Master Your Finances Kurt Baker with Daisy Newson – Transcript

Written by on October 30, 2020

00:00 ANNOUNCER: So you wanna know the ins and outs of managing your money. Well, lucky for you, you’re just in time for another episode of Master Your Finances with certified financial planner professional, Kurt Baker. Kurt and his panel of experts are here for you and will cover topics from a legal and personal standpoint. They’ll discuss tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing and saving your money, and more. Master Your Finances is underwritten by Certified Wealth Management & Investment. Let’s learn how we can better change our habits with Kurt Baker.
00:34 Kurt Baker: Good morning and welcome back to another edition of Master Your Finances presented by Certified Wealth Management & Investment. I am Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional, located in Princeton, New Jersey and I can be reached through our website, which is or you can call me directly at 609-716-4700. This week very pleased to have with us, Daisy Newson, who is the Director of Community Relations at Ovation at Riverwalk and she comes to Ovation with more than 20 years of experience working in senior services and volunteering with seniors, and a quote from Daisy is, “Exceptional customer service is my goal and building great relations is essential to achieving that.” She was born in New Jersey and raised in Brazil. Daisy speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish, growing up in a country where elders are revered, she helped her family care for her grandparents and great-grandparents. Daisy has a degree in marketing and business administration, and has served and volunteered for organizations including the Alzheimer’s Association, Ronald McDonald House, United Way, Red Cross and Veteran’s groups.
01:52 Kurt Baker: Daisy, I really appreciate you coming on today, I know this is a very important area that we are talking about this year, especially because our seniors have been at high risk in this COVID thing, and so I know that that’s been an area we’ve been talking about it just in general from a health perspective, from a housing perspective, and can you tell us a little bit about just your background and how… I know you told us your family history here, but how you came to this particular job, and your professional experience a little bit, and then why you decided this was a great fit for you?
02:26 Daisy Newson: Yes, absolutely. Hi Kurt, thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure being here and chatting with you. Yes, I have been in this industry for a while, growing up in South America, we have a different value with our elders, it’s a little bit different, the amount of care that we provide for them. So over here, it’s a little bit different than that. I started volunteering with the different organizations with hospice and assisted-living communities and other organizations that provide care and help for seniors, and so that was always my passion, so I was fortunate enough that a few years back, I was able to make a career transition and started working in the senior living industry. I worked in assisted-living communities as a director in marketing, and I now joined SageLife, which is a parent company to Ovation at Riverwalk. They have been in the senior living industry since 1989. They have other assisted-living communities and nursing homes. However, this Ovation at Riverwalk is a little bit different, this is a 55 active adult community. So what we provide is a resort-style living for folks that are looking for something better as they age.
03:53 Kurt Baker: Okay, so yeah, you talked about a lot of this, so I know things have changed a lot since 1989 in senior living, and I know when I have conversations with people who are kinda starting to approach or thinking about planning for their senior living, so to speak, once they decide maybe it’s time to leave the house for the townhouse and maybe whether or not they want extra help, or maybe they just wanna travel, there’s lots of reasons people leave the house with the big yard and things like that, the kids aged out and, you know… All kinds of reasons, but sometimes people don’t really understand what’s available ’cause I know that 20, 30 years ago, it was a very different scenario, sometimes these things are actually kinda nice, right? They’re nicer than what maybe they were used to.
04:36 Kurt Baker: I know the story of my father was… He lived in a house and he wasn’t retiring, he just… It was just a life change many years ago, he had a nice house with an acre of land and loved going out and taking care of the yard and things like that and he was like, “I’m never moving out of here, I like my yard, I like all this land.” And so he eventually moved into a townhouse with a little bit of reservation, but once he kinda got used to it, he liked it. He liked the fact that he didn’t have to go out constantly and maintain the yard ’cause it’s work, right? I mean, it’s a gorgeous property but it is a lot of work and so when you start freeing up your time, then there’s other things you can do, the things that… Other activities he might like to do. So can you tell us a little bit about how… ‘Cause these places are not… They’re very nice, they’re not putting yourself into some of these clinical situations where Nurse Ratched is coming in to take care of you, right?
05:28 Daisy Newson: Exactly. Exactly. So you’re right. Things have changed quite a bit and people don’t realize that, but it does come a time when you just get tired of the movements, the cost of maintenance and worrying about the big houses. So there’s a time for everything in life and folks are in the process of buying new homes and bigger homes and they’re dealing with all that goes along with the big house, but… Time comes when you just don’t need to do that anymore, or you’re looking for a better lifestyle. So what these 55 active adult communities are doing now, they’re providing this resort-style living where they provide absolutely everything that you can possibly need in a one community environment.
