Offers exceptional living at an affordable cost
When Dick Byrnes asked his financial advisor, Michael Moore, if he thought a move to a retirement community like Lantern Hill in Union County, New Jersey, was a smart investment, Moore didn't hesitate—the answer was a resounding yes.
A former schoolteacher, principal, and superintendent, Byrnes invested in stocks with Moore and managed a few himself. "[Moore] outperformed me, but I liked to pretend I knew what I was doing," Byrnes jokes.
Joking aside, Byrnes has always made mindful choices with his money, and choosing a community where he could make the most of his retirement was no exception.
"For a single and very social guy like me who's in good health, when I was living alone and far from things, I couldn't be who I wanted to be," Byrnes says of his townhome life in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey.
That's one reason Moore thought the move was a good idea. "Dick's a social butterfly. He was living in a relatively quiet, secluded neighborhood far from his children. Lantern Hill is more conveniently located near his daughter, and its geographic positioning near Summit Medical Group is a plus," says Moore, who works for Baird. "I have several clients or parents of friends and clients who have moved there."
Lantern Hill 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. The community offers independent, maintenance-free living for those 62 and older in spacious, modern apartment homes, with all levels of care available on campus in its continuing care neighborhood.
A Sensible Financial Structure
There are three basic components to Lantern Hill'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 Lantern Hill enjoy the security of knowing their one-time entrance fee is 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 Lantern Hill, 90-percent of the fee 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 salon, library, heated indoor pool, fitness center, on-site medical center and more.
Finally, the resident care fund is at the heart of an incredible commitment that Lantern Hill 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.
"When I heard my family gets 90% back that's what really sold me," says Byrnes, adding that the sales team, Sales Associate Stacey Gunderman and Sales Counselor Kathy Banks, "were so transparent. The staff here are so professional, well trained, and nice. And they were interested in me as a person," he says. "I had been to many other places, and I felt Lantern Hill was more like a home, and other places were more like a hotel."
Sales Director Dan Millender says he and his team strive for transparency when it comes to helping someone decide if Lantern Hill is right for them.
"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 Lantern Hill provides great financial value because he or she will spend less on home repairs and receive much more in services and amenities," Millender says.
Byrnes says that's held true for him. "Regarding the maintenance fee, it's all stuff you're paying for anyway when you live on your own. Here, you don't have to pay all those bills anymore, you're actually saving money," he says.
Enjoying Life to the Fullest
Without the stress of bill paying on his shoulders, Byrnes says he's free to enjoy activities he'd rather be doing like one of his favorite pastimes, golf. On a nice day, there's a good change Byrnes is out hitting the links.
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.
Communities like Lantern Hill remove the worry and maintenance associated with owning a house and replace it with clubs, amenities, and social opportunities, empowering retirees to enjoy a vibrant retirement.
Lantern Hill now has more than 30 resident-run clubs and activities, including art classes, music groups, woodworkers club, and continuing education courses to name a few.
Byrnes started a writers group, plays and performs with the hand chimes choir, exercises daily in the fitness center or swimming pool or by walking on the community's paths around campus, and serves on the Resident Advisory Council (RAC) and as a resident sales ambassador.
"You can tell I like it here. It's really like family," he says. "You just feel like you belong."
About Lantern Hill: Lantern Hill, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 26-acre campus in New Providence, New Jersey. The not-for-profit community of more than 390 residents and 300 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 Lantern Hill can be found at LanternHillCommunity.com.
Photo: Lantern Hill resident Dick Byrnes chose Lantern Hill for its value and the many activities in at the community and surrounding area.
Story written by Julia Collins