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Old 29-09-2013, 13:47   #16
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

I retired when I was 52 and my wife was 43. We moved aboard our boat and spent almost four years in SoCal and the Sea of Cortez. We returned to the States and worked for a while and are now back on our boat, retired in San Diego, and heading for the Sea of Cortez.

We have many friends living aboard in Mexico who are retired on small budgets and big budgets. The boats range from 32’ to 47’.

I would be glad to share our experiences and financial information with you.

Here are some thoughts and observations:

Marinas in Mexico are expensive – the cheapest 40’ slip in LaPaz is $575/month
The only way to live cheaply in Mexico is to anchor out all the time.
We only spent 75 days out of three years in marinas in Mexico
Living on the hook in a 3rd world country is fun, hard work, tiring, and a challenge
After three years of full time life on the boat in Mexico we were ready for an easier life in the States

Very few Sea of Cortez live aboards spent the entire year on their boat – most would return to the States every six months where they would spent a month or two.

We spent (living only) about $1500 / month while in Mexico and lived very comfortably
Boat expenses (including insurance) were an additional $600 / month while in Mexico
Medical Insurance was $300/month for the two of us but required we spend 6 months a year outside the US.

Other folks lived on well less than $1000/month total but didn’t eat out, visit as much, and travel as much as most of us did. They did not have boat or medical insurance.

Living on a boat in the tropics demands a lot of boat maintenance – long term we averaged about 12 hours a WEEK working on the boat
- bottom cleaning
- keeping the deck clean – lots of dust and sand
- water maker filter cleaning
- refrigerator maintenance

A watermaker is essential for “on the hook” living in Mexico

We fished a great deal and hardly ever purchased protein from the store

If you are going to live aboard in Mexico year 'round you will need to move to the north Sea of Cortez and live in that incredible heat for the mid-July - mid-October timeframe in order to avoid most hurricanes. Even doing that, we were touched by the edges of three hurricanes in three years.

My brother lived aboard in Mexico for a year on a Tartan 42 – it is a beautiful boat and currently for sale for about $98,000. Here is a link to the current ad 1982 Tartan 42 Staysail sloop sailboat for sale in Outside United States

My brother sold the boat to these folks in 2002 – it is an example of a older boat that you could buy cheaply and is well equipped and ready to head to Mexico.

Our boat, Caliber 40, was originally built as a 38 and then had a swim step installed. It is about as small as I would want to live on with my spouse.

We had several friends living on Tayana and Pacific Seacraft 37s. We spent a lot of time with them and those boats were quite liveable for a couple IF you kept them neat and tidy.

Another set of close friends lived on a 32' Mariner and it was close and tight - way too small for a 6' 1" man and 5' 8" women. Several other couples lived on 34' boats which seemed awful small to me.

I'd highly recommend a 38' - 42' boat for a liveaboard couple who plan to use the boat full time.

San Diego to the Sea of Cortez and anywhere in the Sea and Mexican Rivera, down to Zihuatenejo, is OK for any production boat - given good judgement and close attention to the weather.

Choosing a boat for Western Mexican cruising is 95% about liveablilty and 5% about sailing ability. You are looking for a comfortable living situation - not the ability to cross difficult blue water.

If you want to spend some more time talking about this kind of stuff – send me a private message.

We currently live on our boat – Harbor Island – San Diego
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Old 29-09-2013, 13:51   #17
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

