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Retirees - As we look towards 2021, Georgia is on our mind!

Georgia is in the news these days, as hundreds of millions of dollars pour into the state for two runoff elections on January 5th that will determine control of the U.S. Senate. The fast-growing, friendly Peach State will get even more attention in the weeks and months ahead.

The Senate runoffs are incredibly important, but Georgia also has other interesting qualities worth attention. Its pro-business, growth-oriented economy helps explain both why the state is growing so fast, and why so many retirees are choosing to live there.

As our population ages — we now have about 74.64 million Americans over 60 years old — it is ever more important to have affordable, friendly places for retirement consideration. Particularly as the COVID crisis has cut into savings and damaged so many retirement nest eggs.

Let’s look at five outstanding economic factors offered by the great state of Georgia:

(1) Speaking of friendly, Georgia is extremely tax-friendly for seniors. The state does not tax Social Security and provides the added bonus of a $65,000 deduction on all retirement income (excluding Social Security) for each person over 65! Of this amount, $4,000 can be earned income from a part time job. Heirs are also well protected as there is no inheritance tax or estate tax.

(2) The cost of living is almost 7 percent lower in Georgia than the national average. It has a statewide sales tax of only 4 percent, and the average home price is an affordable $166,000 - significantly lower than the US average of $206,000. The dollar goes a long way in Georgia, which is more vital than ever in these volatile times.

(3) Georgia is one of the best states to stretch your retirement savings over a lifetime. When ranked from shortest to longest lasting, a nest egg of $1 million in savings will last a retiree in Georgia 22 years vs 10 years in Hawaii and 14 years in California and New York.

(4) A sample of essential annual expenses in Georgia for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation and healthcare costs totals $45,367.12

(5) All the benefits above led Kiplinger to rank Georgia as the third best state to retire. Their classification is based on a typical retiree earning $35,000 per year from savings, Social Security, or part-time work, and taking into account disposable income spending on taxable goods. The research also considered the number of nearby doctors’ offices, recreation centers, and retirement centers and, lastly, the number of seniors as a percentage of the total population. Seniors are expected to be 20 percent of Georgia’s population within the next 10 years.

Georgia has an incredible history and a great story of growth and opportunity to tell. For seniors, it's the ability to offer a fair cost of living and value for money which are valuable assets. These advantages will benefit many Americans as long as they remain intact fueling the state's engine of prosperity.