Tribune Print Share Text

Ahead of the pack

Greenspring remains one of the strongest stand-alone CCRCs by Fitch Ratings

Created date

October 22nd, 2013

"I strongly believe that Greenspring provides for our money over and above what we would experience if we lived elsewhere," says community member Fran Duvall. "In other words, we get a big bang for the buck." Fitch Ratings, a bond-rating agency that provides information to current and potential purchasers of publically traded bonds, agrees. The agency recently awarded Greenspring with an 'A' rating in its annual review. According to Fitch, Greenspring's solid financial and qualitative factors make it one of the strongest stand-alone continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) rated by Fitch. "I take it for granted that Greenspring is on very firm financial footing," says community member Kathleen Henry.

The goods to back it up

The affirmation of the 'A' rating reflects Greenspring's consistently high occupancy across all levels of care, favorable service area, and excellent cash flow that has supported liquidity growth and robust debt service coverage levels, reports Fitch. Almost all of Greenspring's financial metrics exceed Fitch's 'A' category medians. Since 2009, Greenspring's level of unrestricted cash and investments has grown by 65%. According to Fitch, Greenspring's high occupancy above 95% in all levels of care has supported excellent cash flow and results from management's initiatives, including life-cycle campus investments, apartment upgrades upon turnover, and use of an outside real estate agent [to help community members sell their houses]. "Even during the recent recession, Greenspring's occupancy stayed at a constant 99% throughout the entire period," says Greenspring Director of Finance Berwick Drews. "As promised, we provided timely refunds of our residents entrance deposits, without fail, during the entire recession. Our history, combined with the financial strength of the community, allows our residents to remain very confident about the process." Greenspring's strong finances enable the community to help residents who may not have faired as well during the downturn in the economy. Greenspring is a not-for-profit community dedicated to supporting residents who experience an unforeseen change in financial situation. Should their finances change for reasons beyond their control, the Home for Life Commitment provides several options so they can protect their future. Greenspring's Residence and Care Agreement has complete details.

Planning for the future

Another contributing factor to Greenspring's 'A' rating is the community's focus on future development. Because of its well-managed finances, Greenspring is embarking on a $75 million repositioning and master plan. The first phases of the plan provide for an expansion of the community's rehabilitation services, a redesign of long-term care rooms in the continuing care neighborhood, a new aquatics and fitness center, and a redesign of the Town Center Clubhouse. "We are able to finance this entire project from the reserves we accumulated over our first 15 years of operation," says Berwick. "Our plan is not to take on any additional debt while ensuring that Greenspring stays an industry leader in amenities and services."

Day-to-day finances

While providing a solid financial base for the future, Greenspring's monthly service package also helps community members by enabling them to plan for their daily expenses with confidence. "The monthly service package covers the costs of all utilities (with the exception of telephone and Internet) as well as home and seasonal maintenance, such as snow removal and furnace heat pump inspections and conditioning. All major repairs, 24-hour security, a monthly meal plan, and cable television are also included. I find that my husband Donald and I are better able to plan for monthly expenses at Greenspring than we were in our house," says Kathleen. "There is no roof to leak, no water heater to leak, no plumbing to leak, which means that no unplanned money is leaking from our checkbook." Kathleen's neighbor Fred Griffin agrees. "Because the monthly service fee remains constant over the year, I know exactly what my costs will be. This makes it much easier to manage my finances. Our fees are evaluated each year and rise only in direct correlation to the costs we experience for labor, repairs, maintenance, etc.," says Berwick. "That means that in years where the economy has been soft, we've been able to limit fee increases to as little as 1% per year. Community members can be sure that Greenspring is charging just enough to cover its costs."

Bountiful opportunities

"Another financial benefit of living at Greenspring is that so much of what we enjoy doing is not only fun but also free," says Kathleen. "Donald and I are so busy with fun and worthwhile activities on campus, we don't need to spend money on activities off campus." Kathleen is referring to the more than 200 resident-led clubs and activities thriving at Greenspring, including billiards tournaments; Wii bowling; the community paper,The Villager; and the Greenspring Players drama club, all of which Kathleen and Donald participate in. "With a bright financial future, community members at Greenspring enjoy the peace of mind to explore new activities and enjoy their friends and neighbors. It is extremely gratifying and humbling to be a part of this inspiring community," says Berwick. "I'm excited for what the future holds."

Comments