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"I'm not offended by all the dumb-blonde jokes because I know that I'm not dumb. I also know I'm not blonde." ~Dolly Parton

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Town Snapshot:

Belle Isle, Florida

Leafy and comfortable, Belle Isle completely surrounds Lake Conway outside of Orlando and boasts plenty of opportunities for water recreation.

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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:

Jacksonville Beach, Florida

On the northeastern Florida coast, touristy Jacksonville Beach has classic white strips of sand, a fun boardwalk, a beautiful golf course and more.

In Depth Review:

Aiken, South Carolina

In lush western South Carolina, charming Aiken is known for its thriving equestrian culture, bounty of golf courses, stately homes and leisurely pace.

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Town Snapshot:

Mt. Juliet, Tennessee

The leafy, comfortable town of Mt. Juliet is just outside of Nashville in north central Tennessee and is well managed and well kept.

Town Snapshot:

Benson, Arizona

Benson is in southeastern Arizona and is a touristy gateway to amazing Kartchner Caverns State Park, home to two and a half miles of 50,000 year old underground passageways.

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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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Town Snapshot:

Geneva, Florida

Not far from Orlando, Geneva is a peaceful place surrounded by water and wilderness and is sometimes called "the lost world" by locals.

Short Review:

Lewes, Delaware

One of several towns that make up Delaware's popular beach resort area, Lewes is quaint and touristy. The downtown is cute, and the beaches are clean. History abounds.

Town Snapshot:

Irmo, South Carolina

Irmo is a nice little town in the heart of South Carolina's Midlands and is a gateway to nearby Lake Murray's plentiful recreation.

Town Snapshot:

Laguna Beach, Florida

Laguna Beach is a low key community on Florida's Panhandle and boasts a long, wide stretch of sugar white sand tucked against emerald waters.

In Depth Review:

Traverse City, Michigan

With a picturesque waterfront setting, charming Traverse City boasts leafy neighborhoods, a lively cultural community and abundant outdoor recreation.

Short Review:

Suwanee, Georgia

A peaceful, well-managed town, Suwanee is in northern Georgia and has an inviting downtown, a large community garden, plenty of recreation venues and more.

Snapshot Review:

Salado, Texas

The charming, rustic village of Salado started out as a college town but today is a trendy artists' colony and thrives as a weekend getaway destination.

In Depth Review:

Vero Beach, Florida

On Florida's "Treasure Coast," laid back Vero Beach boasts a quiet ambiance with gentle trade winds, miles of white sand beaches, colorful shops and peaceful neighborhoods.

Town Snapshot:

Satellite Beach, Florida

A quiet coastal town, Satellite Beach has eight miles of sugar white sand, waterfront parks and a wildlife habitat accessible only by boat.

Town Snapshot:

Newport, Oregon

On Oregon's beautiful, rugged central coast, Newport boasts a picturesque marina, art deco architecture from the 1920s and 1930s and plenty of nautical character.

Town Snapshot:

Nokomis, Florida

The little beach town of Nokomis is on Florida's southwestern coast and has a relaxed Gulf Coast vibe, a white sand beach and crystal clear waters.

Short Review:

Port Orange, Florida

Nestled on the Intracoastal Waterway, Port Orange is a pleasant, well-managed city with safe neighborhoods, nice shopping venues, fun festivals, plenty of green spaces and reasonable costs.

In Depth Review:

Summerville, South Carolina

Just outside of Charleston in South Carolina, Summerville charms with its elegant homes, leisurely pace and bounty of colorful flower gardens.

Short Review:

Surprise, Arizona

Next to the White Tank Mountains outside of Phoenix, Surprise is a well-kept, growing town with new housing, new infrastructure and happy residents.

Town Snapshot:

Wake Forest, North Carolina

Comfortable Wake Forest is part of the vibrant Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill's Research Triangle and has an attractive downtown, plenty of parks and leafy neighborhoods.

Town Snapshot:

Rockledge, Florida

Once a winter resort, unassuming Rockledge borders the Indian River on Florida's Space Coast and is not far from the largest pelican rookery on the Atlantic Coast.

Town Snapshot:

Mountain View, Arkansas

Tucked in a valley in north central Arkansas' lush, rural Ozark Mountains, Mountain View is known as the "Folk Music Capital of the World."

In Depth Review:

Cheyenne, Wyoming

On Wyoming's southeastern plains, peaceful, unpretentious Cheyenne makes its home, attracting people looking for the authentic American West, blue skies, dry air, wide open spaces and a slower pace.

Town Snapshot:

Castle Rock, Colorado

On grassy rolling hills under a massive, majestic sky in north central Colorado, Castle Rock is safe, prosperous and growing fast.

Town Snapshot:

Lakeland, Florida

Peaceful Lakeland, also known as Swan City, has a nice downtown, 38 named lakes and a way of life that revolves around the water.

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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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