06:17 Daisy Newson: So you’re no longer having to worry about maintaining your lawn, somebody’s doing that for you, right? So you got beautiful grounds being maintained by someone else, you have a park-like setting, you can walk, you can… As a matter of fact, you even have space where you can do your own planting outside. So these communities do provide that, but you don’t have to maintain it, somebody else is going out there picking the weeds, making sure it’s all maintained and it looks great. So yes, so you don’t have to worry about the roof anymore. You don’t have to worry about painting. You don’t have to worry about changing a lightbulb. I mean, communities like this, they can even do that for you.
07:01 Kurt Baker: I think sometimes people think of adult… You mentioned this from active adult communities, so how is that different from some of the terms here is like assisted living and things like that, long-term care facility and nursing home facilities. This is much different than that, right? So I know many people might, especially… I know financial planners that have moved into these places because of the benefits of it. You wanna kind of explain how that’s different? There were sometimes people could see as some of these other communities that are out there?
07:30 Daisy Newson: Yes, of course, because the keyword here is active adult community, so really this is an age-restricted community. That’s just like when you’re going on vacation and you’re looking for an adult-only community ’cause you don’t wanna see playgrounds and children running around or hanging out at the pool. You’re looking for a place that really is geared towards adults, and the lifestyle that adults are looking for. So this is completely different. Assisted Living is down the line, right? It’s for folks that need assistance with personal care or medical assistance. This is not that. This is a beautiful, modern apartment. You’re living in a beautiful resort-style ground scape… Ground landscaping, where everything has been prepared for you. So what you’re doing is you’re just downsizing from that big house. You now no longer have to take care of that, but you can travel, you can do other things. So you’re still active enough, you’re still working. Just like you said, just like you and I, we’re still working, we’re very active.
08:41 Daisy Newson: But when we come home, we don’t wanna worry about, “Who do we have to call tomorrow? Is the electrician coming? Is the plumber coming?” ‘Cause after you’ve been in a house for 20, 30 years, that stuff starts going and it becomes cumbersome to have to worry about all the repairs and waiting for people and they don’t show up or they don’t do the right thing. So yeah, this is a totally different thing from assisted living. This is folks that are still moving around, traveling, enjoying life, but don’t want to worry about the real estate property that they have to carry. So yeah, it’s just different, altogether.
09:20 Kurt Baker: No absolutely. That’s fantastic. So I know… Well, some of the questions that I think would come up in my family at least, like, “Okay, well, are there some restrictions on what I can have, or are there different communities for these things?” Let’s say I have a pet, right? Maybe I have a cat or a dog or something like that. What if I want my granddaughter to come visit me for the weekend? ‘Cause sometimes people get worried about, “Well, okay, it says 55 and over.” Does that mean nobody can ever come on the property that’s not 55 or older?
09:46 Daisy Newson: Yeah, no, definitely not. Definitely not that. First, of course, we are grandchildren-friendly. We are pet-friendly. [laughter]
09:54 Kurt Baker: Okay.
09:55 Daisy Newson: So, it’s just for the folks that are living in the building. We do have that age restriction for second occupants, so no one under the age of 19 would be able to live here long-term. But you can have guests. They can come. They can visit. They can stay overnight. That’s not a restriction at all. It’s just for the people that actually live in the building. There is a restriction. There’s an age restriction on that.
10:21 Kurt Baker: No, I’m glad you clarified, ’cause some people don’t understand that, that there is a lot of flexibility. It’s mainly the residents, right? And sometimes, you’ll have a couple that’s married. One might be 58, the other one might be 48, so that’s okay, right? Because…
10:36 Daisy Newson: That is okay, as long as one…
10:39 Kurt Baker: As long as one of you is of age, correct? That’s my understanding of how it works, right?
10:43 Daisy Newson: That is correct, yes. Yes.
10:45 Kurt Baker: Wow. That’s fantastic. I wanna talk a little bit more about the specifics of your community and how it kinda works. I know it’s a little bit different. We’re gonna take a quick break. You’re listening to Master Your Finances. We’re gonna be right back.
11:12 ANNOUNCER: This is Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, certified financial planner professional. Learn about tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing and saving your money, and more from Kurt and his experienced panel of guests. Master Your Finances is underwritten by Certified Wealth Management and Investment.
