Following the money: Tennessee, Chattanooga give retirees more bang for their bucks

Photography by C.B. Schmelter / A couple takes in the sights from Point Park on Lookout Mountain recently. Local efforts to attract retirees cite the area's affordable cost of living, natural beauty and low tax burden.

No state income tax. No state taxes on pensions, dividends from stocks, interest on bonds or on Social Security.

For many prospective retirees from other states looking at Tennessee, those are big draws, says Zach Ledbetter, who is director of outreach and engagement for the state Department of Tourist Development.

Ledbetter, who oversees the state's retiretennessee.org initiative, says the Volunteer State generally has a low cost of living compared to the national average.

Also, property taxes at the local level are among key financial factors for people looking at relocating to Tennessee during their golden years, he says.

Leigh McClure, who heads up Hamilton County's retiree recruiting effort, says Chattanooga is "a very sought-after destination."

"People love the fact we have a low cost of living, no state income tax and housing prices are much lower than in a lot of states," she says.