"This seems like heaven," Glen McCaskey said Tuesday as he savored a Cuban sandwich and a Coke and enjoyed the view of sun, sea and sand from Seafood & Sunsets at Julie's on Clearwater Beach.
Why, he wondered, do so many people want to leave?
McCaskey is vice president for community relations for Del Webb Corp., and he was in the area to host three information sessions for Florida seniors who are interested in Del Webb's new retirement community at Sun City Hilton Head, N.C.
Del Webb has documented the phenomenon of "re-retirement": People retire to Florida, then move again a few years later, often to a location a little farther north, where they're closer to family, in an area with four seasons that they perceive to be safer and less congested.
McCaskey had just come from a morning session at Innisbrook, where all 113 audience members were from Somewhere Else _ not a Florida native among them. Climate plays a role in their interest in leaving Florida, McCaskey reported: "They all say in the summer, it's just too darned hot."
(When he conducted similar information sessions last winter in Philadelphia and Cleveland, McCaskey reported, he expected that 6 inches of snow might cut down on his audience. Not so: Everybody who had signed up, showed up, "and they were all pleading: "Show me the way out of here!' ")
What do these potential expatriate Floridians want? Here are some frequently asked questions at the Del Webb sessions, McCaskey reported: Is there a state income tax in North Carolina? What's the sales tax? What are the taxes on cars? What will the property taxes be on my house? What are the utility rates? How are your houses constructed? How far is it to the airport? What's the mileage from Tampa to North Carolina? How crowded are the golf courses, and what percentage of your residents are golfers?
And this question: How hard is it to get a driver's license in North Carolina?
_ JUDY STARK
Where seniors retire
Ten states attract the bulk _ 56 percent _ of people 60 and older who move to a new state. Florida draws nearly a fourth of them, according to Retirement Migration in America. Here are the Top 10 states and the percentage of their population 60 and older who moved into the state within the five years ending in 1990:
North Carolina 3.4
New Jersey 2.6
What seniors want
What amenities do retirees want in their new hometowns? These, according to a reader survey by Where to Retire magazine:
1. Low crime rate
2. Good hospitals
3. Low cost of living
4. Mild climate
5. Low taxes
6. Low housing cost
7. Friendly neighbors
8. Major city nearby
9. No state income tax
10. Active social/cultural environment
Source: Miami Herald