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"I have my own little world, but it's okay - they know me here." ~Author Unknown

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Town Snapshot:

Edisto Beach, South Carolina

Tiny Edisto Beach is at the mouth of the Edisto River on the southern South Carolina coast and is a quiet seaside community with four miles of pristine beach.

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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:

Woodstock, Georgia

Outside of Atlanta and well manicured, Woodstock is fast-growing with a nice downtown, a farmers' market and nearby lake recreation.

Town Snapshot:

Altamonte Springs, Florida

Altamonte Springs is outside of Orlando and boasts reasonably priced living, with the white sands of New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange and Daytona Beach just an hour away.

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Short Review:

Tyler, Texas

A friendly town in Texas' lush Piney Woods, Tyler is known as the "Rose Capital of America" and boasts the largest municipal rose garden in the U.S. It also has a University of Texas campus, a ballet, a symphony orchestra and two lakes.

Town Snapshot:

St. Cloud, Florida

A quiet town on the shores of East Lake Tohopekaliga, St. Cloud has nicely tended neighborhoods and a cute downtown with brick streets.

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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:

San Luis Obispo, California

Posh and prosperous, San Luis Obispo is not far from the coast and known for its beautiful climate, charming town center and lack of fast food drive-thru restaurants.

Town Snapshot:

Beaufort, North Carolina

Once home to pirates, rum runners and sea captains, this waterfront hamlet is now popular with history lovers, romantics, water aficionados and retirees.

Town Snapshot:

Wenatchee, Washington

In rugged terrain east of the Cascade Mountain Range, picturesque Wenatchee sits amid rivers, mountains and apple orchards.

In Depth Review:

Athens, Georgia

Outside of Atlanta, leafy Athens is known as the "Classic City" and is home to the University of Georgia and has a lively atmosphere, a fun downtown, strong senior programs, a rich cultural scene and stately architecture.

Town Snapshot:

Easton, Maryland

On the eastern banks of the Chesapeake Bay, historic, artsy Easton has a quaint town center and an established feeling.

Town Snapshot:

Melbourne Beach, Florida

Unhurried and glistening, Melbourne Beach sits on a barrier island and is known for its beautiful stretches of white sand beaches.

Town Snapshot:

Canyon, Texas

Canyon, the setting for West Texas A&M University, is also the gateway to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, a dramatic canyon system second only in size to the Grand Canyon.

Town Snapshot:

Winchester, Virginia

Surrounded by apple orchards deep in northern Virginia's beautiful Shenandoah Valley, Winchester is a quaint place rich in history.

Town Snapshot:

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Trendy and touristy, Steamboat Springs is tucked in Colorado's rugged northwestern mountains and is a magnet for elite skiers and vacationing families.

Town Snapshot:

San Pedro, Belize

Compact, colorful and tucked into Belize's largest island, Ambergris Caye, mellow San Pedro is a tourist destination and is popular with divers and snorkelers.

Town Snapshot:

Lighthouse Point, Florida

A casual, pretty town laced with canals, Lighthouse Point has a nautical flea market, plenty of parks and homes that back to water.

Town Snapshot:

Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania

Snuggled around Eagles Mere Lake in the unspoiled mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, the cute little village of Eagles Mere started as a family resort.

Short Review:

Maryville, Tennessee

In the wooded foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee, Maryville boasts affordable living, safe neighborhoods, a beautiful library and outstanding outdoor recreation just down the road.

Town Snapshot:

Scottsdale, Arizona

Just east of Phoenix in southern Arizona, upscale Scottsdale bustles with activity and is known for its richly textured quality of life.

Town Snapshot:

Floral City, Florida

Old fashioned Floral City is a quiet, country place at the edge of the Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes and has tall oaks, reasonable prices and a nice reputation.

Town Snapshot:

Whitefish, Montana

Once a logging hub, today cozy Whitefish is a touristy year round resort with a spectacular mountain scenery backdrop.

In Depth Review:

Brevard, North Carolina

Tucked in scenic western North Carolina, Brevard beckons with its musical soul, cute downtown, many waterfalls and reasonable cost of living.

Town Snapshot:

Tempe, Arizona

Outside of Phoenix in sunny southern Arizona, Tempe is home to the University of Arizona, plenty of golf courses, a popular arts festival and more.

Town Snapshot:

St. James City, Florida

Tucked on the southern half of southwestern Florida's Pine Island, St. James City is rife with wildlife, boasts Old Florida charm and is sometimes called a "drinking town with a fishing problem."

Town Snapshot:

Dawsonville, Georgia

Welcoming Dawsonville is outside of Atlanta, not far from the North Georgia mountains, has an annual moonshine festival and nearby lake recreation.

Town Snapshot:

Longwood, Florida

Outside of Orlando in northeastern Florida, Longwood is quiet, leafy and suburban.

Town Snapshot:

Marble Falls, Texas

On the banks of the Colorado River, comfortable Marble Falls is in the middle of the Texas Hill Country and the Highland Lakes Chain.

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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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