What Is a Good Salary to Live On in Florida for 2024?

By Kim Franke-Folstad · March 18, 2024 · 9 minute read

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What Is a Good Salary to Live On in Florida for 2024?

A decent salary — one that allows for necessities, fun, and savings — might start around $69,000 for a single, childless person in Florida and $94,500 for a couple.

Why those figures? Using the 50/30/20 budget method, start with what MIT calls a living wage in Florida, which covers basic needs (50% of a salary). Add entertainment, vacations, restaurant meals, more shoes for the collection, and other “wants” (30%). Factor in 20% to be saved.

Even adding one child to a household greatly increases expenses (as if any parent needs to be reminded). A looser definition of a good salary for a working adult with a working partner and a child, based on the MIT Living Wage Calculator, could be somewhere in the neighborhood of $129,800.

Of course, your actual cost of living will depend on the city, size of your household, and your spending needs and habits. Read on for a breakdown of what it may take to say you earn a good annual salary in Florida.

Key Points

•   A good salary in Florida depends on factors such as location, industry, and individual needs.

•   The cost of living in Florida is lower compared to some other states.

•   The median household income in Florida is around $59,227.

•   A good salary in Florida can range from $50,000 to $100,000 or more, depending on various factors.

•   It’s important to consider expenses, lifestyle, and financial goals when determining what constitutes a good salary in Florida.

Is It Expensive to Live in Florida?

Florida was one of the two fastest-growing states in the U.S. in 2023, the Census Bureau says, and it’s easy to see the draw.

It’s a state with no income tax, moderate property taxes, lots of sunshine, and plenty to do and explore. Corporate and sales taxes are lower than those of most other states.

Despite those perks, it isn’t the cheapest state to live in. Florida had the 29th lowest cost of living in the U.S. in 2022, according to data gathered by the Missouri Economic Research Information Center (MERIC). That means 28 states had a lower cost of living, with Oklahoma the cheapest place to live.

Some cities are as sizzling as the summers. If you’re Miami-bound and plan to rent or buy, for example, that’s when you’ll especially need to check your finances. Miami-Dade is the second-least affordable place in the U.S. to live, according to the February 2024 RealtyHop Housing Affordability Index.


💡 Quick Tip: Online tools make tracking your spending a breeze: You can easily set up budgets, then get instant updates on your progress, spot upcoming bills, analyze your spending habits, and more.

What Is the Average Annual Salary in Florida?

Whether a salary can be considered “good” or not in Florida can depend on several factors, including where you choose to live. Proximity to a big city or beach can draw residents who are willing and able to pay more. So can living in an area known for high-end amenities (like shopping, nightlife, and cultural attractions) and luxurious homes.

The median household income among Floridians is $67,919, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census. That means, of course, that half of the state’s households bring in more than that, and half bring in less.

That figure compares with the median household income in upscale Collier County (which includes Naples and Marco Island) of $82,011. In Monroe County (Key West), it was $80,111. In Palm Beach County (Palm Beach, Wellington, Boca Raton), it was $68,874. And in St. Johns County (St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra), it was $100,020.

On the other hand, the median household incomes in landlocked and lesser-known Glades and Hendry counties in the south, and Hamilton County on the Georgia border, were $37,221, $49,259, and $47,668, respectively.

So what is a good salary in Florida, if you’re talking about one that goes beyond basic needs and allows for “wants” and savings?

A registered nurse pulls in an average base salary of nearly $79,000, according to Indeed. That’s a good income for a single person with no children in most parts of Florida as viewed through the 50/30/20 budget lens.

One Floridian with no children needs to net $46,645 to cover necessities like groceries, a modest rental, health care, and transportation, the MIT Living Wage Calculator shows. Doubling that provides room for discretionary spending (30%) and savings (20%).

Recommended: What Is Competitive Pay?

What Can Affect Affordability in Florida?

As you can imagine, one of the biggest factors affecting how far your salary will go in Florida is housing. Housing costs can vary widely, depending on where you decide to settle and on whether you buy a house or condo. But home and rent prices across the entire state have risen sharply over the past few years.

The cost of insurance coverage — homeowners, health, and auto — also is generally higher than in many other states. Many home and condo owners also must pay for federal flood insurance, which is on the rise.

Still, owners of primary homes may get a property tax break with the homestead exemption, which decreases the property’s taxable value by as much as $50,000.

That doesn’t mean that everyone who lives in the Sunshine State is living large. The state’s median household income in 2022 (the Census Bureau’s most recent number) was just over $67,000 — while the median U.S. household income was closer to $74,580.

And although the state’s minimum wage will rise to $13 this year with more bumps expected in 2025 and 2026, Florida is one of the states impacted most by inflation, according to the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee.

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What Are Some Average Annual Expenses in Florida?

