Planning for a Secure Retirement at Riderwood

July 2, 2019

Traditional concerns of home ownership replaced with maintenance-free living   

Silver Spring, MD  - Financial security is one of the cornerstones of a fulfilling retirement. A Gallup poll taken in 2018 noted that 78% of retirees report that they have enough money to live comfortably. A TD AmericaTrade survey of 2,002 adults taken in 2018 noted that 81% see their retirement years as a time to pursue new goals. And 76% see themselves using those years to pursue passions they previously neglected like spending time with friends and family, traveling abroad or taking up a new hobby.

That's why the management team at Riderwood, an Erickson Living developed and managed community in Silver Spring, MD, works so hard to provide good financial value to residents and help them to protect the investments they've built over their lifetimes. The community provides a competitive value for retirement living while also providing residents with many opportunities to pursue new and existing hobbies. With over 260 resident-run clubs and committees, ranging from creative writing to Tai chi to trips and travel, there's never a dull moment at Riderwood.

And all of those amenities come at an excellent value. In addition to the abundance of leisure activities, Riderwood's affordable monthly service package also includes rent, electricity, gas, water, telephone and even the main meal of the day.

"We have a cost comparison sheet, and I will ask people to list all of their expenses for maintaining their house and going out to eat or cooking dinner every night," says Riderwood's sales manager, Ryan Fitzwater. "Once they do that and put it onto the monthly cost comparison sheet, they find that not only is it comparable to live at Riderwood, but it can be cheaper."

When you live in a house, you have to pay for things like lawn care, appliance maintenance and repair, trash removal, pest control, gutter cleaning, roof repairs and real estate taxes — all of which can be serious budget busters. But at Riderwood, all of those expenses are included in the monthly service package.

"A lot of people will look at the monthly service package and assume that it's expensive, especially if they don't have a mortgage anymore," Fitzwater says. "What they don't realize is all of the maintenance cost that goes into the home — it's one of biggest expenses they don't think about."

Riderwood resident Kathy Grow works as a budget analyst for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, so she is no stranger to crunching numbers. Before she moved to Riderwood, she spent about a year tracking her living expenses, including everything from her electric bill to the costs to maintain her yard. At the end of the year, she averaged them and found the monthly cost to live at Riderwood would be in the same range she was paying to live in her Davidsonville, Maryland, house. Plus, she says being at Riderwood provides an additional layer of security.

"I don't have to get up and check what goes bump in the night. I don't have to go up on the roof and clean out the gutters. I just call and somebody comes and fixes it for me," Kathy says. "All that was a major factor in my decision to move here."

Another key aspect of Riderwood's value proposition is the 90% refundable entrance fee. This one-time fee is held for residents and returned either to them or, if they live at Riderwood for the rest of their lives, to their beneficiaries.

Perhaps the most unique element of the financial value at Riderwood, a not-for-profit organization, developed and operated by Erickson Living®. The community is governed by its own board of directors affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community, is the "home for life" commitment." The community maintains a Benevolent Care Fund to assist residents who, despite careful planning, outlive their financial assets. Fitzwater likens the Benevolent Care Fund to a long-term care insurance policy — but without the high premiums.

Kathy, who has been a widow for almost 15 years, really values the peace of mind that the Benevolent Care Fund provides. She has a Lancaster-style apartment home at Riderwood. Her spacious corner unit features two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a sunroom. Kathy can truly feel settled within those walls because she knows her apartment will be her home for life.

"Here, I know I will be taken care of one way or the other," she says. "To be out in the world by yourself is a scary concept, but when you know you've made arrangements to be taken care of, it's a really good feeling."

Photo caption: Riderwood resident Kathy Grow and Riderwood's sales manager, Ryan Fitzwater (Photo by George Mishraky)

About Riderwood: Riderwood, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 120-acre campus in Silver Spring, Maryland.   The not-for-profit community of more than 2500 residents is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Riderwood is located in Montgomery County.  Additional information about Riderwood can be found at