When the finances fit

Quality of life wins over quantity of space for this Staten Island transplant

Created date

May 24th, 2019
Finance professional Barbara Solan enjoys living at Seabrook in Tinton Falls, N.J., which she says is a smart investment for her future.

Finance professional Barbara Solan enjoys living at Seabrook in Tinton Falls, N.J., which she says is a smart investment for her future.

With a successful finance career in treasury management, Barbara Solan knows a thing or two about making smart investments. That’s why, when it came to living her best life and investing in her own future, she recognized the benefits of choosing quality over quantity. 

In May 2015, Barbara, who was living in a 2,895-square-foot house on Staten Island, N.Y., drove a friend to a luncheon at Seabrook, the Erickson Living community in Monmouth County, N.J. While she wasn’t investigating for herself, she knew a smart decision when she saw one.

“When I came down here and looked around, I said, ‘This is better than the big place I have!’” Barbara recalls.

Seabrook 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. Located in Tinton Falls, Seabrook is home to about 1,400 residents.

Barbara joined the priority list immediately, knowing it was a risk-free way to reserve her place in line for the apartment home of her choice when she was ready. Priority list membership simply requires a fully refundable $1,000 deposit and a nonrefundable $150 application fee.

Planning ahead

During that first visit, she and her friend received a personal tour of the community, enjoyed a lunch prepared by Seabrook chefs, witnessed the myriad amenities available on campus, and learned about the financial structure of a continuing care retirement community such as Seabrook.

Barbara was impressed.

“I went home that night and made plans to downsize,” she says. Though she had to wrap up her terms on several boards in her community on Staten Island, she wasted no time in taking the steps to prepare for her impending move.

Personal Moving Consultant Laurie Williamson connected with Barbara to plan the necessary steps to get Barbara’s house sold and her belongings moved to her new home at Seabrook.

“Laurie was absolutely wonderful,” Barbara says. “She came and suggested what I should get rid of and how everything would be laid out in my Seabrook apartment. It was wonderful.”

On downsizing, Barbara says: “A lot of the stuff was things like my college accounting books, which I wasn’t using anymore. I had a very large wall unit that’s out of style now—no TV could fit in it anymore. You can’t be sentimental about some things; you just have to do it.”

Laurie also recommended a preferred real estate agent—someone Seabrook has vetted and uses on a regular basis due to their success and market knowledge in a particular area. When incoming residents use a preferred real estate agent, they qualify for the Move On Us program and receive a credit to their resident account for up to $2,000 of moving-related expenses.

Barbara’s decision to use a preferred agent paid off; her house sold within ten days.

“It went on the market sometime the second week of June, and I was here [at Seabrook] the last week of July,” she says.

Lively living

Though Barbara downsized her personal living space by about half, she gained that much more in lively opportunities.

At 1,503 square feet, her two-bedroom apartment with a den still gives her the feel of a house without all the unused rooms to clean and maintain.

“It’s bright, airy, and has plenty of room. It has the extra bathroom and bedroom and is set up just like a house,” she says. She loves that her laundry room includes extra storage.

With less to maintain, Barbara says she’s saving money on her monthly living expenses—something this finance major checked before moving. “I pulled out paper and pencil, went through my checkbook and credit cards, listed all of my monthly expenses, and compared it to the monthly maintenance at Seabrook. I decided that I was saving money,” she says.

Not only is she saving money, she says the financial structure of having all her living expenses combined into one fixed monthly service package provides an unmatched convenience. One check each month covers most day-to-day expenses and includes access to a wealth of campus amenities and services.

“Everything is in one bill, and it’s autopay. I don’t have to sit down and write checks for this, that, and the other thing. It's so much easier and simpler,” she says.

With less time maintaining her large house and paying bills, Barbara can now be more involved than ever—something that brings her joy and a sense of fulfillment. In fact, she’s on so many committees that she received the Most Outstanding Volunteer Effort Recognition (M.O.V.E.R.) Award for her outstanding volunteer work.

“Seabrook is a great place to be,” Barbara says. “I’ve made a lot of friends, which is really wonderful. I can go out without having to go out. I can go to the movies and not have to worry about getting home or bringing my coat. I can go to dinner with different people. Everything is right here. The doctor, the salon, the CVS—it’s totally convenient. There’s always something to do. You can be as busy as you want or as unbusy as you want.”