MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - New data from Kiplinger ranks Mississippi as the fourth most tax-friendly state for retirees in the United States.
"It's awesome," said Chad Newell, president of the Area Development Partnership. "To have Kiplinger rank us as one of the most tax-friendly states in the nation is incredible. We came in number four in the nation, and we're number one in the South. So that's awesome because those are our competitors, the southeast, as we try to attract retirees to the area."'
Newell said Mississippi's low income taxes, retirement income that is not subject to incomes taxes and homestead exemptions for their first $75,000 in home value all make Mississippi and the Pine Belt ideal for retirees.
"When you have that property tax savings, a low income tax rate, your 401ks and IRAs are not being taxed, so it's pretty incredible environment from a cost standpoint for retirees," Newell said.
Bill and Mary Nolan moved to Petal from Boston 11 years ago
"We say that we live in Mississippi now, and all of our friends in Massachusetts say, 'Mississippi?!'" Bill said. "All of them go to Florida."
But after traveling to the area four different times throughout the year to test the weather and reading an article in Money magazine that said Hattiesburg was a good place to retire, they decided to make the move.
While they were not aware of the state's new ranking, they said they see the savings.
"They don't tax my pension," Bill said. "They don't tax 401ks, social security, things like that. No state tax. Also the (low) property taxes. There's the homestead exemption, and on top of that, Forrest County has a homestead exemption for seniors."
Newell said, "It's important. When retirees are trying to manage sometimes a tight budget, it's nice to in a state that is extremely tax friendly, and it's just awesome to be the top tax-friendly state in the South."
Between the resources available to seniors from friendship to healthcare and the financially friendly climate, the Nolans said they would recommend retiring to Hattiesburg.
"A friend of ours calls it the hidden secret," Bill said. "A lot of people don't realize how economically friendly it is."