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Old 19-06-2014, 10:12   #1
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Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

Hi everyone! I am new to this forum.

My boyfriend wants me to go cruising with him. And I wanna go! I can sell the house and car (got a speeding ticket this morning!!). As the years go by I am less and less and less attached to my "stuff". At 54 and not financially able to retire (don't like my current career!!) I feel like I can still make some money here and there and live comfortably. A bit worried about health insurance but can research that and feel better about it I am sure. There are concerns but the positives outweigh the negatives.

My biggest worry and something I can't find information on or feedback from someone who has gone through a similar situation is as follows. I have two sons, 20 and 17. The older son lives on his own - no so worried about him. The 17 year old is a rising senior in high school. I have been divorced from their dad since they were young, and he died two years ago this July. I plan on staying put until the youngest goes off to college in Fall 2015 (at almost 19 years of age). Here is my problem: I feel like I am deserting the youngest!! The "norm" is for a freshman to be able to return home for holidays and breaks and have a place for his "stuff". If I sell the shop and move onto a boat I feel as though I am depriving him of a home base. He goes off to college and I bail out. Granted he would always have a place to go to on breaks, but paying for him to fly from SC to "wherever I am" could get expensive. I know that sitting around waiting for him to visit is silly as a young person wants to fly! But this is my biggest hurdle when scheming and dreaming about living the life. I know people cruise with younger kids and after kids are out on their own . . . but what about the ones that are "almost" out on their own??

I could go on but won't. Any thoughts or ideas of links or, or, or ... would be much appreciated!


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Old 19-06-2014, 10:21   #2
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

disclaimer - I don't have kids..

With that said, I'd suggest talking to your son about it. If you are concerned about him, it seems he'd be the best place to start.

I'd also say if its what you want to do, do it. You only live once and you never know for how long so you might as well enjoy things while you can.

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Old 19-06-2014, 10:34   #3
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

Originally Posted by maytrix View Post
disclaimer - I don't have kids..

With that said, I'd suggest talking to your son about it. If you are concerned about him, it seems he'd be the best place to start.

I'd also say if its what you want to do, do it. You only live once and you never know for how long so you might as well enjoy things while you can.
Kids are expensive period.
It will be cheaper to fly him to where you are than paying for a home and all that goes with it.

"Where you going for break kid?"
Oh.. Bahamas........ Mexico, Hawaii............"

you guess what he will go for.........
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Old 19-06-2014, 11:01   #4
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

I'm in my 50's as well and we are empty nesters.

You've done your job. You've fulfilled your obligations once your last child graduates high school. You gave two decades of your life to your children. That's enough, they are adults now.

Then it's your time, and honestly it's your kids time to make a life of their own as well.

You have one life to live. Go live it. Your kids will be happy that you are happy and living your dreams.
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Old 19-06-2014, 11:11   #5
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

If you wait till you are ready, it will never happen. Go for it now.
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Old 19-06-2014, 12:11   #6
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

I agree, you should go for it , life is to short .

Remember ,

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain.

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Old 19-06-2014, 12:13   #7
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

You should call Suzie Orman, and get her approval, before you leave. Seriously. That's what you should do.

The kids aren't the problem. If you were to do it, the kids get a free plane ticket to wherever you are for holidays. No griping. They also get some financial support from you if they need it. Again, no griping. They haven't even left the nest, and you're planning to cash out. I assume college tuition and living expenses are covered? Good. That's the easy part.

Now for the tough love. If you leave your job at your age, you're killing your current and future revenue stream, so you'd better make sure that you have a sound financial plan that's going to get you through the rest of your life. That you're asking this question here instead of on a retirement forum isn't comforting. At 54, your ability to get a job at the drop of a hat is getting lower, not higher. Make sure your financial resources are in place, because an integral part of your plan shouldn't be for the kids to support you later.

What you're really asking is whether you should retire early. The temptation is to view this as if everything is going to go right. The better way is to have a plan in place that covers you if a few things go wrong. The two danger indicators I picked up on were the word "boyfriend" and the phrase "not financially able to retire". Seems to me it would be better to have your ducks in a row before you go on holiday. Changing careers isn't easy at 54. It's even harder at 60, when you've been cruising for 5 years.

Well, you asked for opinions. Take it with a grain of salt, but do consider it.
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Old 19-06-2014, 12:23   #8
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

I have actually been in your shoes, and this is probably the hardest decision you will ever have to make.

For us, the first time we had the opportunity (my husband retired from the Navy) our daughter was actually in her junior year of college. I would have gone without worry, as she had actually gone to junior college, then taken a couple years off school and lived on her own, and then gone to university. So she had been out of the nest for awhile. But we were upside down on our house by about $40K so weren't able to sell and were therefore stuck.

The second real opportunity came 10 years later when we sold that house, which had turned around quite nicely, and came out with a substantial profit. But by then there were two grandchildren in the picture. My husband had grown up without grandparents around and had many times lamented how he wished he'd had them. My daughter, who had grown up a Navy brat, had rarely seen her grandparents as well, and I knew this was a source of sadness for her. I was on the other side of the country when my own grandmother passed (the only grandparent I knew) and was devastated that I hadn't been there with her. At that point we knew leaving the grandbabies was not going to happen. And we do not regret that decision. The years we spent with them when they were little mean more to us than any amount of cruising ever could have. But that was our personal choice. Several years later we ended up living on the other side of the country from them and the years we spent close by and bonding with them became even more important.