11:33 Kurt Baker: Welcome back, you’re listening to Master Your Finances. I am Kurt Baker here with Daisy Newson, who is the Director of Community Relations at Ovation at River Park… Riverwalk, excuse me, and we’ve been talking a little bit about your background and why people decide to move into an active living community, and these are people who are, as the term implies, active, maybe they don’t necessarily wanna be confined to the home, maybe they travel. I know people that live in multiple locations, like they might have a house in New Jersey, they might go down to Florida, yeah, they might go on a cruise ship for a while. They just wanna be able to move around and enjoy life, and this is one of the… As a planner, we talk about a lot… It’s great to plan and save, but you have to enjoy life as a reason you did all of this and do these things while you’re still able to do them and enjoy it and build up those memories. And unfortunately, some day you may not be able to do quite as much.
12:29 Kurt Baker: You always wanna balance the two, and I think that’s important, and I think this actually is a nice step. One of the things I think is very interesting about your owner is, she started back in 1989, you said. She’s built a number of these communities already, but they were a little bit different. This is kind of a new version of what she’s been doing. Can you tell us a little bit about what she’s done in the past and why she decided to do this particular structure? What demands was she seeing and why did she decide to do it right here in the middle of New Jersey, Central New Jersey?
13:00 Daisy Newson: Absolutely. So She has been in this for a while working. She stayed a while, and she decided to get her own building in the late ’80s. The transition from the ’80s to now… The truth is that we’re aging a little older, right? So, folks are more active… Years ago, when someone said they were 50-years-old, they would say, “Wow, that’s too old.” But now, really, it’s later in life. Eighty is really when you start aging out. But it doesn’t mean that you wanna stay tied up to a real state property forever and be committed to that home. So, as you said, there are a lot of folks that have houses in multiple places, and the best way to do that is by renting because when you’re absent for a while from your home, someone else is watching it. So that takes the headache away from the travel, not having to worry about your house that you left behind or your plants, or whatever it is that you left in your house.
14:04 Daisy Newson: So yes, studies have shown that folks are looking for a better, easier lifestyle. What we call it is an elevated lifestyle here at Ovation. So what we provide is that elevated lifestyle. So we’re taking care of everything for these folks that wanna enjoy life and don’t wanna be tied down for anything. Another important point is, when someone’s been in a house for 20, 30 years, when now you’re having an opportunity to move somewhere, how do you know where do you wanna be? It is overwhelming, the amount of places that you can go. I know that, I started looking myself this year and it’s like, “Wow. Where do I wanna live?” So if you sell your home and you’re gonna jump right into buying another one, that’s another commitment. If you’re going to rent for a while, at least it gives you an opportunity to see where you wanna be, if you like it, what’s good for you at that point and that age in your life.
15:03 Daisy Newson: So that’s what these 55 Active Adult Communities do for you. They allow you to experience a different lifestyle, completely different. This is like living in a resort, like you’re on vacation all the time. So how nice it is to come home and feel like you’re still on vacation after you’ve travelled, it’s awesome. But that’s the difference. So what Kelly has done, she has done a lot of studies with our investors and they have figured out that these 55 Active Adult Communities are the most popular option right now for folks. It’s a great market to sell your home. Where are you gonna go next? So many choices out there. Why not rent something for a while, enjoy the lifestyle, travel a bit? And if anything comes up with your health or your family, you’re not tied to a property. You’re not committed to selling again. You can just move again, if that’s what’s in the cards for you next. So those are the benefits with the 55 Active Adult Communities and why now you see that they’re coming up and the popularity has grown.
16:24 Kurt Baker: So I noticed you said that they’re gonna be renting them as opposed to buying them. So they have to do a cost benefit analysis. So if I have a home… And in Central New Jersey, I know most of these homes are fairly expensive. At this age, most adults have probably paid them off, so it’s either a lot of equity or it’s all equity at that point. So they have the cash in theory. So I guess what you’re doing is an analysis of taking that lump sum amount of money and saying, “Hey, if I’m developing a certain amount of cash flow from that money that I received from the sale of my home, then I can pay the monthly expense.” And I guess what you’re saying is that… Are there different terms? As an example, you mentioned living in multiple locations. So if I’m gonna be in New Jersey for six months, maybe in Florida for six months, does that mean I can come here and say, “Oh, I’m gonna rent for six months and then I’m gonna go down there for six months”? Is that the type of thing you could do?
17:16 Daisy Newson: Yes. You actually can do that, for the majority of the residents that we have. So we are now… We’re still in construction, we’re not open yet. So we open in January. The folks that are coming to us have homes in Florida, I have one in Colorado, I have one in Vegas. So they have signed new leases, but the beauty about us is that we actually give a break on the rent for folks when they’re not in their apartments. So most communities don’t do that. So when you’re trying to lease, you’re committed to that monthly rental. There’s no break on that for us. We do give a break when the folks aren’t there. So you do get a discount.
