Originally Posted by John Casey
Tina, similar to what Satdiver said, consider an alternative to binary sell/buy a house and look at a broader financial picture.
There are many ways to handle your money and many opinions on the best way for you. Of course while you should listen to (some of) them with care, none of the opinions really matter other than yours, provided you are comfortable with financial planning and have some resources to work with. As you are considering this kind of life, I assume this to be the case.
Having cash tied up in static assets is not necessarily a bad thing provided it is earning for you...in the long run. Steady stable tenants, blue chips with DRIPs, etc should be the focus, and not what all the talking heads shout about during their financial sound bite. While some people can make good money "playing" real estate and the markets, you don't want the worry while you are trying to enjoy/learn your new live aboard lifestyle.
As far as the actual decision to live aboard goes, my advice is to try it now, so as to not be disappointed you didn't later.
My wife and are have just started our own 5-year plan to get there as well.
Good luck to you.
Also good advice, I should have said real estate is not the only investment. It's the one I choose personally although I also dabble a bit in other investments. The thing I mainly wanted to point out is having a back up plan and a financial cushion or some form of something I think is a requirement IMHO unless you're in your 20's or 30's just mucking about.
In my years living aboard
I've seen couples and families financially level themselves selling the kit'n kaboodle for a boat. Unless one person is a shipwright and the other is a mechanic
with two kids
one being a rigger and the other a sailmaker
you're going to need help or in the years to come things are going to start failing.
I can't see enjoying the lifestyle without some sorta cushion for emergencies or catastrophic failures.
I understand some people consider themselves a Jack of all trades but when one really sits back and gets honest with themselves they know what they really can handle and what they (should) outsource.
A sailboat is a complex vehicle and requires many skill sets to properly maintain hence the word properly. One of the most important words good boat/yacht owners know that have the best maintained and safest vessels is (delegate). If you're going to live on a boat you're going to be using all of it's systems on a regular basis which means more maintenance
than if you're week ending or cruising a few weeks a year. No book or even 40 years of doing it can teach you everything you need to know.
Finances are always a hot topic in the cruising world and that's why I made it my goal when I was younger to position myself so it was not something I needed to constantly worry about. I'm not rich but I know no matter what happens to my boat, no matter where I take it and no matter what fails I can handle it without breaking the bank and it makes the lifestyle much more enjoyable.
It's all common sense if you work at retail store and have no assets you don't go buy a Aston Martin same goes for a boat. I've seen people sell their house and buy 40+ foot boats making 35k a year in annuities and guess where most of them stay.? The Dock
or the Mooring
. They are typically the ones that have been "outfitting" their boat for 5+ years for the big cruise
only to have cautiously motored around the Harbor a few times total. There is nothing wrong with that and I've seen many happy people doing exactly this but it would not be my first choice in lifestyle. The truth is first Identifying how you as a couple, family
person identify with the word adventure. For some it's gunkholing, for others it's crossing oceans and for many it's just living in a marina. I can see the appeal of each one but for me if I can't afford to cruise
through out the year without financial woes I'd rather live on land.