Everyone's vision for retirement looks different, and yours might involve visiting exotic ports of call aboard a cruise ship. Planning to retire on a cruise ship can help you fulfill your dreams of traveling while potentially allowing you to stretch your savings further.
It does, however, require a slightly different approach compared to traditional retirement planning. The first step is determining whether a cruise ship retirement is affordable for your budget.
How Much Does it Cost to Retire on a Cruise Ship?
The average cost of retirement, based on the typical time spent in retirement and average household spending for retirees, is US$828,000. That works out to around US$46,000 per year, assuming that your retirement lasts 18 years.
Pinning down the exact cost of a cruise ship retirement can be difficult. The average cruise ship passenger spends around US$213 per day, which would add up to US$77,745 for someone living aboard the ship full-time. But that's the average spend; it doesn't take into account cheaper fares, which could drive the per-day cost of cruising down significantly, or luxury fares which could push the final cost higher.
When it comes to finding a deal on a cruise, you may be able to negotiate a discount by booking an extended trip that lasts several months, versus one that's just a few days.
If you're able to find cruise line bargains, it could be less expensive to retire on a cruise ship compared to an assisted living facility. According to Genworth Financial, an individual stay at an assisted living facility cost US$48,000 on average in 2018. And if living on a cruise ship helps you stay healthy, you could avoid the costs of long-term care, which could easily surpass US$100,000 per year if you don't have long-term care insurance.
Does a Cruise Ship Retirement Fit Your Lifestyle?
Cruise ship living isn't for everyone and it helps to know what to expect. There are some cruises, for example, that attempt to duplicate a traditional landside retirement experience aboard the ship.
Some of the benefits of cruising through the program include:
-Onboard spa services
-Regular social events for passengers
-Onboard medical facilities
-Licensed medical professionals onsite
It's completely maintenance-free living, since housekeeping, laundry and meals are handled by cruise ship staff. And the entertainment program is designed to give seniors regular opportunities to mingle and interact.
Those things might all be important to you, or you might value some of them more than others. Something else to think about: most cruise lines don't allow you to bring pets onboard.
Also, think about the places you'd like to visit. If you're going to retire on a cruise ship, you want to make sure that you're able to see all the sights on your travel bucket list.
How to Prepare for a Cruise Ship Retirement
If you're sold on the idea of spending your retirement sailing the seas, there are several things to do to get ready. This checklist can help you stay on course with your cruise ship retirement plans.
1. Calculate your retirement budget using the estimated costs of retiring on a cruise ship. Research the costs of booking cruises aboard different ships or cruise lines, versus living aboard one ship permanently.
2. Determine what you'll do with your home and personal possessions. Will you sell your house, for instance, or rent it out? And if you're doing either, how much will it cost to store your possessions while you're away?
3. Plan for pet care if you have pets. That may mean leaving pets with a family member or long-term boarding at a kennel.
4. Check your health insurance coverage. You may need to get a private health insurance plan or a travel insurance plan to cover medical expenses while you're cruising.
5. Make a plan for staying in touch with friends and family while you're away. Check the ship's internet and WiFi connectivity to make sure you'll be able to use your mobile device to stay in contact.
6. Compare different cruise itineraries to find one that fits your desired travel route. Check out the ship's amenities as well to make sure it's got all the perks you're looking for.
7. One last–and very important step–to take before you retire on a cruise ship is scheduling a chat with your financial planner or financial advisor. Living aboard a cruise ship doesn't exclude you from paying income taxes, so you'll want to discuss how your tax filing will be handled each year.
Content has been modified. To read the origianl article please click here.
Rebecca Lake, The Balance
25 June 2019