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"When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money." ~Susan Heller

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April 10, 2021

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In Depth Review:

Bend, Oregon

Nestled in breathtaking scenery, trendy Bend is a sophisticated hamlet with a fun downtown, a rich cultural menu and a bounty of outdoor 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:

Bayonet Point, Florida

In an area dotted with primitive wetlands and woodlands, peaceful Bayonet Point sits next to Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, which is adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico and brimming with wildlife.

Town Snapshot:

Northlake, South Carolina

A waterfront town popular with tourists, Northlake has well-tended, leafy neighborhoods and a reasonable cost of living.

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Town Snapshot:

Laramie, Wyoming

East of the Snowy Mountains in southwestern Wyoming, easygoing Laramie sits beneath a looming blue sky on a grassy, windswept plain and is home to the University of Wyoming.

Short Review:

Norris, Tennessee

Nestled in the lush rolling hills of northeastern Tennessee, Norris is a charming town based on the English garden city design movement of the 1890s and has a pretty central square.

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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:

Payson, Arizona

Surrounded by the sprawling Tonto National Forest at 5,000 feet above sea level in north central Arizona, peaceful Payson plays up its Western heritage and is a jumping off point for outdoor adventure.

Town Snapshot:

Bonita Springs, Florida

Along the Gulf of Mexico, pretty Bonita Springs caters to retirees and second home owners and boasts palm-lined lanes, canals, beachfront parks, lakes and plenty of golf courses.

Town Snapshot:

Pass Christian, Mississppi

Bordered by water on three sides, the friendly, quaint little town of Pass Christian was the site of the South's first yacht club and has an often uncrowded, powdery white beach.

Town Snapshot:

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Kill Devil Hills, a place where pirates once drank rum so vile it could kill the Devil himself, is today one of the Outer Banks' most visited vacation destinations.

In Depth Review:

Wimberley, Texas

Amid bluebonnet fields and carpets of colorful Indian paintbrush in lush central Texas, sleepy Wimberley beckons with its gentle charm, artsy sensibility and easy pace.

Town Snapshot:

Yankeetown, Florida

Quiet, slightly ramshackle and dotted with tall trees, Yankeetown is on Florida's untamed Big Bend Coast and is a world unto itself.

Town Snapshot:

Morgantown, West Virginia

Tucked into beautiful rolling hills, lively Morgantown is home to West Virginia University and has safe, leafy neighborhoods, an OLLI and reasonable prices.

Short Review:

Carson City, Nevada

Beneath a sparkling baby blue sky and next to breathtaking Lake Tahoe, Carson City is a casual place with frontier character, excellent outdoor recreation, nine casinos and more.

Town Snapshot:

Tarpon Springs, Florida

Along a series of bayous and the Gulf of Mexico, Tarpon Springs boasts a rich Greek culture and a charming tourist area with an eclectic collection of sponge shops, galleries and eateries.

Town Snapshot:

Gloucester, Virginia

Pretty Gloucester is along Mobjack Bay on the southern Virginia coast and brims history and stately homes.

In Depth Review:

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Outside of Nashville, amiable Murfreesboro exudes a quiet country charm. It is also a shopping hub, full of friendly folks and home to Middle Tennessee State University.

Town Snapshot:

Alva, Florida

At the western edge of the Okeechobee Waterway, Alva has a landscape of grazing cattle, citrus groves and large oak trees with hanging moss, evoking Old Florida.

Town Snapshot:

Carmel, California

With a history dating back to Spanish missionaries, a stunning setting and a rich artistic tradition, beautiful Carmel is hard to resist.

Town Snapshot:

Little River, South Carolina

On South Carolina's Grand Strand, Little River is a sleepy coastal village where life moves at a gentle pace and playing in the water is a way of life.

Short Review:

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Lush and vibrant, Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, boasts excellent cultural amenities, fun sporting events, top notch medical facilities, safe neighborhoods 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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