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Old 08-09-2012, 17:31   #31
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Re: The Golden Years: Myth or Reality?

Life is a journey, not a destination.

Do all you can as you go along. Live the life you want not the one prescribed.

The funniest thing about Americans (being one myself) is how many are slaves to their house. Lowes, Home Depot etc. all cater to millions of Americans working on their nests week after week after week and calling it a life.

Build sailing (or whatever it is) into your lifestyle and dump things that don't fit.
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Old 08-09-2012, 18:01   #32
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Re: The Golden Years: Myth or Reality?

I've watched a number of people wait and dream about "early retirement" and enjoying their "Golden Years", and "going cruising..." -- only to have health or other issues erase those possibilities like the pipe dreams they were. If you do not plan and take ACTION early in life to make those dreams happen then they are about as likely as winning the lottery. I think it works out for some by pure luck, but not many.

Fortunately for me, I saw those trends when I was still in my 20's and started planning, and taking action, accordingly. I worked my ass off for almost 20 years (literally routinely over 20 hours a day, take a nap, start over...good practice for long runs on a sail boat), and I also did a lot of sailing in the minimal down time that I had. I punched out very early and I count my blessings often.

I've discussed this subject with a couple of friends who were actuarials with large insurance companies. The average few years of quality life most people have left after normal retirement age is quite sobering (and the legal normal retirement age is creeping up).

So, I think that the "Golden Years" are a myth for many. I see quite a few cruisers out here who are struggling to "live the dream" and I am very glad I punched out early. I've know a few people in recent years who've had to give up the cruising life style because it just was no longer feasible due to physical limitations and health issues.

I, and many others I know, have lost friends and family quite unexpectedly. For me it always rienforces just how fragile or lives and our realities really are. We all maintain the illusion that this reality is stable -- it is not -- it can change like the wind in a instant -- been there done that. So, do it today, because tomorrow may never come.

Our realities can also be changed by our own personal efforts. Think about what you want and work to make it happen. This does not mean that it will come true in some fairy tail BS sort of way just because you tried, but we can significantly influence our own destinies if make the effort.
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Old 08-09-2012, 18:20   #33
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Re: The Golden Years: Myth or Reality?

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Life is a journey, not a destination.

Do all you can as you go along. Live the life you want not the one prescribed.

The funniest thing about Americans (being one myself) is how many are slaves to their house. Lowes, Home Depot etc. all cater to millions of Americans working on their nests week after week after week and calling it a life.

Build sailing (or whatever it is) into your lifestyle and dump things that don't fit.
Absolutely. If I got hit by a truck (or a really big power boat) tomorrow I would be OK with that because it has been an excellent journey. Not that I want to end it just yet, but I am glad my dying thoughts would not be "but wait -- I'm not done yet!".

And, there are no laws which require you to live life in a certain way, but many people are trapped by their perceived social obligations none the less. I think this leads to many a mid-life crisis when those who have done what they thought they were "supposed" to do wake up and realize they are prisoners in their own lives.
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Old 08-09-2012, 18:29   #34
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Re: The Golden Years: Myth or Reality?

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I...
I'll probably never take the big cruise, but I'll probably not miss it. ...
And I think that's a healthy attitude too. I know "wannabe" cruisers who I think are "pretending", much like those trapped in their social obligations. They buy the boat, they put every toy know to man on it, but I think some of them are just parroting the lines about "living the dream" and that it is not really THEIR dream. They should figure out what their dream is and live that one -- even if it is not cruising.
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Old 08-09-2012, 18:47   #35
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Re: The Golden Years: Myth or Reality?

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...One of the toughest issues, for many and for me, is that my spouse is nearly uninsurable and so until she reaches 65 (I'll be 68), insurance is a major problem. From my perspective, this is the greatest problem with our health care system; if we were not married her life would be a tough struggle to maintain a full time job, regardless of health issues, just to maintain insurance. Our system doesn't provide a middle road, for people who could work part time, for example....

Yes, big problem for many, especially Americans. I have several friends back in the States who are trapped by health insurance issues.

I know one guy who is stuck in long term legal separation because a divorce would result in him losing health insurance. There are of course worse fates in life, but sure is an unpleasant constraint.
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Old 08-09-2012, 20:03   #36
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Ahhh, the golden years . . . I don't know if we ever bought into the idea/theory/dream. Both of us had parents that worked their fingers to the bone their entire lives and never realized their golden years -- just more struggles.

