Retirement, or more accurately, financial freedom, is a goal many of us work towards to. We literally work almost all our lives to achieve that goal.
At a certain point of our lives, we all hope to stop working and enjoy the finer aspects of life. Many of us have put a number on this financial goal.
The magic number is typically S$1,000,000. Once we have saved up a million dollars, we can retire happily.
But is this really the case?
Retirement homes in Singapore
In an article by theAsianparent, the cost of caring for elderly shows that families spend about S$2,000 per month to have their parents live in a nursing home.
It’s great if our children can afford to support us in our old age, whether they choose to put us in a nursing home or to live with them.
But wouldn’t it be even better if we could lessen this burden on them and instead, enjoy financial freedom in retirement by choosing how we want to live in the last leg of our lives?
Enter retirement on cruise ships.
Retiring on a cruise ship
If you love travelling and you don’t mind being out at sea, then retiring on a cruise ship might be one of the best options for you to consider.
Sure, it requires meticulous planning and loyalty to a particular cruise ship company, but done the right way, it can actually be cheaper than living on land.
Not to mention, you get to travel the world, have full-time staff at your service and you will never have to cook or clean again!
If that isn’t the perfect scenario for retirement, we don’t know what is!
How much it costs
Attesting to the popularity of cruise ships for retirement, a dedicated private residential ship was launched in 2002 to meet such needs.
The World is a private residential ship which offers studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom residences, starting at US$600,000 (S$806,000 or RM2,387,000). But this doesn’t include annual ship fees, which can run into the thousands.
For a more budget option, here’s where the planning comes in. Here, you would have to book individual cruises, which will ultimately be cheaper. It also means you will have to transfer from one ship to another once a month or more, depending on the deals you get.
However, when you stick to one brand of cruises, you will likely have to sign up for a membership programme. This is how you will enjoy exponentially cheaper rates and ultimately also be rewarded with free stays.
But you will need to be an expert in planning your finances if you choose this method, to ensure you don’t run out of money halfway!
We know, you’re interested in the cost! So take a look at this: Princess Cruise Lines, for example, offers last-minute deals from US$79 (S$105 or RM314) a day per person. In a month, you would be paying US$2,370 (S$3,186 or RM9,429) for a month. If you are able to keep your daily rate around that range, you would be spending less than US$30,000 (S$40,000 or RM119,000) a year.
Remember, cruise ships cover all meals, accommodation AND you are travelling the world at the same time.
Of course, this only takes into account solo travelling. If you are doing this with a spouse, you could potentially cut these costs by a quarter or more, assuming you are sharing a room.
What about other costs?
Of course, as we age, our needs differ, especially when it comes to healthcare. To be able to live on a cruise ship permanently, you would have to be able-bodied and suffer from minimal medical conditions.
Most cruise ships will cover the basics like minor healthcare with their doctors on board. With sufficient insurance, you should also be covered for most of the major medical expenses.
But if you suffer from a serious condition and require hospitalisation, your plans for cruising will be thwarted and this is something you should be prepared for, just for emergencies.
The downside of retiring on a cruise ship
As with anything, there will be a flipside. Sure, you get to travel the world and do so while having all meals covered. But there is a downside to being a “nomad”.
1. Psychological impact
First, you will have to consider if you are able to go off into the open waters for long periods of time. Are you able to be away from family possibly for months or years at a time? Are you able to live with very few personal possessions? How long can you possibly see yourself doing something like this? These are all factors you have to consider before going on this voyage.
2. Limited range of activities
Due to the fact that you will be living on the ship, you will have access to very few activities. Will you be able to live with only doing so few activities? Are you happy seeing the same faces every day and are you the type of person who is able to stick to a routine? Think about that before taking the plunge.
3. Moving around a lot
Assuming you’re going down the budget route and you will be transferring ships quite a lot, are you ready to be moving around so much at that age?
4. Lack of medical assistance onboard
Again, an important factor for us as we age is the accessibility to medical facilities. Should you require emergency medical assistance or access to sophisticated medicine or machinery, this won’t be available to you immediately. You would need to wait till you have docked.
If you think this is something that you’d like to do, here are some tips for retiring on a cruise ship:
- Find a cruise ship that is local to your region. In Malaysia, Genting cruises or the Superstar cruises offer budget options that you can choose from. But this also means your travel will be limited to Asia.
- Be sure to plan ahead and get to know someone from the cruising line to get better deals.
- Travel light with as few personal possessions as possible.
- Making friends with the staff onboard will get you extra perks onboard. So be nice!
Thinking of retiring on a cruise ship after reading this article? Let us know in the comments.
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