How should you expect to divvy up your income if you live in Florida? Here are some costs you may want to plug into a money tracker app:

Housing

Whether you rent or buy a home, a major portion of your paycheck will likely go toward putting a roof over your head.

A couple of Florida cities appear on this price-to-rent ratio list. The ratios can be useful when considering whether to rent, buy, or invest.

Also useful if you haven’t owned a principal residence in the past three years or you’re a veteran: first-time homebuyer programs in Florida.

If you’re buying …

Florida’s housing market continues to be red hot, with prices in January 2024 up 4.5% compared with the same period last year, according to Redfin.

Here’s a look at median sale prices in cities across the state for that same period.

Cocoa: $227,500

Daytona Beach: $262,200

Marco Island: $1.34 million

Miami: $599,000

Ocala: $239,450

Orlando: $369,000

Palm Beach: $1.9 million

Stuart: $370,000

Tampa: $393,000

If you’re renting …

Rents are all over the place in Florida, as you can see from the list below. Here are some recent median monthly rents for two-bedroom properties, according to Zillow.

Cocoa: $2,000

Daytona Beach: $1,695

Marco Island: $8,000

Miami: $3,250

Ocala: $1,725

Orlando: $2,095

Palm Beach: $12,000

Stuart: $2,850

Tampa: $2,117

Groceries

The U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey Family Budget Calculator ranked Florida 5th highest for food costs in the U.S. in 2024.

Here are the monthly costs for some Florida counties, based on a family of four (two adults and two children in a household where most food is purchased at a grocery store and prepared at home), according to the Economic Policy Institute Family Budget Calculator.

Brevard County: $1,081

Collier County: $1,173

Hamilton County: $960

Hillsborough County: $1,070

Miami-Dade County: $1,143

Monroe County: $1,304

Palm Beach County: $1,183

Washington County: $853

Utilities

Florida ranks 2nd in the U.S. for utility costs, according to data gathered by Statista. Of course, utility costs can vary depending on whether you rely on natural gas or solar, the size and age of your home, your appliances, etc. But here’s what Statista says are the average monthly utility costs in Florida.

Electricity: $128.64

Natural Gas: $61.69

Water: $45.44

Phone: $114

Broadband Internet: $59.99

Gasoline

According to GasBuddy’s interactive gas price map, Florida’s gas prices are about average compared with other states. But again, the cost can vary depending on where you live.

Here are GasBuddy numbers for some Florida counties in March 2024.

Brevard County: $3.02 per gallon

Hillsborough County: $3.10

Miami-Dade County: $2.79

Orange County: $2.99

Palm Beach County: $2.99

Sarasota County: $3.21

St. Johns County: $3.09

Walton County: $3.09

Child Care

The cost of child care can depend on how old your kids are and if you choose an at-home or classroom setting. According to CostofChildCare.org, the average cost per month in Florida is $989 per child for home-based family care, $1,364 for an infant classroom, $790 for a toddler classroom, and $702 for a preschool classroom.

Which City in Florida Has the Lowest Cost of Living?

According to NewHomeSource, the Florida city with the lowest overall cost of living is Titusville, followed by Winter Haven, Lauderdale Lakes, Daytona Beach, Sanford, Largo, Lakeland, Deltona, Jacksonville, and Pinellas Park.

A few of those, as well as more affluent cities, have a sizable retiree population. Yes, Florida is a senior magnet. (See: Winter Haven.) By 2030, the number of seniors in Florida is expected to top 6 million.

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Florida?

“Comfort” is a subjective term in any context, as we all have different wants and needs when it comes to our lifestyle.

If you plan to spend more time outside doing things that are inexpensive or free, you may find it’s easier to embrace financial minimalism by living in the Sunshine State.

If, on the other hand, you long to reside in one of Florida’s bigger cities or near the beach, you may have to ask for a bigger salary than you’d need in a less expensive location. That’s especially true if you’ll be living on a single income.

Either way, it may be useful to consider your priorities and whether your income will cover those costs. Can you be happy without owning a boat or being a member of a golf club? Do you tend to live below your means or overspend? Are annual passes to Disney a must?


💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

The Takeaway

Florida can be an expensive place, mostly because the cost of renting or owning a home has gone up so much. But with a good salary — by one definition at least $69,000 for a single, childless person — and a solid spending plan, you can enjoy the laid-back Florida lifestyle.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

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FAQ

What is a livable salary in Florida?

MIT’s Living Wage Calculator says a livable salary for a single person in Florida with no children is about $46,000 before taxes.

What job in Florida pays the most?

Cardiologists, emergency room physicians, and orthopedic surgeons are the highest earners in the state, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Can you live on $30,000 a year in Florida?

You may find it challenging, especially when it comes to finding a place to live. But if you share a home and other expenses, find affordable health care, and budget carefully, $30,000 a year could be enough to get by on in Florida.


Photo credit: iStock/Pgiam

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