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"How long was I in the army? Five foot eleven." ~Spike Milligan

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Town Snapshot:

Weeki Wachee, Florida

About an hour north of Tampa and south of the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area, the rural Weeki Wachee is home to famous mermaids.

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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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In Depth Review:

Berea, Kentucky

At the edge of the Cumberland Plateau where the mountains meet carpets of bluegrass, rural Berea is a quiet place steeped in Appalachian culture. Home to Berea College, it also attracts tourists and shoppers and is a great retirement spot!

Town Snapshot:

Royal Palm Beach, Florida

Dotted with lakes and laced with canals, suburban Royal Palm Beach is in southeastern Florida and has neat neighborhoods, good restaurants and plenty of parks.

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Town Snapshot:

Casas Adobes, Arizona

In one of Tucson's oldest neighborhoods, Casas Adobes has mountains all around and boasts a regional shopping venue.

Town Snapshot:

Gulfport, Florida

On the shores of Boca Ciega Bay west of St. Petersburg, Gulfport is known for its Old Florida waterfront district and bohemian vibe.

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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:

Asheville, North Carolina

Nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Smoky Mountains in scenic western North Carolina, Asheville is an artsy, funky town with Southern sensibility and an emerging resort-like atmosphere.

Town Snapshot:

Easley, South Carolina

Lush and low key, Easley is nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwestern South Carolina and boasts a country ambiance.

Town Snapshot:

Ellenton, Florida

A mellow riverfront town, Ellenton has a rural quality, an interesting mix of neighborhoods, a historic plantation and nearby beaches.

Town Snapshot:

Evergreen, Colorado

Evergreen is a small, upscale mountain hamlet with a lively downtown, an established theater company and homes that meld into the hills.

Town Snapshot:

Jamestown, North Carolina

Along the shores of High Point Lake, quiet Jamestown was founded by Quakers in 1816 and today is known for its grand homes and historic sites.

Town Snapshot:

Sanibel Island, Florida

Prosperous, "beachy" Sanibel sits on the barrier island of the same name and is renowned for its 15 miles of beautiful white crushed seashell beaches and wildlife refuges.

In Depth Review:

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Picturesque Coeur d'Alene sits along Lake Coeur d'Alene in rugged northern Idaho and has a trendy vibe, outstanding outdoor recreation, a symphony, a ballet, gorgeous scenery and more.

Town Snapshot:

Carrabelle, Florida

A working fishing village and deep water seaport on the Florida Panhandle, Carrabelle has a nice beach and an Old Florida vibe.

Town Snapshot:

Dundee, Oregon

A wine and foodie town, Dundee is nestled in the fertile countryside of northwestern Oregon's pretty Willamette Valley and has a walkable downtown, a farmers' market and more.

Town Snapshot:

Irvine, California

Home to the University of California at Irvine, Irivine is a sunny, pretty place, known for its rich quality of life, often landing at the top of "best places to live" lists.

Town Snapshot:

Concord, North Carolina

Comfortable Concord boasts three historic districts and is less than an hour from sprawling Lake Norman, the "island sea" of North Carolina.

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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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