17:58 Daisy Newson: Can we do shorter leases? We can absolutely do shorter leases. We can do six months. We have been actually working with some national housing where, if we have professionals coming into the area, they will look for us and they will live with us for six to a year. So we do allow that. But you know what? Some people like that, to have a footprint in Princeton after selling their homes in Princeton, or Central Jersey ’cause we’re very centrally located to the highways and access. But it’s nice to have a hope here still. So they are looking to keep their homes here, so signing a year lease is not an obstacle for anyone.
18:50 Kurt Baker: And I agree with that. I have a number of clients, they’re retired, they wanna move to another state, but they still have a lot of family, they still have a lot of friends, there’s still a lot of connections to the area. Frankly, they just like it, right? They may just wanna spend some time away and they’re like, “I’d like to have a flexibility. Maybe when it’s winter and it’s snowing, maybe I wanna go to Florida for a couple of months.” [chuckle] “And when it’s nice, I wanna come back up to New Jersey when it’s 97 degrees in Florida.” So they wanna have the options to be able to move around a little bit and still stay connected to their roots, which many of them have lived here for decades before they move on. So I do see a lot of that and this is, I guess, another option because they’ll typically buy maybe a small apartment or a condo, one place and another… They’ll have one that’s the primary, so to speak, and the other one’s the one that they visit. But this is another option, right?
19:41 Daisy Newson: Absolutely.
19:41 Kurt Baker: So they can have two locations without having to spend the cash, without having to pay for the entire amount. So that’s just a different analysis they can do. And I think what’s interesting from what you’re saying is that there’s other amenities available too. So can you describe how that’s different? Then let’s just say I got a condo down the street, which is what some people do, they have a condo and that’s it. But if I go here, can you talk a little bit about how that’s different as far as what’s available once I’m on site and what you got… ‘Cause I know I went to one of your open house things the other day and you had this gourmet cook come out and feed us some stuff that was really, really good. [chuckle] And my family was happy. I brought home a few cookies and stuff too. [chuckle]
20:24 Daisy Newson: That’s good. That’s good.
20:27 Kurt Baker: So they liked them all too by the way. So I have to keep my wife here for about a couple more years. [chuckle] Anyway, so the food was a big hot item for me, but yeah, can you tell us just a little bit how it’s a little different than just owning a condo down the street?
20:41 Daisy Newson: Yes, of course. So the amenities that are included with the 55 active adult resort-style living, the reason why we call it resort-style is ’cause it truly is, all the services that are provided. So the timeframe, normal activities like the pool, which is an indoor/outdoor pool, so it can be used year round. More here in New Jersey that the summer is a little shorter. We have the gym, the spa, the yoga room, the library, the theater. We have a sim room, where you can play golf or tennis anytime you want, so you can have practice. You can pop over and play a round. So, those are some of the amenities that we have. Also, what makes us different is that we do have the three restaurants on site, a piano bar and a coffee house. So, as you mentioned our gourmet culinary experience is one of the highlights of our restaurants, so we are proud to offer that to all the residents. So people that live here at Ovation at Riverwalk will have the three restaurants that they can dine in if they want to. If not, they can go anywhere locally and enjoy other great restaurants that we have in Princeton. But we will have exceptional culinary experiences here at our restaurants. And we will also have classes, so our chef can also teach a class and demonstrate some of the culinary experiences. So that’s something that’s part of our lifestyle.
22:19 Kurt Baker: Wow. That’s fantastic. We’re gonna talk a little bit more about what’s going on there and how you integrate with the community. We’ll take a quick break. You’re listening to Master Your Finances. We’ll be right back.
22:50 ANNOUNCER: This is Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, certified financial planner professional. Learn about tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing and saving your money and more from Kurt and his experienced panel of guests. Master Your Finances is underwritten by Certified Wealth Management and Investment.
23:11 Kurt Baker: Welcome back, you’re listening to Master Your Finances. I’m Kurt Baker, here with Daisy Newson, the Director of Community Relations at Ovation at Riverwalk. And you guys have got a really cool place over there. I had the pleasure of visiting you. I know you’re still in the construction phase. It’s enormous complex. I know that. I don’t know, maybe you could tell us how many units are there. But you had a gourmet cook, we were outside socially distancing and enjoying some great food. And it’s amazing, and we’ll talk a little bit about some of the activities you have. I guess you have a pool and you have a gym and you have all kinds of… You have three really nice restaurants, and I can attest that the food will be exceptional as long as you keep her employed, whoever… I don’t remember her name, but [chuckle] just keep her on.
