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Old 15-11-2006, 14:08   #1
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Just getting started future cruiser

Hi everybody, first post - just found this great forum!

Just had a question for some of the veteran sailors...

In the liveaboard budget topic on this page, many of the vets said they would "do things different if I were 20 something." Also many people said they would have/should have started sooner. I'm just curious what my options are at this age to get cruising sooner. I'm 25, married, just finished Paramedic school and have a bit of credit card debt from school (read: no real hope for passive income soon...). Don't have a house or a boat yet. We've been trying to get to a more frugal lifestyle (letting our cars get payed off and keep them etc.... ).

Not having to work would be pretty sweet (at least for long periods of time).

The unfortunate part of my career choice is it requires some fairly frequent upkeep for certification and other than my inherent medical skills is pretty useless outside the US. My wife is a teacher, which should have at least some use abroad and she could probably keep up the continuing ed with internet classes/etc.

Basically, we're trying to decide whether to settle down in careers for a while, buy a house and a smaller boat for the meantime or to try to embark on an adventurous lifestyle sooner.

So now that you all have my life story.....any great ideas or input??
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Old 15-11-2006, 14:52   #2
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When I was young...

When I was about your age and wanted to go sailing I built a boat, and then went sailing.
I never got to do serious cruising, but that was more to do with relationships than intentions. I am now outfitting a boat to see if I can finally go.
So, my suggestion is to consider either building or seriously renovating a boat, particularly if a building space is available at a good price.
Keep in mind that even a sound boat will take a couple of years to get into cruising condition.
You do not mention children but it may be wise to factor them into your plans.
My mistake was not having clear goals. Did I want to build boats, sail them round the harbour, race, or go cruising.
In retrospect I could have made a lot more money if I had been focused.
Three years hard work on a boat and I would have had a cruising yacht.
In terms of making money while cruising I have seen two basic ways.
The first is yachties who come back home when the money runs out, sell their boat and build another.
The second, which does not get much discussion, is to acquire some serious skills as a marine (diesel) mechanic, electrician etc.
If one reads between the line of discussions on cruising budgets it seems to me that yachties who can fully maintain their own boats cruise on far less money.
An interesting book on this topic is : The Cruising Life: A Commonsense Guide for the Would-Be Voyager by Jim Trefethen
http://www.amazon.com/Cruising-Life-...e=UTF8&s=books
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Old 15-11-2006, 16:29   #3
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I guess that there is not a lot of difference between buying a house and paying off the loan and buying a boat that you live aboard and paying off the loan. Even if it takes a few years to get to the stage where you can take off for the long haul, you can use the time to fix the boat up exactly how you want it. You will be able to learn to sail it really well (short handed) and you will be able to use it for shorter crusing trips as work/holidays allow....
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Old 15-11-2006, 16:31   #4
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Just a little advice..
Buy your first home as soon as possible and then go from there, realistically speaking it is very difficult to make money while cruising to cover the costs no matter what age you are. It might be possible to get by if you get rid of debts and your boat is paid for... Just remember that boats deteriorate at a ridiculous pace and repairs are costly no matter how much of it you can do yourself.
Do your best to avoid credit card debt!
In the end it truly is up to you how you will live your life.. Why wait to retire to live your life..
Just my 2 cents.
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Old 15-11-2006, 16:34   #5
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I think most people look at life as a black or white propostion. What about this? As long as wife is on the same page why not buy a boat that is big enough to cruise and liveaboard. Live on the boat and cruise in the USA don't know which coast you are on but on the East Coast there are lots of great cruising grounds (west coast has them too just farther between anchorages) You can work 9 months out of the year and then cruise three months during the summer. That way you can see if the life suits you or not. Living Frugal is good no matter. Save the money and something will come along to spend it on.

Oh BTW welcome aboard.
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Old 15-11-2006, 16:47   #6
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I was 25 when I got out of the Navy, met my wife and went cruising. Traded our paid off vehicles for a $12k boat. Saved up a couple thousand more dollars and took off. Sailed through the islands working as we went, scraping by and poor, but I don't regret it for a second. A wise man once told me "enjoy your 20's, you can always make money in your 30's". After 6 years aboard we sold the boat and started working seriously. Maybe not for everyone, but it worked for me.
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Old 16-11-2006, 02:51   #7
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Quote:
Basically, we're trying to decide whether to settle down in careers for a while, buy a house and a smaller boat for the meantime or to try to embark on an adventurous lifestyle sooner.
No matter the circumstances you need a course that works. Enjoying the whole experience is the trick. Doing it as a family means you all have to be in it. Just know the Captain can't sleep when the Admiral is unhappy.

