Complete with year-round warm weather, unlimited golf courses, and pristine beaches — not to mention some favorable tax breaks — Florida is the go-to destination for retirees in the United States.
For most, life in the Sunshine State is easy-going, calm and relaxing.
“I like to be busy,” says professional lacrosse player Myles Jones. “I’m originally from New York so I grew up living my life a million miles per hour. Anytime I can break away from the relaxed lifestyle and get back to my roots, I feel more at home and I feel comfortable.”
Jones, who relocated in 2020 to Destin, Florida on the state’s northwest panhandle, isn’t sitting around soaking in the sun or improving his golf game. The 29-year-old, who is also preparing for the upcoming Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) season, actually just launched his second career.
“When I moved to Florida I had a lot of time on my hands in between seasons and I wanted to do something other than training,” he says. “I saw how lucrative and exciting the real estate market was in Florida and I’m someone who likes to take advantage of an opportunity, so I was like, ‘Hey, if I could get my foot in the door here and get a good grasp of what real estate was in this market, I could have something to be immersed in when I’m done playing lacrosse.
“It’s also an opportunity to have a successful career not only after I’m done playing, but while I’m doing it as well.’”
According to The New York Times, PLL salaries averaged $35,000 in 2021. It’s why players like Jones, a star midfielder for Redwoods Lacrosse Club who ranked second in the league in points (32) and assists (17) last season, needs to supplement the income from his passion with side hustles.
Doing so is nothing new for Jones, who was selected No. 1 overall in the 2016 Major League Lacrosse draft. The two-time MLL all-star, who joined the PLL ahead of its inaugural season in 2019, has hosted lacrosse camps in Boston, Houston, Atlanta and Northern Virginia.
He’s also served as an analyst as part of ESPN’s college lacrosse coverage since graduating from Duke University in 2016.
Real estate will be his first foray outside of lacrosse as an active player. Jones got his real estate license in March and joined luxury real estate firm Spears Group, the No. 1 medium-sized real estate team in Florida and No. 11 in the U.S. per, The Wall Street Journal, a month later.
While it typically takes a broker 6-8 months to get their first listing, Jones needed just one before closing his first transaction.
“I told my CEO I want to sell $15 million my first year,” Jones says. “I’m almost a million under my belt and I have a few things coming down the pipeline that if they come to fruition, I’ll be at $7 million, so almost halfway there.”
The success is no surprise for anyone who knows Jones or watched him play. At Duke, Jones, heralded as “arguably the best midfielder to wear a Duke jersey,” was a two-time national champion, three-time All-American, two-time Tewaaraton Award finalist, three-time All-ACC player, 2016 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, and is the only midfielder in NCAA history to have 100 goals and 100 assists in a year.
Following in the footsteps of his father Reginald, who worked in New York real estate, Myles is showcasing his knowledge, success, determination and resilience throughout Florida’s Emerald Coast. Spears Group works in Destin and 30A—the latter a 26-mile stretch of pristine white sand beaches flanked by emerald water, with 16 highly sought-after coastal beach towns and homes that go for as much as $25 million.
30A has become a popular escape for current and former Southern college and professional football coaches, including Mark Stoops, Kirby Smart, Ed Orgeron, Tommy Bowden, Tommy Tuberville, Sean Payton, Jerry Jones, and Jack Del Rio, who either own property there or are frequently seen vacationing between Destin and Panama City Beach.
For Jones, it’s the new playing field he hopes to dominate as he juggles luxury real estate and lacrosse.
“I haven’t been able to experience both at the same time yet, so I’m going to have to learn on the fly,” Jones says. “For me, I like to take a step away from sports to keep my mind even-keeled. Real estate is going to give me a chance to channel some of my competitiveness and energy towards something else so when I come back to game mode with a lacrosse stick in my hand it will be fresh.
“I’m really excited to see what season one looks like, but for me, the preparation looks the same.”