23:55 Daisy Newson: We’ll keep her on as chef.
23:55 Kurt Baker: She did a great job. And so this is something where you at least typically is a year at a time. And it sounds like, if I’m gonna be down in Florida for a period of time, and I’m gonna guess that’s because I’m no longer using all the amenities, you can get a little bit lower cost structure where you’re not actually residing in the community. Because, of course when I’m there, I’m gonna be using the services, so that’s gonna cost everybody a little bit of money, right? Which is nice so you have that flexibility. And you’re opening in January, which is cool. So this is really a higher-end place, and frankly, I’m not aware of another one around that’s similar to what you guys are setting up, right? This seems to be like raising the bar just a little bit higher than anything I’ve been exposed to locally. Is that a correct analysis?
24:41 Daisy Newson: That is a very correct… We are very unique to New Jersey. Usually you see resort-style living in places… West Coast, you see a lot of that. You see a lot in Florida, but up here in the Northeast, you don’t quite find places like us that offer all the amenities and the lifestyle that we’re offering. So we are very different.
25:04 Kurt Baker: So who do you see as your typical person that’s coming walking through the door, saying that they’re interested? Because of course as a planner we… Whenever we’re doing something, you analyze it based on those circumstances and things that might fit, right? So what is your… And it may be multiple typical clients, but clients that are coming in and saying, “Hey, I think this might work for my particular situation.” So can you give us some ideas of the different types of individuals or couples or things like that, that might be coming in and saying, “Hey, I think this works for what I’m trying to do, what I envision.”
25:41 Daisy Newson: Right. Right, our clientele right now that we have seen, that have approached us for deposits ’cause that’s what we’re doing right now, we’re taking deposits for when we open in January. So we’re reserving apartments right now. But, the typical client that walks through the door is tired of paying the taxes, real estate taxes, tired of taking care of maintaining a home. They’re looking for an easier lifestyle. So they’re looking to still live in a beautiful location, they still have friends and family here right in Central Jersey, so they wanna stay put in this area. However they wanna travel. So this allows them to have a place here, but they don’t have to worry about it when they do lock up and travel in a place somewhere else if they wanna do that. So, it’s the flexibility of not having to worry about your home. So the moment you leave, there’s going to be… There’s 24/7 services here in the building. We have a concierge service 24/7 with porter. We have maintenance. We provide housekeeping, we will come and clean your apartment which is awesome. So, you never have to worry about a thing. So, traveling becomes a lot more enjoyable, I think, when you don’t have to worry about your house. I know that I’ve done some traveling and I came home, and unfortunately I had a flood, so I walked right into the flood…
27:12 Kurt Baker: Oh, no.
27:12 Daisy Newson: There was nobody to watch. [chuckle]
27:14 Kurt Baker: That’s a very unpleasant thing to come home to. [chuckle]
27:17 Daisy Newson: It’s very unpleasant. You know…
27:19 Kurt Baker: Like, “Honey, let’s go back on vacation, this is not good.” [laughter]
27:21 Daisy Newson: Exactly. So it’s small details that you don’t really… When you’re living in a home, obviously, you just do what you have to do, that is your lifestyle. But it comes a time when… Especially right now during COVID, I think we all realize that it’s time to enjoy life. So many things can be taken away from us so quickly. And it’s time. It’s time to do some traveling and enjoying… When that becomes… When that is okay again. But… No, enjoy your time.
27:50 Kurt Baker: Yeah, you brought up a couple of great points. I think a lot of us, especially with COVID, I think a lot of people reanalyze just their whole perspective on everything. Just, you’ve had time to think about it, right? You’ve been kinda forced to think about it to some degree. And I know that we’ve been hearing about this for a little while, is, the younger generation has been more tilted towards life experiences over housing and over material items and things like that. So we’ve been hearing that a lot, and I know that’s true of the young people that I know, including my daughter. She’s not really… It just doesn’t… They don’t care, right? It’s like… It’s just not that important. And I gotta hand it to them, that’s a great thing.
28:28 Kurt Baker: And I think a lot of us, as we’re getting older, realize that, Hey, it’s about enjoying it and developing experiences and relationships and it’s all about what you’re doing with your life, not what you’re accumulating and putting in your basement, right? And so I think this is part of that. And you mentioned the apartments… I guess, so it allows people to open up. And you mentioned the apartment, you’re renting… You’re leasing the apartments out now, so there are different types of units that you’re having available. I guess if you could just explain that to me a little bit as far as what the availability might be?
