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Planting new roots: Top 5 retirement destinations
Retirement Planning

Planting new roots: Top 5 retirement destinations

New retirees often have one thing in common: a sense of freedom. And many choose to exercise that freedom by packing up and relocating to a new city.

Affordability, quality of life and the weather often play a role when deciding where to move. While the U.S. ranks 24th on Business Insider’s list of the world’s best counties to retire, experiences differ greatly from state to state and city to city. In fact, according to SmartAsset, three Arizona cities are among the most desirable retirement destinations, with Florida and Louisiana hot spots rounding out the top five.

5. Chandler, Arizona

If you believe that retirees enjoy golfing, that may explain why so many are flocking to Chandler. Thanks to the warm, sunny climate and plethora of golf courses, Chandler is a fast-growing community of over 122,000 residents. The low cost of living is appealing for retirees on a fixed income, and there is no shortage of 55+ communities.

4. Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the U.S., and one of the most affordable in terms of housing1. When you consider the warm weather, affordable real estate and natural beauty of a picturesque desert landscape, it’s no surprise that retirees are heading to this southwestern city. 

3. New Orleans, Louisiana

When you hear New Orleans, Mardi Gras typically comes to mind. But the warm, coastal city on the Mississippi River has so much more to offer. From cultural activities to a world-renowned food and restaurant scene, the Big Easy is big on tourism and entertainment — and retirees. The low cost of living and active groups like the New Orleans Council for Aging are huge draws for the retirement crowd.

2. Jacksonville, Florida

The largest city in Florida, Jacksonville is well-known for a warm climate and tax-friendly lifestyle. According to one study, it’s the third-lowest taxed city in the country — a great option for retirees who want a mix of big city life and beautiful beaches for a smaller price tag. Plus, Expedia ranked it among its list of “21 Super Cool U.S. Cities”, listing its arts scene, markets, and festivals among the highlights of things to do in Jacksonville.

1. Mesa, Arizona

It’s the third largest city in Arizona, but Mesa takes the #1 spot for best places to retire in the U.S. July temperatures hover in the 90s, while January temperatures don’t dip below 50. And while the cost of living is around the national average, house hunters can find homes at a median price of $200,000. Mesa retirees also enjoy a light rail system, bus system and proximity to Sky Harbor Airport for getting around the area.

Spending your hard-earned (and carefully saved) retirement income wisely

As a retiree, you want to make sure you can afford the home you want — whether it’s the one you’re currently living in, or a new home in another city — without sacrificing a comfortable retirement lifestyle. A HECM reverse mortgage loan may be a smart financing option to consider during retirement. Exclusively available to homeowners and homebuyers age 62 and older, a HECM reverse mortgage loan allows you to borrow against the equity in your home, and monthly principal and interest payments are optional. As with any mortgage, you must meet your loan obligations, keeping current with property taxes, homeowners insurance and any homeowners association (HOA) fees, and keeping your home in good condition. This can give you access to a new source of funds that you can use to supplement your income, pay for healthcare, set aside as a “rainy day fund,” or purchase a new home.

Available in certain states, an Equity Elite Reverse Mortgage is another loan option, designed for owners and buyers of homes, townhomes and condominiums who are age 60+.* This new loan offers many benefits, including maximum lending limits of up to $4 million — which gives owners of higher-value homes access to more of their home equity; as well as no Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) fees. Both a HECM reverse mortgage and Equity Elite can help you delay the need to tap into your retirement funds — and secure the funds you need to relocate to the city and home of your dreams.

Setting your sights on a new zip code?

Let your retirement freedom guide you to your next destination. Smart retirement strategizing is the key to securing the resources you need to support your big decisions, and Reverse Mortgage Funding can help. Call (888) 277-1567 today, and set up a convenient phone appointment with a licensed reverse mortgage specialist.


If you have equity in your home and believe you meet the eligibility requirements, a HECM may be the option that could help you retire smart.

Check Eligibility


1Source: 2015 BizJournals, “Two Arizona cities crack top 20 for most affordable housing in US”

*Not applicable in all states; some states may impose a higher age requirement. for details.

Equity Elite Reverse Mortgage (“Equity Elite”) is Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC’s proprietary loan program, and it is not affiliated with the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) loan program, which is insured by FHA. Equity Elite is available to qualified borrowers who may also be eligible for HUD, FHA’s HECM program or are seeking loan proceeds that are higher than HUD, FHA’s HECM program limit. Equity Elite currently is available only for eligible properties in select states. Please contact your loan originator to see if it is currently available in your state.

This information is intended for those who are interested in financial education. This information is provided for convenience only, and RMF makes no warranties concerning the accuracy or completeness of any of the information. Information is subject to change without notice, and RMF is under no obligation to provide updated information. Materials or statements made by a third party and located or posted on the Site are those of the third party and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RMF. This is not financial, tax, compliance or legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. Each individual should consult with his/her financial, tax, or legal professional.  All mortgage origination services are provided by Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC, a state licensed mortgage lender, which is licensed or otherwise exempt from state licensing in the states in which it originates mortgage loans.

Upon a maturity event, any non-borrowing individuals with an ownership interest in the property, including non-borrowing spouses, will have 90 days to purchase the property from the estate or, if the non-borrower inherits the property, pay the loan in full using any sources of funds available to them. Any non-borrowing individual, including a non-borrowing spouse, should have a plan to pay off an Equity Elite reverse mortgage upon the borrower’s death or any other maturity event. If the non-borrower is unwilling or unable to purchase the property or pay the loan in full, there is no protection for the non-borrower (including a non-borrower spouse) to maintain an interest in the home or to continue residing in the home past the maturity event and the non-borrower may be evicted upon foreclosure. The FHA HECM program has protections in place for certain non-borrowing parties, so a reverse mortgage applicant with certain non-borrowing parties should strongly consider a FHA-insured HECM loan (see HECM guidelines or ask an RMF representative for details). Under the Equity Elite reverse mortgage loan program, a maturity event occurs when the last surviving borrower no longer lives in the home as his or her primary residence for at least 12 months, the property charges (including taxes, insurance, HOA dues or any other property charges) are not paid, required repairs are not completed or the property is not maintained, or any other maturity event, as specified in the Security Instrument, occurs.