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mississippi retirement system

The state retirement system of Mississippi consists of seven different retirement plans to account for the multiple types of employees working for the state. If you’re new to pensions, and would value some extra assistance navigating the complex system, SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can pair you with financial advisors in your area and your price range, for free.

Types of Retirement Systems in Mississippi

Mississippi has a substantial number of retirement systems for it public employees, with seven distinct offerings across all different public employment types. The benefits and retirement requirements that accompany these plans are based on what the position entails. According to its Public Employee’s Retirement System Mississippi (PERS) Handbook, whether a Mississippi resident works as an educator, physician, county supervisor, engineer, clerk, accountant or another public employee, PERS promises a secure retirement. PERS states that it exists for employees of state agencies, public schools, community or junior colleges, and universities, as well as counties, cities, and other participating political subdivisions.

Mississippi Retirement Systems
System Title Eligible Employees
Public Employee’s Retirement System (PERS) All eligible State of Mississippi public employees, public education employees, other public employees whose employers have elected to participate and elected members of the State Legislature and President of the Senate.
Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Retirement System (MHSPRS) Sworn officers of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol.
Mississippi Government Employees’ Deferred Compensation Plan & Trust (MDC) Eligible employees of the local government.
Municipal Retirement Systems (MRS) General employees, firefighters, and police
officers serving in the participating cities, with distinct eligibility governed by the general laws of Mississippi state, as well as local and private legislation enacted by Mississippi State Legislature.
PERS-sponsored Retiree Medical and Life Insurance Plans Only to retirees covered under Medicare Part A and Part B.
Supplemental Legislative Retirement Plan (SLRP) All members of the Mississippi Legislature and the person serving as the President of the Senate (Lieutenant Governor). All members are also PERS members.
Optional Retirement Plan for the Institutions of Higher Learning (ORP) Participating teaching and administrative faculty of Mississippi’s eligible universities.

The retirement systems Mississippi offers to its dedicated public employees fall into four groups: Public Employee’s Retirement System (PERS), Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Retirement System (MHSPRS)​, ​Supplemental Legislative Retirement Plan (SLRP) and Municipal Retirement Systems (MRS)​. PERS administers the last three as more specific plans, while PERS stands on its own. Below, we break these plans down.

Overview of Mississippi’s Main Retirement Systems

mississippi retirement system

Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Retirement System (MHSPRS) – MHSPRS is the designated retirement system for all sworn officers of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol who have completed a course on general law enforcement in an authorized highway patrol training school. Participation in MHSPRS is mandatory for sworn officers who are assigned to the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol.

Mississippi Government Employees’ Deferred Compensation Plan & Trust (MDC) – Combined with an employer’s pension plan and Social Security (if eligible), the MDC plan helps government employees save for future goals and retirement.

Municipal Retirement Systems (MRS) – MRS is comprised of city retirement plans from around Mississippi state for general employees, firefighters and police officers serving in participating cities. MRS coordinates with PERS, meaning if you’re a member of one, you’re a member of the other.

Optional Retirement Plan for the Institutions of Higher Learning (ORP) – Created to assist in attracting qualified and talented faculty to state universities, ORP is designed to be portable and transferable to accommodate out-of-state moves during employment. Administered by PERS, ORP has nine participating employers:

  • Alcorn State U.
  • Delta State U.
  • Jackson State U.
  • Mississippi State U.
  • Mississippi U. for Women
  • Mississippi Valley State U.
  • U. of Mississippi (Ole Miss)
  • Ole Miss Medical Center
  • U. of Southern Mississippi

Supplemental Legislative Retirement Plan (SLRP) – The SLRP was established in 1989 and placed under management of the PERS Board of Trustees. It provides supplemental benefits, in addition to PERS benefits, to all members of the Mississippi Legislature and the President of the Senate, Lieutenant Governor.

Although the retirement systems listed above all under the PERS system umbrella, they can each be subdivided into “tiers,” depending on when you began paying member contributions. They go as follows:

Tier 1: June 30, 1992, or earlier
Tier 2: July 1, 1992, through June 30, 2007
Tier 3: July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2011
Tier 4: July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2011

Retirement Taxes in Mississippi

Federal

On a federal level, the money that you contribute to your pension plan does not get taxed, which means it is a tax-deferred account. But there’s a catch: you’ll pay taxes on any payments you take directly from your pension once you retire. Luckily, you will have the chance to decide whether you would prefer to have these funds withheld from each pension check or if you’d rather make estimated tax payments.

You can’t predict how much is going to be withheld from your income. Many factors that change from year to year may have an impact. Luckily the government routinely does those calculations for you and will supply you with a refund (or charge the dividends) at year’s end. Retirement plans in Mississippi, like many in states around the country, include a rollover. In that instance, you send the money right from your pension plan to a different, tax-deferred retirement account. Finally, if you instead have a Roth IRA, you’ll instead pay taxes up-front. But your distributions in retirement will be tax-free.

State

As detailed in our thorough Mississippi Retirement Tax Friendliness Guide, the state of Mississippi is generally tax-friendly toward its retirees. It does not tax Social Security or retirement account withdrawals. You pay standard tax rates on wages, and the marginal state tax rate is 0%. Finally, you don’t pay taxes on public and private pension income.

Mississippi has no estate tax.

Current Financial Health of the Mississippi Retirement System

mississippi retirement system

The current state of the Mississippi Retirement System, per its 2017 report, is excellent. It has seen double-digit percentage increases in benefits rolled out for those on its retirement plans, as well as an uptick in value and income for such public work jobs.

Tips for a Successful Retirement

  • Creating a financial plan is the best way to ensure that you’re not under-saving. This will make it easier to decide where you want to end up financially, which can make retirement more attainable.
  • Even with all the benefits of a state-set pension, retirement can nonetheless prove difficult to prepare for. Help from a financial advisor might be the best way to get your ducks in a row. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool can set you up with skilled financial advisors in who best fit your needs.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/shapecharge, ©iStock.com/Sean Pavone, ©iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia

Jane Thier Jane Thier writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SmartAsset. Her expertise includes banking and mortgage. Jane is currently studying at Washington University in St. Louis and serves as editor-in-chief of Armour Magazine. Jane aims to receive her Master's Degree in Journalism.
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