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Old 26-06-2007, 22:51   #1
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Yuppie Sailors

I've been reading here for some time but just registered today. There is always a great deal of conversation about how much money you need to leave and the observation that cruisers tend to be young and living on a shoestring, middle age people taking some time off, or retired.

I'm addressing this to the those people in the middle as I'm about to turn 38. My wife and I, no kids yet but that could change, are interested in spending some time cruising. Realistically, we have enough money to take a few years off it but I'm reluctant to step away from my career for any length of time. I'm one of those over educated, intellectual types that's not inately handy- although I'm learning every day on my old boat. Worse, my field is pretty specialized. If I leave the treadmill, I fear that I won't be able to earn a comparable amount when I return. One the other hand, we've always lived below our means and could handle making less money. Its just culturally difficult to have spent so much time on school and career and then not use it to the fullest.

So, is there anyone 35-45 years old that has taken a few years off and that decision impacted your career? How long were you away and what was the employment situation when you returned? I'm thinking that our time will be in about 5 years- unless children come along. That may or may not be a deal killer- and is probably another thread altogether.

I read on another post that money is a renewable asset- youth is not. That rings true with me. Financially, I'm a risk taker when it comes to investments but I'm struggling with the earning potential issue. Thoughts?


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Old 27-06-2007, 02:06   #2
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Originally Posted by OldSchool
I am always good for an opinion me And I see that this turned into a long rambling post about "me me me", that fails to address your plans for a 5 year work gap Oh, well - welcome to the Internet

35-45? Not quite, but from the age of 28 to around 38 (2 years ago) I only spent around half my time working - the rest on extended holidays - albeit not on a boat.

The ability to return to my chosen field was a big consideration, and the compromise I made was to ensure that I returned to work (on Contracts) on a regular basis, the idea being not to lose my "skills" (LOL!!), keep up with changes in the job / marketplace and also to maintain some well as earning more money to keep me on later extended holidays!

The money I earned kept pace with others in the marketplace, the main downside being I was never "climbing a greasy pole" (but this to me was a big plus as well!), but it also gave me a chance to stand back from what I was doing work wise and carefully consider the future and in fact I would say that time away proffessionally has enhanced my "career" and earning my case no longer taking the job as a matter of life and death (I don't work in A & E!) actually helps when dealing with others and more senior folk, who mistake my attitude of in my heart not really giving a sh#t as being very confident I do know "stuff"

Just as a bit of Bio, I work in a "proffessional job" and at the age of 28 already had 10 years under my belt.........albeit I am spectacularly under paper qualified .......however in my industry in my part of the world the economy over the last 30 years has been mostly booming, with the occassional dip to bouyant.....therefore their always have been jobs to return to, especially for those who are fairly good........I appreciate that in this respect that I have been very lucky. I would personally never risk giving up my chosen proffession at my current age of 40 - whether deliberately or accidently, unless I had something better to do. Not because of any love of my job, just purely income wise.

However at the grand old age of 38 I decided that my life of extended travel was no to be no more - everything gets kinda same same after doing it long enough, and in any event I met "the Missus" (during my travels) and we decided to finally try and "settle down". I even eventually married her .

That was 2 years ago and since then I have been trying to work hard and make up financially for lost time! (I am down to about 30% holidays and trying to reduce this!) Whilst I am conscious that my list of Assets is way lower than it would have been if I had remained working full time, my debt is zero, nada, zilch........and I believe that my position is recoverable by hard work and being a tad "careful" on the expenditure front - especially over the next 5 years - plus having some sort of work / financial plan / aims to work extended cruising lifestyle is a possibilty / hope / dreams (hence me hanging out here!), but for me (and the Missus) it is not the only one. But I have the boat, bought and paid for.........she just needs "a bit of tidying up" (LOL!!)......

What I am trying to say (in my usual long winded way!) is that keeping one eye on the future (including boring stuff like money!) IS important and having some sort of realistic plan is desirable (but nothing wrong with a few unrealistic ones - otherwise we would all be Accountants ), the folk who retire / semi retire at 40 /50 / 60 / 70 comfortably (whether on boats or elsewhere) all put in the hard work beforehand (obviously exceptions do apply!).......whilst I do not regret my time away from the workplace (it's also how I met the Missus) and would do it again, I took a calculated risk (which touch wood) has worked out more or less as predicted / hoped for. But I know I could now be working in a McJob....but a risk I was prepared to take........Yer can't take the money with you, but it is nice to have some when you are alive........

