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"We are all worms, but I do believe I am a glowworm." ~Winston Churchill

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Town Snapshot:

Diamond Bar, California

Beautiful Diamond Bar is a well-to-do city nestled amid hills outside of Los Angeles. Beaches, deserts and mountains are all less than an hour away.

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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:

Leland, North Carolina

Peaceful Leland sits on the banks of the scenic Brunswick River in coastal southeastern North Carolina and is surrounded by inland marshes and twisting tributaries.

Town Snapshot:

Boothbay, Maine

On the rugged Maine coast, Boothbay is an old fishing village with a working class sensibility, a touristy boardwalk and salt-laden air.

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Town Snapshot:

Surfside Beach, South Carolina

An easygoing oceanfront town, Surfside Beach is on the Grand Stand and has two miles of white sand with 36 access points.

Town Snapshot:

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Sleepy Mechanicsburg sits in the Cumberland Valley and has a quaint downtown, a long-running street fair and tidy neighborhoods with a variety of architectural styles.

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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:

Lake Mary, Florida

This pretty city of lakes started out as a citrus farming center and today is a semi-rural bedroom community known for its high quality of life.

Town Snapshot:

Fletcher, North Carolina

Nestled in scenic western North Carolina, Fletcher sits in hilly terrain and has a suburban, country vibe.

Short Review:

Florence, Oregon

On the rugged Oregon coast, Florence is a weathered, touristy hamlet with a cute downtown, uncrowded beaches and a magical hobbit trail.

Town Snapshot:

Show Low, Arizona

Show Low is a high altitude hamlet tucked into one of the country's largest stands of Ponderosa Pines and started out as the winnings in a poker game.

Town Snapshot:

Hernando Beach, Florida

Dredged from wetlands and the ocean floor, mellow Hernando Beach boasts direct Gulf access and homes that back to canals.

In Depth Review:

Madison, Georgia

Madison, a picturesque showcase of an earlier place and time, boasts elegant historic homes, tree lined lanes, a cute downtown, nearby lake recreation and more.

Town Snapshot:

Blacksburg, Virginia

In the scenic Appalachian Mountains, bucolic Blacksburg is the setting for Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and is a classic college town.

Town Snapshot:

Palm Coast, Florida

A pleasant place along the northeastern Florida coast, Palm Coast started as a planned community. Many of its homes back to a canal.

Town Snapshot:

Red Hill, South Carolina

Red Hill, quiet, suburban and reasonably priced, is just 10 miles inland from Myrtle Beach, white sand Atlantic beaches and the vast entertainment venues of the Grand Strand.

Town Snapshot:

Avalon, California

Avalon is on Santa Catalina Island in Southern California and is a beautiful, upscale place, only reachable by ferry and small plane.

Town Snapshot:

Hanapepe, Hawaii

On the island of Kauai, mellow Hanapepe sits in a lush valley and is home to cute shops, artists, entrepreneurs and overgrown neighborhoods.

Short Review:

Sunset Beach, North Carolina

Nestled on a three mile long barrier island on the southern North Carolina coast, Sunset Beach is a quiet place with a white sand beach, turtle talks, five golf courses and more.

Town Snapshot:

Billings, Montana

Built in a rimrock canyon carved by the Yellowstone River, friendly Billings was once a Wild West town but today boasts a symphony, craft breweries and other manifestations of sophistication.

Town Snapshot:

Oldsmar, Florida

Situated along Tampa Bay on Florida's mid-Gulf Coast, Oldsmar is a quiet town with safe neighborhoods, waterfront homes and a huge flea market.

Town Snapshot:

Ahwatukee, Arizona

A Phoenix urban/suburban village, Ahwatukee has been called the "World's Largest Cul de Sac" and has a trendy vibe.

Town Snapshot:

Bardstown, Kentucky

Beautiful Bardstown is nestled in the bluegrass pastures of north central Kentucly and known as the "Bourbon Capital of the World."

Town Snapshot:

Santa Barbara, California

A laid back, upscale seaside city in a gorgeous setting, beautiful Santa Barbara is known as the "American Riviera" and still has much of the old California magic.

Town Snapshot:

Trinity, Florida

About 15 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, comfortable Trinity is comprised of named neighborhoods, gated communities and streets that wind around lakes.

In Depth Review:

Moscow, Idaho

In northern Idaho's striking Palouse region, down-to-earth Moscow boasts a gentle spirit, a collegiate vibe, fun festivals and strong community spirit.

Town Snapshot:

Rogers, Arkansas

Rogers, site of the first Walmart, is in a scenic part of the country and has tree-lined neighborhoods, a nice historic downtown and nearby lake recreation.

Town Snapshot:

Allen, Texas

Hailed as a great place to live, Allen boasts leafy neighborhoods, friendly people, a bounty of parks, a lovely library, plentiful shopping and more.

Town Snapshot:

Apex, North Carolina

In a pine forest outside of Raleigh, charming Apex is has a nice downtown, well tended neighborhoods, lots of green spaces and an educated populace.

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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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