Gene Guarino: Investing In Residential Assisted Living

Whenever possible here at Peak Prosperity, we try to surface actionable models that can make a real difference in the type of future we see coming.

Demographically speaking, the tremendous wave of aging Baby Boomers is an unprecedented event in our country's history. The sheer size of this age cohort, plus the concerningly-high level of financial unpreparedness for many of its members (which we wrote about at length last week in this report), will demand all sorts of new solutions be pioneered to address the needs of a massive number of aging seniors no longer in the workforce.

An emerging model that has caught our attention is residential assisted living -- a "halfway" solution between independent living and the nursing home. It offers seniors the ability to live in a shared housing arrangement with a small number (5 to 6) of others, with minor assistance as needed by a dedicated staff. It still feels like "home", just with a few housemates for companionship. The arrangement preserves much more independence versus living in a 'big box' group home, and is more affordable than the $7,000+ per month 'retirement living' developments that are increasingly only for the wealthy.

Gene Guarino, founder of Residential Assisted Living Academy, joins the podcast this week to explain the model to Chris, as well as the ways that investors can get involved in this growing movement. Those with capital interested in "doing well by doing good" can participate in syndicates that own the residences, creating more inventory to expand this model to. The investment returns are attractive, as is being a part of a movement to offer more housing options to the fast-growing ranks of seniors looking to live with dignity.

Take the big box facilities offering 200 to 300 beds. Some are old, some are new. But it sure doesn't feel like home. The average person in the country today is paying $3,628 per person, per month to live in assisted living. Most of them are big box facilities. It's a big, huge place - it could be a prison if you put some barbed wire on the top. You walk through the front door and you just smell the neglect. 

For a senior who wants something less impersonal and overwhelming, but she needs a little help from time to time and so shouldn't live alone anymore, there aren't a lot of great options. Even if they know of a nice place with great care, it's probably full with a waiting list. You'd be surprised how often I hear, "Oh my goodness, I'd be willing to spend up to $7,000 a month, but I can't even get in the front door."

There's so many seniors who need a better solution right now, and the silver tsunami hasn't yet arrived in force yet.

So the model we've created is to take a home in a residential setting, convert it to house around 6 individuals living communally, and offer a much more intimate and friendly form of residential assisted living. 


Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Gene Guarino (39m:39s).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I have been planning this sort of thing since I was in my late 40’s. By the time I am around 70 years old I should have the funds to build a large living space with 4 separate units.
Each unit will have 2 bedrooms and large living area, kitchenette with microwave. The units will all attach by breezeway to a central hub with well equipped kitchen. The kitchen, as hub will be the axle with the units arrayed at the end of breeze-ways like spokes on a wheel.
There will be room for 3 couples or 6 individuals and one cook caretaker couple, in total. Above the kitchen there will be guest accommodation.
I like the idea of doing this myself, so I can hold the cost down for other participants, following a non-profit model. Retaining ownership, myself, will give me the control I prefer, as I age, (or until some blood sucking leach gets power of attorney.LOL!)
When I pass away and all of my co housing buddies die, I will pass it on to caretaker couple. Everybody wins.

Great conversation and insight to an opportunity for local, cash-flowing investment. Definitely will investigate more. I added that topic as a response the other day in your regional conference survey.
One of the things I observed with my father’s aging process was sometimes sudden health changes forced his move from the house to assisted care to full time care to nursing home. For him and his fellow residents, this created a constant churn in residents, and somewhat destablizing environment for deeper social connections. I’m curious about their approach to this dynamic in a smaller, home style setting.
And finally, feeling gratitude and appreciation for Chris and crew for keeping us informed and connected. Happy Thanksgiving.