How would you like to retire to a life on the seas?
For little more than it costs to retire to a high end assisted living facility, you could do as Lee Wachtstetter (known as Mama Lee) has done for nearly a decade aboard the Crystal Serenity and call the Seven Seas your home.
Just before his death in 1997 Mama Lee’s husband, Guy, told her “Don’t you stop cruising”. Shortly after his passing she took his advice, sold their five bedroom Florida home, along with all its contents and her car, to take up residence on one of Holland America’s ships for the next three years.
Holland then announced they would be doing away with dance hosts on their voyages and dancing is one of Mama Lee’s true passions; so she jumped ship to Crystal Cruises Serenity and has been aboard ever since.
She estimates it costs about $450/day, or $164,250.00 per year, to facilitate her lifestyle, but she doesn’t see herself going back on land. She keeps in touch with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren via the internet and has a constantly changing retinue of new friends joining her every two to four weeks.
“I don’t have to clean house. I don’t have to shop, I don’t have to cook, I don’t have to do anything. I do what I want, when I want, if I want,” she’s remarked to CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg.
Mama Lee is not alone in deciding that life at sea beats life land-locked. For the last 20 years Mario Salcedo, 67, has been living and working from aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. He estimates he’s been on 950 cruises and logged 7000 cruise days at sea. His typical day sees him working five hours in the morning, then spending the rest of the day dancing, seeing shows and scuba diving.
He estimates that his 52 weeks a year at sea cost him $70,000.00.
And let’s face it, $70,000.00 beats $120,000.00, which is what it costs to be part of an upscale assisted living community.
So, while you might not be ready for immediate retirement, this is something worth considering for your future. I know I’m considering it for mine.