I am in a similar situation, closing my business down when the economy crashed. I am fortunate to have some rental income so a little bit different. As far as selling the house, my feelings are that you will have to decide you won't own a house in your area again. The market will pick up at some point, prices will go beyond what you sold for, so you won't be able to go back. Living on the boat, on the east coast, for instance, can be very cost effective if you really limit your expenses. Lot's of anchoring out, minimal dining out, and doing most boat work yourself. Larger boats do cost more money, I have experienced the difference between 37 and 41, and it is a reasonably larger expense. One benefit to staying in the US,part of the time, is you will quite possibly make a connection for some contract work, which will help out. Even if not in your field, picking up some work also can create a decent social situation, besides helping financially. Due to a mobility issue my wife has, we haven't taken the route you are contemplating, but that was the plan until an injury made us rethink what we are going to do. My first choice, would be to rent the house as a hedge against inflation, possibly having a manager to over see it while gone, then move back on the boat and take off again. I think owning a boat just to live on, could get old, but owning a boat with the intention of cruising, even coastal cruising, and letting it lead you in a new direction is the ideal boat ownership. Don't touch retirement accounts until absolutely necessary, work at Burger King if you have to pay for 4 gallons of bottom paint and new batteries.
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Old 29-09-2013, 14:04   #18
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

This has expat contract work written all over it. Whatever you do, don't let your professional licensing lapse. A boat would facilitate reaching international clientele.

Right now may be a good time to sell your residence because of supply not meeting the demand. Watching existing SFR sales I am seeing some real gains in selected markets but it's still wavering. If you do decide now it the time to sell, the market is still soft so showcase that property, make it shine. However, that pent up demand is fickle and perhaps is not a strong indicator of market valuations. I am in California.


I think it was SkipMac who mentioned the company will see the error of it's ways after the inexperience labor make a mess of things. Don't count on it. If it were that way then it falls to reason that there would be wide availability of contract work since many companies have gone down that route and at different times which then would mean different companies are at different phases of the process of looking for experienced labor. And that is not the case. From commercial aviation to geology to construction estimating and engineering and probably every other industry, even executive level management is on the chopping block.

One of my last jobs was after 3 years as estimator/contract admin I was fired. At the time I had almost 20 yrs experience and knew most of the software packages. Plus I could close contracts. Three fresh ones were hired to do my job and their collective wage was about 1/3rd less of my compensation. Additionally, they commissioned outside labor for sales. I have heard this story from far too many people to discount it.
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Old 29-09-2013, 14:16   #19
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pirate Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

Well... me n Simmo just pulled into one of my favourite N Spain ports... Viveiro.. this avo'
Met by a lovely young lady who said "No rush... call in the office tomorrow to sort things out... "Rightyho" sez I... so.. shower, **** n shave and of we go into town...
Simmo... being an Aussie needed educating regarding the finer things of Europe so we hiked down to my favourite bar... sat down and ordered a couple of beers and 5 minutes later the 'Tapas' started coming... Fish Tart, deep fried Squid, Salchias, little pastries with fish filling, Cheese, potato and meat rissoles, toasted baguette with ham and cheese...
Simmo say's "**** mate.. whats this gonna cost"... nothing sez I... comes free with the beer... so... 6 pints later I showed him another really nice bar... Jeez... we are stuffed... and just 20euro's... for both of us...
I Love Galicia....
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Old 29-09-2013, 14:27   #20
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

In response to Richard5, yes the market is improving, but the prices aren't. That is why I plan on renting the house for awhile until house prices increase. Not to be political, but contrary to politicians saying this policy kills jobs, and that law creates layoffs, business has change to the point that there is no loyalty either by employees, or employers. If bottom line can be increased by layoffs, it happens. Public companies main goal is to create the largest dividend for share holders as they can, at the expense of employees and customer service. I built a house for the CEO of a large retail company, and during conversations about politics, gov't policies, regulations, he never once said his goal was to create jobs. Skilled manufacturing jobs have been eliminated by robotics. Our acceptance on mediocrity allows for less skilled workers. After a career as a home builder, one home at a time, the last on was 12,000 square feet, I now do side jobs at the level of a handyman. I think the new norm, is to accept a lesser position gracefully, and make the most of it. It may not be as financially rewarding, but the stress is certainly less. The benefit of reaching retirement age is it allows you to step aside and evaluate the rest of your life, stop keeping up with the Jonses, and start really enjoying life, even if it means radical adjustments.
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Old 29-09-2013, 14:41   #21
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

