Seattle couple in 50s living permanently on cruise ship as it makes more ‘financial sense’ than mortgage
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: If someone tells you they are retiring early and have decided to spend the rest of their life on a cruise ship -- visiting exotic destinations, meeting new people, and gorging on 5-star food -- you would probably think they won the lottery.
However, a Seattle-based couple has proven that such a quest doesn't have to be a millionaire's fantasy. Angelyn and Richard Burk are living their best life hopping from cruise to cruise for around $100 a night. The Burks have notably called cruise ships their home since May 2021 and do not intend on going back to their previous lives as landlubbers. Angelyn, 53, first stepped on a cruise ship back in 1992, and that experience changed her life goals forever.
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'We love to travel'
“Our original plan was to stay in different countries for a month at a time and eventually retire to cruise ships as we got older,” Angelyn told 7 News. A couple of years back, she crunched the numbers and realized she and her husband could start much sooner than anticipated. “We love to travel and we were searching for a way to continuously travel in our retirement that made financial sense,” she said. The couple looked for any deals they could find through loyalty memberships and later factored in the potential sale price of their home, realizing their lifelong dream was rather affordable.
"Cruise costs vary quite a bit, our goal is to average about $100 per night, for the couple, or less across an entire calendar year," Richard, a seafarer himself, told Upworthy. The math seems to make sense -- spending $100 per night to live on a cruise ship amounts to $36,500 a year. The average price of a home in Tukwila, Washington, where they have a house, is about $607,000. If someone moved there today, put down an advance of 20 percent, and financed the rest, the mortgage would come up to around $44,000 a year. Furthermore, the couple doesn't have to spend on groceries aboard a cruise ship.
'We have been frugal all our lives'
It's worth noting that the Burks are able to live their fantasy only after years of responsible spending habits. “We have been frugal all our lives to save and invest in order to achieve our goal,” Angelyn said. “We are not into materialistic things but experiences.” According to her, cruising takes the stress out of travel. “It is leisurely travel without the complications of booking hotels, restaurants, and transportation while staying within our budget,” she told 7 News. The lovebirds travel light, with just two suitcases between them. Should they need anything, they simply buy it on the ship or in the next port, depending on availability.
Speaking to Upworthy, Richard insisted COVID-19 safety was still very important. "I would suggest wearing a mask at all times when out in public no matter whether on a ship, in a movie theater, at a restaurant, or even meeting with friends inside or outside," he told the outlet. The Burks, after retiring from their jobs, completed a 21-day cruise via the Panama Canal and planned a 50-day cruise around the Adriatic Sea as well as a 51-day cruise from Seattle to Sydney, Australia. They said their top destinations were Italy, Canada, Iceland, and the Bahamas, but that their all-time favorite is Singapore.