re thinking about retiring to Punta Gorda

Is Punta Gorda a good place to retire? If retirement is on your mind, recently ranked Punta Gorda as the number one of the  top 10 hottest retirement spots for baby boomers in the country. In fact, Southwest Florida is one of the fastest growing regions in the country according to data from the US Census Bureau.  Its warm weather, beaches, and lack of state income tax make Punta Gorda a good place to live and a popular choice for retirement.

Here are a few quick tips from Punta Gorda retirement planning professionals in wealth management, estate planning and guardianship management, who offer localized expertise to consider as you solidify your plans for relocation.

Have you reviewed and updated your budget?

What is the cost of living in Punta Gorda? According to’s cost of living calculator, living in Punta Gorda is nine percent less expensive than Sarasota, the next major Florida gulf coast city to the north. To the south, Naples, Florida is 19 percent more expensive than Punta Gorda.

Life in Punta Gorda is fun, and retirees tend to live a pretty active lifestyle. It’s a growing community with lots of activities. Downtown Punta Gorda has experienced a revitalization in recent years and offers an increasing number of restaurants, and new things to explore and enjoy.  

It also depends on your lifestyle. Will you join a golf or yacht club, or other social club? Do you foresee dining out more? The Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce has a great directory of things to do.  

“Social memberships are common expenses for retirees,” says Scott Peterson, wealth advisor at Ballast Advisors in Punta Gorda.

“HOA (Homeowner’s Association) fees can be all over the board from $300-$900 month, depending on what type of community you want to live in.  These can be big expenses my clients need to factor in their plan.”

Like moving to any new town, moving to Punta Gorda can mean change in cost of living. Consider this among any new expenses you might have, as well as what you can let go (like that snow removal service) in revising your personal financial plan.

Do you understand the tax implications in relocating?

Even with a strong financial plan in place, your move to Punta Gorda could have tax implications you need to consider.

 “Take State income tax for example. Moving to a state, like Florida, that does not have state income tax, can potentially save you thousands of dollars in taxes, “ says Peterson. “Clients moving from a state that does have a significant state income tax, to a state like Florida that does not have state income tax, should adjust their Financial Plan.”

“Hypothetically, say a married couple moves from MN, an income tax state, to FL, a no income tax state, and together will earn a taxable income of $80,000 annually. Moving to FL could potentially save this couple nearly 5K annually or approximately $416 per month based on the 2018 Tax Rates. This extra money could be helpful to pay those extra-curricular expenses that often come along in retirement,” Peterson adds.

Although not having to pay state income tax can potentially save you a lot of money in taxes, there are other things to consider when adjusting your financial plan for a move to a state without income tax. For example, some states without income tax might ask residents to pay more sales tax on groceries, clothes or other goods, or ask homeowners to pay more on their property taxes. However according to,  since 2012 Punta Gorda City Council has decided to not raise property tax rates. The county has not raised its property tax rate since 2013.

See Related Post: Your Home as a Source of Dollars in Retirement

Who will your support system be?  

As exciting as moving to a new location can be, it also can mean moving away from primary family members who may act as a support system for various things, including emergency situations when someone may need to act on your behalf for finances or health concerns. Many times these responsibilities are given to a spouse or child, however not everyone has or prefers this option. 

“Among retirees in Florida, there are a significant number who gradually lose the capacity to manage finances, make decisions or act in a timely manner to safeguard their own health and welfare, ” says Robin Vazquez of Estate Guardianship and Management Services in Punta Gorda. “It’s critical for retirees to work with their families, financial advisors and/or estate attorneys to appoint representatives for power of attorney, healthcare directives, and  trustees in advance. As a last resort, in Florida the court is empowered to appoint guardians like us for adults who are unable to manage their affairs for their own benefit.”

Have you reviewed your estate plan against Florida laws?

Your will, trust and or estate plan is really an extension of your overall financial plan. The plans you make for your wealth throughout your lifetime and ultimately how it should pass on to the next generation is just as important, and state laws may differ when it comes to your will and your estate plan.

Attorney, Dean Hanewinckel who wrote the book “The Official Snowbirds Guide to Becoming a Florida Resident,” says it’s important to review how Florida laws could impact your estate plan. 

“Florida has very strict and unusual laws regarding the distribution of homestead after a person’s death.  If you are married, and haven’t planned properly, you can only leave the homestead to your spouse. This can wreak havoc on the estate plans of couples in second marriages who only want to leave their estate to their children,” says Hanewinckel.  “This can also cause problems with couples who have set up A-B Trusts to minimize or avoid estate taxes.” 

Taking the extra step to review your previous will, trust, estate plan and power of attorney with an experienced professional to the local area will ensure nothing falls through the cracks in accordance with Florida law.

Planning for Peace

Even though making a large life change like moving and retirement can be a lot to factor, putting a few of these best practices in place (before you need them), will give you peace of mind and you can fully enjoy all Punta Gorda and Charlotte County has to offer.

See Related Link: Retirement planning in Punta Gorda and Southwest Florida



The opinions expressed are those of Ballast Advisors, LLC. The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to change due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass.  Ballast Advisors, LLC is a registered investment advisor under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about the firm, including its services, strategies, and fees can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available without charge upon request. The opinions expressed herein are those of Ballast Advisors, LLC and are subject to change without notice