Warm afternoons were filled with the sound of the gulf and the rustle of tall palm trees. Many Germans see the American state of Florida as a symbol of paradise for pensioners. Hundreds of thousands of German builders and home buyers flocked here between the 1960s and 1980s, taking advantage of the then-favorable exchange rate to buy a vacation home for their retirement.

But these times are already a thing of the past, reports the newspaper Handelsblatt. Those for whom it was still worth retiring in the peaceful paradise of the South Atlantic knew only too well its dangers.

This is the opinion, among others, of the German Sybille, 68 years old. As an employee of New York's DZ Bank, she earned enough money during her career in the '90s to get a small house in Florida. Today the company was difficult.

“[Heutzutage] “You have to have saved a lot to live here,” says Sybille. She knows some Germans who arrived with inadequate information and “now returned to Germany.”

Residence rights can cost several hundred thousand euros

The difficulties usually begin as soon as they enter the country, reports the newspaper Handelsblatt. The normal ESTA tourist visa allows you to stay in the USA for up to three months.

In order to stay longer, pensioners would normally have to invest 800,000 US dollars (approx. 752,372 euros) in a structurally weak region or buy property. The latter usually cost more than a million euros in coveted places like Fort Lauderdale in Florida. There are also annual property management fees of US$15,000 (€14,114.25) and up.

Climate change is driving up home insurance premiums

But even after purchasing a property, many German retirees often face unexpected additional costs. Home insurance premiums in Florida would have multiplied in just a few years. According to insurers, this is due to climate change, which increases the likelihood of natural disasters.

On a Facebook forum, a German homeowner in Florida reported that the value of his home had doubled since 2017. However, the amount of his insurance premium increased more than eightfold in the same time, from US$1,300 ( approx. 1,223.61 euros) to 11,000 US dollars (approx. 10,353.58 euros).

Sybille advises pensioners to leave one foot in Germany

Life in Florida is now much more expensive than in Germany. In Miami, for example, people spend about a third more money than in Berlin with the same standard of living.

“Health insurance is also complicated,” says Sybille in this regard. Anyone who falls ill as a German in Florida usually has to “pay the medical expenses out of their own pocket.” Therefore, it would discourage current retirees from relocating to the United States entirely.

A retirement in Florida, a retiree's paradise, could still be worth it, but only “under the premise that you can afford both places.”

Andalusia and Spain are also currently questioning pensioners

But where can German pensioners undoubtedly settle today? A recent discussion on the Facebook platform showed that neither Spain nor Andalusia are currently considered indisputable.

After a pensioner asked for advice on retiring in Spain, users of the site bombarded her with warnings.

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