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"This diamond has so many carats it's almost a turnip." ~Richard Burton

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Town Snapshot:

Sewanee, Tennessee

Home to the University of the South, cozy, leafy Sewanee sits atop the Cumberland Plateau in pretty south central Tennessee.

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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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Short Review:

Ventura, California

Ventura is a seductive seaside city known for its lively cultural scene, classic beaches, fun downtown, eclectic architecture and lively boardwalk.

Town Snapshot:

Pocatello, Idaho

Home to Idaho State University, Pocatello is a peaceful city with a nice Old Town, a beautiful performing arts center and nearby outdoor recreation venues.

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Town Snapshot:

Indian Harbour Beach, Florida

Casual Indian Harbour Beach sits on a barrier island and has waterfront homes, a red and white sand beach and a rarely crowded beach park.

Town Snapshot:

Sahuarita, Arizona

Outside of Tucson in southern Arizona, pretty Sahuarita is home to pecan orchards, safe neighborhoods, Southwestern architecture and reasonable prices.

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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:

Friday Harbor, Washington

Nautical Friday Harbor is the hub of the San Juan Islands Archipelago and sits in a breathtaking setting on the eastern shore of San Juan Island.

Town Snapshot:

Dolores, Colorado

In a canyon along a river deep in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, little Dolores is an outdoor adventure hub popular with rafters, cyclists, fishermen, skiers, campers and others.

Town Snapshot:

Citrus Springs, Florida

This low key town/master planned community has a country quality, a couple of golf courses, planned events and no HOA fees.

Town Snapshot:

Duck, North Carolina

Tiny Duck, a designated bird sanctuary, is on the Outer Banks and has a cute, touristy boardwalk, fun events, a pristine seven mile beach and an affluent seaside ambiance.

In Depth Review:

Georgetown, Texas

Along the San Gabriel River in lush central Texas, friendly Georgetown boasts a beautifully restored downtown, a colorful flower festival, safe neighborhoods and a casual way of life.

Town Snapshot:

Pinehurst, North Carolina

Charming Pinehurst was originally designed to resemble a New England village and today is a golf destination with a cute downtown.

Town Snapshot:

Land O' Lakes, Florida

Pretty Land O' Lakes is a quiet place, dotted with bodies of water and shaded neighborhoods. It also has a couple of nudist resorts.

Town Snapshot:

Fairfield Bay, Arkansas

On the shores of pretty Greers Ferry Lake in the Ozark Mountains of rural north central Arkansas, Fairfield Bay was founded in the mid-1960s as a resort and retirement community.

Short Review:

Rockport, Texas

Along Aransas Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast, Rockport is a funky, low key tourist destination known for its clean beaches and outstanding fishing waters.

Town Snapshot:

Yachats, Oregon

Rustic and charming with a nice downtown, Yachats is in a breathtaking setting, surrounded by mountains and the sea.

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.

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.

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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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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