A good salary — one that allows for necessities, fun, and savings — might start at $60,000 for a single, childless renter in Florida and $75,000 for a similar homeowner.
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 $66,500 plus money for discretionary spending.
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.
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Is It Expensive to Live in Florida?
Florida was the fastest-growing state in the U.S. in 2022, 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 32nd lowest cost of living in the U.S. in 2022, according to data gathered by the Missouri Economic Research Information Center (MERIC). That means 31 states had a lower cost of living, with Mississippi 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. Realtor.com recently called Miami-Dade the country’s least affordable place in which to live.
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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 in 2021 among Floridians was about $62,000, according to FLHealthCharts.gov. 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 $75,543. In Monroe County (Key West), it was $73,153. In Palm Beach County (Palm Beach, Wellington, Boca Raton), it was $68,874. And in St. Johns County (St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra), it was $88,794.
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 $38,088, $38,843, and $39,346, 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 over $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 $30,856 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%).
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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 couple of 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, whose cost 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 2021 (the Census Bureau’s most recent number) was just shy of $62,000 — while the median U.S. household income was closer to $72,000.
And although the state’s minimum wage recently increased from $10 to $11 an hour and will rise to $12 this year, 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:
Whether you rent or buy a home, a major portion of your paycheck will likely go toward putting a roof over your head (unless as a buyer you pay cash and your home becomes part of what is the biggest percentage of free and clear residences in the country).
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 …
Though Florida’s red-hot housing market was slowing as 2022 came to a close, prices were still up 5.8% compared with December 2021.
Here’s a look at median sale prices in cities across the state for that same period, according to Redfin.
Daytona Beach: $230,000
Marco Island: $1 million
Palm Beach: $2.3 million
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.
Daytona Beach: $1,500
Marco Island: $7,000
Palm Beach: $12,500
The Economic Policy Institute’s 2022 Family Budget Calculator ranked Florida 12th highest for food costs in the U.S.
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 nonprofit think tank.
Brevard County: $847
Collier County: $919
Hamilton County: $740
Hillsborough County: $849
Miami-Dade County: $902
Monroe County: $1,119
Palm Beach County: $924
Washington County: $717
Florida ranks 15 in the U.S. for utility costs, according to 2022 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.
Natural Gas: $62
Broadband Internet: $60
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 at the start of 2023.
Brevard County: $3.196 per gallon
Hillsborough County: $3.231
Miami-Dade County: $3.345
Orange County: $3.219
Palm Beach County: $3.374
Sarasota County: $3.205
St. Johns County: $3.235
Walton County: $3.104
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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.
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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.
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How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Florida?
“Comfort” is a subjective term in any context, and, of course, 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?
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 $60,000 for a single, childless person — and a solid spending plan, you can enjoy the laid-back Florida lifestyle.
With SoFi Insights, a free budget app, you can set up your budget, categorize your spending, and spot upcoming bills in one convenient place. You can also monitor your credit and investments, as well as your home value, and you’ll have access to tools that can help you make important financial decisions now and in the future.
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 $36,000 before taxes.
What job in Florida pays the most?
Anesthesiologists, cardiologists, and radiologists 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.
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