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Exploring The Middle Income Senior Living Challenge with NIC’s Bob Kramer

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By Steve Moran

Several weeks ago while at the LeadingAge Conference in Indianapolis, I got a chance to sit down with Bob Kramer, the CEO of NIC, to talk very specifically about the middle income senior living challenge and opportunity. You can watch part one of the interview at the bottom of the article:

This will be a 3-part series that looks at three areas:

  1. The Challenge and Opportunity

  1. Extraordinary Middle Income Opportunities

  1. The Winning Path to Solving the Middle Income Challenge

The Challenge and Opportunity

Middle income senior living is already a big issue for the nation and it will explode as the Boomers age. There will be millions of seniors who have saved something but not enough to afford what is in our current inventory. There are some who have assumed the government will take care of the problem, but the number will be so huge there is no way for the government to do this.  

We as an industry must come up with a middle income market solution.

While the middle income seniors housing issue is an important problem for the nation, it is particularly important to the tens of millions of Boomers who may not have saved enough money to be able to afford the product being built today.

We can’t assume the government will solve the middle income senior living challenge. In Bob’s eyes there are three broad buckets:

  • A third to a quarter of seniors who will be able to afford the current senior living product. These are the folks who have enough wealth to outlast their lives. This group is in good shape and will be for years to come. They are who most operators are focused on today.

  • Another third to a quarter of seniors essentially will have no assets and nominal income. These are folks who cannot survive without government assistance. Today, we as a society have a number of programs designed to provide care for these folks (primarily through Medicaid) with varying degrees of success.

  • Then there is a group of folks who have worked hard their whole lives. They have saved some money and have some income but not enough to pay for the product we are offering today.

NIC is currently engaged in doing research to better understand this market segmentation and the size and characteristics of this middle income market.

Opportunity and Obligation

This last group is a private sector obligation and opportunity.  

The private sector has an opportunity and an imperative to serve at least some of these folks with a private pay product. Instead of being a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons product, it might look more like a Motel 6 or Econolodge. We need a new product that will provide both housing and services.

You can watch part 1 of my interview here:


If you are looking for capital for your next senior living community or are wanting to hear what industry leaders are thinking and saying about the industry, the 2017 NIC Spring Investment Forum is the perfect place for you to be. I will be there and would love to grab a cup of coffee . . . the first cup is on me.

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