For (at least) the last fifteen years, we have had this sense of urgency. I think, at first, it was pretty undefined, just this sense that there had to be more to life. In the last eight years it became more defined. Four years ago we bought a boat to sail when we retired. Last year, at 56 and 59, we decided we just had to go. A week ago we arrived in Puerto Rico, two days ago we moved Smart Move to a marina here from the BVIs to outfit her. On November 1 we will start living our dream by sailing south. We have some very grandiose plans, that if they work out, will take us around the world. Our plan is to do this for the next 8-10 years or until we are physically unable to do it anymore.

Would it have been easier in our 20s or 30s, sure but life happens. We are counting on it being easier now rather than waiting another eight years for me to turn 65. Would it be easier if we had more money, sure -- we are banking on the fact you can live a lot cheaper on the water and in different countries. Health care was probably our biggest worry and the thing that kept us from moving forward -- we finally realized that the longer we put it off the worse it would get.

Right now it seems more like a vacation rather than a life style change. Most of our friends and family do not understand. We did not spend years planning this, just the last year. When we left we had not worked out all of the details, but we are extremely good at problem solving on the fly and very adaptable when the situation requires it. It is our time now and we are embracing it to the fullest extent!
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Old 08-09-2012, 20:15   #37
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Re: The Golden Years: Myth or Reality?

Was able to put together the wherewithal to buy a Westsail 32 kit when I turned 30 and wife finished her masters. Lived in a VW bus while building the boat and moved onto boat as sections were finished. Wife worked and helped out in evenings. Launched boat in a year, cruised SoCal for a year while we finished the boat. Left for points south. Had a wonderful time cruising, possibly the best years of our marriage. Not that the rest was bad but had a great time, just the two of us. We moved on, kids, career, etc that take up the middle years of a life.

Now, I've still got the boating bug, bought an old Pearson 35 a while back, completed a single handed TransPac, and slowly modifying the boat to my exact needs. Unfortunately, wife has made it very clear it's my boat so expect mostly sailing solo from now on. She plays golf, I sail. See too many boats up for sale because of poor health or age that people waited too long to go on that cruise.
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Old 08-09-2012, 20:26   #38
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Re: The Golden Years: Myth or Reality?

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Frankly, it might be better to 'retire' at 50 or so, then take a menial job again at 65 or 70 if/when the money runs out. It's proven that people who stay engaged and active live longer and stay sharper.
Entering the job market at 70 to work where? Only so many walmart greeters careers to go around.

Besides, remember that awful feeling of the alarm clock going off, telling you to get ready for work? Think about how that would feel at 70?

Better to work while you can, and keep the apple cart behind the horse.
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Old 08-09-2012, 21:19   #39
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Re: The Golden Years: Myth or Reality?

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Life is a journey, not a destination.

Do all you can as you go along. Live the life you want not the one prescribed.

The funniest thing about Americans (being one myself) is how many are slaves to their house. Lowes, Home Depot etc. all cater to millions of Americans working on their nests week after week after week and calling it a life.

Build sailing (or whatever it is) into your lifestyle and dump things that don't fit.

I have always said -- you don't own your house, your house owns you.

Glad to be free of it.
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Old 08-09-2012, 21:38   #40
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Re: The Golden Years: Myth or Reality?

Reality for me. Just turned 60. Barring the unforseen, as good ol' Jack LaLane would have said, it's all about staying fit and active. One of my fav quotes from him refering to he and his wife "We can do anything a teenager can do, it just takes a bit longer" Smart and funny!!
I seldom take note of passing birthdays but this one got to me. I was really tickled to have made it this far and realized that the 60s youth mantra "live for today" really worked. Even as I keep moving forward towards a life at sea I can look back at a fine world of memories... hard times, good times great loves, amazing disasters. I have tried everything I wanted to (failing at so many things!) and my regrets are not about what I didn't do but about big mistakes and as painful as those are they don't linger; sharp little pains rather than a lasting ache.
Jimbo you are hanging with the wrong old people. My friend Noel who seldom passes up a bit of Irish is deep in his sixties single-hands his 36' Cape Dory ketch everywhere, writes and plays music often busking on streets in little coastal towns for fun. He runs an online radio station from his boat and a stroke 10years ago that debilitated him for a bit is ancient history. So Cal waters are full of old-timers sailing around who can tie one on and "float test" bad gear and sailing pals with the best of 'em.
In spite of my creaks and cracks I wouldn't trade my timming for anything and, Gods willing, will soon follow on the heels of Harry Heckle who solo voyaged the globe aboard Idle Queen until his 85th year.
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Old 08-09-2012, 22:17   #41
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Re: The Golden Years: Myth or Reality?

