How New Hampshire makes itself a home for business
Factors that attract people and businesses to New Hampshire, point to steady economic growth
Fifteen years ago, my wife and I were living in South Florida. We had one child and were expecting our second. We lived in a two-bedroom condo and had been looking for a comfortable home for our growing family. Home prices in our town were unaffordable, so we started looking 30 to 40 minutes away. Education was a high priority to us, and Florida schools at that time didn’t rank well, so private school seemed necessary. Florida also ranked poorly for crime statistics.
Several clients of mine suggested we consider New Hampshire. We made the decision to move in 2008 and settled in New Hampshire with our first child. Our second was born just months after we arrived, and now we are raising four children here.
New Hampshire was attractive to us primarily for the highly ranked pre-k to grade 12 education. Rather than sending our children to private elementary school, we felt confident in the education they would get in our new town of Bedford.
We were able to build a new home in New Hampshire for considerably less than a comparable home would have been where we lived in Florida. At the time we moved, we considered Massachusetts, but a home would have cost significantly more in towns around Boston with similarly ranked schools to where we settled in New Hampshire.
Another factor that helped us decide to choose New Hampshire over Massachusetts was the tax structure.
Like Florida, there is no income tax in New Hampshire on earnings. Having lived and launched my financial planning career in Florida, I didn’t like the idea of moving to a state that would impose a 5 percent or greater tax on my earnings since I never had that burden before. As an added bonus to not paying state income tax on my earnings, New Hampshire also has no sales tax.
NH by the numbers
New Hampshire offers an ideal environment for many types of businesses, especially those in professional services. Our independent registered investment advisory has grown significantly since our founding nearly 10 years ago. The state consistently ranks among the top states for per capita income, household income and growth of personal income. Clearly these factors are attractive to financial services firms like ours.
We moved to New Hampshire mostly for personal reasons centered on our family. We wanted to live in a family-oriented community with a strong education system. After we moved to New Hampshire, the economic environment allowed me to launch Cohen Investment Advisors five years after moving here, and Cohen Real Estate Advisors four years later.
In preparing for this article, I consulted several research sources as well as AI-generated statistics. What we found impressed us even more. Let’s look at some of these stats:
• New Hampshire led the nation in the growth rate of babies born in 2021 compared with 2016, and also led the baby boom during the pandemic, according to research just released in the NH Union Leader.
• There is no state income tax in New Hampshire, so earned income is exempt from state tax.
• The Granite State offers several tax exemptions for residents, such as a $1,000 exemption for military retirement income, a $1,200 exemption for interest and dividends income, and a $500 exemption for seniors who own a home.
• New Hampshire is one of the most “business-friendly” states in the country, which keeps its economy strong. Residents take advantage of plentiful job opportunities and a strong economy.
• New Hampshire’s unemployment rate was 2.4 percent as of March, and has often ranked lowest in the country, providing a more stable job market for residents and out-of-state commuters.
• New Hampshire ranks top in the country for economic opportunity in a recent U.S. News report, among the lowest poverty rate and food insecurity rate in the country.
• The state had the fastest growth in GDP in the first quarter of 2022.
• Crime statistics rank the state among the lowest for homicide and at the top for crime-prevention measures and low overall crime rates.
• Teen birth rates were the second lowest in the country, and New Hampshire ranked in the bottom five for births to unmarried women.
• The Granite State is also very desirable for its natural environment. Pollution levels are low, while water and air quality rank consistently high and at healthy levels.
All of these factors help attract people and businesses to New Hampshire and point to steady economic growth.
Not only is New Hampshire an attractive place to raise a family and operate a business, it’s a great place to retire. Despite cold winters, a high percentage of seniors stay in New Hampshire during their retirement years rather than migrating to somewhere warmer. The clean living is undoubtedly a factor, and life expectancy in New Hampshire is near the top in the country, at 79 years. An added bonus is that our state has among the lowest car insurance premium rates, which makes getting around more affordable.
Our business has seen an influx of new residents in the last few years. Many came from higher income-tax states to raise their family and work remotely for companies based far away. Whatever the reasons, New Hampshire has benefited by the growth in population. Our firm remains committed to New Hampshire and has been hiring local people to support that growth.
Daniel Cohen is CEO and chief investment officer at Cohen Investment Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm in Bedford. He can be reached at 603-232-8351 and online through investwithcohen.com.