Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Family Values

Our Company founder and my grandfather liked to remind us that there was only one way for a company to go bankrupt: too much debt.  His cutting edge vision for building land lease communities using modestly priced factory built homes, coupled with his depression era mentality towards avoiding debt, help him to steadily grow the company from cash flow and kept Jensen’s on sound footing for years.  In the process, we have helped thousands of families live within their means in comfortable homes and nice neighborhoods.

When his son (my Father) took over the Company reins he maintained those sound practices.  At that point we could take on some debt financing with a portfolio of communities that would assure lenders they would be paid back.  He continually developed banking relationships where our lenders would take the time to understand our business and how we chose to use leverage.  This strategy continues to work well today and has kept debt to a minimum and our Company sound even during these troubling economic times.
A family or retirees home is very typically their largest asset.  When equity has been built up over many years, it can provide a financial cushion and a resource.  Especially in retirement, we get to choose whether “we own our home” or “our home will own us”.  Too much home will not allow us to enjoy much else.  Owning a home that fits our desired lifestyle and our resources can provide freedom and independence.  There is no better way to retire.
Our Company’s financial strategy is one that has worked for many of our residents.  They live within their means, they use debt wisely and only for practical purchases like homes or vehicles, and define for themselves how they want to live.
With Thanksgiving behind us and the yearend holidays approaching, consider your family values and what is really important in your life.  Consider what your home is doing for you and the need for all the stuff in your home.  It may be time to right size your lifestyle to a home that is within your means and values.
Get in on the Good Life!®

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Give Thanks….For My Retirement Freedom

Every morning this Fall, I’ve started my day out with a brisk walk through the neighborhood.  Around 5 am, the world around me is quiet and still, and the air has a refreshing way of clearing my head, making it the ideal time for some personal reflection.

On my walk this morning,  I got to thinking about how truly grateful I am for the life that I’ve had so far – and for the life that I’m able to live with so much freedom, now. It’ll be almost a year since I made the move into retirement and community living, and since then I’ve had the chance to enjoy the simple pleasures in life with a matured appreciation and entirely different perspective than I ever had before.

The fact that I’m free to do whatever it is I want to do – whenever I want to do it – has made this part of my life so enjoyable.   Without the chains of obligation holding me down, I can pick up grandchildren on a whim and take them apple picking, spend a whole day chatting with my girlfriends over lunch, and even take off for a weekend for an enjoyable overnight somewhere out of town.

And the best part is – even though I’m retired, I still have the energy to do it all. I certainly don’t see myself slowing down anytime soon.  This time is all mine – and I’m enjoying every waking moment, with passion and energy of a teenage girl.

Get In On It

Thursday, November 17, 2011

“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” – The Whole Earth Catalog

With the recent passing of Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, it seems everyone – even those who didn’t know him personally, were inspired by his passion and his attitude toward life. He held an opinion that we encourage every day – to live life to the fullest, enjoy every moment, and never, ever settle.

At Jensen communities, we were especially touched by the words that Jobs shared through his closing words at the 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University. “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish,” is what he cited from a 1970’s issue of the publication, “The Whole Earth Catalog.” While at the time, Jobs speech was being directed at the young 20-somethings of the esteemed universities’ graduating class, it’s clear that these words and the message they evoke, transcend generations. 

Whether you are still working and raising your family, transitioning your life into the golden years, or further along into your retirement, we encourage all of you to stay hungry…and stay foolish. Keep the energy of your youth within you. Instead of falling into the stereotype of how you should act at your age, be part of changing that perspective of growing old and define it for yourself. Continue to do what you love.  Enjoy the freedom that you have worked so hard for, and live the rest of your life to the fullest. Tomorrow is never a certain day for any of us – so today, do what you love and keep the youthful fire of passion inside you, alive.

Jensen communities

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TGFG (Thank God For Generators!)

Storm Alfred provided the Northeast with an early look at winter on October 29th and 30th with six to twenty-four inches of wet heavy snow which caused severe damage to trees that still had many of their leaves.  Where leaves had already fallen, the damage was fortunately much more limited.  In southern New England, it was sad to see so many otherwise strong and well structured trees burdened by the weight of the fast falling snow.  Many smaller ornamental varieties were simply stripped of their branches.
Of course wayward branches and toppling trees mean power outages.  Jensen communities has been installing generators for our clubhouses for just such occasions and had fortunately done the same for our Corporate Office this past summer.  We feel it is important to provide our recreation facilities with backup power for community residents to use as a safe haven from the elements when power goes out.  They are not official storm shelters, but they’re well used after periodic weather events for residents to gather together for camaraderie (or commiserating!), cooking meals, charging battery operated phones and appliances, and even for sleep-overs.
It is also important that we keep our Corporate Office open as a communication center.  Residents need assurance that damaged trees will be attended to and fallen branches will be removed from home sites.  We become a clearing house for information that can be passed on to friends and neighbors in areas quieted by the storms.
One can argue that the climate is definitely changing and the frequency of storms is increasing, but the fact remains that FEMA asks us all to be prepared to take care of ourselves and our families for at least three days.  Please see their preparedness guide at  For many in the Northeast, three days was just the beginning.  We will all need to be sure to prepare for the worst (and hope for the best) with supplies, resourceful thinking and a backup plan (a generator or place to go) when power goes out at home or work.
Get in on the Good Life!®

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Flyin’ Free | Freedom for the Big Boys

Since my move, things just keep getting better. It’s Fall – and for all of you fans out there – that means one thing: it’s football season…the best time of the year to be a true sports fan. 

      While for most of my life, I’ve been enjoying every kick off and every tackle of my favorite team- I admit, the games this season, have been more enjoyable than ever. Now that I’ve rid my life of a bunch of time-sucking things that used to take away precious Sunday hours – like cleaning the leaves out of my gutters, raking leaves, mowing the lawn and getting lost in an all-day garage cleaning project, these days, Sundays are on the up and up. Now, I can do what I want – when I want, without much of anything holding me back.

      This weekend, I’m heading to the big game with a crew of my buddies. We’re packing up the grill and stocking the cooler with favorite foods and libations, and going out bright and early to do a little tailgating. We were even able to score seats right behind the fifty yard line.

                                                                                     Sure, we may be a bunch of burly old men – hanging out with our team sweatshirts and baseball caps- but deep down, we’re still boys, with the same passion and zest that we’ve always had.  In our early 60’s, we’ve been called off the sidelines – and I’ll tell ya, life can’t get any better than this…

  Still in the game.