No easy answers.........

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Old 27-06-2007, 04:13   #3
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We did exactly that. Took off for 2 1/2 years and cruised the southern Caribe and SA return mid 2007. We fit your age demographic to the T.

I am a corporate finance guy and my wife IT mainframes. We had recruiters and companies all over us. I lost the bet, it took me 14 days to get a job with nearly the same salary when I left, she 10 days. My wife actually gained. It depends on your skill set on the job you get on return. Highly technical or fast evolving skills requires a bit of time to get back up to speed. Finance...well nuff said.

Do NOT be afraid to feature the cruising on your resume. For the both of us it was the biggest draw for getting interviews. Don't be afraid to explain the cruise as a positive. Owning and managing your own ship outside the country, navigating offshore, immigrations, taking total control of your life and safety. Then finally why you co-workers are in the process of being burned out and dreaming of going to the islands, you can say been there and am ready to be back and focused on work(not true in my case can't wait to get out again forever in 5 years).

Work is the means to the end, the end is to live life. You don't want to look back at 80 years old and say I should have done that, but my job was more important because soceity told me it was. What a waste of a life.

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Old 27-06-2007, 04:18   #4
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Our daughter didn't take time off to sail away, but she took 5 years off in her early 30's to stay home with the kids. She works in a highly technical engineering field. She networked the whole time she was staying home, a lot of it by email, and when the time came to go back to work, she had no difficulty at all. We wondered if the technology might have passed her by, but no problem.

Networking is probably a key factor.

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but carries my heart as a stowaway."
-Roselle Mercier Montgomery"
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Old 27-06-2007, 04:29   #5
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No man ever looked up from his death bed into the eyes of his family and friends and said, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office.”

Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die, so one day health nuts are going to feel stupid, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
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Old 27-06-2007, 04:53   #6
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I agree with every thing said so far. Especially the part about using cruising on your resume. In 2001 I quit for a year and had no trouble finding a job in the depressed market following 9/11.

In THREE DAYS I am going to do it again! Yahoooo!

Being in Austin you may be in a fast changing research field and spending some time away from the competition may put you at a disadvantage. But for me being specialized was a benefit. My profession and industry is relatively small and that made it easy to be "known". I was lucky enough to have worked for a highly successful company and had a reputation that went with it. I reentered the job market when a company approached me.

I have advocated the Go Now philosophy in the past and still do with one caviet. You can't Go Now if you have dug yourself into a financial hole. But it sounds like you have money to work with. In the past my financial plan worked with two 'funds'. The first was my cruising/party money. As long as I had money in that fund I had no calendar. The second was my establishment fund. When I began digging into it that is when I had to start working. The establishment fund includes all of the cash required to get an apartment, buy a car, travel for job interviews, pay Kinkos... establish myself. I've been through too many mergers to believe that my future income was aligned with my tenure, but that is just my industry.

A HR exec I know offered these two bits of advice:
At the height of unemployment in the US 650,000 jobs went unfilled.
A good hand can always find a ranch.
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Old 27-06-2007, 05:39   #7
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For us, (me 44, her 42) we decided on a date of departure. Her salary just about covers the bills (we live well within our means, something we feel is very important to following the dream). Then we put at least half of what I made into a "boat fund" account that didn't get touched except if the money couldn't come from anywhere else. A couple of weeks ago we found and bought the boat, '82 Islander Freeport 36. Paid cash so we don't have a boat mortgage coming out of the cruising kitty. Now the boat fund acct. is the cruising kitty.

We set our rough date for fall of '09, with a contingency of spring of 2010, although we don't want to leave at the beginning of hurricane season. Our plans are to take a year to a year and a half off and cruise the Caribbean, then come back and work for 6 months in the summer, winter on the boat in the Caribbean for six months. If we do this for 3-4 years, we should be able to put enough away to then take off for a 2-3 year stretch and go beyond the Caribbean. House would be rented.

I think having a vague plan makes it harder to stick to it and make it happen. Once we set the date, we got down to the business of making it happen and the ball is now rolling. Next two and a half years will be spent learning the systems and the boat, getting rid of systems we feel are unnecessary, and getting to know our boat.

