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Old 23-06-2008, 02:05   #16
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"This wouldn't even be an issue if I lived in Europe and got 6 weeks vacation a year, but alas, this is not the case."

So, as Tao says, go join the B's! I made my way from the UK to Canada and then to the USA when I was 22 and have been here ever since (with 2 1/2 years as an expat in Singapore). Now I look back, giving up 5 weeks vacation for the US 2-4? Must have been nuts! (But otherwise no complaints)
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Old 23-06-2008, 03:32   #17
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No problem, Mon.

Dear WannaBeTraveln,

It can be done. I left the regular working world when I was 40. We bought an enclosed utility trailer and took the kids out of school and went on a camping tour of North America. We had saved some money and we cashed in our house equity and just took off. I always said that I would probably have to work until I was seventy because of doing that.
Well it is 27 years later. We have educated the boys. We have bought and paid for another house. We will retire to a modest boat that we can pay cash for next year. We have not only seen North America from Alaska to Mexico, we have lived for extended periods in Taiwan, Chile, and South Africa. We have visited Bangkok, Hong Kong, Europe and England.
Donít get me wrong, I enjoyed being an electrical engineer in the space race. I worked hard and was promoted and well paid, but I really enjoyed our travels and adventures. It seems like God has further rewarded me with letting me become a foreign missionary these last ten years.
I loved being a pilot and flying our airplanes. I think that I will love being a captain and sailing our sailboat.
So, work hard, marry a good woman, save your money, trust the Lord, and just do it!
Bye the way, I have a hankering to see New Zealand and Australia. Are any of you guys (err mates) willing to show me around if I get there? I have to hurry; I am planning on being a Wal-Mart greeter when I turn 70!
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Old 23-06-2008, 09:31   #18
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OK, the biggest costs? Food, roof, transportation, utilities and entertainment.

First: Live WAY within your means. When you don't have kids, save 50% of your take home pay. You can cook healthier food for yourself than eating out.

Second: Live in a house 1/2 the size of your neighbors. And build it 1/2 yourself. See Helikondesign.com
10 years ago, a round 2000 sq' passive solar house cost $150k in the mid-Atlantic region. Half the heating costs are free.

Third: Fix up your own boat. Sailing and camping can be cheap.

Fourth: Drive your VW rabbit diesel or Toyota pickup for 24 years.

Fifth: Invest in Vanguard funds.

Oh, and sixth: Pay off your credit card every month...on time!

You'll be off the treadmill a lot earlier than you expect.
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Old 23-06-2008, 10:09   #19
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You are SO ahead of the game! I never expected to see 40. It wasn't exactly a given for a Navy Pilot in Viet Nam. I didn't even think about life-after-gray-hair until I was in my mid 40's, and even then it seemed very remote. If you can discipline yourself to save a dollar or two after paying down your debts, you will be OK. How much and where doesn't matter at all, absolute consistancy does.

I know the idea of the daily grind is intimidating, but suppose you actually LIKE your job? There might even be days you jump out of bed in anticipation of having a fun day at work!

Beyond saving something every week, don't make big lifetime plans and goals. Life itself delights in disrupting such intellectual pretenses. Just be open to whatever comes along, including love and commitments. Be afraid of sudden options but master your fears and jump once or twice. Regrets are a heavy burden.

My very best advice for life is this: Never take yourself so seriously that your ego makes bad decisions for you. What other people think or say about you is just the result of thier feelings and experiences, and none of your business. Your job is to be honest to yourself, and honest about your motives with other people. It is not your job to expect them to do the same. Don't question your own motives too deeply, just understand that they might be selfish and ignoble too.

With those skills, and some facility at communicating in another language, you will be a real prize on the global job market. Learn a language from the temperate zone and avoid dark winters.
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Old 23-06-2008, 10:11   #20
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<snip>

Retirement is a state of mind. Honestly it's also not all that it is cracked up to be. Continuing the journey above:

Send your kids to school, then college, then weddings, then sell your house, move to a retirement community in Florida - No way!

Retirement is simple - take 10% of your take-home pay. Now and forever. Stick it in a managed fund. Get a raise? Keep saving 10% - You will never have to worry about retiring or not.

<snip>
While I don't disagree with Dan's premise that retirement is a state of mind, I would extend that observation to everything, including your school life, work life, married life, parenting - you name it. A person who deals with what life dishes out with a good attitude will generally be more at peace in even the most unwelcome situations.

As Dan is still gainfully and very busily employed, and not yet retired, I'd just say that retirement is all it's cracked up to be, if you saw it as a chance to be let off the leash, to go where you want, do as you like, in the company of those you like and respect and with whom you can have a conversation as deep or as shallow as you both wish, with no necessity to explain long-forgotten cultural references because you both lived through it.

