I attended the PCBC (Pacific Coast Building Conference) last week which is a conference sponsored by the California Building Industry Association. The conference included a one day 50+ Housing Forum which is right up my alley.
The keynote speaker, Joseph Coughlin, didn’t disappoint. He’s the Director of the MIT AgeLab which applies innovative ideas and technologies to products and services that will positively impact the aging experience. His presentation titled, “Aging Baby Boomers, Business and Future Innovations in Housing” was great. I was particular struck by the concept he referred to as “Smart Income”. Evidently being smart about how you spend your money is a new value in the 55+ marketplace. It’s not that Boomers are cheap; they’re willing to buy a fancy car, luxury vacation or five star dinner. They definitely want high quality but at a really good price.
Applying the “Smart Income” concept to the 55+ housing market, it would seem unlikely that Boomers would be willing to pay for something today that they don’t need or want, even if they may need or want it down the road. That’s just not going to make them feel smart. Many of today’s senior housing communities have packaged fee structures that provide a predetermined set of services and amenities for a fixed monthly fee. Pre-paid packaged services is something that may need to be revisited if senior housing operators want to attract the next generation of older adults. In the future, a community’s monthly fees may be measured against “Smart Income” standards. They’re likely to want access to a wide variety of high quality services, on a pay as you go basis, at a price that can’t be beat on the open market. Now that is smart. What do you think?