But I can't recommend our choice if getting out is something that is truly important to you, because in the end, we still have not cut the dock lines. So if you keep finding reasons, even really good ones, you have to face the possibility that you will never go. Would that be okay with you in the end?

You are at a good juncture here. Your kids are grown but there are no grandkids yet. It seems like a perfect window of opportunity. I agree with the previous poster who says start by talking to your son. If you get the impression from him that he is frightened or upset by the prospect then you have some things to consider. Why is he upset or frightened? What is his maturity level? Does he feel confident about his own future without the security net of mom's house to run home to? Has he dealt well with his father's death? What is his relationship with his brother? Could brother now be his anchor and his home base?

You know your son better than anyone. Even more important, how do YOU feel about the prospects of his future without him having mom to run home to? Because if you get "out there" and find that all of your thoughts are consumed with worry about whether or not your son is okay, I doubt you will enjoy it all that much. Guilt is a lousy travel companion.

Without knowing your son, the nature of your relationship with him, whether he is an independent free spirit or whether he counts on you for a lot of his daily provision and guidance, it will be impossible for anyone here to tell you what you should do.
Preparing for the journey south, Fall 2016.
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Old 19-06-2014, 12:52   #9
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

Our kids were through college, married, and had their own kids when we started cruising. I feel we were at least responsible for getting them through college. After that it was time for them to start their own totally independent lives.

The grandchildren responsibility is totally overblown, IMHO. Thats their job, not yours. We visit or they visit, and not TOO often. We have done our job, now its their turn. Go live the life you have put off for them all those years....

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Old 19-06-2014, 13:02   #10
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

Seems to me like you have two issues here. First is your 17-year-old son. That's the easy one. Second is that you're "54 and not financially able to retire," but you want to chuck it all and go sailing.

How your son might handle you leaving is something only you (and he) can really judge. Strangers on an internet forum aren't going to be able to help much with that. What I will say to you is that my wife and I moved half-way across the country when our daughter was a sophomore in college. It was an adjustment for her, no doubt about it, because she basically felt like she suddenly had no "home," but all in all she handled it pretty well. By that age, if they are not already pretty independent, then they had darned well better get so. And fast!

As for the financial side, making some money "here and there" while you are out sailing the world is not an easy thing. It can be done, but it's not easy. Age discrimination is a very real thing, and even completely legal in a lot of countries. I'm older than you, and I can tell you that the difficulty of finding a job goes up exponentially as you get past 50. Even more so if you are a "stranger in a strange land."

I would suggest that you give some long, hard thought to the financial aspects of this, and what your plan will be for when the cruising is over.

Good luck.
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Old 19-06-2014, 13:02   #11
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

I am sure there are mothers on this site who can give you good advice. You may also find the following website helpful


This post in particular may be useful although her ex husband was still alive and involved in raising her daughter.

Should I quit my job and go cruising? Kathleen Watt responds « The Women and Cruising Blog

I would suggest you discuss with both sons. He may be excited to come see you where ever you and your boyfriend happen to be!
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Old 19-06-2014, 13:08   #12
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

My youngest who is post college lives with my wife and I. Recently my wife asked what we were going to do with her when we sell everything and cruise off. My answer was "not our problem", my wife thought about it and then agreed.
stop blowing smoke up my rear, blow it at the sails instead
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Old 19-06-2014, 13:15   #13
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

Nobody ever lay on their death bed thinking "I should have spent more time at the office."

I'm your age. I will have a decision to make in less than I year when I'm eligible for early retirement. The plan is to do a LOT more cruising. I think I've got everything in place - just barely - to allow that. Or I could wait another year and add to the nest egg. I'm beginning to realize that a health issue could hit one of us and scuttle these plans. I think that explains why I'd lean toward an answer like "go for it."

You didn't say how solid this relationship is, but obviously you want to be in a position to resume an independent life if cruising doesn't turn out to be a good fit for you as a couple.

But cruising will also expand your world. You may find options you never even thought of.

Ditto the comment about having a heart-to-heart with your youngest son about this. He may think it's a great idea. At the very least he'll have some questions you can answer so he's more comfortable with it.
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Old 19-06-2014, 13:18   #14
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

Go now and be back for the grand kids, when the boys will actually appreciate 'mom' again!! At today's pace, that might be 10 years from now.

Seriously, when I was a freshman in college I never went back home for any extended period of time. And if he is a mama's boy, like my son is, it might be best for him to grow up a bit anyways. If my mom had the chance, I'd tell her to go. She has some macular degeneration in her eyes now at 66, so I'd say go while you can.

This is obviously a light-hearted answer to a serious question.

~ Following C's ~

P.S. Our kids are Courtney, Collin and Caity - hence the boat name...
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Old 19-06-2014, 13:28   #15
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Re: Am I Deserting My Young Adults?

I left home at 17 and never looked back...which was a good thing because my parents sold the house, bought a camp trailer and went off into the woods not to be heard from for months or in one case over a year. Did I curl up and die? no. Do I think any less of them? no. Many years later when Dad got to the point he couldn't travel any longer, they came to live on my property in the rv shed till he passed and then mom passed a few years later.
Now it's my turn, our kids are old enough to make their own way in the world and I'm not about to hang around knitting socks and taking care of grand kids. They will know where we are and if they want to come visit they can buy the plane ticket and fly to wherever we are. Don't accept a guilt trip about living your life your way.

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