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Drifting into retirement
Oct. 4, 2010
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by Ivan Raconteur

My sister, who is a great pal of mine, has carried on many of the traditions started by our mother.

One of these is to send me articles and other little tidbits she has found that she thinks I might enjoy.

One of my favorite recent submissions was a unique new concept for retirement living.

The company in question promises prospective retirees the opportunity to “explore the USA from the comfort of home.”

The scheme involves a “community” of retirement condominiums on a boat.

The boat allows residents to “cruise America’s 6,600 miles of inland waterways on a slow boat to everywhere.”

Imagine waking each morning on a new stretch of river. This new company will allow one to do that.

Instead of spending one’s golden years in the same dusty, gated community in Arizona, one can spend those years exploring the country.

Throughout the year, the boat will travel to different cities.

From the northernmost stop in St. Paul, one can visit other exotic locations such as Dubuque, St. Louis, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Knoxville, Memphis, and Tulsa.

Drifting further south, one will have a chance to explore Natches, New Orleans, Pensacola, Carabelle, and Port Isabel.

Like ground-based snowbirds, the owners of these new condominiums will follow the sun, cruising northern rivers during the summer months, and southern rivers and coastal waters in the winter.

Each boat will include 185 to 200 condominiums, and support up to 400 residents.

The living spaces range from 528- to 924-square-feet, with larger custom designs available.

Similar to other housing associations, residents will share the cost of things such as fuel, staff salaries, insurance, and docking fees.

The insurance question might be an important one.

Most insurance companies are experienced with insuring “regular” housing facilities, but where does one purchase insurance for a floating condo? What happens in the unlikely case that one’s house sinks?

In addition to the ever-changing riparian scenery, residents will enjoy modern conveniences such as digital TV, high-speed Internet access, and telephone service.

Amenities include concierge service, a cruising lounge, theatres, activity rooms, and a library.

Residents will be able to stay limber by using the community fitness equipment, walking track, and chipping course, and then relax in the hot tub and pool.

For those who enjoy fishing, it couldn’t be easier. All one would have to do would be to cast a line over the side. One wouldn’t even have to leave home.

Other amenities are available for additional cost.

My sister was right. The vagabond lifestyle does appeal to me, and I wouldn’t mind spending part of my retirement years – assuming I live long enough to retire – on a floating palace.

Unfortunately, it is not to be.

Not only am I confident that my meager retirement income will not be sufficient to support a river-based lifestyle, I couldn’t afford it now.

The cost of the floating condominiums will range from $299,000 to $499,000, depending on size.

In addition to this, there is the homeowners’ association fees to consider.

These are expected to be about $26.50 per square foot per month. That equates to a total of $1,166 to $2,040 per month, depending on the size of one’s condo.

It was a nice idea, but I am afraid that if I want a river-based lifestyle in my retirement years, it will be limited to a tent and a canoe.

I’d probably be happier that way, anyhow.


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