29:07 Daisy Newson: Yeah. So this building of 260 units, we are five floors, and we have an indoor parking garage, so everyone parks inside the garage. It’s temperature-controlled. The units come in different sizes, so we have studios, we have one-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom apartments with different floor plans for the amount of room. Now, every apartment is beautifully decorated. It has all stainless steel appliances, full washer and dryer in all the apartments. So, really it’s up to the resident to decide what size is comfortable for them, especially if you’re coming from a larger home.
29:50 Daisy Newson: Some folks are okay with just getting rid of all these things they accumulated over the years, and some are still more very attached to their belongings, to their collections, sometimes. It’s funny, there is something to be learned about the millennials. How they enjoy life and the experiences and they’re not so worried about the collecting the China and the crystal and the big house and all that. They truly are enjoying life. It’s something to be learned for us. We should be doing that right now. ‘Cause now that everything is taken away from us, now it seems all important now, that one. This is the opportunity to do that.
30:34 Kurt Baker: Yeah. And I think it’s a great time to have some of these conversations that a lot of us, as we get older… And you bring up the China, and I know I’ve talked about this a number of times, is that many people don’t realize that all these family heirlooms that many of us have in our homes, our children have no interest whatsoever in these things.
30:53 Daisy Newson: None.
30:53 Kurt Baker: So the first thing they’re gonna do is they’re gonna sell them or give them away, and that, to me, would be better that if you really care about these items, maybe if they’re… You donate them to a museum if they’re that nice, or maybe you give them to somebody who actually wants them, or… You know what I mean? So there’s lots of things you could do with them, or at least transition them to wherever you want to and you do it instead of having your children have to deal with it and they really don’t want to. For them it’s gonna be more of a burden than a gift, and so, having those conversations about what they actually wanna receive, I think it would make the downsizing out of the home easier.
31:33 Daisy Newson: Yes.
31:33 Kurt Baker: And the other thing I hear over and over again is when people downsize… And that happened to my father, he moved from this big house with a lot of chores to do so to speak, and when you’re forced to move into a smaller area, you have to start making those decisions, but when you actually divest yourself of these material items, it’s a stress reliever. People don’t realize that the items… You don’t really own items, they kind of own you. [chuckle] It’s kind of a two-way street, right? So you have to take care of them, right? No matter what it is, even if it’s a book, you’re gonna have to dust it off every once in a while. So you have to just measure what’s really important to you. And I think these processes where you transition from work life and then saying, “I wanna be active, enjoy it, go visit my grandchildren,” whatever the case may be, that is very therapeutic for people to really allow themselves the freedom to enjoy what they’ve accumulated, right?
32:30 Kurt Baker: And I think that things like this help with that process because now you’re focused more on doing things and sharing and spending time with people you care about as opposed to maintaining a large residence that… Really, if you’re honest, it’s not getting used the way it was when you probably bought it, and you were gonna fill it up with lots of kids or do things with it, right? It’s just… It’s probably not being used the way you thought.
32:56 Daisy Newson: Because things change, right? Times change…
33:02 Kurt Baker: Absolutely.
33:02 Daisy Newson: And you’re right, our kids really don’t want our things. They’re important to us. [chuckle]
33:06 Kurt Baker: Yeah.
33:07 Daisy Newson: So then you’re holding onto the big house and you’re holding onto all the things that you have and the storage, and the truth is, it’s liberating to downsize. You don’t have to worry so much about all that stuff that you were carrying on with you. So yeah, I think downsizing is hard for some folks in the beginning, but, as we know, we get used to everything, and once you start really giving other things that are more important to you, like spending time with your family, travelling, or other experiences, whenever the theater opens up and all that good stuff reopens, it gives you that opportunity to do all these things. All those boxes that you’re storing in your basement aren’t so important.
33:57 Kurt Baker: Yeah, it’s a little scary. When you start going through them, you’re like, Why do I still have this?” I mean, in some cases, right?
34:02 Daisy Newson: Right.
34:02 Kurt Baker: I buried that down there 10 years ago. I didn’t realize I still had this. Why do I even have it? No, excellent, excellent, excellent. So we’re gonna take a quick break. You’re listening to Master Your Finances, we’ll be right back.
34:33 ANNOUNCER: This is Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, certified financial planner professional. Learn about tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing and saving your money, and more from Kurt and his experienced panel of guests. Master Your Finances is underwritten by Certified Wealth Management and Investment.
34:54 Kurt Baker: Welcome back. You’re listening to Master Your Finances, I am Kurt Baker here with Daisy Newson of… The Director of Community Relations at Ovation at Riverwalk. And this is really interesting to me because a lot of the clients I deal with, we’re getting up in the age, and this is part of the planning process, is decide what we do when we get older, including myself, and I’ve seen in my own family, is a lot of us really, if we are honest, would rather be doing things with our time instead of just maintaining, even if it’s a nice residence, a large residence. It just isn’t really what most of us wanna spend our time doing. There are exceptions, of course.
