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"Worse than seeing a spider is suddenly no longer seeing that spider." ~Unknown

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Town Snapshot:

Fredericksburg, Texas

Known for its beautiful German architecture and wineries, touristy, historic Fredericksburg is in the Texas Hill Country and is surrounded by peach groves, herb farms and bluebonnet fields.

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How You Can Benefit from a Reverse Mortgage

If you are looking for a way to have a more comfortable retirement, a reverse mortgage may be a way to finance it.

If you are age 62 or better, own your own home, have enough equity in it and plan to stay in it during retirement, then you can probably qualify for a reverse mortgage, letting you elimnate your current mortgage payment and receive tax-free money for retirement (or anything else). You keep ownership of your home until you leave it and continue to pay taxes and insurance on it.

A reverse mortgage is not for everyone - fees can be high and there are a few other downsides - but for many people, this mortgage product can be a financial lifesaver. Talk to a HUD representative or reputable mortgage lender to see if a reverse mortgage is right for you.

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Town Snapshot:

Oriental, North Carolina

A quaint harbor town on the Neuse River, Oriental is the self-proclaimed "Sailing Capital of North Carolina," and its picturesque marina is stocked with tall masted sloops, schooners and powerboats.

Town Snapshot:

Parker, Colorado

Growing, prosperous Parker sits under a towering blue sky in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains and is home to large properties and beautiful views.

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Town Snapshot:

Beverly Beach, Florida

A little more than a mile long, laid back Beverly Beach sits on a barrier island and has a beautiful, often uncrowded strip of sand.

Town Snapshot:

Signal Mountain, Tennessee

Pretty Signal Mountain sits on a ridge at the end of the Cumberland Plateau overlooking the Tennessee River and has a suburban, country vibe.

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Five Types of Mortgage Loans

Fixed Rate Loan - The most common type of conventional loan, a fixed-rate loan has one interest rate and a fixed monthly payment for the length of the loan, which is usually 15 or 30 years.

Adjustable Rate Loan - These mortgages have a lower, fixed rate for a set period of time, usually five or 10 years. After that, the rate adjusts once a year according to current interest rates. The monthly payment goes up or down accordingly.

FHA Loan - This government-backed loan lets a buyer put down as little as 3.5% of a home's purchase price verses the normal 20% required with a conventional loan.

VA Loan - This mortgage loan is for people who have served in the military and requires no down payment or mortgage insurance.

Reverse Mortgage - A reverse mortgage is for people age 62 or better who have equity in their home, want to take it out in the form of tax-free cash and eliminate their mortgage payment.

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In Depth Review:

St. George, Utah

Retirees come to sun drenched St. George for its healthy living, abundant golf courses, dry climate and striking natural beauty.

Town Snapshot:

Cedar Key, Florida

Tiny Cedar Key sits on a small barrier island off Florida's Big Bend coast and has a seductive "ends of the earth" feeling about it. T-shirts and flip flops are standard attire.

Town Snapshot:

Oro Valley, Arizona

With a pretty setting in the Santa Cantalina Mountain foothills, Oro Valley is a Tucson bedroom community and home high tech and biotech companies.

Short Review:

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Southern hospitality, beautiful homes, historic neighborhoods and pretty beaches bring retirees to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

Town Snapshot:

Belleair Bluffs, Florida

Compact, coastal Belleair Bluffs rests on one of Florida's highest coastlines and is a gateway to beautiful Gulf Coast beaches.

Town Snapshot:

Abingdon, Virginia

Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains in lush western Virginia, historic Abingdon has an active arts scene, an attractive downtown, reasonable prices and more.

Town Snapshot:

Holly Springs, North Carolina

Not far from the largest research park in the country, Holly Springs is a comfortable, growing town with an educated population, nice neighborhoods, a cultural center and more.

In Depth Review:

Hilo, Hawaii

Next to sparkling Hilo Bay, sleepy Hilo boasts a verdant landscape, an old fashioned cityscape and a very mellow way of life.

Town Snapshot:

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Historic, touristy Gettysburg has a bucolic setting and is full of fun eateries, wine shops, candy stores, pubs, galleries and more.

Town Snapshot:

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida

A laid back town on a barrier island, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is popular with snorkelers and divers and maintains a prosperous, bohemian vibe.

Short Review:

Houston, Texas

Bustling and diverse, Houston sits near the Gulf of Mexico in southeastern Texas and boasts reasonable living costs, eclectic neighborhoods, amenities galore, fun eateries, outstanding medical facilities and more.

Town Snapshot:

Elizabethtown, Kentucky

A friendly, well-tended community, Elizabethtown is close to Fort Knox in north central Kentucky and is popular with military families.

Town Snapshot:

St. Pete Beach, Florida

Touristy, laid back St. Pete Beach is on Florida's central Gulf Coast and is known for its beautiful beaches, unspoiled sand dunes and resort hotels.

Short Review:

Brookings, Oregon

On Oregon's stunning southern coast, Brookings has quiet beaches, an attractive downtown, a farmers' market, art galleries and the ever popular Winter Art and Chocolate Festival.

Town Snapshot:

Lady Lake, Florida

Home to part of The Villages, the large 55+ community, Lady Lake is a quiet place with lakes, safe neighborhoods and leafy lanes.

Town Snapshot:

Moab, Utah

In the stark rugged beauty of southeastern Utah, laid back Moab was once a hole-in-the-wall desert outpost but today draws 1.5 million outdoor adventure seekers every year.

Town Snapshot:

Port Royal, South Carolina

Oozing coastal charm, sleepy Port Royal has colorful eateries, a fun farmers' market, a low key way of life and reasonable prices.

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Where Are All the Inexpensive U.S. Beach Towns That Don't Have Hurricanes?

Not all U.S. beach towns experience hurricanes or tropical storms, but inexpensive U.S. beach towns are hard to find. Some are somewhat reasonably priced with prices below the national average, but few are cheap - most have costs above the national average. So a cheap beach town with no hurricanes exists primarily in the imagination.

Choosing a Great Place to Retire

When looking for great places to retire, we consider a number of factors, including cost of living, medical facilities, climate, transportation, crime rates, cultural amenities, education levels, shopping venues, infrastructure, recreational opportunities, housing options, the poverty rate and more. We weigh all of the evidence to decide if a town has enough going for it to make it a top place to retire. We are not affiliated with any of the places that we review.

What is the Difference Between Average Home Price and Median Home Price?

When searching for a place to retire, housing costs are a top concern. So what is the difference between the average home price and the median home price? The average home price is determined by adding together all the prices of homes sold during a specific timeframe and then dividing that amount by the number of homes sold. On the other hand, the median home price is the middle sales price of all the homes sold. In other words, a median price means that half of the homes sold at a price below the median and half sold at a price above the median.

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