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Financial security a roaring success at local Erickson communities despite bear market

Created date

July 13th, 2009


Now, more than ever, making informed financial decisions plays a vital role in your retirement lifestyle and quality. But with so much conflicting information in news reports and even from well-meaning financial advisors, sometimes the best advice comes from people just like you people who have worked hard for their money and want to make the most of it when they retire.

We spoke with Merv Norton and June Roper, two people who chose to live at local Erickson communities, about their financial decisions. Erickson is one of the nation's top developers of full-service communities. We found that predictable budgets; return on investments; and active, enjoyable lifestyles weighed heavily and positively on their decisions. Here, they tell you why.

Budgeting with confidence 

"Before moving to Greenspring, I conducted a full financial analysis," says Merv Norton, who moved to the Springfield, Va., Erickson community from Vienna. "I took into account all of my expenses before moving, such as utilities, the upkeep of our pool, et cetera, and compared that to what I would pay at Greenspring. I discovered that it would not cost more. In fact, it has proved to be less." 

Erickson community members, like Norton, pay a set monthly amount, known as the monthly service package. It covers all utilities except telephone, seasonal maintenance such as snow removal and furnace/heat pump inspections, all major repairs, 24-hour security, cable television, and once-daily dining in any of the on-campus restaurants.

"The best part is that your expenses are fixed," says June Roper, who moved to Greensping s sister community, Riderwood, in Silver Spring, Md. "You know exactly how much money you are going to spend each month. And there are also other benefits you can t put a price tag on, such as our beautiful surroundings and wonderful neighbors who've lived rich, interesting lives." 

Full return on investment

Another real financial benefit is the 100% refundable entrance deposit, Norton says of the company's promise to return 100% of his entrance deposit if he leaves the community. "I know that my children will receive the money I spent as a deposit on my apartment home. Mr. Erickson really did the right thing," he says, referring to John Erickson, founder of Erickson Retirement Communities. "I have a friend who lives at a non-Erickson community, and he won't get any of the $95,000 back that he spent as a deposit. Plus, his monthly fee is $500 more than mine and he only has a one-bedroom while I have a two-bedroom, two-bath [apartment home]."

Roper agrees: "The 100% refundable deposit is a wonderful advantage to living at an Erickson community. There s a peace of mind that comes from knowing that the money is there and protected."

Daily deals

Roper also notes that daily living is a good deal. The number and variety of activities and social opportunities on campus has made her stand by her decision. "I've found that living at Riderwood, there are good deals everywhere," she says. "For instance, I pay only $3 for a glass of wine at our weekly happy hours. And there are lots of free lectures and concerts. Another financial benefit is that you don't have to have a car here," she says. "I do, but it's an expense you can lose and not be stranded. There are so many different transportation options available. Every Erickson campus has a fleet of buses and shuttles that run to doctors offices, grocery stores, shopping malls, and other local locations." 

Firm decision

"I walk the halls of Greenspring five times a day," says Norton. "I often run in to people touring the campus, and I make a point to stop and speak to them. I always ask, 'How many decisions have you made in your life?' I know for me, the answer is thousands, yet I really feel that there are only two that count. Marrying my lady and moving to Greenspring. I wouldn't move out of here for a million dollars."