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"Can we conceive what humanity would be if it did not know the flowers?" ~Maurice Maeterlinck

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Town Snapshot:

Winter Garden, Florida

Winter Garden, a pleasant town known for its cute downtown, boasts leafy neighborhoods, a fun farmers' market, a good parks system and more.

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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:

Pasadena, California

Bounded by the San Rafael Hills and the Angeles National Forest in southern California, Pasadena not only has a famous parade but tree-lined neighborhoods, golf courses, theaters, a fun Old Town and more.

Town Snapshot:

San Antonio, Florida

Slightly overgrown and near Lake Jovita in west central Florida, San Antonio has a rural quality, some fun festivals and a quiet way of life.

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Town Snapshot:

Reston, Virginia

Outside of Washington, D.C., Reston was influenced by the 19th-century garden city design movement and is dotted with streams, wildflower meadows, community gardens and lakes.

Town Snapshot:

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Bay St. Louis is a low key town amid rivers, marshes and estuaries along the Bay of St. Louis and the Gulf of Mexico.

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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:

Buckeye, Arizona

Outside of Phoenix in southern Arizona, booming Buckeye sits in a green landscape of cotton and alfalfa fields and has many master-planned communities.

Town Snapshot:

Ormond Beach, Florida

On the northeastern Florida coast and once the home of John D. Rockefeller, Ormond Beach has an orange beach lined by tall hotels with beachfront pools.

Town Snapshot:

Monument, Colorado

Monument sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains in central Colorado, boasting beautiful homes and sweeping mountain and plains views.

In Depth Review:

Oxford, Mississippi

Home to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), Oxford boasts a literary vibe, intellectual stimulation, a historic downtown and an intense football culture.

Town Snapshot:

Bosque Farms, New Mexico

Not far from Albuquerque in north central New Mexico, Bosque Farms started out as part of a Spanish land grant and remains rustic and rural today.

Town Snapshot:

Apollo Beach, Florida

Quiet Apollo Beach is not far from Tampa and has canal-laced neighborhoods, tasty seafood restaurants, a fun manatee festival and more.

Town Snapshot:

Cary, North Carolina

Populated with educated residents and leafy neighborhoods, Cary is an attractive town known for its rich quality of life.

Town Snapshot:

Christiansburg, Virginia

Christiansburg is an easygoing town in the lush rolling landscape of western Virginia and started out in 1792 as a stop along the Great Wilderness Road.

Town Snapshot:

Gulf Breeze, Florida

Idyllic Gulf Breeze sits at the end of a peninsula on the western Florida Panhandle and has the kind of white sand beaches and azure waters found on old-fashioned picture postcards.

Short Review:

St. Simons, Georgia

Tucked on a barrier island off Georgia's southern coast, seductive St. Simons is known for its canopy lanes, understated elegance, rich history, long beaches and beautiful homes. It captivates nearly everyone.

Town Snapshot:

Athens, Ohio

Set in a valley in pretty southeastern Ohio, Athens is surrounded by rolling hills and is home to lively Ohio University.

Town Snapshot:

Pearland, Texas

Pleasant, suburban Pearland is outside of Houston in southeastern Texas and has safe neighborhoods, master-planned communities and nearby lakes.

Town Snapshot:

Loudon, Tennessee

Nestled in the foothills of eastern Tennessee's lush Great Smoky Mountains, charming Loudon was once a busy Tennessee River steamship port and is named after nearby Fort Loudoun.

Town Snapshot:

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Fernandina Beach sits on idyllic Amelia Island, a barrier island known for its high-end resort hotels, golf courses and miles of white sand beaches.

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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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