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Old 16-03-2014, 12:24   #16
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

SVTatia, thanks again. Just from discussing this with everyone here so far, i have possibly discovered a fatal flaw in my planning which will work out in my benefit. All this time I have been looking into boats that are in the mid-upper end of my affordability range. I have not been looking at relatively same sized boats at significantly cheaper prices. It makes me feel a little ignorant but that's exactly why I decided to post this here to begin with. So that people like you that may have been there and done that, could tear my plan apart and find the flaws.
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Old 16-03-2014, 12:43   #17
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

I'm at 4 years till I retire too. Sounds like you have a good plan. One piece of advice I've seen often is to get a less expensive boat, then use the difference of the budget for repairs and upgrades. Having anything left could be your emergency stash, then the retirement income could be what you live/travel on.

Where are you stationed now? Have you gone looking at many boats yet in person?

Welcome to the group and good luck.
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Old 16-03-2014, 12:49   #18
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

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I'm at 4 years till I retire too. Sounds like you have a good plan. One piece of advice I've seen often is to get a less expensive boat, then use the difference of the budget for repairs and upgrades. Having anything left could be your emergency stash, then the retirement income could be what you live/travel on.

Where are you stationed now? Have you gone looking at many boats yet in person?

Welcome to the group and good luck.
I am currently stationed overseas. I haven't looked into any boats in person yet since inventories change so frequently and looking at boats right now is a little too much window shopping for me.
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Old 16-03-2014, 13:31   #19
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

If you like aluminium, France is the place to look for maximum choice. Dutch construction is and detailing is also a good yardstick.

Seems to me a big factor in getting by on a modest income is the degree to which you can simplify material things, and keep stuff running without having to call on trained professionals.
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Old 16-03-2014, 13:51   #20
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

You can live on a boat and cruise with the income that you will have. it will not be a luxurious life style but one that one leave begging on the streets for food, either. Ditto what others have said about the boat. There are a ton of boats that would be comfortable for a couple for $50,000 plus or minus plus a bit for cruising essentials like good ground tackle, self steering, etc.

Keep the boat simple. Everything you add will require maintenance/replacement. If you don't have it, you don't have to keep it working. Many owners seem to be possessed by the toys on their boats and spend their time and considerable money making everything work.

The hardest part may be getting the Admiral to buy into the frugal life style.
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Old 16-03-2014, 15:01   #21
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

Pretty much agree with everyone. From somebody who lives on about $500 a month, it is doable. I would not get the bigest boat you can afford, but the smallest you can see the two of you living on. Ideally not bigger then 36 foot. I would set $50k as the maximum price as there are plenty of boats you can get for that amount or less. This as maintenance and dock fees will eat into your monthly allowance quite quickly, the larger you go. Not to mention fuel costs, which on a sailboat need not be so much.

$50k BTW means your looking for a $60-$70K asking price max. But $50k should be the most you want to pay. You really want a reserve for emergencies. Never fall in love with a boat, always be willing to walk away. Plenty of boats in $30-$40k range that may just need a bit of TLC.

Any boat you purchase, will need some repairs, upgrades. So allow at least 30% of cost for initial upgrades, repairs, etc. More for a less expensive boat.

Avoid wood boats at all cost, unless you really love doing woodwork. Fiberglass is the way to go for $1300 a month.

Being able to live inexpensively, means your going to need to be able to do all your own work, From sanding, painting, plumbing and electrical to diesel engine repair. If you can then $1300 a month is very doable. Specially for 20 year military with medical, etc. If you can't, you'll need to learn, as you will not be able to afford $80/ hour labor for others to work on the boat. $80 is the general labor rate, and not the high rate for electrical or diesel repair.
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Old 16-03-2014, 15:46   #22
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

I retired from the military in 1992 with a pension of, believe it or not, $1300/month after taxes. Our 37' Searunner trimaran was paid for. (see the thread in this forum for more info on those boats). I took my family (wife and two daughters 10 and 12) sailing on the East Coast and Bahamas for five years (92-97) We came back to work and went back to the Bahamas for '04-'06 again on only $1300/month. We retired - again - in 2011 and have been cruising since - and on $1300/month.
I feel like these are some of the key elements of living an unlimited dream on a fixed budget...
Cash flow is the most important figure to track. Knowing where money is going is the key to budgeting it. We set aside marinas in favour of dining out. That meant good anchors and gear. Our trimaran is shallow draft so we could anchor in much more protected waters. We spent money on food but ate more simply. We spent money on the boat but did much of the work ourselves. Our plywood boat, simply and strongly built was easily repaired by our own hands. This goes counter to the recommendation for a glass boat above, but the multihull concept goes counter to the monohulls that have been recommended too. It worked for us and may work for you. I recommend Jim Brown's book, "The Case for the Cruising Trimaran", now out of print but available if you look online. This boat allowed us to manage our cash flow in a hundred different little ways. Old plywood multihulls in reasonable condition can be found for the same price as old, slow, fiberglass monohulls, with their deep draft, inaccessible bilges and huge anchors.
After Cash Flow, destinations are important. We struggled not to enjoy all that stuff that is available in the US. Sadly subject to temptation, a movie here, prepared food there and the budget starts to fail. In so many places, the options to buy stuff are limited - Yet the lifestyle is unlimited; fishing, cruising friends, food, beer, land friends, sunshine, soft sand beaches, and did I mention the friends. After your life and trials, finding a company of adventurers is just what the doctor ordered. Sharing the cruising life is best done outside of the confines of civilized, consumerized, local waters.
Finally, for us, an essential key was us. We are the best of friends and loved to be cramped together in our little plywood world. We loved to anchor alone only to be joined by soon-to-be-friends-for-life. We managed to be low maintenance (thanks Honey!) for ourselves and living small monetarily was easy because living small in every other way was a delight.
Go for it. You will never regret trying.
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Old 16-03-2014, 15:55   #23
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

Yes, it's possible, and Sailorchic & Cormorant have the right of it, IMO.

