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Older citizens place few demands on schools, social services

Relocating retirees stimulate economy without strain

vicksburg — Mississippi is posting gains in attracting relocating retirees who stimulate the housing industry, increase the tax base, retail sales and the number of jobs, and who are highly likely to become valuable community volunteers.

“You don`t have to have a Disney World or Sun City to attract retirees,” said Mark Fagan, professor in social work at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, a speaker at the Fourth Annual Retirement Symposium held April 28-29 in Vicksburg. “Learn the housing preferences of migrating retirees. Find creative ways to develop and finance retirement amenities such as golf courses and retirement communities.”

Fagan said the benefits of attracting relocating retirees come without the drawbacks of straining school, social service, health care and criminal justice systems. Attracting retirees can be a major economic plus that also doesn`t create the environmental problems that can come from large industrial developments.

Relocating retirees are looking for scenic landscapes, a moderate climate, low crime rates, abundant recreation, quality housing at reasonable prices, and an overall reasonable cost of living. Low crime rates are also attractive.

Fagan said currently about 5% of people aged 55 and over plan to relocate out of state.

“This trend will increase as those 55 and over increases from 55 million to 75 million by 2010,” Fagan said. “The number of Americans 55-64 will increase from 21 million to 42 million in the next 24 years. Studies predict that retiring Baby Boomers, the 75 million people born between 1946 and 1964, will have 18% annual out-of-state relocation.”

A Gallup poll shows that 9% of workers aged 50 and over plan to retire by age 62. But, interestingly, 19% said they will never retire. The remaining nearly 70% of people haven`t yet decided when to retire.

Polls show 70% of Baby Boomers plan to work part-time in retirement, and 70% plan to volunteer and be active in their communities. Baby Boomers` idea of an ideal retirement includes having no financial worries, and relaxing in a quiet place with fishing, golfing and boating. Most also would like to travel.

Mississippi, aided by a favorable climate and a reasonable cost of living, is ranked as one of the top 10 states in the country for retirement. Florida is still the top state attracting retirees followed by North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Maryland and Tennessee.

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