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A Texas man made headlines when he announced that instead of moving to a retirement home in his old age, he’d spend his days at various Holiday Inns around the world. How does he plan to do this, and why? Get the breakdown here.

How The Plan Works

Terry Robinson’s plan is just to move from one long-term stay at a Holiday Inn to another. He says that the average nursing home costs $188 a day, but you can stay long-term and with a senior discount in most Holiday Inns for about $60 a night. Add in the fact that you get free breakfast and happy hour, and you’ll even save on meals. Robinson says that will give him nearly another $130 a day for food and other spending.

In short, Robinson says he’ll travel the world, staying in each Holiday Inn long enough to get the long-term stay discount, at least. He says the plan has plenty of perks, including a pool, workout room, laundry room, lounge, and housekeeping.

As for healthcare, Robinson says that if something goes wrong, the hotel can call the ambulance or the undertaker for him.

Is it Realistic?

The Holiday Inn retirement plan sounds like fun. Traveling the world? Check. Complimentary food and housekeeping? Check. A pool? Check. Complimentary shampoo, soap, and other personal care items? Check. Easy to check in? Yes!

Robinson seems pretty confident in his plan. But is it realistic for most retirees? Probably not.

For one thing, nursing homes are definitely expensive. However, Medicaid covers the costs of nursing home care for six in ten residents. And unfortunately, Medicaid isn’t going to cover the costs of your hotel stay.

Also, while this plan seems like a money-saving option, there are other expenses to consider, including:

  • Costs of travel: Robinson wants to jetset around the world, but that travel in and of itself will cost money. He also notes that he can use shuttles to get from the hotel to the areas he’s visiting. But airport shuttles sometimes only go to the airport and back–not a very exciting area of town to check out. So if you need to add Uber, taxi, or car maintenance expenses to your list, your costs suddenly skyrocket.
  • No assistance: One reason nursing homes are so expensive is that “nursing” part. If you have health problems or need some extra assistance, you can get it from professionals in a nursing home. While a Holiday Inn offers free meals and housekeeping, that’s as far as the help is going to go.
  • More expensive healthcare: Robinson’s plan for healthcare is to have the hotel call an ambulance as needed. That might work if he stays healthy. But relying on an emergency room for care is a very expensive way to go. As people age, having steady medical care is a good way to maintain and monitor health, so that problems can be addressed before winding up with a $25,000+ emergency room visit.
  • Storage for personal goods: This plan also assumes traveling light. And maybe that’s what Robinson plans to do. Some people can pack all their worldly goods into a suitcase and roll with it. But if he wants to keep any of his sentimental or personal goods, he’ll probably need to pay for a storage unit. Those costs can rack up quickly.

Generally, if you are in good health, you’ll get better value out of staying in a home or an apartment for much less than $50 a day. And then you can travel sometimes, all while maintaining a relationship with a doctor and a home base.

Who Could Retire at Holiday Inn?

This retirement plan could work for a while for someone who is in generally good physical health. If you don’t mind heading back to your home base every couple of months to stay in touch with your doctor, you can keep that good health going while you stay in a Holiday Inn. And be ready to offload your personal goods to your children or other relative so you don’t have to pay for storage for all that stuff!

Traveling often is a great way to spend your golden years if you can afford it. But be sure you look at all the potential costs before you decide to take this route. And be sure you have a backup plan if your health should decline further in the future.

How to Retire Well

Maybe the Holiday Inn retirement plan isn’t for you. You might want to maintain a more stable home base, or maybe you just don’t like the idea of hotel hopping. Whether you decide to jetset around the world or stick to a place you know well, you’ll want to retire both physically and financially as much as possible. Here’s how:

Take Care of Your Health

You’re not always in total control of what happens with your level of personal health. But as much as you can, take steps to retire healthy. Staying healthy in retirement can save you so much money over your retirement years. As we all tend to live longer, most everyone will experience health problems in old age. But the longer you can stay well, the better you’ll enjoy your retirement and the less money you’ll spend.

Taking steps to eat well, stay active, and stay connected to a community to support you are all excellent steps you can take to retire healthy and well.

Invest for Retirement

If you aren’t already investing for your retirement, get going. Whether you use a 401(k), an IRA, or a combination, you need to be putting away money so that you can pay for your retirement. Whether you retire in a nursing home or a Holiday Inn, you’ll need to have money available to spend on your accommodations and other daily expenses.

Not sure if you’re on track with your retirement savings? Check out tools like Personal Capital and Betterment that let you check out your current savings and investments and to see if you’re generally ready for retirement savings-wise.

