Exceptional living at an affordable cost
Did you know that not all retirement communities operate on the same business model? A number of financial structures, in addition to lifestyle and amenity options, exist among area communities.
That's why Bruce Campbell, who had a career in sales and as sales manager of New York and the Mid-Atlantic States, and his wife, Marge, a stay-at-home-mother turned administrative assistant, did their due diligence when researching retirement communities, and you should too.
"We weighed the decision quite heavily," Bruce says. "We spent considerable amount of time investigating our options and looking at the value of each one."
Among their considerations were location; overall appearance and maintenance of the grounds, buildings, and facilities; friendliness; and financial security.
Ultimately, they decided on Cedar Crest, the fee-for-service continuing care community in Pequannock Township, New Jersey. "In terms of doing my due diligence, Cedar Crest came out on top. Pound for pound, dollar for dollar, they were the best," Bruce says.
Most importantly, Bruce and Marge felt they were making a smart financial decision with a reputable company they could trust with their nest egg. Bruce investigated the financials and background of Cedar Crest and Erickson Living, its development and management company.
Cedar Crest is a not-for-profit organization, developed and managed by Erickson Living®. The community is governed by its own board of directors affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community.
"Cedar Crest is part of an enterprise with a 36-year track record of serving seniors," says Sales Director Ray Guarino. "We take great pride in having strong financials and being good stewards of our residents' money. Our occupancy rates are well-above the industry average."
Even now that the Campbells have lived at Cedar Crest for two years, Bruce says the community remains transparent about its financial standing, which continues to give him and Marge confidence that they made a smart financial decision.
A Sensible Financial Structure
"Cedar Crest offers incredible value for price paid," says Finance Director Joe Pisano. "We have looked at our competition and what we offer for our price point. We definitely have a much better value for what you pay when you factor in the incredible amenities and lifestyle offered at Cedar Crest."
There are three basic components to Cedar Crest's financial structure: a 90-percent refundable entrance fee, a predictable monthly service package, and the resident care fund.
The 90-percent refundable entrance fee provides financial security to residents and their beneficiaries. Those who move to Cedar Crest or any Erickson Living community enjoy the security of knowing their one-time entrance fees are 90-percent refundable. Should they choose to move from campus, 90-percent of their fee will be returned and, should they choose to spend the rest of their lives at Cedar Crest, 90-percent of the fee will be refunded to their beneficiaries.
A predictable monthly service package covers all the expenses associated with traditional homeownership—from property taxes and utilities to home maintenance and repairs—as well as a wide range of amenities, including meals at exceptional dining venues, a day spa and salon, heated indoor pool, fitness center, game room, on-site medical center and more.
Finally, the resident care fund is at the heart of an incredible commitment that Cedar Crest makes to residents. The community assures residents that they will never be asked to leave their home due to financial hardship stemming from unexpected or rising medical costs or other unforeseen circumstances. Funds are raised through a mix of annual and legacy-giving campaigns, managed by the Philanthropy Department.
"When we meet with customers, we are very transparent in providing financial information regarding the 90% refundable entrance fee and the monthly service package. We even provide a monthly cost worksheet to compare a customer's current expenses at their house to what is provided at our community. Most times, the customer will find that he or she will spend less at our community and receive much more in services and amenities," says Guarino.
That's exactly what Bruce did. Before signing on the dotted line, he created a spread sheet where he compared the cost of living at Cedar Crest with the cost of living in their house in Wayne.
"We no longer want a large house with all the upkeep. I was hiring people who were doing a poor job," he says. "My costs here are less than what we had, we know what we're getting, and it's a great value."
Smart financial choice
Now, he and Marge can get involved in the myriad clubs and activities available at Cedar Crest. It offers more than 200 resident-run clubs and activities, including a hiking club, travel club, art classes, music groups, and continuing education courses to name a few.
A TD AmericaTrade survey of 2,002 adults taken in 2018 noted that 81% see their retirement years as a time to pursue new goals. And 76% see themselves using those years to pursue passions they previously neglected like spending time with friends and family, traveling abroad or taking up a new hobby.
Cedar Crest removes the worry and maintenance associated with owning a house and replaces it with clubs, amenities, and social opportunities, empowering retirees to enjoy a vibrant retirement.
About Cedar Crest: Cedar Crest, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 130-acre campus in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,800 residents and 1,000 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information about Cedar Crest can be found at CedarCrestCommunity.com.
Photo: Bruce and Marge Campbell spend considerable time researching retirement living options, and Cedar Crest, in Pequannock Township, N.J., came out on top. Photo credit: Julia Collins
Story written by Julia Collins