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"People say that money is not the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made." ~Joan Rivers

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Town Snapshot:

New Hope, Pennsylvania

Not far from where George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776, affluent New Hope has a touristy downtown, an artsy vibe and a variety of beautiful home styles.

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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:

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Lively Tamarindo is a village on Costa Rica's Gold Coast and has shops, a long beach and plenty of opportunities for adventure.

Town Snapshot:

Dillard, Georgia

The little town of Dillard is buried in northern Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains and is popular with tourists and "weekenders" from Atlanta.

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Town Snapshot:

Flower Mound, Texas

Outside of Dallas/Fort Worth, wholesome Flower Mound sits along Grapevine Lake and has parks, miles of trails, well-tended neighborhoods, a nice library, and yes, a flower mound.

Short Review:

Marquette, Michigan

Marquette is a pretty lakefront town on the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and boasts a scenic waterfront, two beaches, dozens of parks, several theaters, a university, a regional medical center and more.

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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:

Evanston, Wyoming

Evanston started with the railroad and is a quiet, high-altitude hamlet with a historic downtown and the Uinta Mountains looming in the distance.

Town Snapshot:

Windermere, Florida

This affluent town sits on an isthmus in a chain of lakes and has a cozy downtown, tree canopy lanes, an understated atmosphere and some extraordinary waterfront homes.

In Depth Review:

Black Mountain, North Carolina

In scenic western North Carolina, where the Swannanoa Valley meets the Black Mountains, cozy Black Mountain boasts abundant outdoor recreation, safe neighborhoods, an artsy vibe and a certain mountain mystique.

Town Snapshot:

Milwaukie, Oregon

Outside of Portland, quiet Milwaukie sits along the Willamette River and boasts a small town feeling, a nice downtown, lush neighborhoods and more.

Town Snapshot:

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

On Florida's Emerald Coast, Fort Walton Beach is a fishing and beach resort town famous for its relaxed ambiance and powdery, white sand beaches.

Short Review:

Lewisburg, West Virginia

Charming Lewisburg is tucked deep in the Allegheny Mountains and boasts an artsy vibe, tree-lined lanes, a historic downtown and abundant outdoor recreation.

Town Snapshot:

Surf City, North Carolina

Once a pirate haunt, laid back Surf City sits in the middle of Topsail Island and boasts boardwalks, oceanfront homes and miles of white sand beaches.

Town Snapshot:

Wickenburg, Arizona

Outside of Phoenix in southern Arizona, Wickenburg is a relaxed town on the banks of the Hassayampa River and boasts Old West character.

Town Snapshot:

Ocean View, Delaware

Quiet and safe, Ocean View touches Indian River Bay in southern Delaware and is adjacent to popular Bethany Beach, a high-end seaside resort to the east.

Short Review:

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

The mellow seaside hamlet of New Smyrna Beach is on the northeastern Florida coast and boasts a long clean beach, excellent water recreation, an artsy vibe and a cute downtown.

Town Snapshot:

Grand Junction, Colorado

Next to two rivers on a high desert plateau in rugged western Colorado, unassuming Grand Junction has a mix of outdoor types, families, college kids and retirees.

Town Snapshot:

Fort Mill, South Carolina

This nice town is outside of Charlotte, North Carolina and has safe, wooded neighborhoods, miles of trails, a strawberry festival and more.

Town Snapshot:

Spring, Texas

Outside of Houston, leafy Spring is a low key town with country/suburban vibe and a charming Old Town.

Town Snapshot:

Islamorada, Florida

Idyllic, sun-soaked Islamorada is spread across five islands in the Florida Keys and is a place where t-shirts and flip flops are standard attire.

In Depth Review:

Smyrna, Tennessee

In rolling Middle Tennessee, Smyrna is quiet and reasonably priced with safe, leafy neighborhoods and sparkling, 10,000-acre Percy Priest Lake just down the road.

Town Snapshot:

Bellingham, Washington

Not far from the Canadian border, Bellingham sits on a beautiful bay in the shadow of Mt. Baker and is home to outdoor oriented people.

Town Snapshot:

Debary, Florida

Bordered by Lake Monroe, the St. John's River and the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park, DeBary is dotted with thousands of live oaks, cypress trees and southern magnolias.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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