And,
if in looking forward to this ideal existence you took the necessary steps to be financially comfortable and it worked out as you planned, then retirement is the best of all worlds.

So while the picture Dan painted, ending with a move to a retirement community in Florida, is indeed too awful to contemplate for many, for others it's OK. For them, it's the best they can do and they live with it. Such is life.

Dan has traveled the world and had the pleasure of sharing it with his family. For him, retiring to one small corner of the globe would be too confining. This might apply to you too, Casey, so I hope you will seriously consider a professional life on the world stage, as Dan has done. It can be the basis of an adventurous lifetime for decades before the retirement question ever needs to be answered.

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Old 23-06-2008, 13:16   #21
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Thanks for all the advice and encouragement.

You know, it's kind of funny. I use to want the big salary for the nice car, big house, fancy toys, etc. But since I've done a little bit of travel, and met people that aren't materialistic, it's opened my eyes considerably. Now, I want the big salary so I can save up and do something that is truly meaningful with it, in my eyes at least. Again, I'm not knocking anybody who chooses to do that with their money, it's just something that's not important to me anymore. I grew up in an extremely nice area, and that's why I always thought those things were important. Getting out of your natural environment is a wonderful thing.

Thanks for that link to the international contractors. I know ENR, but have always concentrated my efforts towards domestic contractors. I will certainly have a look at these companies. About 4 or 5 years ago, the U.S. was in some serious need of management types in the construction industry. I'm sure there are a few countries out there that are having similar problems right now.
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Old 23-06-2008, 13:53   #22
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Some good advice here.

But the answers? Nah.

Yer get to find yer own

But IMO yer asking the right questions.........



Anyway, my 2 cents. Do not buy a boat Save a up a bit of a kitty and leave the US for somewhere cheap (South America or Asia / SE Asia) for 6 months or a year. Firstly, will be a lotta fun , secondly will learn a lot about the world / people and yourself - all of which are also useful for making money.....and when you come back will have plenty of ideas of your own of what you want to do / try / experiance.......plus will give you renewed enthusiasm for the boring making money stuff. But can be addictive
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Old 23-06-2008, 17:19   #23
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Some of us have been encouraging you to look beyond the borders of the US in building your career, Casey, and there may be those who read this thread and believe we're selling the country short. Why, isn't this the richest country in the history of the world? Who could imagine the US losing its pre-eminent position?

Well, that may be hard to believe, but consider this:

A former president of General Motors, Charles E. Wilson, was named by Eisenhower to be his Secretary of Defense in 1953. At his confirmation hearing, he was asked if he could ever make a decision that, while it might be in the best interests of the DOD, would not be in GM's best interest. He said he could do so, but added that he couldn't imagine such a thing "because for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa". (You will often see this misquoted as "What's good for General Motors is good for the country.")

General Motors was indeed a shining example of the American system of free enterprise. In 1955, it became the first American company to pay more than $1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars) in tax.

Impressive.

Also impressive is this item:

A company you've probably never heard of, GameStop, now has a market capitalization of more than $7.5billion. Market cap is the current price per share times the total float, or shares outstanding.

So, you may be wondering, what's the point?

In today's Los Angeles Times, in the "Money and Co." blog, is this interesting item:

* * * * *

"On Wall Street, GM is now worth less than GameStop

2:10 PM, June 23, 2008

"By the stock marketís reckoning, General Motors Corp. now is a less-significant business than Starbucks Corp., Gap Inc. or computer game retailer GameStop Corp.

"Thatís just to name a few."

For the rest of the article, go to:

Money & Company | On Wall Street, GM is now worth less than GameStop | Los Angeles Times

* * * * *

So I hope you will seriously consider not limiting your search for meaningful employment to companies within America's borders, Casey. The education you're acquiring should serve you well if you make your skills available to employers outside the US.

And when you do begin to put together your retirement portfolio, you might want to take a pass on investing anything in General Motors.

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Old 23-06-2008, 17:49   #24
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Retirement & Treadmill - What I was trying to get across is the career doesn't have to feel like a treadmill. I could punch out early but I am having too much fun.

Wannabe - Working off shore doesn't mean sell the US short. I work for a US company with a huge positive trade balance. I look at us as playing in the global economy as a net benefit to the USA. I never forget where my paycheck comes from.

And David is right - You gotta find your own answers that work for you.

Good Luck!
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Old 24-06-2008, 12:48   #25
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Probably your nationality is the most important factor as to what your situation will be at "retirement" age. Some countries have free healthcare, and that takes a huge dent out of the retirement budget.

