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"It was that kind of kiss that inspires stars to climb into the sky and light up the world." ~Tahereh Mafi

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May 4, 2021

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Town Snapshot:

Socastee, South Carolina

Just west of entertainment-hub Myrtle Beach, Socastee is reasonably priced with neatly laid out neighborhoods and classic beaches just down the road.

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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:

Cocoa Beach, Florida

Touristy Cocoa Beach sits on a barrier island on Florida's "Space Coast" and has six miles of beautiful, sugar white beaches, a long fishing pier, surfing festivals, art festivals and more.

In Depth Review:

New Braunfels, Texas

Not far from San Antonio in south central Texas, New Braunfels beckons with its lush riverfront locale, welcoming spirit and unique German heritage.

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Town Snapshot:

Rockaway Beach, Oregon

A peaceful, casual place with mountains on its east side and seven miles of often empty beach on its west side, Rockaway Beach is a world unto itself.

Town Snapshot:

Palm Harbor, Florida

Bounded by the Gulf Coast and Lake Tarpon, Palm Harbor is home to the world class Innisbrook Golf and Resort Club and has a cute downtown.

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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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Short Review:

Flagstaff, Arizona

Surrounded by forests, mountains and deserts, friendly Flagstaff boasts Old West character, a fun downtown and a touristy vibe.

Town Snapshot:

Clearwater, Florida

Popular with tourists and "snowbirds," beautiful Clearwater spans the Pinellas Peninsula on Florida's mid-Gulf Coast and is famous for its breathtaking beaches and turquoise waters.

Town Snapshot:

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the scenic rolling hills of eastern Tennessee, lively Gatlinburg is a tourist magnet with a never-ending list of fun things to do.

Town Snapshot:

Deerfield Beach, Florida

Named for the deer that once grazed nearby, Deerfield Beach has a long white beach, a busy downtown, a boardwalk and reasonable costs.

In Depth Review:

Sequim, Washington

Tucked amid lavender farms, strawberry farms and raspberry farms on the scenic Olympic Peninsula in western Washington, cozy Sequim is quiet and relaxed. The downtown is cute; the scenery is beautiful, and outdoor recreation abounds.

Town Snapshot:

Galveston, Texas

Spread across two barrier islands on Texas' eastern Gulf Coast, Galveston is a quirky, friendly and slightly worn town with miles of beaches and plenty of things to do.

Town Snapshot:

Banner Elk, North Carolina

In the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina, Banner Elk is a vacation destination with a cute downtown, fun festivals, great eateries, a cultural series and more.

Short Review:

Naples, Florida

On Florida's southwestern coast, balmy Naples is known for its resort ambiance, high-end shopping venues, golf courses and soft, sugar white beaches.

Town Snapshot:

Arcata, California

On the edge of pretty Arcata Bay in rugged northern California, Arcata is a very laid back, "granola" kind of place and home to Humboldt State University.

Town Snapshot:

Blue Hill, Maine

On Maine's scenic central coast, charming, weathered Blue Hill dates from 1762 and is a hub for artists, craftsmen and chamber musicians.

Town Snapshot:

Clermont, Florida

Snuggled in slightly rolling terrain around a chain of lakes, Clermont is a peaceful, welcoming place and has homes with boat docks.

Town Snapshot:

Jerome, Arizona

A quirky old copper mining town and National Historic District, Jerome is a tourist destination and home to an eclectic mix of people.

Town Snapshot:

Forest, Virginia

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of scenic central Virginia, leafy Forest is home to wonderful Poplar Forest, one of Thomas Jefferson's summer residences, and is popular with history buffs.

Town Snapshot:

Miramar Beach, Florida

A classic beach town, Miramar Beach is nestled along the Florida Panhandle and is famous for its mesmerizing turquoise waters and miles of sugar white sand.

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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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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