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Entering the job market at 70 to work where? Only so many walmart greeters careers to go around.

Besides, remember that awful feeling of the alarm clock going off, telling you to get ready for work? Think about how that would feel at 70?

Better to work while you can, and keep the apple cart behind the horse.
Agreed. This attitude of "take a leap of faith, it'll all work out in the end" is a bit simplistic and irresponsible to say the least. I understand going before you get old but you have a responsibility to not become a burden to someone else because you wanted to live your dream and now that you did you're broke. If I want to do this "cruise thing", and believe me, I do, it will only be when I have worked and saved enough money to fully take care of myself and my wife financially till death. If I never make that position, so be it I won't go. Don't expect that you can always get a job in your 70's. Be responsible and make sure you don't have to.
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Old 08-09-2012, 22:22   #42
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Re: The Golden Years: Myth or Reality?

The statistics say that for those of us that reach 70 we have an average of 13 yrs. left. A few make it to their 90s, very few make it to 100+. What the statistics don't say is how many of those over 70 can even walk, talk or think coherently. One thing we do know is that as lifespan increases dementia becomes ever more prevalent.

My point. Don't wait too long.

Oh, and for most people looking for work after retirement, it will be something like a night watchman in an almost empty building. If you have never worked shift work you have an awful surprise coming.
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Old 08-09-2012, 22:32   #43
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Worked mostly for myself until 66, enjoyed the challenges and the money, never knew what an 8 hour day was until the last year. Bought a 37 foot Island Packet 14 years ago and upgraded over the years to at least try a cruise. Went down the ICW to Marathon last year, stayed for two and half months in a nice condo marina and made the return trip to the Chesapeake. Cruising to me became waiting for weather windows, watching depth and red and green marks or sitting in some bar at happy hour waiting for the sunset while everybody was exclaiming it could not get any better than this. Bought a slip on the Chesapeake close to the house, enjoy the sailing with my wife and seeing the grand kids grow up. These are the Golden Years, but so were the previous years, no need to relive any years in the past, been there done that.
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Old 08-09-2012, 22:45   #44
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Re: The Golden Years: Myth or Reality?

That is my dillema. I am working today in my early 30s to have enough money for a few months (days) worth of nursing home care in my 90s? Inflation will make it so expensive in 60 years, and I think it is expensive even today.

I also don't beleive the 401k myth about an average 8% return each year. In the past 3 years the stock market has rebounded more than that, but is it going to get to 52,000 by 2030 or 112,000 by 2040? (stock splits make it hard to tell though). Although I still put in 10% of my salary, but unless I want to live on the $500/month plan after I turn 65, I better have other options.

And one of my fears is not being able to find another job if I drop out of the workforce. Even though it is my plan if I lose my job tomorrow to take a few years off and travel the world and then start a business which may or may not work. I could then use that excuse for not having a 9-5 job if I had to look for another office job. I would probably look toward a paying non-profit type of job though. I'm not sure what I would do if I were 70 and needed to work. Politics is about the only thing that can be done, but if you haven't 'lived' anywhere in one place for a long time, it is hard to win.
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Old 08-09-2012, 22:45   #45
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Re: The Golden Years: Myth or Reality?

My wife and I didn't wait until age 65 to take some time off. We've seen too many folks including relatives wait too long to retire; most have either become sick with chronic illness or become comfortable with a sedentary lifestyle.

With a comfortable income at age 53, we purchased the boat and now dedicate five months of the year to travel and living aboard.

I had one very close call and cheated death several years ago when a grand piano fell on me... maybe that changed my outlook. Life is short, live it financially responsible and live it to the fullest. I love bicycle racing and sailing and hope to do lot's of both well into my 70's and hopefully.... beyond. No regrets.
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