35:36 Kurt Baker: But one of the hard things to do, of course, is to divest and then transition into something like this, but I think without exception, I don’t know of anybody who has really regretted it once they’ve gone through the process. A lot of us have the fear of… It’s a lot of work to divest and to either sell or give away. In fact, they have shows on TV that help us learn how to declutter and things like that, right? [chuckle] That’s really what it is, we accumulate things over decades and now you have to kind of reverse that process. But it can be done, and sometimes people hire professionals which help you do it in a day or two, and you’re done, and that works too. But I think the lifestyle change from everybody I’ve known that’s done it has found it to be very positive.
36:16 Kurt Baker: I just wanna touch a little bit on… This past year has been very interesting because you’ve been operating a business, and I know that this started before the pandemic hit, because I remember you’re just down the street from where I live, and I remember it’s one of these places where you go, “Oh wow, they’re building something really nice there. I wonder what that is.” [chuckle] And then of course, Daisy gets hired there to sell, and so then I found out very quickly what it was, but it’s really great, and… But then the pandemic hit. So tell us what was going on beforehand when it hit, how you guys… What happened in that March period where we thought it was gonna be like a two-week interrupt and we were gonna be back to normal, and then what the process was through this and how it affected you and the clients that you might be talking to as far as the planning, right? ‘Cause it’s hard to plan when we don’t… When there was this big question mark after a while. By April, May, we… None of us really knew what was gonna happen.
37:07 Daisy Newson: Right. Yes.
37:09 Kurt Baker: So what are your thoughts about that? So how did that all go for you guys?
37:12 Daisy Newson: It was a big surprise for everyone and, you know, living… Moving through the pandemic, is obviously something that no one ever experienced before. So yes, as you mentioned, we were in marketing mode when we first met back in January, and a lot had changed. So, in the beginning, when COVID first affected everyone, our constructing site fortunately did not stop, however there was a slow down. So that was… It just couldn’t be helped. So a lot of the workforce, we had less workers, we continued to push and to construct, but however, with less hands on, let’s just say, it has caused a delay. So we had originally anticipated an opening for this winter, and now we have to push our opening for January, so that is when we’re hoping to open the building.
38:18 Daisy Newson: And it’s more than the workforce. It’s also permits that come into play. You’re working with local town officials, there is less people working there also. It has affected every angle and every department. So in order to be fair for the people that are looking to live with us, because they’re coming to live with us for a lifestyle, so in order to make sure that our restaurants are up and operating, we had to put another delay in our opening so it’s unfortunate, but our residents that have deposited and are waiting and are very anxious to move in do understand that.
39:02 Daisy Newson: For new people that came in during COVID that were looking to move, Yes, it was… Nobody knew where it was gonna go, nobody knew what was gonna happen, so there was a delay and there was a slow down on amount of people that were looking to move in making that transition in lifestyle. But I think as we learnt… Wow, from the beginning of the year, I can’t believe that it’s the end of the year already. It’s been a long year. Things have changed, right? So now we’re looking for safety procedures to be put in place. Sanitizing is something that is very important for communities like Ovation at Riverwalk. So we have enough time now to put all these procedures into place, all these processes. So we are in full gear, we know exactly what needs to be cleaned at what moment, what needs to be sanitized, and it’s given us an opportunity to put all these plans into place.
40:05 Kurt Baker: So as far as the sales cycle, I know at one point, if I recall correctly, real estate, you couldn’t show a house there for a short period of time.
40:13 Daisy Newson: Yes.
40:13 Kurt Baker: And I remember people buying houses sight unseen with the idea they were gonna inspect it later, and then they ended up inspecting it, and that was like a contingency in the contract like, “Okay, I like your house, I’m gonna buy it, but… ” When I can get in, I’m gonna go look at it. [chuckle]
40:26 Daisy Newson: Right. Right. Crazy, no?
40:27 Kurt Baker: So how did that work with you guys because people wanna come see the location and they wanna… I’m gonna buy something, at some point I’m gonna wanna touch and feel it, right? So how did that sales process… Did it change at all when the pandemic came along? How were you telling people what you had to offer if they weren’t allowed to come on-site?
