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"Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it." ~Unknown ― Anonymous

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Short Review:

Cottonwood, Arizona

In the rugged, high altitude Verde Valley of central Arizona, Cottonwood has a fun historic center, plenty of outdoor recreation, nearby wineries, safe neighborhoods and lots of sunshine.

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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:

Grants Pass, Oregon

In rugged southwestern Oregon, Grants Pass is known for its outdoor way of life and down to earth residents.

Town Snapshot:

Palm City, Florida

Once a sleepy riverfront hamlet, today pretty Palm City is known for its golf courses, master planned communities and waterfront homes.

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Town Snapshot:

Etowah, North Carolina

In a scenic valley on the edges of the Blue Ridge Mountains, little Etowah is popular with people who want to live in trendy, neighboring Asheville but cannot quite afford it.

Town Snapshot:

Hobe Sound, Florida

A quiet town on the southeastern Florida coast, Hobe Sound boasts a cute downtown and a secret beach with nearly empty sand.

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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:

Laupahoehoe, Hawaii

Once a taro farming village and a sugar plantation town, today rural Laupahoehoe is home to a research tropical forest and has jaw-dropping views of incredibly blue water.

Town Snapshot:

Lafayette, Colorado

Surrounded by open space outside of trendy, collegiate Boulder, Lafayette is a peaceful town with a nice Old Town and a growing arts scene.

In Depth Review:

Dahlonega, Georgia

Tucked in northern Georgia's Appalachian Mountain foothills, Dahlonega boasts a scenic setting, a cute downtown, plenty of festivals and a gentle pace. It is a great retirement spot!

Town Snapshot:

Martinsville, Virginia

With the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop, Martinsville boasts a NASCAR racetrack, art galleries and studios, fun eateries, music events, nearby water recreation and very affordable housing.

Town Snapshot:

Northfield, Minnesota

Northfield is a quintessential college town with a cute town center and a bounty of fairs and festivals.

Town Snapshot:

Plantation, Florida

West of Fort Lauderdale, Plantation is comfortable and suburban with well-tended neighborhoods, historic golf courses, a botanic garden, an equestrian center and more.

Town Snapshot:

Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

Jim Thorpe is a beautiful, touristy town known as the "Switzerland of America" and is nestled along the Lehigh River in rolling eastern Pennsylvania.

Town Snapshot:

Folly Beach, South Carolina

Once home to pirates and bounty hunters, well-to-do Folly Beach is on Folly Island just southeast of Charleston and is known to locals as the "Edge of America."

Town Snapshot:

Madison, Indiana

Clean, pretty and prim, Madison sits along the Ohio River and has one of the largest, contiguous national historic districts in the United States.

Town Snapshot:

Davie, Florida

About 10 miles from the Atlantic Ocean in southeastern Florida, Davie is known for its Western ambiance, horse culture and has four college campuses within its boundaries.

Short Review:

The Woodlands, Texas

Outside of Houston, The Woodlands is a master planned community and census designated place with shopping centers, golf courses, libraries, a town center and more.

Town Snapshot:

Hickory, North Carolina

At the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in lush western North Carolina, Hickory boasts a lakeside setting, a nice downtown, fun festivals and a small college.

Town Snapshot:

Port Angeles, Washington

On the northern shores of the stunning Olympic Peninsula in northwestern Washington, Port Angeles is a gateway to Olympic National Park.

Town Snapshot:

Stuart, Florida

Peaceful Stuart sits on southeastern Florida's famed Treasure Coast and is known as the "Sailfish Capital of the World."

Town Snapshot:

Boulder City, Nevada

Set in a desert landscape punctuated with buttes and culverts, friendly Boulder City is outside of Las Vegas and sprawling Lake Mead.

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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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