It's not like you need a lot of money but getting out from under a load of debt seems a first step. If you can at least get back to zero you can start something different. Pay as you go can work. It's more about what you spend and less about how much you make.
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Old 16-11-2006, 03:31   #8
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This is what I tell my kids..

"Do your best to avoid credit card debt!"

No, avoid it like the plague! I chopped up my credit cards back in the '80s and never looked back! Trying to get your life going while using credit cards is like trying to sail against the tide while dragging a sea anchor.

Do -everything- possible to get out of debt as soon as you can. Always remember, your not "borrowing" money your "renting" it.

Don't buy the shiny car, don't buy the shiny boat.. Buy what you can afford. Learn on the cheap stuff. You can have a blast with the cheap stuff while your learning. And when its time to go to the next step, you'll have a much better idea where you want to go. And you'll much more likely to have the means to do the jump.

Once your out of debt, start squirling away something every month. Don't waste time with the standard bank accounts (less than 1% on your savings) get a discont brokarage account (I use Shwab, love it.) Dump your monthly savings into a money market for the time being, 4%-5% and then start learing about investing and how all that works.

Read - "Personal finance for dummys" <- I wish I read this when I was in my 20s.

Recap: Get out of debt, start saving each month, buy used stuff to learn on.. After awhile if you still want to be a cruiser, great do the next step! If not, still great! Why? 'Cause you will be free!

-jim lee
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Old 16-11-2006, 14:10   #9
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Originally Posted by Surfing Sailor
The unfortunate part of my career choice is it requires some fairly frequent upkeep for certification and other than my inherent medical skills is pretty useless outside the US. My wife is a teacher, which should have at least some use abroad and she could probably keep up the continuing ed with internet classes/etc.

Basically, we're trying to decide whether to settle down in careers for a while, buy a house and a smaller boat for the meantime or to try to embark on an adventurous lifestyle sooner.

So now that you all have my life story.....any great ideas or input??
It is always so much easier planning someone else's life!

Although I have not done the Liveaboard thing (maybe in a couple of years??), from the age of around 28 I spent around half of the next 10 years on holiday in various parts of the world for periods usually ranging from a month or so up to 6/7 months, although I also (vaguely ) recall a trip of around 18 months.

How did I pay for this? by coming back home to work (the world IS a small place by 747!) . The important thing being that I came back to work in my chosen proffesion - I could have probably stayed away ad infinitum picking Bananas etc, but I don't like working much!, so I figured if I had to work it might as well be doing something I knew how to do well and was therefore well paid for (relatively) so my next trip was not on a bare budget and I could even save a few quid as well . It also meant that I kept my skills up to date - the world does move on, and I have met plenty of those who had made a one way trip (financially / skills wise) which they did later regret, it is easy to mentally vegitate

Of course I was / am lucky in having skills that are in demand where I come from. Well, not entirely "lucky"..............

I never intended to go on holiday quite so much and my bank manager wishes I hadn't , but now I am making up for "lost time" workwise, without already having developed ulcers or had a heartattack! and I 100% don't regret the experiances I had - even though it did cost me a fortune in lost earnings! (I wish some of them had been by boat - but you can't have everything!)........If I hadn't been away I would probably still be doing exactly what I am doing now, just that I would have a few more quid in the bank, albeit no doubt with a far narrower outlook on the world / life.

Whilst on the subject of money, I think that the experiance gained from "going away" from my norm has actually been beneficial to me financially upon my return, by giving me an increased ability to look at "The bigger picture" and to realise that many (most?!) things that are a part of my "normal life" at home are "in the great of scheme of life" essentially meaningless - and therefore the fact that I missed working for 5 years for the desk slightly nearer the window doesn't really matter. anymore I am also pretty sure I wouldn't be working for myself now, and in the same work environment now having the ability to say f#ck off to the same folk whose ar#es I would previously have been kissing . Oh, and I would probably be in AA

Sorry, I have rabbitted on! Just trying to say that taking time out is not always a one way cost, as long as you do also think ahead. and not just hope for the best.

IME once you are past the 2 week holiday hump your daily average cost of living drops considerably, cos' you no longer need to "do everything at once" and have the time to learn what is cheap and where - it also helps if you are somewhere cheap and your hard currency goes a long way

In your proffesion I dunno how easy it is for you to pick up work at short notice back in the US of A or whether 3 / 6 month short term contracts you can plan to are the norm? But I guess that for Teachers that this is pretty much a normal MO? You never know, if you get down to somewhere English speaking (or Australia ) you and / or the missus may be able to re-certify (or whatever it is called!). After a couple of 6 month trips your boat may be a long way away - or not. Up to you.

After a couple of 6 month trips (or more??) if you decide not to keep on cruising / or "just" to go ashore for a year or 5 (to buy the house etc etc) at least you still are in contact with your working environment and do not have to start on the bottom rung again.
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