The Mississippi government actively works to make the state a good place to retire, according to Lynne Jeter in the June 24, 2008 edition of the "Mississippi Business Journal." The state government has an official retirement attraction program started in 1994 which puts Mississippi cities through an intense three-month investigation into retirement friendliness. The cities that meet the criteria are designated a Certified Retirement City. Mississippi has 21 Certified Retirement Cities, including Aberdeen, Booneville, Brandon, Brookhaven, Clinton, Columbus, Corinth, Hattiesburg, Laurel, Madison, McComb, Meridian, Mississippi Gulf Coast, Natchez, Oxford, Picayune, Southaven, Starkville, Tupelo, Vicksburg and West Point.
Cost of Living
The state of Mississippi has a lower than the national average cost of living by up to 10 percent, according to the Grenada, Mississippi, website. The cost of living in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is 5.7% less than the average for the rest of the country, the cost of housing is 8.7% less, and the cost of health care is 11.1% below the national average. Other Mississippi cities have a similar lower than national average housing and health care cost, too.
Mississippi has a mild climate with an average temperature of 65 degrees throughout the year, but the summers are humid. In July, the average temperature rises to 82 degrees, while in January the average falls to 42 degrees. Mississippi gets less than 2 inches of snow a year on average, which reduces the risk of slipping and falling on snowy sidewalks. The southern region of Mississippi along the Gulf of Mexico experiences tropical weather and more rain a year than the rest of the state and has slightly higher average temperatures according the the state of Mississippi's website. The state has a diverse topography ranging from the sandy beaches of the Gulf area to dense forests or rolling hills.
According to the official Mississippi website, there is an average of one hospital bed for every 200 people in the state. Every Certified Retirement City in Mississippi is within 15 minutes of a hospital. There is also approximately one doctor per 605 residents. As well, veterans can get care in one of several VA hospitals scattered around the state.
Mississippi residents can get an exemption from state income taxes for all qualified retirement income. The exemptions cover social security income, 401s/403s, IRAs, eligible public and private pensions and federal securities interest income. People over 65 years old also receive a break on homestead property taxes with an exemption of the first $75,000 in property value. Value above the $75,000 is taxed at the normal rate. There is no gift tax or intangible personal property tax in Mississippi.
Retired veterans can continue to reap all of their benefits in Mississippi at any of five major military installations, which includes three air force bases and two naval bases. Retired military personnel have access to a commissary, base exchange, medical facilities and recreational activities near these five bases.
Recreation and Eductation
The community colleges and major universities in Mississippi Certified Retirement Cities waive the cost of tuition for older adults. Other opportunities for learning include Institutes for Learning in Retirement, which are low cost programs designed for retirees and include classes on topics relevant to retired people.
Mississippi also boasts a diverse selection of cultural activities ranging from the opera, ballet and museums to festivals and fairs. Music and literature play an active role in most Mississippi cities.