I have a quote on my wall above my computer from Sterling Hayden. He was the crazy general in "Dr. Strangelove" and and avid sailor. These are words for us to live by from his book "Wanderer".

"I've always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine--and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need--really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in--and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all--in the material sense. And we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it the tomb is sealed.

Where, then lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: backruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?"

Sterling Hayden

The way I look at it is, you only get one shot at this life. There are no do-overs.
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Old 27-06-2007, 06:05   #8
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Originally Posted by GordMay
No man ever looked up from his death bed into the eyes of his family and friends and said, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office.”
This is something my father said all the time when i was growing up and there's no real way to argue with it. I just don't know if he knew it would turn me into a slacker in the long run
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Old 27-06-2007, 06:10   #9
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Out thoughts simply stated
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Old 27-06-2007, 06:15   #10
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Originally Posted by Latitude9.5
I just don't know if he knew it would turn me into a slacker in the long run

Adult child to his estranged father:
"You know what mom's biggest fear is? That you life has been fun."
Paraphrased from the movie Nobody's Fool
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Old 27-06-2007, 08:09   #11

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Originally Posted by Pura Vida
I have advocated the Go Now philosophy in the past and still do with one caviet. You can't Go Now if you have dug yourself into a financial hole.
This is VERY important. I am living proof that you can't just "go now" if you don't have vast savings and/or a paid for boat.

While we aren't worried about careers anymore (who needs one!), we certainly can't afford to hop around the world paying for everything while paying off a boat. It's just not possible unless you have a pile of cash.

You can always get back and get into the swing of your career, but make sure you are ready financially for the cruise. We weren't.

Now we are selling out boat since we can't use her after putting $23K into her in a massive refit to cruise in '06.
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Old 27-06-2007, 08:23   #12
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What if this is heaven? This earth and everything on it has all we need to be truly, ecstatically, happy.

You'd sure feel stupid to die one day after retirement, get to heaven and be told by St. Peter, "That was it. Everything you needed was right there. Are you a complete Dum@ss?"

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Old 27-06-2007, 08:26   #13
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Thanks for the responses. I didn't think about the positive spin that could be put on a cruising sabattical. Its good to hear that a few of you have used it to good effect- and quickly found jobs at similar income levels.

We aren't in any financial trouble. Small house, cars paid for etc. We have a boat now but its not one that I would take on the open seas- that's something to address. I have been considering getting a larger boat, something in the 40 foot range, and bringing it to Austin from the Gulf. My logic is that it would give us time to learn the boat. My wife is attached to the current boat (a P30) and thinking I'm crazy to want a boat that big on our lake- although there are plenty of powerboats that big. It would be a big step in the five year plan.

I like the idea of cruising on a 6/12 month rotation. That would allow me to keep a finger in the profession through consulting and be a bit easier on my wife. Truth be told, I've not had a real job for over a year now and made good money through consulting. I could possibly continue to do so from a boat with a good internet connection. Not to mention maintaining the network contacts- which is so important in consulting. I'm in the medical devices field and its important to keep up to date. As I think about, this too can be done via the internet (daily wires, journal subscriptions etc.). I do that now. Is a good internet connection possible from a boat now?

I should talk to a couple of my trusted recruiters and see what they think about reentering the work force after a cruise.

Good food for thought.

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Old 27-06-2007, 10:48   #14
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OldSchool, he say:
I should talk to a couple of my trusted recruiters and see what they think about reentering the work force after a cruise.
Now there's a good idea.
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Old 02-07-2007, 17:25   #15
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I try not to post anything that isn't designed to be helpful or encouraging, so this one is easy. Go! My wife and I left our careers when I was 36 and came back just before I turned 40. We had spent all the money we would have lost anyway in the dot com bust, and I ended up, two weeks after returning, taking up a better job than I had when we left, for more money and a faster promotion opportunity. We came back nearly broke, incredibly greatful for the experience of cruising, and concentrated on starting a family. Ten years later, we are preparing to go again with three kids. There are people who do things, and there are people who regret not doing things. Pick the right group. Sterling Hayden was right! The people who are afraid they can't, need to go the most. See you out there.

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