Related: Personal Capital Review: A Free Wealth Management Tool

Find out how to get up to one year managed free: Betterment Review

Use a High-Yield Savings Account for Emergencies

Even during retirement, you should maintain an emergency savings account. This money should be easy to access if you need it right away. The best place to keep your emergency savings account is in a high-yield savings account. If you can earn or out-earn inflation, you’ll be doing well with your emergency account.

Pay Off Your Debts

Retiring in debt is not a great option. It just gives you more expenses you have to deal with on a monthly basis. And that can put a huge strain on your budget. So take time before you retire, wherever you decide to retire, to pay off your debts as much as possible.

Put Extra Money Into an HSA

Finally, you can save extra money for healthcare expenses in retirement by using a health savings account (HSA). These accounts are an additional way to save tax-advantaged money, though you can only spend it on applicable health-related expenses. Still, if you qualify to save in an HSA, putting money in there can help you be more prepared for healthcare expenses in your retirement years.

Next Steps

Bottom Line

Overall, retiring to a hotel chain sounds like fun, but it’s probably not the best long-term plan. However, if you’re financially prepared, you can have a mid-term plan to hotel hop until you need to be in an assisted living or nursing facility. As long as you’re solid financially, you can really do whatever makes sense for your financial situation!

Also Read: 7 Best Credit Cards for Seniors and Retirees

Author Bio

Total Articles: 279
Abby is a freelance journalist who writes on everything from personal finance to health and wellness. She spends her spare time bargain hunting and meal planning for her family of three. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, and lives with her husband and children in Indianapolis.

Article comments

Mark Wilson says:

Mr. Robinson’s plan for retiring to a Holiday Inn sounds appealing on the surface but anyone considering this should do more research or help a relative when they are unable to stay in their own home any longer. There are 4 levels of care that an older person might need. First there is independent living which can be equated with the Holiday Inn concept. Next there is assisted living, where the person needs assistance with daily activities, such as preparing meals, bathing, getting dressed, and monitoring of medicine. Next comes the nursing home where even more care is needed such as assistance with feeding, toileting, and bathing. Many nursing home patients are bed bound and need their diapers changed – a service I doubt the Holiday Inn will be providing. The fourth stage for some will be the memory care unit. Doesn’t sound like fun and for sure will cost more than the $188 per day that Mr. Robinson quoted for a nursing home stay. Remember the saying that you get what you pay for, well that applies to nursing homes as well. Not all are equal in quality of service, facilities, care level, and Medicare ratings. Check it out, or better yet, do some volunteer work in a nursing home and you can see for yourself. Caregivers in nursing homes are not high paying jobs and we know what that means. The best option for anyone is to stay out of any of these facilities as long as possible.

Dana Anders says:

Like the commenter above indicated, there is a big difference between a “nursing home” and a “retirement community” so the original “plan” is a little off base. There are a lot of really great providers of living options as people age – most WAY nicer and less expensive than a Holiday Inn for independent living. In addition to the housekeeping and breakfast that a Holiday Inn would provide, these providers often offer 2-3 meals per day and arrange a ton of activities that promote socialization – and that is one of the key factors in staying healthy as we age (and I’m talking about a lot more than just the stereotypical bingo). Another way to plan for retirement is to look into Continuing Care Retirement Communities that offer healthcare benefits, similar to an insurance product that can offset the high cost of healthcare should you need it. Many of these are operated by very reputable not for profit providers. Yes, there are some shady providers but people need to do their research and understand that there are also a lot of good options out there.

Janice Ryan says:

People can spout numbers and statistics all day long but this plan is on an individual basis. Yes staying healthy is the main goal, but living in your home is costly. Where I live there is no alternative when you leave your home save for assisted living who is for the ultra wealthy and a nursing home which are for the very very sick. There is no Continuing Care Retirement Communities where I live!
Not a lot of options for the elderly at all. I think the hotel plan is ideal providing you are healthy. no lawn maintenance, or appliance maintenance, no taxes or HOA, no cable or electricity to pay for. There is nothing cheap about any other living situation. If you are in a nursing home you get to live on 30 dollars a month and have to sell your home unless a dependent lives there. No cable, no privacy,(sharing your room with a stranger) no freedom, eat the foul food they give you or go hungry. There needs to be a better option than a nursing home when you are an average person trying to make ends meet. A hotel as long as you are healthy is not a bad idea.

Cynthia Taylor says:

Who do I talk to at Holiday Inn office to learn more? This information is quite interesting, and my husband and I would like to learn more about retiring at a Holiday Inn.