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Old 16-03-2014, 04:34   #1
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My Dream Retirement-Is this Possible?

Need your thoughts, opinions or experiences.

I will be retiring from the US military in a few short years. I have spent 5 years of the past 18 deployed to not-so-nice area's around the world. To give you an idea, I have been shot and blown up several times but I still have all my fingers and toes and I would like to think that I still have a brain that functions at least minimal capacity.

I would really like to experience some peace in my life although the fight is still not out of me because I am a stubborn SoB and I still love challenges. I am just not interested in that kind of fighting anymore. I don't see myself becoming a hermit and retiring to some cabin high up in the mountains. I despise the cold because I have spent so many nights freezing my arse off above 9500' in the Himalayas that it no longer interests me in the least. I quit skiing a few years ago because the thought of being cold takes the fun out of it (and I used to be Ski Patrol in Alaska).

In 2 years, I will be 43 years old when I retire. I will begin collecting a pension immediately and I will collect roughly $1300 a month for the rest of my life. I enjoy sailing but the biggest I have sailed is 22' and I have no blue water experience what-so-ever. My dream is to purchase a 36-40' monohull and cruise the world for the rest of my life with the wife (no kids and no plans on having any). This dream came to me late in my career and I do not think I have had significant time to prepare (also, the last time I had to move, I took a $20k real estate loss which put a little pressure on my savings).

I would prefer to pay cash for a boat and use my measly pension to live off of but in total, I think my combination of savings plus investments will only be around $130k +/-. I am truly in love with Aluminum monohulls but $130k doesn't come close to meeting their criteria.

The plan is to crew for 1-2 years after retirement in order to gain blue water experience and determine if this is something I really want to do. I don't want to be that guy that blows their life savings on a boat and 3 months later realizes that this is as bad as being 9500' up in the Himalayas in the middle of January.

So let's say I get my blue water experience and this is something I still want to do. Do you think it is possible to sail around the world on $1300 a month? I have read stories of people living on $500 a month but they seem to be liveaboards stuck in a slip somewhere and from what I have read, it doesn't seem like they have left port much except on day trips. I know with $130k cash, I can buy a decent glass boat and that might be my only option.

Please tell me what you think and feel free to provide any intellectual/ professional guidance that you think may help me in my endeavor and you have any questions that might help you help me, feel free to ask. Thanks in advance for your help and expert opinion.
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Old 16-03-2014, 05:05   #2
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

One doesnt need an aluminium boat. There are very few out 'here'. Yes there are some, but very few compared to frp.

Theres a reason why.
Got any ideas?

So you will find a fibreglass boat better.
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Old 16-03-2014, 05:06   #3
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

Sounds like you have thought it through and have a good plan.
$1300 pm should see you through if you are careful.
Good luck to you.
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Old 16-03-2014, 05:57   #4
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Wind_Dreamer.

Yes, I think your plan is doable, with some care.
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Old 16-03-2014, 06:06   #5
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

I suggest you spend a lot more time reading actual cruiser blogs to see what life on $1500/mo means. While I believe it can be done I personally wouldn't find it worth the doing as yes you sailed around the world, but you don't really see anything.
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Old 16-03-2014, 06:31   #6
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

You're in a great situation -- with years of youth and a steady income ahead of you.

But I would think out how much your cruising is improved by having, say, a $130,000 vs a $50,000 boat. And then how much your cruising would improve by having more cash available over time.

I would lean toward getting a boat in the $50,000 range, and socking away the extra $80,000 to grow and provide investment income. . . .
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Old 16-03-2014, 06:54   #7
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

It's pretty clear you're not budgeting for all of life's expenses, so I'm going to speak for Suzie Orman. You may need to rethink it a bit!

The military retirement is awesome, and you'll be better off than most, but sailing off into the sunset isn't the only thing you need to plan for in life.

Do you really have $130K for a boat, or is part of that your emergency fund/savings/future house fund? Oh, you didn't think you'd ever be coming back?

While that retirement sounds like a lot of money, you'll be paying uncle Sam a bit of it, and Congress will be wanting to increase your share of your health care bill. You may not want any kids, but you may decide to go visit your nephews and nieces or other family every once in a while.

I'd suggest you think about a smaller boat, get some more sailing experience, and build up your life kitty a bit more. Also, think about your life goals. Are you really done with it all? I'm just saying to think it through before you put all your eggs in one basket.
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Old 16-03-2014, 08:05   #8
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

Welcome aboard. I agree with other posters, but also think that with some planning and working part time as you need to you'll be fine. If this is something you want to do get on some boats and see what you think. There are people constantly looking for crew and it's a good way for you to get some experience. Just don't over do it and get into something that might be past your abilities. Also, if you go that route make sure all other crew members know your experience lever before signing on.
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Old 16-03-2014, 08:29   #9
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

Sounds like a good plan, since you plan on crewing for other boats to see if the lifestyle suits you. The biggest concern I have is wondering how many wives are going to enjoy the seagoing lifestyle, especially on what amounts to poverty paychecks. Even with a wife who is onside now, a couple years later you may find you can't (or won't) give up on your dream, and a wife who won't set foot on a boat. There are many threads here on the same subject. I'm not naysaying your dream, just sayin.
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Old 16-03-2014, 09:25   #10
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