Living aboard, if you anchor out and dont keep all your shore encumberances will be cheaper no doubt. If your plans are not to sail the world, then a suitable boat can be had fairly reasonable... depending onwhat you can live with. For example, a Morgan OI 41 is comparatively cheap, not luxurious, but can be a great "house" in the carribean for a long time.
I retired early and went sailing. Then did consulting work for a few years after returning. If you currently have 100k equity in the real estate, and wait until prices go upto sell. it sounds very doable to me.... on a budget.
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Old 29-09-2013, 14:59   #22
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

Prior to my first retirement - I was a high tech consultant in a rapidly changing field of computer systems management and technology. I had a long list of clients, never lacked for work, and got to travel the world first class.

After five years of being out of the business, not keeping up contacts, and not keeping up to date with technology - I was unemployable!

A local agency advertised for a person to do the work I used to do. Their job description read like my resume. I wrote the book (literally) on the subject matter they were hiring for, I had done almost identical work for several other similar agencies and provided numerous references.

I was told

- you are too old (57 at the time)
- you are out of touch with current technology
- we can hire a 30 year old for 1/2 as much

they did not do the age thing literally but it was obvious during the interview I had with a bunch of 35 year old managers.

the 2nd was just plain wrong - the technology they were implementing was out of date and stuff I had done many years earlier but one does not tell that to a potential client

They did hire a 32 year old for 1/2 what I would have cost and one year and one-million $ later the project was abandoned - much to the dismay of the tax-paying public

I had similar experiences for several years until I swallowed my pride and returned to my roots -

driving charter buses, school buses, straight trucks - jobs which had paid my way thru college and graduate school. I was much happier driving the vehicles - I went interesting places, didn't get paid much, picked my own hours, and had fun.

I did that for five years and then took off on the boat yet again.

Your profession may be different IF it is not changing rapidly but I found that an older professional who has been out of the business for a while is pretty much ignored.
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Old 29-09-2013, 15:11   #23
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

in barra de navidad summer rates are 25 cents per foot per day in the marina. plus electricity.
in winter, or high season, it goes to 68 cents per foot per month.
yes is usd.
most gringos sail only where their insurance allows em to sail so they miss this lovely place in summer. their loss.
i anchor out in winter and use marina facilities in summer.
i spend no more to live year round than 1000 usd per month even in summer. and i usually spend time in different places every summer. we will see if i go somewhere else this next summer as i am refitting my barge.
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Old 29-09-2013, 15:29   #24
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

I think you can do it. In the Eastern Caribbean you can anchor out and never need to be in a marina. I think $1000 a month is just too tight when you take e dry thing into account - want to suggest $1500 might be better for budgeting and when you don't spend it all you can carry the extra forward.

Only you can decide if a particular boat is big enough for you.

Final thought, could you pick up contract work where the mining economy is very strong? Being able to pick up the odd 3 or 6 month contract would be terrific.
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Old 29-09-2013, 18:00   #25
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

Just read this thread and found it hartening. I'll be 63 soon, and am in a bit better financial shape than the OP. But still I worry that we can do it.

After reading these posts, it helps confirm that we should be OK.

All change is scary, even if for the better.

Thanks from a lurker!
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Old 29-09-2013, 18:13   #26
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

I'm behind you in age years, but have been hit pretty hard by the recession. My wife has been unemployed 3 times in the past 6 years. We set some rules and have gotten by.
However it hasn't been easy. Our rule #1 is we will not touch retirement savings unless our lives depend on it. We have kept our nestegg intact and made some money back with portfolio appreciation.

I think you need to think 15 years down the road. Where do you want to be. Realistically, what do you expect your health to be.

Only you know the right answers, but remember....It will always costs more than you think. Consider a $30,000 boat and spend $20,000 outfitting so she is comfortable for you. Keep the remaining $50,000 in reserve. You'll need it.
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Old 29-09-2013, 18:17   #27
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Just read this thread and found it hartening. I'll be 63 soon, and am in a bit better financial shape than the OP. But still I worry that we can do it.

