Tribune Print Share Text

Planning the perfect retirement

Retirees adopting a new mindset, choosing peace of mind and financial stability

Created date

February 20th, 2014
woman holding hand made card

If the Great Recession has taught us anything, it’s this: the golden years aren’t a guarantee.

A joint study released by AIG Life and Retirement and AgeWave reveals that older Americans are changing their views on retirement.

Eighty percent of respondents, ages 55 and above, say they now exercise more caution with their finances and cite financial peace of mind as more important than accumulating wealth.

“Americans are rightfully concerned about retirement and more careful in their investment strategies,” said Jay Wintrob, president and CEO of AIG Life and Retirement. “The 2008 global financial crisis provided a financial wake-up call that people have taken to heart. They are now seeking a safer and more predictable road to retirement, one with less risk and more financial security.”

Planning is key

Margaret Morris, a retired office professional, says planning is key to navigating retirement.

“These are my golden years, and I’m taking steps to enjoy them,” says Margaret. “I’m determined to have a good time.”

After living in her Southwest Houston house for 37 years, Margaret decided the time was right to shed the responsibilities of home repairs and utility bills.

“It was getting harder and harder to take care of my home,” she says. “My son lives in Australia, so he’s not nearby to help out.” 

Margaret’s search for a worry-free lifestyle led her to Trace, an Erickson Living community in West Houston.

“My first thought when I visited the community was, ‘I feel safe here,’” says Margaret. “All the worries of home maintenance and repair are gone.”

Margaret returned home to do an online comparison of other retirement communities in the Houston area. She looked at amenities, financial structure, and the social offerings at each community.

Checking the boxes

“I realized that Eagle’s Trace met all of my needs and more,” says Margaret. “It has an on-site medical center, pharmacy, bank, library, and postal service. It also offers several activities of interest, including a watercolor painting class, meditation, and yoga. 

Margaret says the monthly service package, which includes maintenance, utilities (excluding telephone), a flexible meal plan, heating and air-conditioning costs, and property taxes, was appealing for its ability to streamline her finances for the entire year.

“The monthly service package doesn’t change from month to month, so it makes it easy to budget,” she says.

All things considered, Margaret felt Eagle’s Trace was a move in the right direction. In October 2012, she joined the more than 20,000 people who call an Erickson Living community home.

“Moving here was absolutely the right decision,” she says. “I love a certain quote from Mark Twain. He said, ‘You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.’ That’s how I feel about Eagle’s Trace. This is my new dream.”

Making dreams a reality

With help from Personal Moving Consultant and Sales Counselor Jodie Schroeder and Erickson Realty and Moving Services, Margaret settled into her one-bedroom, one-bath Brighton-style apartment before winter’s icy winds blew through Houston.

“When the cold weather hit in January, I thought how nice it was that I didn’t have to wrap pipes,” says Margaret. “Everything I needed was a short walk away, and I didn’t have to go outside.”

Margaret says her son was equally relieved by her decision. 

“He’s happy I’m secure and he doesn’t have to worry about me,” she says. “I’ve been treated like royalty since I moved to Eagle’s Trace. This is the retirement I wanted.”