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Old 23-10-2010, 05:41   #1
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Smile 'The Plan'

I've been reading these forums off and on for about five years now, and recently joined. I guess this would kind of be an introductory post.

My wife and I would like to retire to a sailboat. Probably somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean. We've scouted Corpus Christi, and we kind of like it.

This will obviously require planning.

We're also not exactly sure what our resources are going to be at that point. We carry ZERO debt, have cash in the bank, and may be able to sock away as much as $120,000 in savings by retirement. But then again, at age 40 I lost everything (I was 18 months away from having my home paid off), and had to start over again. We're planning on a modest, blue-collar type retirement.

We're also not exactly sure what our needs will be at that point. At this point, we're wanting to cut our ties to land (i.e. no part time reitirement jobs) and just cruise. But we also realize that some folks arrive at that point and end up just using the boat as a floating condo. It is our goal to be honest ourselves on this. I'm not interested in rebuilding a basket case, but I don't mind putting a little sweat equity into the project.

We intend to plan in broad strokes at this point, remain flexible, and as the time approaches, we will bring our plan into a finer focus.

Our current situation is that I'm 48 now, and intend to retire at 58. I'm in good shape- I did my first Triathlon recently. My wife is 15 years younger than me, and is also in great shape. She is my best friend, she looks like a Hooter's Girl, and she is more fun than giving two toys to three kids. I have a government retirement plan that will provide for us. If Social Security is still around in 10 years, that may help out too. Having done my own home repairs for 20 years and having spent even longer in auto repair, I think I have a skill set that is compatible with making a go of this. We have several family members who have lived on their sailboats for about the last 10 years, and have spent enough time with them to be comfortable with this.

Since we don't know what our needs will be, we don't know what kind of boat we will want. On Yacht World, we look at everything from Downeaster 38s to Formosa 51s, but I also take a peek at J/Boats between about 30-40 feet when my wife isn't paying attention.

Without going into too much detail, we are the kind of folks that have the determination required to pretty much accomplish anything that we set our minds to, combined with just enough smarts and money to pursue this goal. I guess we're going to be learning a lot over the next 10 years.

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Old 23-10-2010, 05:53   #2
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Well sounds like a good plan with realistic expectations on how to go about it.

You don't mention your boating background but reading between the lines I am guessing not much? If so you might want to get a little boat time in, one way or the other, before making the big commitment. I know my likes and dislikes changed quite a bit after I spent more time on boats.

Some options, crewing on other boats or maybe getting a cheap practice boat. If you buy well you can resell it and at least get your investment back and end up with some free boating time.

When it does get time to buy it sounds like you are handy enough to do a lot of repairs and upgrades. My plan was to buy a bargain boat structurally sound but cosmetically challenged and make it pretty again.

The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.

Sometimes it's necessary to state the obvious for the benefit of the oblivious.

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Old 23-10-2010, 07:17   #3
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Inverlyon.

Well sounds like a good plan with realistic expectations on how to go about it. Oh wait, somebody already said that.
Well, it can’t hurt repeating, along with skipmac’s other astute observations.
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 23-10-2010, 08:35   #4
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It's a good idea to retire every couple of years.

My first retirement started when I was 47, and I have been working on and off since then, periodically retiring and periodically topping up my Cruising Chips.

The multiple retirement idea works good for me. That way I am not placing all the bets on a specific date. The economy could tank at the planned date of retirement or our health could get vaporized without warning.

I prefer a time diversified retirement. If my knees go out, if my liver quits, or if the economy turns down, I will at least have already enjoyed two or three retirements, and I will have fewer regrets.

My best sailing friend died of lung cancer when he was 47, and he was not a smoker. His first retirment was at age 30 when he did a four year circumnavigation.
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Old 23-10-2010, 09:03   #5
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Wow! One of the best things about your first post is you have not asked us what boat you should buy!!!
Thats great as you will just get totally confused with conflicting answers!

10 years to go before you retire is GREAT!
You can slowly get information together and hone the skills you think you will need.

If you havent done much sailing I would (you can do what you like, but I would...) go to the local sailing club that races big size sailingboats offshore and go see if theres novice crew positions available.

That way learning about sailing and about boats happens concurrently.

I would also book into a history and geography course on areas I wish to sail, maybe even do some French or Spanish classes etc.

All the best
Notes on a Circumnavigation.

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Old 24-10-2010, 02:13   #6
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You have to have a plan.
I have had a plan for about 5 years.
Now I have "the plan", it is on paper, and it has a time line.
Make sure you do it while the body is able, $$$ don't matter.
Cheers, Emmo
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Old 24-10-2010, 02:38   #7
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Old 24-10-2010, 03:35   #8
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10 years? my recomendation a boat

I wouldn't go for "the" one yet - especially if the plan is to get one that requires some TLC. A couple of years of being sailor, skipper, owner, maintanence chief , engineer and simply being around the boating world will give you the opportunity to learn a lot hands on that will translate into a better buying decision for "the" retirement boat. On both boat choice and in $$$ terms. Your choices will change from now. and yer Missus might have some ideas as well

Therefore I would buy with one eye (or both!) on resale - whether that be a 20' daysailor or a 40 footer. That means apart from buying well $$$ also buying something others like, even if the price of that is less boatsize for your buck. and not overcapitalising on her with ugrades / refurb - the money won't be coming back just adding to easier resale. possibly. Remember that a good reason why many boats look attractive on the Size vs $$$ ratio is that not many folks want them - especially if needing $$$ put in. Buy a $20k boat and put $20k in and you have a nice........$20k boat. Doesn't matter if you get the use / benefit over future years - does if you sell before doing so.

Still leaves you plenty of years to find and then put some TLC into "the" boat.

But you sound like you've got the skills to do ok. Happy Retirement 2020
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Old 24-10-2010, 05:49   #9
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retirer in 10 yrs??? why wait...sounds to me like you're better off now than most cruisers i know and anything can happen in the next 10 yrs. you're still young and if you find that the cruising life sucks , you can always go back to earning $$$$...or...hooters is still hiring...
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Old 24-10-2010, 06:28   #10
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I decided to take a sabbatical and go to see for 4 yrs while I was young, healthy and could presumably come back and get work going again. Or I might find an entirely different life as live/workaboard or discover some new life.

What remained was my love of sailing, but did not discover a new life nor did I have work aboard or the means to support myself when my funds were depleted, so I returned with the boat and resumed my former career, unfortunately in a worse economic climate and having lost lots of clients and connections. So it was not as easy as I had imagined.

If you can sock away cash for a future date, I would give no less than 5 years after you get the boat to get it set up and you completely comfortable with what is coming next. My suggestion would be to begin it all 5 years before you plan to sail off and this would also give you time to both reconsider the plan or even abandon it. It's sort of wadding into the water... as opposed to jumping of a cliff.

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