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 jet-set 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 the 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 relatives 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 jet-set 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 arent 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 Empower and Betterment that let you check out your current savings and investments and see if you’re generally ready for retirement savings-wise.

Related: Empower 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: 4 Best Credit Cards for Seniors and Retirees

(Personal Capital is now Empower)

Empower Personal Wealth, LLC (“EPW”) compensates Webpals Systems S. C LTD for new leads. Webpals Systems S. C LTD is not an investment client of Personal Capital Advisors Corporation or Empower Advisory Group, LLC


  • Abby Hayes

    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.