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Governor Bryant Highlights Mississippi Economic Growth at Mississippi College Financial Summit

Gov. Phil Bryant discusses progress for the state's economic climate at Wednesday's financial security summit at Mississippi College on Wednesday. The MC School of Business and Primerica co-sponsored the November 13 event.

Mississippi’s economic landscape continues to brighten, Gov. Phil Bryant told a financial summit at Mississippi College.

The Mississippi economy grew by 2.4 percent in 2012. It marked the first time the state’s economy surpassed $100 billion, Bryant said at the Wednesday forum on the Clinton campus.

Mississippi’s 64th governor, the Republican is keeping close tabs on the latest economic news about the Magnolia State, and emphasized the positives.

For instance, “Area Development” magazine rates Mississippi No. 9 among its 2013 list of best states for business. “Mississippi is on an economic roll,” the magazine reports. Mississippi ranks No. 2 in such categories as evaluating competitive utility costs and permit speed and sits among the top 5 states nationwide in the overall cost of doing business.

Innovative ideas and approaches in Mississippi have shaped “a business climate that is conducive to job growth and expansion,” Bryant told a Mississippi Economic Council forum in Jackson in late October.

A former Mississippi College political science professor, Bryant preached that same upbeat message at his alma mater in Clinton.

At the same time the state’s economy reports upticks in growth, Bryant says the majority of Mississippians want their children to land good-paying jobs in Mississippi rather than leaving to seek employment far from home.

The Mississippi College School of Business and Primerica co-sponsored the November 13 summit on personal financial security. Other speakers included Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, state Treasurer Lynn Fitch, and House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden of Meridian.

Fitch announced she will once again press the Legislature to pass a law mandating that high school students be required to take personal finance classes. These days, many young Mississippians cannot balance a checkbook.

Reports show that only 41 percent of the Mississippians surveyed are making minimum payments on their credit cards. Another 41 percent of the state’s residents have unpaid medical bills. Two-thirds of Mississippians are without a rainy day savings, Fitch noted.

After attending the summit, Mississippi College sophomore Dave Eaves of Florence said he applauds the state’s treasurer’s idea. “I never took one (a personal finance class). I don’t know how to balance a checkbook,” the Florence High graduate said. “Schools need finance classes.”

“It’s very important, but we should not force somebody to take the classes,” said MC senior Aaron Speight, 21, a business administration major from Birmingham, Alabama. “We should make it optional.”

At the summit, MC business professors Nancy Anderson and Bobby Perkins joined Primerica executive David Landrum to discuss topics such as saving for retirement, making smart investments and setting aside money to handle emergencies.

When School of Business Dean Marcelo Eduardo asked how people should climb out of debt, Landrum supplied some good advice. “They must get control of spending,” he said. Cutting up credit cards would be one way, the Jackson businessman said.

Eduardo served as the program’s moderator as MC students, professors and community business leaders looked on at Anderson Hall.

Across the nation, “we are doing a poor job addressing retirement,” said Anderson, a panelist on the Mississippi Public Broadcasting weekly radio show “Money Talks.”

An author from Clinton and businesswoman, Anderson advises her students to sign up for 401 K programs and add to it each year. “They should split their raises between their pocket and 401 K.”

The senior national sales director with Primerica that operates in 20 states, Landrum offered another sound point for the audience to consider. The former Mississippi College trustee suggested that “everybody needs a financial coach.”

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