Retirement Planning 101: What are Entrance Fees?

Retirement Planning 101: What are Entrance Fees?

Retirement Planning 101: What are Entrance Fees?

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ECH-Clubhouse-DudleySqEpiscopal Church Home created the Clubhouse at Dudley Square for residents to enjoy a dedicated space for a fitness center and community gatherings.

When exploring which retirement community you’d like to live in, one important thing to understand is the Entrance Fee that many not-for-profit organizations like Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS) charge.

Entrance Fees are about the same price you would pay to buy a home in the area where you live. The fees are paid when you move into independent-living homes within a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). But you don’t own the home, and don’t have to worry about its maintenance. More on that later.

Entrance Fees have benefits

The fees don’t merely let you move into your new home within the community, such as a Dudley Square patio home. They also give you priority to move into other parts of the campus where you can receive health-care assistance as your medical needs change.

“Once they’re within the retirement community, should they need to go to personal care, or memory care, or even skilled nursing or rehab, having provided an entrance fee gives them priority over people from the outside world,” said Bryan Reynolds, vice president of marketing and public relations at ERS.

That’s the first benefit.


The Clubhouse at Dudley Square provides a perfect place for residents to gather and celebrate occasions like the running of the Kentucky Derby.

Entrance Fees are investments

The second benefit of an entrance fee is it serves as an investment. When you pay an Entrance Fee, a large percentage typically is repaid to you when you move from your independent-living home at the CCRC to another part of the campus so you can receive more care. The refunded money is spent on that care.

Or, if you would pass away before moving to another part of the Episcopal Church Home (ECH) campus, which has been highly regarded for decades in the Louisville area for its quality of care, that same percentage would be passed on to your heirs.

 Some residents choose to designate  ERS as a charitable beneficiary in appreciation for the quality of care they have received while living in the community and as part of their personal legacy.  

At ECH, the amount that is returned in either situation is 75 percent for residents of the Dudley Square I and Dudley Square II patio homes; and 80 percent for Dudley Square III residents.

That return of the Entrance Fee is essentially a major gift to the CCRC resident’s adult children: They don’t have to worry about paying for their parents’ health-care costs on the campus, relieving a major financial headache for them. And if their parents pass away before the refunded money is spent down, they inherit that money.


What Does It Mean to Live Well Into the Future?

Why are there Entrance Fees?

A natural question people planning for retirement have is: Why are there Entrance Fees?

They exist because not-for-profit organizations don’t have the same funding mechanisms that for-profit companies do, so Entrance Fees are a way they raise capital to finance construction of their retirement communities.

The Entrance Fees also finance ongoing maintenance of the buildings and grounds, and also for a refreshing a home with new painting, carpeting, etc., before a new resident moves in. That’s also the reason the non-profit organization keeps a portion of the Entrance Fee when an independent-living resident moves to another part of the campus, or passes away. When a new resident moves in, they pay their own Entrance Fee, to replace the amount paid to the prior resident.

Residents also pay Monthly Fees while living in their independent-living homes, which remain under the ownership of the non-profit organization. These fees cover the ongoing costs of home and community maintenance and amenities such as community gathering spaces.

Many people pay for their entrance fees by selling their primary residences.

Here's a significant difference between non-profit retirement communities and those operated by for-profit companies: The for-profits may take proceeds from their operations and pay those profits to shareholders, while non-profit organizations pour that money back into the communities, to provide ongoing amenities and services.



Chef Tim Knight, director of dining services at Episcopal Church Home, wins raves for his
excellent food. 



The gourmet creations taste not only delicious, but they also look fantastic! He outdoes himself again and again.

The beautiful spaces inside and outside the Dudley Square Clubhouse create an elegant setting for Dudley Square resident events

The beautiful spaces inside and outside the Dudley Square Clubhouse create an elegant setting for Dudley Square resident events.

A major ERS benefit

Meanwhile, ERS also provides another significant benefit to Dudley Square residents: Once they begin living in the community, they will not have to leave if their money runs out, as long as it was depleted through no fault of their own. There are exceptions to that promise. Speak with your local Community Relations Director to learn more.

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Mike Rutledge

Mike Rutledge

Mike Rutledge has been Content Marketing Specialist for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS) since early 2022. He writes articles, blogs and other information to inform people about things happening at ERS’ retirement communities of Marjorie P. Lee an... Read More >

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