After reading these posts, it helps confirm that we should be OK.

All change is scary, even if for the better.

Thanks from a lurker!
Ditto, sorta - I'm 57. I think we have plenty of money. She does not and her family is the kind that talks to each other every day (minimum).
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Old 30-09-2013, 13:41   #28
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

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My wife and myself have both retired and are currently living aboard our steel Roberts 44 Offshore here in Mooloolaba, Qld, Oz.

My initial impression is that a 33' sailboat would be too small as a permanent live aboard. The canoe stern may make davits and dinghy management difficult. The age would present maintenance issues.

For a limited cruise it could be most suitable. A very pretty boat indeed.

My opinion is that for a couple a fibreglass sailboat in the 40 - 45' range is most suitable. I consider the Beneteau Oceanis to be a modern classic, they look to be available ex charter for a similar cost to a good condition HC 33 and may present far fewer maintenance issues after a thorough survey. Oceanis 40s are also becoming available ex charter for a little more and similar boats may be available for a little more again in mainland USA.

My experience has been that the additional speed of a bigger boat can save problems from developing and it's nice to have the space and storage.

Again my opinion is that your plans are doable. As mentioned above I don't think a HC 33 is viable as a long term retirement boat and larger versions of similar boats look to be about double the price which would put them out of reach of your budget. Other than that with care and some penny pinching my experience is that it's possible.

Starting from Florida or the Virgin Islands would be more practicable than starting from California though others may disagree.

It sounds like you haven't burnt any bridges. My impression was that after a few younger whippersnappers had made a real mess of things employers were much more interested in someone with a proven track record. Don't be surprised if you get a few calls in a little while.

It also sounds like there are no major health issues on the horizon however keeping an eye on where medical treatment is available and affordable would be highly desirable.

As to retiring to another country I've been looking at that option for some time. The major issues in some prospective retirement places is the quality of the health care and some questionable real estate practices. My plan is to rent for a considerable period before making any major decision and given the high cost of fair quality real estate in some countries I may never purchase.

My experience is here in Oz and I have found so far that there are first class medical services here on the Sunshine Coast and it may be possible to source reasonable services in (say) Florida. Rents here look Ok, asking prices not so much.
Actual boat purchase is a bit in the future and we are hoping to rebuild some basic living expenses at the moment (wife's office support contracting is picking up some). Ideally, we would love to be on a HC 43T. We had a Hunter 28.5 in the mid 80's on which we spent at least two weekends a month with no personal space issues (we are both much more relaxed in that environment!). A HC 38 or 36 would also suffice. However, after much reading, including this forum, the HC 33T seems like it is a well rounded boat, with plenty of space for us (and three cats), storage, lots of tankage, etc. As I said, we are still in the early stages of planning, so nothing is set in concrete at this point. We have a broker in San Diego who is going to be showing us some typical boats in our price range. I have been on a few HC's, but my wife hasn't and wants to see some more interiors.
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Old 30-09-2013, 14:13   #29
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

Not to side track the thread too far, is it really that risky to NOT have insurance, I mean it seams to restrict you in your travels. Again from a cost - risk perspective.
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Old 30-09-2013, 14:21   #30
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Re: Retiring Aboard -- Ways & Means?

it all depends on you.
i am not a follower of the almighty insurance lobby and i have kept as far away from support of them as long as posible .it isnt hard. be careful and dont take big risks. yeah right. so why sail...rodlmao

i am able to find anyplace i feel safe fro my summers. the others HAVE to go to golfo de california and pretend it is nice. it is way too hot and deserty for my tastes so i stay where it actually rains.
safely.
i am not awakened in mid of night by impènding need to imediately relocate. no wind storms from hell.
yes named systems form over my head, but they are still around 30 kts to 40 without damage to any of us here.
there are boats here folks have left for safety in summer when they left for usa and canada.
i prefer to be my own soul--not dictated to as to where i am allowed to sail at what time of year. i do buy liability ins in mexico as it is necessary for marinas in summer.
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