Would you pay $164k a year to live on a cruise ship? This woman would!

Published January 25, 2015   Posted in How to Retire

I started this blog as a way to keep myself honest and focused towards financial independence and early retirement.  Within these pages, I preach mercilessly about frugal non-ridiculous living, minimizing expenses and downsizing your stuff.  But yet, I somehow can’t help myself but completely support a woman’s lavish lifestyle on-board a luxury cruise liner.

A $164,000 per year lifestyle, that is.  Read the story here.

Crystal Symphony cruise linerFor seven years, 86-year-old widow Lee Wachtstetter has called a Crystal Serenity cruise ship “home”.  By now, the crew on-board the ship is like family to her, and she regularly ballroom dances, attends cocktail parties and movies, lectures and other activities.  And, I’m sure this woman hasn’t cooked a meal for herself in years.

At first, my frugal instincts kicked into high gear.  How could anyone blow through $164,000 to live on-board a luxury cruise liner?  How financially irresponsible does one need to be to choose such an expensive lifestyle?  After all, this is the kind of shit that keeps people working until they are 60 or older.

Then I realized something important: she is not some mid-30’s professional working her way towards retirement, shamelessly driving around in an $80k car and lamenting the fact that retirement just seems way too far off.  She’s already there.  This woman is 86 years old and long retired.

I don’t know the specifics of her investments, but she obviously has quite the stash to live off of.  She’s enjoying her life to the max and making friends along the way.  As she describes it, she is living a “stress-free, fairy-tale life”.

I understand now that this is what retirement is all about.  This is what saving your whole life and building up an investment portfolio enables.  This woman and her late husband worked for decades to build a retirement fund to support their remaining years living stress-free and enjoying every second of their lives.

Gosh-darn-it, good for her!  She’s using her retirement for what it should be used for – to enjoy life.  Is it unconventional?  Sure.  But hell, who likes convention anyway?

Instead of my instinctual reaction of questioning the need to live that extravagantly, I think this woman is doing this whole retirement thing exactly right.  She’s a bad ass when it comes to jobless bliss.  If I am half as happy as she is when I turn 86, I’ll be a happy camper.

My wife and I probably won’t retire and move onto a cruise liner.  We may not spend $164,000 a year, either.  In whatever way we choose to live our lives at that age, enjoying the fruits of our younger self’s labor is what retirement is all about.  Whether we shove off into a small cottage in the mountains, or maybe a small beach-side house in Mexico, it doesn’t matter.  Retirement is the time to truly live, and this woman sure is doing just that.

What matters most is taking a page out of this woman’s retirement book and learning how to squeeze maximum enjoyment out of your retirement.

This is a lesson that we all could probably learn a little from.

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3 responses to “Would you pay $164k a year to live on a cruise ship? This woman would!”

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head here. This women is the epitome of what financial independence is all about. The fact that she is able to afford the $164K/year, speaks volumes to the care that her and her late husband took when planning their future.

    Everyone’s idea of retirement is going to be different. I am probably not as frugal-minded as I could be. But that’s only because frugalness is only a means to an end for me. That’s not to say that I will spend carelessly on stupid shit once I reach FI. But I won’t think twice about spending money on the things that bring me joy.

    Here is a perfect example. The wife and I love going out to eat at nice restaurants, and would likely do it every night if money was no problem. However, we keep it to 1-2 times a week (probably way more than most), but in my opinion you can’t cut out all joy for the hope of a better tomorrow. You have to find a balance. But you better believe some financial blogger out there will one day pick up a story about some couple spending thousands of dollars a month eating at the finest restaurants.

    That couple will be us. And we won’t bat an eye, because we are practicing simple disciplines now that will give us options that most people will never have. And this is because successful people do what most others are unwilling to do.


  2. Mr. Grumby says:

    When I saw the title “Would you pay $164k to live on a cruise ship…” I immediately screamed “Hell no!” But after reading the post, I am
    Inspired and impressed. Like you, we would never take that same approach. But the point is to do what is right for you, conventional or not.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Mr. Grumby. I agree, we gotta do what’s best for us – and if that means we’re living on a cruise ship, so be it. Definitely makes for an interesting lifestyle to read about!

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