Wind Dreamer, you have a good plan and very doable.
You are right about getting the offshore experience, but you have to think collectively. Both you and the Admiral will need to like and enjoy. You will embarking on a adventure and although the lifestyle is healthy and pleasurable, its harder than in the cocoon we live in on shore, protected by the spider web the system imposes supposedly to protect us. Make sure that this is what both of you want.
Although crewing will give you experience and an idea of what to expect, it is not until you skipper your own boat that you start to learn. So train as a crew but get the boat and sail it a lot before going off.
I am with Cormorant, $50 to 70K will get you a good decent boat for your intentions and depending on your needs and wants, careful planning and discipline you can make it on $12K a year. Weight the advices carefully. Most people will not do this unless they have insurance, a super equipped boat that took 10 years to prepare, enough money to fund their not so simple lifestyle and a paid-out house to come back to. This is not necessarily a model for a successfull cruise, it just satisfies a certain type of adventurers. You also see cruisers that all they have is what they carry on board, and you will be hard pressed to determine who is having the most fun.
Good luck with your plan, feed the dream, and remember that to be successful, it has to be a joint mission.
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Old 16-03-2014, 09:42   #11
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

Come on down to the SW Caribbean and check out the marinas here, many great boats sitting around that folks have walked away from due to age, illness, or whatever.
PR evidently has good VA services compared to the States and yes you can live well on $1300/month. Many folks doing it in Bocas and the Gunayala, beer is $10/case, go get your own fish or buy from the locals for a few bucks.
If you are used to being shot at and blown up you may find it boring down here.
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Old 16-03-2014, 11:53   #12
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

So many replies in short a time. Thank you all for the advice.
Letsgetsailing3, though $1300 is not much money to live on, that is the calculated net after Uncle Sam takes his bite. One of my retirement benefits is utilizing US government aircraft for travel. These flights are often free of charge or charge very little (e.g. $30 for a flight from Baltimore, VA to Germany). I am basically only paying for the in-flight meals. So I have thought about how to travel back to see family. I can fly relatively easy from destinations in Guam, Hawaii, Diego Garcia (300nm south of Maldives), New Zealand, Azores, etc...very conveniently.
Cormorant, can you elaborate on your idea of a $50k boat? Though my thread explains that I am interested in 35-40', my thought process is that this is not so much cabin space as it would be storage space for long passages. I love the idea of a $50k boat but if you're talking about 28-30', there are not a whole lot of creature comforts available.
Ddsailor25, working part-time is very doable. I plan on finishing off my PADI dive instructor cert. It may be possible in off-seasons to work as a divemaster or dive instructor for extra cash.
SVTatia, I agree on the joint mission part and there is going to be a little flexibility there. The wife doesn't plan on sailing with me the entire time but can meet me at intervals and join me on certain legs then fly home if she wants to utilizing the Space-A travel that I described above.
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Old 16-03-2014, 12:07   #13
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wind_Dreamer View Post
So many replies in short a time. Thank you all for the advice.
Letsgetsailing3, though $1300 is not much money to live on, that is the calculated net after Uncle Sam takes his bite. One of my retirement benefits is utilizing US government aircraft for travel. These flights are often free of charge or charge very little (e.g. $30 for a flight from Baltimore, VA to Germany). I am basically only paying for the in-flight meals. So I have thought about how to travel back to see family. I can fly relatively easy from destinations in Guam, Hawaii, Diego Garcia (300nm south of Maldives), New Zealand, Azores, etc...very conveniently.
Cormorant, can you elaborate on your idea of a $50k boat? Though my thread explains that I am interested in 35-40', my thought process is that this is not so much cabin space as it would be storage space for long passages. I love the idea of a $50k boat but if you're talking about 28-30', there are not a whole lot of creature comforts available.
Ddsailor25, working part-time is very doable. I plan on finishing off my PADI dive instructor cert. It may be possible in off-seasons to work as a divemaster or dive instructor for extra cash.
SVTatia, I agree on the joint mission part and there is going to be a little flexibility there. The wife doesn't plan on sailing with me the entire time but can meet me at intervals and join me on certain legs then fly home if she wants to utilizing the Space-A travel that I described above.
Does your wife work? Is she going to continue to do so? You say she won't be sailing with you all the time so that implies you'll still have a land home. I'm really confused because it sounds like you're making plans and budgeting just for yourself.

You've essentially spent all your adult life in the military. You're going to find yourself returning to a world you don't know and it doesn't work like the military. Be careful about making too many additional decisions too fast. The readjustment can be challenging. Most find themselves looking for civilian employment and many of those wish then they'd stayed 30 years. Husband and wife aren't used to being together all the time, although your plan doesn't have you together all the time.
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Old 16-03-2014, 12:10   #14
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wind_Dreamer View Post
...Though my thread explains that I am interested in 35-40', my thought process is that this is not so much cabin space as it would be storage space for long passages....

SVTatia, I agree on the joint mission part and there is going to be a little flexibility there. The wife doesn't plan on sailing with me the entire time but can meet me at intervals and join me on certain legs then fly home if she wants to utilizing the Space-A travel that I described above.
Interesting enough this is the arrangement I had when I went cruising. She joined me for short passages and local sailing, but 99% of sea time (35K miles) was single-handed and some with one crew. For instance, off the coast of Brazil, with so many small unlit fishing boats, a watch was necessary. I had a 30' steel boat BTW.
Unless you are thinking about always looking for crew (very hard and a PITA) you may think about getting a boat at the lower end of your size range, say 35'. A bigger boat will cost more to maintain and can be more challenging to sail solo - it can be done, but with more work.
As for your comment of storage for long passages, a good 33 to 35 feet cruising design will have all the space you need.
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Old 16-03-2014, 12:12   #15
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Re: My dream retirement-Is this possible?

BandB, you speak from wisdom. I have seen families crushed when fathers retire from the military simply because they fail to readjust. The simple fact is this life isn't for me anymore and I am highly confident that I will not have difficulties readjusting.
The wife is planning on working while I am gone. Sorry for being slightly vague but posting 100% details would take forever. I have not factored in an income from her because worst case scenario is that there is no income from her. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.
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