However, you might ask yourself if this desire to get away from it all to somewhere warm and peaceful might be a normal reaction to battle stresses, and is not actually what you want to do with the rest of your life.

You are at an age when many people are reevaluating their life plans. Have you convinced yourself that retirement this early would be good for you and your good lady?

Perhaps you'd be served better by picking up schooling and practicing a trade for a while, some work that would give you satisfaction, and that you could leave at the shop when you come home, with little stressful to bother you..... Possibly, something like diesel mechanics, refrigeration mechanics, or electronics trouble shooting, a trade that would help you if you do decide to go sailing, but that would make affordable all the improvements you'd want to make to the boat. Just jack up the savings a bit.

I was surprised at the effects of inflation on what I could do with a fixed retirement income, and I would caution you to expect about 5% per annum, which is more than traditional savings would accrue in interest. Do you see that as a changing factor? would it affect your planning?

Lots of questions for you, mate. Good luck with it.

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Old 16-03-2014, 17:17   #24
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

Great Advice Ann.
I am sure there is a military term for multifunctional planning
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Old 16-03-2014, 18:27   #25
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

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Great Advice Ann.
I am sure there is a military term for multifunctional planning
There are several that can fall into that catagory:
SNAFU: Situation Normal, All F'd Up
FUBAR: F'd Up Beyond All Recognition
The 6 P's: Piss Poor Planning Prevents Proper Performance

Just to name a couple
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Old 16-03-2014, 18:54   #26
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Thank you. And good luck with your retirement. You have earned it....and more

Ann brought up an excellent point. Wile you are still on active duty, and afterward, you have access to education and training. Use it!!
Someone with skills to work on diesels can find temporary employment almost anywhere. Imagine walking into a shop and telling them, "I'm retired military, certified on diesels, need any help?".
Use what you have earned to the best of your advantage, and to make your dreams come true. You will find many brothers out there willing to help, you only need to ask. I know there are many here on CF who will do all they can to help.
Stay safe.
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Old 16-03-2014, 18:58   #27
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

Sailorchic34, i am pretty good with the maintenance. I have built a few cars in my day to include everything from electrical to full motor rebuilds. When it comes to working the electrical on a boat or working on a small diesel motor, i will be able to handle all that. I can't say i have good wood working skills, though I did build a balcony on my last house that I was pretty proud of. Which means it was very sturdy but wasn't the most aesthetic balcony in the neighborhood.

Roverhi, the Admiral shouldn't be an issue with the frugal lifestyle. She grew up in a small village behind the Iron Curtain of Eastern Europe. In fact when we were looking at engagement rings, she told me 1/4 carat was too big and she was afraid she would get her ring caught on too many things. She picked out her own ring which turned out to be something like 1/8 carat.

PatnKarl, thanks for all the info. It is good to know that there are people out there that have done what I would love to do and have been successful at it. Your words of experience are greatly appreciated.

Ann T. Cate, i would not establish a relationship between this dream and "battle stress" or PTSD. There are many things that are leading me in this direction. I am fed up with the system and I don't much like the direction America is going. But that is a political conversation for another time.
Many people seem to think that I am getting started early at 43. I feel like I am getting a late start. i would like get to this while I am still young and capable. I don't want to work my life away then at the end, turn around and wonder what I did the whole time. I could stay in the military longer, boost the savings a bit more and increase my monthly pension payment but at what point do I tell myself this is enough, its time to quit? I am afraid that if I just keep working, I will never find that quitting point where I can just walk away from it all. Transitioning out of the military is a great time to walk away from it because it is a significant change in lifestyle to begin with.
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Old 16-03-2014, 19:54   #28
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

You can live good in the western Caribbean. Check out the Rio Dulce area.

Thanks for serving and good luck

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Old 16-03-2014, 19:58   #29
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Thanks for your service. I can't really add too much that's already been said. I retired military at the age of just turning 46 but because of family, a new marriage, homebuilding, cabin building, boat work and many other projects just could not get back out cruising and living aboard as I did earlier while still in the Navy.
From my experience, be very aware that civilians do not operate anything even a little bit like the military so it will take a little bit of getting used to. You are starting out fresh and new in life when you get out. Telling them you were responsible for the welfare of 1500 people and had security clearances that would allow you to have your finger on the button doesn't mean anything. Most of them cannot relate and don't really care. Performance in the workplace will count for much more but getting your foot in the door requires knowing people so you may (or may not) need to develope people skills. That advice only applies if you intend to get a job.
Spend your dollars wisely and do all the sailing and boatbuying research you can and take courses offered anywhere you can find them.
I truly wish you the best of luck and if your wife is a willing partner then you'll do well. If she is not then you'll be looking at a different lifestyle.
kindest regards,
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Old 16-03-2014, 21:13   #30
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

I'm a retired CW3, retired 12 yrs ago,
Civilian life is different, but 99% of that is because most are slobs that can't read a watch and do what they said they would do. You will adjust, but please take this advice. First and foremost make damn sure the wife is OK with this, I doubt she is,she may be allowing it because she feels she has no other choice.
Take all the cash you can get ahold of and stuff in a bank somewhere, but don't spend a nickel of it for one year, crew, be a dive bum whatever, but do not go out and spend your cash right after retirement, let you new life settle in. If nothing else you cannot know enough to possibly buy the right boat yet, and you have only one shot, buying and selling you lose money each time.
You may can tell from my screen name I wasn't a REMF either, you will adjust, probably a lot more easily that most expect you to be able to.
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