Retired on a Cruise Ship: The Ultimate Form of Assisted Living
Contributing to a 401k retirement plan, hiring a personal financial adviser, and smart investments are all ways you can prepare for life after the workforce. And if you are lucky, you may be able to plan for a retirement as cool as “Mamma Lee”.
Lee Wachstetter’s story went viral across the internet. The 86 year-old woman lived year-round in retirement on the Crystal Serenity, an 820-foot luxury cruise ship.
No doubt, the mercury in the envy index has blasted through the roof, causing an epidemic of 10th commandment violations, “thou shalt not covet those who get to retire on a luxury cruise ship.”
If you look at it another way, being retired on a cruise ship is the ultimate form of assisted living. All of your meals are cooked for you, there is someone to make your bed and vacuum your home, fun activities are planned for you, and and there’s always a change of scenery outside your bedroom window.
The price tag is steep ($164,000 a year for stateroom accommodations, providing less than 300 square feet of space you can call your own), but it comes with all-inclusive 24/7 services including laundry, on-ship medical staff, and all-you-can-eat buffets, not to mention an endless amount of new people to meet.
Landlocked assisted living communities aren’t so cheap, either. Some cost six or seven thousand dollars a month, and dinner certainly doesn’t include ice sculptures and wine pairings.
Comforts of Home
When she needs a quiet place to do needlepoint, there are always comfortable seats in the Palm Lounge. When she wakes up in the middle of the night for a snack, there’s an all-night eating establishment on ship.If Lee wants to check her email, she can visit the ship’s computer lab. If she wants to read a New York Times bestseller she can step into the ship’s library.
Ports of Call
Nowadays, Lee isn’t really interested in getting off at the ship’s ports of call. After hundreds of cruises and hundreds more ports around the world, Lee’s been to just about everywhere, and she’s been there more than once. The ship is her home and when the tourists get off, Lee enjoys the Serenity (pun intended).
Time For Family
When the ship docks in Miami about five times a year, Lee has a chance to visit with her family. Otherwise, she stays in contact with one grandchild or another each day, video chatting from her laptop. When at sea, the crew, which she has gotten to know after seven years aboard ship, serve as surrogates, catering to all of her needs.
Is Life at Sea Your Dream?
Lee’s life sounds like a dream, but could you really handle living year-round on a boat with an executive chef responsible for your every meal, the smell of salt in the air, port hopping around the world, and the sound of tourists, porters, maids, and room service carts shuffling down the hallway? Could the sea serve as your lawn?
It would be a major dilemma for many people, like making the choice between being a Mega Millions lottery winner or being born a Rockefeller. Painful choices, indeed.
Retirement Should Be a Dream
Humor aside, retirement should be about celebration and achievement. The time to live a dream, like Lee. In your working life, you’ve sacrificed so much for your children and for your retirement. Lee made a decision to take a leap for her dream retirement, and so should you. Start by talking to a personal financial adviser and checking on 401k retirement plan opportunities.