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More for your money

Secure your future and finances at Eagle’s Trace

Created date

June 27th, 2017
Photo of a fountain in the middle of a brick plaza in front of a double gabled building.

Eagle’s Trace offers a sensible financial structure to help you manage your expenses and safeguard your future.

You’ve planned carefully for retirement and want to maximize your finances in this season of life.

Retirement communities like Eagle’s Trace, the Erickson Living community in West Houston, offer maintenance-free living, abundant amenities, continuing care services, and peace of mind. But how much do they cost?

“Not all retirement communities are structured the same way,” says Pam Burgeson, sales director at Eagle’s Trace. “It’s important to study the different financial models so you can be confident you’re making a smart decision.”

Some retirement communities operate on a rental basis, with no payment up-front but significant monthly fees.

Other communities, like Eagle’s Trace, charge a one-time entrance deposit and a monthly service fee that’s typically lower than that of a rental property.

Within communities that require an entrance fee, there are two additional distinctions.

Communities designated as “life care” require a long-term, up-front financial commitment. Residents pay a substantial fixed monthly payment that remains the same as they progress through the continuum of care.

By contrast, people who live at a fee-for-service retirement community, like Eagle’s Trace, only pay for additional levels of care as they need them.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take heart. With a little study and investigation, the differences among financial models become clear.

“Ask questions and understand your options so you can decide what makes the most financial sense for you,” says Burgeson.

Finances, simplified

At Eagle’s Trace, your finances are simplified with two primary costs that cover most expenses.

The one-time entrance deposit secures your apartment home at the West Houston community and is 90% refundable to you or your heirs (the Residence and Care Agreement has complete details).

The predictable monthly service package covers most day-to-day expenses, including apartment home maintenance, dining options, property taxes, most utilities including basic cable television, trash and recycling collection at your door, and 24-hour security and emergency response services.

Plus, at Eagle’s Trace, you’ll have access to a wealth of campus amenities, including the on-site medical center with two full-time physicians, fitness centers, indoor swimming pool, restaurants, bank, pharmacy, library, salon, and marketplace.

“When you consider how much you get at Eagle’s Trace, it’s really a great value for your money,” says Burgeson.

Considering all factors

Donna Schlitt was one of the first people to move to Eagle’s Trace when it opened in 2005. Prior to the move, Donna and her husband spent a year visiting retirement communities to explore their options.

“There wasn’t anything that came close to Eagle’s Trace and what it had to offer,” says Donna. 

Sadly, Donna’s husband passed away before they could make a joint decision about where to move.

“Our home in Spring Branch was paid for, but I didn’t like living there alone after my husband passed away,” says Donna. “I had wonderful neighbors, but they were all younger and worked during the day.”

Still, Donna knew she had to make a wise decision, both financially and in terms of a lifestyle she would enjoy.

“I sat down with a pencil and notepad and wrote down all my expenses, including property taxes, homeowner’s association dues, utilities, and money needed to cover repairs,” says Donna. “Our house was 37 years old, so I knew it would need continual maintenance.”

The numbers surprised her.

“The monthly expenses were going to be less at Eagle’s Trace than in my home,” says Donna, who spent the last 14 years of her career as a church business administrator.

Mindful of her late husband’s concern about the entrance deposit, Donna also briefly considered a rental property.

“The problem with a rental is that you have a less permanent neighborhood,” says Donna. “People move in and out. The other factor is that when you’re not paying a deposit [at a rental community], the amenities and services don’t seem to compare to a community like Eagle’s Trace.”

Donna selected a two-bedroom, Hastings-style apartment overlooking Lake Aguila at Eagle’s Trace and moved to the community in December 2005.

“Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I can say that moving to Eagle’s Trace was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself,” she says. “I have friends and a sense of security. I appreciate all the on-site amenities, especially the pharmacy, bank, and library.”

From a financial perspective, Donna says the move to Eagle’s Trace was smarter than she could have realized at the time.

“When the markets turned in 2008, I lost money in my investments,” she says. “But my entrance deposit remained intact. I realize the entrance deposit isn’t making money in interest, but I didn’t lose any of it like I would have if the money was invested.”

Comparison shopping

As more retirement communities open in the greater Houston area, senior living options abound.

In 2014, members of the Resident Advisory Council (RAC) at Eagle’s Trace visited other retirement communities in Houston to compare financial models. Working in teams of three, RAC members visited three buy-in communities and four rental communities. They gathered data over a three-month period and reported their findings to Eagle’s Trace residents at a RAC forum in July 2014.

“The monthly fees at the rental properties were significantly higher than what we pay at Eagle’s Trace,” says Janet Marvin, who moved to Eagle’s Trace in 2010 and participated in the research. “Most fees at the rental communities ranged from $4,000 to $5,000 per month.”

RAC members also observed discrepancies in amenities.

“At some communities, the ‘library’ was a closet filled with paperback books,” says Janet. “We’re fortunate to have a fully equipped library at Eagle’s Trace with print materials, DVDs, CDs, and equipment for the visually impaired. Eagle’s Trace was also the only community [of the ones] we visited with an indoor swimming pool for resident use.”

The RAC’s conclusion? 

“Eagle’s Trace has many features that set it apart,” says Janet. “Our low monthly service package is a great deal when you consider amenities and costs at other communities.”

To learn more about the financial structure at Eagle’s Trace, the sales office is hosting a series of financial “Lunch and Learn” events this summer. Please contact the sales office at 281-661-1403 for more details.