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"Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible sun within us." ~Thomas Browne

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Town Snapshot:

Murray, Kentucky

Surrounded by gently rolling hills, Murray is home to Murray State University and just 20 minutes from Land Between the Lakes, a huge national recreation area.

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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:

Fort Collins, Colorado

Tucked at the foot of the beautiful Rocky Mountains in north central Colorado, Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University and has an educated populace, a lively atmosphere and a casual, Western way of life.

Town Snapshot:

Southport, North Carolina

With an idyllic coastal setting, the little working fishing village of Southport boasts marinas, salt-laden air and a well-worn waterfront dock.

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Town Snapshot:

College Station, Texas

College Station, deep in the beautiful Brazos Valley in the heart of Texas, is home to sprawling Texas A&M University and is a classic college town.

Town Snapshot:

Niceville, Florida

Once known as Boggy Bayou, Niceville is located along the Choctawhatchee Bay on Florida's western Panhandle coast and is popular with military families and retirees.

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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:

Port Costa, California

This quirky upscale East Bay town is in a lush canyon 30 miles north east of San Francisco and is part of the scenic Carquinez Strait shoreline.

Town Snapshot:

Lake Alfred, Florida

Leafy and rural, Lake Alfred is a simple place with five named lakes and plenty of opportunities for fishing and boating.

Town Snapshot:

Pine Mountain, Georgia

Outside of Atlanta, little Pine Mountain has a small, touristy downtown and is close to beautiful Callway Gardens, FDR's Little White House and F.D. Roosevelt State Park.

Town Snapshot:

Spanish Fort, Alabama

On Mobile Bay's eastern shore, inviting Spanish Fort has a history dating back to 1712 and is primarily residential with tidy, wooded neighborhoods.

Town Snapshot:

McKinney, Texas

Outside of Dallas, McKinney is a growing, leafy town with a lovely, historic town core, nearby lake recreation and replica European fishing village.

In Depth Review:

Bella Vista, Arkansas

Peaceful Bella Vista is nestled in northwestern Arkansas' lush Ozark Mountain foothills and appeals to people seeking beautiful mountain scenery, abundant lake recreation, tons of amenities and reasonably priced housing.

Town Snapshot:

Columbus, North Carolina

Tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills of scenic western North Carolina, Columbus is nice little town in a growing wine and equestrian region.

Town Snapshot:

Bay Harbor Islands, Florida

Bay Harbor Islands is a sun-soaked town that sits on two small islands along the southeastern Florida coast just east of North Miami. Beautiful beaches are close at hand.

Town Snapshot:

Sewanee, Tennessee

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

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.

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.

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.

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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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