Reveling in Retirement
Quality of Life Cannot Be Beat
Suitable and desirable for all ages, life in greater Hattiesburg offers something for everyone, especially retirees. Its hospitality, position to the beautiful coast of the Gulf of Mexico and charming quality of life make the Pine Belt stick out among other places to retire.
“Year after year we earn national recognition as one of the best retirement communities in America,” said Valencia Williamson, executive vice president of the Area Development Partnership (ADP). “We have a fabulous quality of life for all ages, but especially for seniors. We’re a state certified retirement community. We meet or exceed all of the state criteria that make the city retiree-friendly: affordable cost of living, low taxes, low crime rates, quality medical care and opportunities for learning and leisure. And you can’t beat the weather.”
When it comes to taxes, Hattiesburg earns exceptional recognition. MagnifyMoney, a website devoted to financial literacy, recently ranked Hattiesburg No. 4 on its list of “Best Places for Six-Figure Households.” Where to Retire magazine named Hattiesburg a top retirement destination in 2016, and Kiplinger recently ranked Mississippi No. 4 among the most tax friendly states in the nation for retirees.
Managing one’s income across the span of retirement bears watchful consideration, especially housing costs. Fortunately, Hattiesburg enjoys a low cost of living and retiree-friendly housing abounds, from lakefront properties to unique retirement communities.
At The Claiborne in Hattiesburg, residents enjoy unparalleled lifestyles, from cottage or apartment living to assisted and memory care.
“It’s the premier independent living community in Hattiesburg,” Williamson said. “They are top notch with a host of amenities and activities.”
When new retirees move to the Pine Belt, Williamson suggests joining the ADP and getting plugged in to the community.
That’s exactly what William “Bill” and Vivian Schneider did, and they haven’t looked back. In a short time, Bill became an ADP ambassador and loves his new role welcoming businesses and residents to the region.
“There’s a reason this area is called ‘The Hub,’” Bill said. “It’s an hour from the coast and just a short drive to major cities, with everything you need right here. Most of all, the people who live here are the friendliest in the world, and trust me, we’ve lived a lot of places.”
The Schneiders moved to Hattiesburg four years ago, departing a busy metropolitan area. They found an ideal home in a single-family neighborhood on the lake.
“We had to live on a lake because he had to fish,” Vivian said. “We love it here. The medical community is phenomenal, people say hello everywhere you go and the food scene is incredible. Restaurants are all geared toward fresh and local. It’s fantastic.”
And from museums to arts and performances, there are world-class opportunities for senior learning, especially at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) on the University of Southern Mississippi campus.
“Folks are staying more active than ever before when they retire,” said Brett Harris, director of OLLI. “Continuing to learn is how they keep their minds sharp. At OLLI, they can get immersed in classes led by university faculty from all around Mississippi and the nation.” n By Cathy Cuthbertson