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You’ve got your 401k squared away but squandering your checks to live in a manufactured retirement community just isn’t for you. Once you’ve aged into that “senior discount” bracket, you might be eyeing your long-term retirement plan. A growing number of Baby Boomers are ditching the shuffleboard and mothballs for something much more exciting – retiring on a yacht.

If you’re thinking about hitting the water and sailing in early retirement or even in long-term retirement, you’ll need a bigger boat. Our marine diesel experts share tips for buying a yacht for retirement and retiring in a trawler.

Expenses When Retiring on a Yacht

You may be a senior, but that doesn’t mean you’re old. You’re not ready to cram into a dusty retirement community and fight for a seat for the early bird special. Maybe you’re dreaming of living on a sailboat in the Caribbean, you’re looking to sail around the Mediterranean, or your plans for retiring on a trawler include sailing all around the world. But, does buying a yacht for retirement and living on the water make dollars and cents for you?

Retiring on a yacht can seem like the perfect dream, but it’s important to make sure that it’s a dream you can afford. Expenses of retiring on a yacht include:

  • Purchase price of the yacht
  • Insurance for the yacht, boat, or sailboat
  • Marine diesel engine maintenance costs
  • Title and registration for the yacht or boat
  • Diesel fuel for the yacht
  • Fees associated with ports, docks, or storage
  • A yachting crew
  • Costs for marine engine repairs

Investopedia reports that on average, the annual running costs of a yacht are 10% of its purchase price. 1 So, though your yacht’s upfront cost may be affordable, you also need to make sure that you can afford to spend an average of 10% of the yacht purchase price each year on upkeep and running costs. For many aging men and women, this is a small price to pay for the freedom that can only be found when retiring on a yacht.

How to Retire on a Sailboat or Yacht

So, you’ve crunched the numbers and you’re ready to sail for your dreams by buying a yacht for retirement. Whether you’re setting out on the water alone or you have a spouse or partner by your side, there’s a lot of planning that goes into retiring on a yacht for the long-term. There are some important elements to check off before you’re ready to begin your endless vacation of retirement on a yacht or sailboat.

Check on your health. Sailing and yachting combine adventure with some land-based luxuries, but you do need to be sure that you’re in good enough health for the seafaring life. This is why many seniors and aging Boomers choose sailing in early retirement when their health is at its best. Get a checkup from your doctor and any necessary specialists, you don’t want a health problem rearing its head when you’re in the middle of the water far from immediate medical attention.

Choose your yacht wisely. If you’re sailing beyond early retirement and well into your golden years, you’ll want to make sure that your yacht, boat, or sailboat is ready. This can mean modifying the boat’s interior so it’s easily accessible. Remember to get a complete yacht engine survey before buying any used yachts.

Adjust finances for a watertight plan. We don’t mean to ruin the fun, but retiring on a yacht can be expensive, there are always little problems that can arise. So, it’s important to make sure that you budget for unexpected costs every month, especially if you’re on a fixed income in retirement. Meet with your financial advisor and discuss your plans of yachting in retirement so they can help you form a financial manifest.

Choose your destinations, or don’t! Some people love the idea of the open road, hitting the highway and going wherever the wind takes them. The same concept can apply to yachting in retirement, with retirees hitting the open water and seeing where the wind (or marine diesel engine) will bring them. Whether you’re someone who loves to plan every aspect of a trip or you’re the type who prefers to go with the flow, yachting in retirement can be your best fit. The more you plan, the more you’ll have a handle of your finances. So if you’re sticking to a budget for your yachting retirement plan, a detailed itinerary can help.