Back in the 1950s, my grandfather traveled from his hometown in Denmark to America.
At that time, America was the country of the future– the land of innovations, forward-thinking leaders, and where anyone could make a fortune.
My grandfather was an entrepreneur – a maverick, who shunned conventional thinking in favor of his own, bold ideas.
He was a street-smart and simple man who had the leadership to execute on the great ideas he had.
So when he came back from America, he brought with him three observations:
- Shopping malls were the future of shopping
- People weren’t getting any thinner
- People weren’t getting any younger
At the time, my grandfather owned clothing stores in Denmark. But with his foresight from America, he knew that the future of shopping lay in shopping malls – that had lots of parking.
So it wasn’t long before he became the chairman of the board of directors of one of the first shopping malls in Denmark.
Over the years, pioneering shopping malls ended up being one of the best business decisions he ever made. He made a lot of money, not only from the business itself but also from the value of the retail space that exploded in value.
In the early 1990s, my grandfather sold everything and retired. But he didn’t forget his second observation: that people weren’t getting any thinner.
On his travels to America, he noticed people were notoriously bigger around the waistline than Europeans.
And he saw the trend getting worse and worse. This was the beginning of mass fast-food chains and processed foods.
So he invested a significant portion of his savings into a Danish pharmaceutical company that produced treatments for diabetics.
Thirty years later, that company is the most valuable company in Denmark – by a long shot. In fact, it’s over 5 times bigger than the next in line.
Needless to say, he made another small fortune in the process.
Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away several years ago.
But if he were still alive today, I know his third observation would stand the test of time.
Two years ago to this day, I was in Arizona – right where my grandfather had been before he brought back his shopping mall innovation.
And if you haven’t been to Arizona, it’s like Disneyland for retirees.
There are massive compounds with independent living for seniors where couples and singles get their own apartments and houses and live in a big community with caretakers, golf courses, year-long sunshine, etc.
I imagine it’s like going to college again after 65 – just without the school work. The dream.
(today, my grandmother lives in one such facility in Denmark - and it’s beautiful.)
But today, there are many more seniors than there were back in the 1950s. And the demand for senior facilities has exploded.
As a result, a lot of people have turned their own homes into assisted living facilities. These are smaller homes that can accommodate roughly 5-10 seniors who live with an in-house nurse.
But the in-house nurse is often the owner of the house itself.
As a result, these improvised facilities are scattered, lack centralization, standardization, quality control, economies of scale – you name it. They’re not really a business, but more of a way to supplement the income of the homeowner.
And that is where I believe there is a tremendous business opportunity for those who are willing to roll up their sleeves: consolidating assisted living facilities and standardizing their service.
Together with some partners, I’ve visited a lot of these homes. Many of the owners want to retire themselves but need the income.
That means they are motivated sellers - and they want to do business.
I believe that if you can buy a number of these homes at once, hire professional management and standardize their operations – you could not only drastically increase the quality of the service for the seniors, but you could also make a lot of money.
I’ve spoken to a number of bankers who are willing to provide a large chunk of the financing with a commercial loan at low-interest rates – so there’s an established way for you to make it happen if you're ready to do it.
I’m telling you this because we often get asked what opportunities we see in the world today.
The silver tsunami is definitely one of them.