The Hill: A Financially Savvy Choice

Enjoying the view from Jedd and Ellen Stillman’s balcony

Long before moving to The Hill at Whitemarsh, Jedd and Ellen Stillman started thinking about downsizing their family home in Warrington, Pennsylvania. They did so with the understanding that the process wouldn’t be immediate; they knew they needed time to prepare emotionally and financially. Having spent his professional life as a certified public accountant (CPA), Jedd knew the importance of having a plan before diving into a new commitment, especially one that required a financial investment.

“Two years is a good amount of time to give yourself for planning a move to a Continuing Care Retirement Community, and not just because of the finances,” said Jedd. “It’s a tough decision; there are a lot of things to consider when making your decision.”

The first step is starting the research process, and Jedd recommends only considering Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), since they provide a healthcare component. Otherwise, you aren’t really planning for the long term.

“A 55+ community doesn’t guarantee healthcare, which would mean that you’d potentially have to move again, which gets expensive,” said Jedd. “We chose The Hill because of their reputation both with Medicare and within the wider CCRC community. We also liked that they provide a wide range of healthcare options, and the care is guaranteed.”

The Stillmans also researched the financial stability of each CCRC they considered, as well as whether it is professionally managed.

“We weren’t interested in moving somewhere that was managed by the residents. I wanted to find a place with a CFO. Knowing that there’s an entire executive team at The Hill makes me feel more confident about how the community makes decisions.”

The aesthetics of the surrounding environment also factored into their decision to move to The Hill.

“It’s so beautiful here: the open fields, the gorgeous foliage–we can watch the leaves change color in the fall–the nearby farm animals. It’s like living inside a painting,” Jedd said. “There are also the walking trails all around the property, the nearby preserve, and just being able to sit on a bench outside and read the paper. It’s exactly what we were looking for.”

The Stillmans mentioned that it’s not just the grounds at The Hill that are well maintained, but also the buildings and amenities.

“They’re always improving something here. If you need anything, maintenance is there immediately. It’s remarkable.”

And while the social aspect wasn’t a high priority for Jedd, it was incredibly important to Ellen. With the gym, the indoor and outdoor pools, the clubs and activities, and the organized bus trips around the greater Philadelphia area, The Hill provides a plethora of social options for residents.

All of these considerations made it easy for the Stillmans to choose The Hill over any of the competition. Once they had committed to moving there, Jedd was even more pleased to learn about a variety of tax benefits and monetary advantages that also come with becoming a resident.

“The Hill provides moving assistance if you use one of their recommended moving companies and will help with your expenses, which is a wonderful bonus,” Jedd said. “They also provide an allowance to assist you with packing and unpacking services.”

Jedd also explained that he and Ellen decided to take out a swing loan to avoid liquidating their investments prior to selling their home in Warrington, and The Hill reimbursed them for a portion of their cost for up to six months.

“We paid off the loan when we sold our house, of course, but the assistance from The Hill really sweetened the deal for us.”

Although Jedd doesn’t like to give out unsolicited tax advice and recommends that everyone seek out guidance from their personal advisor, he did find some interesting tax savings after moving to The Hill, which he thinks is important for others to know about.

“The Hill is a 501(c)3, which means it’s a nonprofit. Everyone can support capital improvements that The Hill makes, and they will provide donors with a letter to submit to their accountant to support the charitable contribution.”

Jedd also found that you can claim portions of the two distinct components of your entrance fee–residential and lifecare–as a continuing care medical expense and as a general medical expense for the year in which you pay that fee. Additionally, based on an actuary’s opinion, a portion of the monthly fee can also be applied to your tax return as a medical expense each year.

“I might be biased because I was a CPA, but it’s always good to do some tax planning!” Jedd said enthusiastically.

And while this is not necessarily tax related, Jedd reiterates that the earlier you choose to move to The Hill, the greater the discount you will receive on those monthly residential fees. Residents who are between the ages of 70 and 79 can get up to a 15% discount on their monthly resident fee, which can add up to big savings over time.

The Stillmans moved to The Hill in December 2020, and have no regrets.

“Moving in during a time of crisis gave us real insight into what a phenomenal place this is,” Jedd said. “The personalized care and attention to detail are top notch. All the employees know your name. It’s so very warm and welcoming.”