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"At Christmas, all roads lead home." ~Marjorie Holmes

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Short Review:

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

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

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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:

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.

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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.

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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:

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.

Town Snapshot:

Rio Rancho, New Mexico

In the rugged, sun soaked desert outside of Albuquerque, Rio Rancho is a comfortable suburb with safe neighborhoods, pretty views and reasonable costs.

In Depth Review:

Safety Harbor, Florida

Sleepy Safety Harbor is on Florida's Gulf Coast and is known for its quaint downtown, safe neighborhoods, pretty waterfront setting and friendly neighbors.

Town Snapshot:

Kapaa, Hawaii

Kapaa is a charming beach town on the eastern shore of Kauai and was for much of its history an agricultural hub.

Town Snapshot:

Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina

With a state park and wilderness next door, the quiet little lakeside town of Lake Waccamaw is a peaceful place with a reasonable cost of living.

Short Review:

Tucson, Arizona

A college town with a pretty mountain desert setting, Tucson is reasonably priced, has an OLLI and is one of one of the oldest continually inhabited areas in the country.

Town Snapshot:

Big Pine Key, Florida

Part of Florida's remote Lower Keys, balmy Big Pine Key has overgrown neighborhoods, an underwater music festival and an ends-of-the-world feeling.

Town Snapshot:

Twin Falls, Idaho

Nestled along the Snake River, Twin Falls is known for dramatic Shoshone Falls, a nearby series of waterfalls that are actually taller than Niagara Falls.

In Depth Review:

Port Charlotte, Florida

Tucked along pretty Alligator Bay and Port Charlotte Harbor on the southwestern Florida coast, Port Charlotte is a reasonably priced town with miles of canals, waterfront home, an easygoing pace and more.

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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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