Reserve Funds Investing
From: Norman Gauss (
Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2014 12:46:12 -0700 (PDT)
We, at Oak Creek Commons in Paso Robles, CA have decided that preserving the
capital of our Reserve Fund is paramount.  We have had our money in FDIC
insured accounts for almost ten years but have noticed a decline in value
due to inflation.  Returns we are getting in bank accounts is not even
keeping up with inflation.  Although FDIC accounts have been the traditional
way of investing our money, it is not enough for capital preservation.

So, we have begun working with a retirement financial advisor to suggest
ways we can get a better return.  We have asked her to set up a portfolio
concentrating on bond mutual funds, since they have a long history of low
volatility and are preferred by many retirement funds.

Is there detectable evidence among cohousing communities of investing in
riskier accounts than FDIC insured bank accounts?  One of our members is
worried that we are taking too much risk, and claims that cohousing
communities universally put all their money in banks.  Is this so?

Norman Gauss
Oak Creek Commons Cohousing
Paso Robles, CA

-----Original Message-----
From: Cohousing-L
[ [at]] On 
Of Holly Wilder
Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 1:55 PM
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ What SHOULD I be worried about?

I'll chime in here on reserves. So important!  I am a property manager and
have managed a couple of HOA's, and also as a broker I show/sell homes in
HOA's and I can tell you this is an issue all over the place.  Here at
Nyland, I think we have actually gone a little too far in the other
direction and have, in my opinion, too much in reserves - which sounds ok,
except that comes from our dues, which are not so very low.  

Cohousings usually do better in this, it seems to me, than other HOA's.
Owners and new communities forming seem to think more long-term than a
typical developer just out to make a buck.  Developers won't be around 15
years later when the poo-poo collides with the air circulation device, but
many coho owners likely will, and this tends to lead forming communities to
put more resources here from the start.

Set it up well from the start and you will have no regrets. 

Also, we do a reserves study every few years to make sure we are on track.
The companies who perform these studies tend to be very conservative, so
that keeps us saving as well.  Again, sometimes too much, but at least I
never worry that a special assessment is likely.

- Holly
Nyland Cohousing in CO

Holly Wilder
Visionary Properties, LLC
hollywilder23 [at]
(303) 517-4180

On Jun 20, 2014, at 2:41 PM, David Heimann wrote:

> Hi Michelle,
>       Another thing to make sure about is having strong reserve funds for
eventually replacing major property items such as the roof, heating and hot
water, kitchen equipment, walkways, asphalts, siding, etc.  This includes
strongly funding the reserves to begin with (even though it may make for
higher unit prices) and strongly replenishing the reserves each year (even
though it may make for higher condo fees).
>       We (Jamaica Plain Cohousing) set strong reserves when we established
our initial budget and condo fees.  Everyone buying a unit bought into
these, and the momentum to keep up the reserves has been there ever since.
I've heard stories about cohousing developments (and conventional
developments for that matter) where such strong reserves were not set up
initially, and they had to make hard and painful decisions several years
>       All the best in your efforts!
> Regards,
> David Heimann
> Jamaica Plain Cohousing
>> On Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 6:24 PM, Michelle Burce 
>> <michelleburce [at]>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi everyone!
>>> I'm part of a group working to build cohousing, and the resources 
>>> available on this list and its archives have been AMAZINGLY helpful! 
>>> Thank you all for sharing your wisdom over the years.
>>> So far, many of my fears have been allayed by this list, since so 
>>> many of the responses to various problems seem to be "Communicate 
>>> with your neighbors and it will all work out fine." Choosing who 
>>> gets which lot? "We haven't had too many conflicts." Reserving the 
>>> common house? "Usually not a problem." Worried about too little privacy?
"Don't worry too much."
>>> So my question to you cohousing veterans is: What should we be 
>>> worried about / work out in advance / get a good plan for NOW? What 
>>> are the bumps in the road that actually take a solid process, or a 
>>> professional, or a lot more money than we think? What one (or two or 
>>> three) piece(s) of advice would you give some folks who have a group 
>>> formed and meeting, have land and architects picked out, but have 
>>> not yet dropped the huge sums of money to make this happen?
>>> I think we, as cohousing newbies, might be focusing our energies in 
>>> worrying about those things that can get worked out, but are not 
>>> seeing the things that can stymie a whole community.
>>> Thanks everyone!
>>> Michelle
>>> _________________________________________________________________
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