Dude.


Nothing is free. You pay for it one way or another, so don't fool yourself.
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Old 24-06-2008, 16:33   #26
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Wow...

Thank you, Casey for starting this thread and thank you to all the thoughtful people who gave such incredible insight.

I'm 10 years older than Casey (wife is Casey's age or so) and I'm struggling with the same things Casey is.

Just recently, I was looking at dusting off the old international business resume.

As of late, I have quite a few options on the table in my mind, but seem completely paralyzed as to which path to follow.

This thread has helped a lot... but I almost wish there was a section on this board for us guys that are a bit younger to ask you more experienced guys questions like this. In some way, it is related to world cruising, in that it is an ultimate goal of us younger guys. We are often stuck and having trouble figuring how to get from Point A to happily cruising in a way that doesn't feel like a treadmill from hell, or take 50 years even with no kids to support.

It's also cruising-related in that you need to have your finances in strong order to be able to undertake global cruising.

I sit here thinking about travel, cruising and enjoying life - but am paralyzed thinking about the half a dozen paths that I could follow.

Which is the right one?

Which will get me cruising faster?

How will I ever pay for health care even when not cruising when it costs more than a boat payment?

I've been saving well, but what do I do with my savings?

These questions (and more) have been literally tormenting me for some time now.
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Old 24-06-2008, 17:33   #27
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I sit here thinking about travel, cruising and enjoying life - but am paralyzed thinking about the half a dozen paths that I could follow.
Sully - Of all the people on this board you are the one I reckon should pull stumps and go now.

You have proven that you can pretty much fix anything, anywhere. You and your bride have proven that you don't need 5-star luxury and are able to live in a boat or the back of a truck.

You already have the boat (although I am not sure how much leverage you have on it) but you guys should just go. Even if it doesn't work out I sense you have an incredible resilience and ability to land back on your feet.

In regards to choosing a path - I love the Cheshire cat story. I use it with all my guys who are having career path trouble.

"(Alice in Wonderland "Which Road Should I Take?")
In the early pages of Lewis Carol's classic, Alice in Wonderland, Alice comes to a fork in the road with two paths leading in different directions. Confronted by the Cheshire Cat she asks, "Which path should I take." The response from the Cheshire Cat was, "Well, that depends on where you want to end up?" Alice hadn't given any thought as to where she wanted to end up, so the Cheshire Cat continued with a very profound statement. He said, "If you don't know where you want to go, it doesn't matter which path you take." "

One needs to really slow down (I did a weekend seminar) and get in touch with who they are and what they want to do. In the career sense I tell guys to imagine it is retirement day - what job are you retiring from. In the life sense it is imagine yourself at 80 and 90 - where are you and what are you doing - it's a visualization thing.

Anyway - Get busy living or get busy dying - it's all the same...
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Old 24-06-2008, 18:38   #28
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It's discussion like this that keeps me coming back here for more.

The problem I have is getting waylaid by other dreams and desires. Fast cars, motorcycles, and a love for souping up engines keeps me from plugging away (as fast) on the boat... sigh. Can't have them both, grass is always greener. Theres "The Dream" and "the dreams." Choices!

Signed, the guy a few years younger than Casey.
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Old 24-06-2008, 20:01   #29
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Dude.
Nothing is free. You pay for it one way or another, so don't fool yourself.
You are exactly right. Nothing is free.

I am a physician working in America, and we have the most expensive health care system in the world, and we are only fifth in the quality of care. I know the system from the inside, because I am working on the inside, and the economics of medicine in the USA is rotten to the core.

I have worked overseas in five different countries as a physician, and what is happening in the USA is an abomination. Good health care is available in dozens of countries at a fraction of the cost.

One of the benefits of being a world cruiser, is that you can find affordable high quality health care all around the world. It's no accident that cruisers can get health insurance that covers them in every country around the world except that they can't have coverage inside the USA with their health policy purchased outside the US.

If things continue on their present track, I suspect that lots of people will be seeking their healthcare and medication offshore. In my work overseas as a physician, I could purchase medications straight from the manufacturer at one-quarter of the cost for the same medication sold in the USA. When we sailed around the world, we purchased all our medications offshore at a fraction of the price.

The cost of healthcare is the single greatest threat to the world cruiser who is over the age of fifty years. One serious illness can make him bankrupt if he is a citizen of the USA.

My last insurance premium for health care insurance while I was sailing around the world was $9600 with a $5000 deductible. I had that insurance policy for fourteen years and never made a claim. In my book that's extortion.
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Old 24-06-2008, 20:14   #30
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