Cruising into Retirement

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Retirement couple continuing careThe view from a porthole window is never stagnant. From the frigid wilds of the Artic to the exotic creatures of the Amazon, cruise ships offer an unparalleled view of the world. The distinctive views are second only to the once in a lifetime experiences that await on the other side of the window. That, and the many amenities offered onboard, makes cruising Clare and Edgar Kauffman’s preferred method of travel. The Kauffmans have logged tens of thousands of miles cruising around the world. During their many journeys, the couple has experienced cultures and geographies that most people only read about.

After a few short, group excursions on small lines out of Baltimore, the Kauffmans graduated to international carriers with exotic ports of call. Name a port, and they have most likely been there: a sea, and they have sailed it. Their most recent excursion took them to South America. During the 26-day adventure, they plied the waters of the Western Caribbean and the vast Amazon River. Among their favorite trips was a journey that took them to Singapore, India, through the Suez Canal and onto the Mediterranean Sea. The seasoned sailors have even been rewarded for their dedication to cruising. “We even earned ‘frequent sailor’ medallions after 100 days at sea, and that was a few years ago,” the couple points out.

Finding the right traveling partner is often the key to an enjoyable trip. Clare and Edgar found their match early in life; they have been traveling well together ever since. After spending their youth in the Lehigh Valley and honeymoon years in the baseball town of Williamsport, the Kauffmans settled in Denton, a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Like every young couple, the two were eager to build a life together and looked forward to the adventure of new territory. Ed eventually started a well-drilling company, spending days on the road and in the field; Clare managed the books and the business. Their teamwork and diligence paid off; the company flourished during the boom days of suburban development.

While establishing a successful business, the Kauffmans managed to find the time to nurture a multitude of interests. The pair danced competitively for 40 years, riding the square dance circuit and performing in exhibitions and competitions. Their easy grace together earned them many prizes, and they climbed steadily up the competitive ladder.

The Kauffmans also love to golf, and the sport has been a mainstay of their leisure time. Even today they enjoy a spirited, competitive relationship on the course. The couple looks for a course wherever they go, and their search did not end after retirement. Proximity to a course was one of the many factors they considered when choosing a retirement living community.

Snowbirds, the Kauffmans spend their winters in the tropical south, fed by a steady diet of sunshine and golf. The decision to move south for a few months of the year was simple; but determining where and how to live the rest of the year required a serious study of their emotional and economic realities. After all, their second location would be home base, and needed to feed their spirit and fit their budget.

By the time Clare and Ed decided to make a retirement living decision, they had done plenty of thinking. They would not be content to simply sit on the porch and mine their memories; they wanted to move, to follow their passions and create new memories. Like many older adults, they also wanted to retire without worry: to be able to go and do as they pleased and not break the bank in the process. Yearning for a secure setting and deeper connections, they sought a community that was focused on amenities, relationships, wellness and lifetime care. Now they just had to find it.

Not surprisingly, the long-time sailors looked to their love of cruising to solve their retirement living conundrum. “The beauty of cruising is that it provides a secure foundation. All of the services and support you need are onboard, so you can truly enjoy your adventure and see the world without worry,” notes Ed.

Thinking about all that they loved about cruising, led the couple to seek a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). From the Kauffman’s perspective, life onboard a cruise ship is analogous to life in a retirement community: their needs are met; services are always offered; flexibility is afforded; comfort is guaranteed; and most importantly, exploring is encouraged.

Knowing they wanted a CCRC, the Kauffman’s started their search in their home state of Pennsylvania. But they quickly realized that there were compelling reasons to live in Delaware-including milder weather and lower taxes. Ed points out, “It’s surprising, but a few degrees in latitude make a big difference in both temperature and disposable income.”

Significant senior tax benefits in Delaware include zero sales tax, no state levy on Social Security benefits and generous limits on taxing of retirement income. And in Sussex County, the Kauffmans had no trouble finding the small town atmosphere they loved in the Keystone State.

Manor House in Sussex County emerged as a clear leader on the Kauffman’s list of choices. Clare says, “Manor House’s location is perfect. It is equally close to the Atlantic and the Chesapeake.” Ed adds, “The community is also far enough from urban congestion to assure peace and quiet, but close enough to take advantage of cultural opportunities.” Manor House offered a full menu of services and the promise of continuing care, both of which were appealing to the Kauffmans.

At Manor House, Clare and Edgar have found their sea legs. They lead a balanced, secure and enriched life. And even after six decades together, they are still working on their short game, perfecting their dance routine and planning their next shipboard adventure.

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