40:48 Daisy Newson: Yeah, so it has changed quite a bit. So, what changed in marketing and sales was everything was being done remotely, so taking your iPhone and walking through our property and showing this place is not uncommon anymore. So obviously, we do that for a lot of people, especially out of state. We are now currently doing in-person tours. Obviously, we only take one at a time, and all the safety procedures are in place. But virtual tours became the ideal for us. So we had drone videos being shot from above so people could see location, they could see what was nearby. For a lot of people, the train station’s important, shopping distance, so the drone showed all of that. So then it was the drone video, it was the virtual video, it was me walking through the property with an [chuckle] iPhone just shooting videos all over. And we’ve posted a lot of those on social media. So that was the only way that folks could come in and take a look, so it did affect a lot of people, obviously, ’cause some people really have to feel the product, they wanna walk through it themselves. But we have seen enough in-person tours lately, so that has changed recently.
42:17 Kurt Baker: And so I know another aspect is… We noticed this just in operating a number of things. When you try to get people together, you have people hesitant to say, “Hey look, I’m interested, but once everything’s “resolves,” whatever that means, as far as the pandemic goes, then maybe we’ll go ahead and move back.” And I know some people are very concerned about going out. Even though we have all these great tools, some of my clients don’t wanna meet remotely. Some are willing to visit in-person, but there are a certain segment that are gonna be very, very reserved in any kind of outside activity because of health reasons or other reasons, whatever the case may be, until this is fully resolved. So, are you seeing a little bit of that too where, “Yeah, I’m interested, but let me just hold off until I see how this plays out in the next few months?” Hopefully we’re gonna be out of this soon, who knows, but hopefully.
43:07 Daisy Newson: Right. Who knows at this point.
43:08 Kurt Baker: Right.
43:09 Daisy Newson: Yeah, you know what… It’s funny that you mention that because I think I have two groups of individuals. I have the people who are still working and now are back in the office, so they’re already out and about. So it’s not just coming here. They already are back to their almost normal routines, there’s no more normal, almost. And then I do have the people that still don’t wanna come out, that are still reserved and are afraid to come out in public, go to restaurants. So it’s not just coming here at Ovation at Riverwalk for a tour, It’s going anywhere. So for those people the virtual tours are still huge. But, like I said, the in-person tours have, I think, better traffic with that because for the target audience that typifies active adult community is perfect for, ideal for, those folks are already out. They’re hoping that life goes back to normal soon, and they’re trying to act as normal as possible at this point.
44:11 Kurt Baker: Yeah. It’s what I’ve been seeing, just in general, even when… ‘Cause we try to go out ’cause we’re trying to support the restaurants as much as we can, and places like that we know have been hit very hard. So we’re going out as much as we can, and I think we’ve noticed that it seems like people are very, very slowly feeling a little bit more comfortable with the protocols that are being put in place and they have a little more confidence ’cause they’re talking to other people that have gone out wearing a mask and gone to a restaurant and sanitized and social distanced. And so I think we’re starting to get comfortable with doing this in a safe way. That’s what I’m seeing. Are you seeing something similar?
44:46 Daisy Newson: Yes definitely. I’m definitely seeing a change. It’s slow, but there is a change. And obviously, everything revolves around the news, for the moment we hear something negative on the news, of course, [chuckle] we see that people won’t come out. But you’re right. There’s a lot of people going out. I’m trying to support the local business myself ’cause any opportunity I get I do go to the restaurant because I think there are things to support. The folks are struggling and trying to stay in business during this hard time.
45:18 Kurt Baker: Right, right. So Daisy, it’s been wonderful having you. Any last thoughts before we wrap up here in a minute?
45:24 Daisy Newson: No. I just… I invite everyone to come out and visit with us. We are a beautiful community, we are truly unique, and I would love to have anybody visit.
45:38 Kurt Baker: Yeah, and you’re Ovation with no “S” at, right?
45:42 Daisy Newson: Correct. And I am located at 1 Riverwalk in Plainsboro, New Jersey.
45:48 Kurt Baker: Okay. Well, thank you Daisy. It’s amazing. I’ve been out there. It’s a gorgeous structure. I know you’re not quite done, but I can tell by what you’ve done so far, it’s absolutely beautiful. You’ve been listening to Master Your Finances. You can subscribe to this podcast and all the podcasts that we have by going to Remember, together we can master your finances, so you can enjoy financial peace of mind.
46:11 ANNOUNCER: That was this week’s episode of Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, certified financial planner professional. Tune in every Sunday at 9:00 AM to expand your knowledge in building and managing your wealth. Missed an episode? No worries. You can subscribe to a free weekly episode of Master Your Finances to listen to on your favorite podcasting platform, Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, whatever. Master Your Finances is underwritten by Certified Wealth Management and Investment. Only on 107.7 The Bronc.

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