Last fall, Bud Drennan was raking leaves in his yard when he took a step back and thought, Maybe I’ve had enough of this. The retired Merrill Lynch stock broker had lived in his house for 48 years, but had been there by himself since his wife succumbed to Alzheimer’s seven years earlier. “Once I made up my mind, the question became, Do I want to buy a condo in Clayton? Or do I just want to make one leap?”
Drennan chose to move to The Gatesworth, and says the many amenities and high quality of service convinced him it was the right move. “The food is very good, and the people are terrific—they seem to know your name the day after you move in,” he says.
Ted and Doris Weiner also moved to The Gatesworth. In 2009, the couple moved back to their hometown of St. Louis after living elsewhere for 30 years. Ted, a financial advisor with Wells Fargo, is 84 and just retired earlier this year. Given his background in finance, the lack of an upfront buy-in was a point in The Gatesworth’s favor, he says. “When you do a buy-in, something comparable to The Gatesworth would be $400,000 to $700,000, and they want it up-front,” he says. “Generally, you can’t finance these, so you might have to liquidate your investment assets, which you use at this stage in life to generate your income stream. The advantage of doing a rental format is that you maintain your capital so you can keep investing; and even if the market does go down, you still have the full principal generating an income stream.”
The Weiners initially had considered a community with a buy-in, going so far as to put down a deposit before determining it was not the right option for them. Weiner says it concerned him that the market risks of a buy-in were the same as if they had bought a house—if the unit owner moves to a higher level of care or passes away, the estate gets back a percentage of the sale price if and when the unit is resold. “I wouldn’t take that chance, and they might not sell it that quickly.”
In addition, Weiner has found the management at The Gatesworth is easy to deal with, since the partners are on-site. The friendly community also has been a boon to the couple, who are co-chairs of the resident association’s hospitality committee. “Your neighbors become your family,” he says. “To me, people are what help you enjoy life and give you a better standard of living.”
Now that he’s retired, Weiner has even more to look forward to. “First of all, there’s no alarm clock going off at 6 in the morning,” he says. “Doris and I have been married going on 60 years, and now I can enjoy 24/7 with my wife. That, to me, is one of the nice things about retiring. And one of the advantages of living in a complex like this is that we don’t have responsibilities anymore. If the ice-maker breaks, you just pick up the phone and call the management.”
Drennan echoes this sentiment, saying the time he saves from doing household chores and yard work gives him more time to visit friends in nearby Ladue and University City, where he’s lived all his life. “I don’t have to shovel the driveway anymore—let somebody else do that.”