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View Poll Results: What is your annual live-aboard budget?
0 - $9,999 per annum 46 12.53%
$10,000 - $14,999 per annum 63 17.17%
$15,000 - $19,999 per annum 46 12.53%
$20,000 - $24,999 per annum 57 15.53%
$25,000 - $35,999 per annum 69 18.80%
$35,000 - $49,999 per annum 42 11.44%
$50,000 - $100,000 per annum 33 8.99%
More than $100,000 per annum 11 3.00%
Voters: 367. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 15-06-2006, 16:01   #1
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Annual Live Aboard Budget ?

How much is your live aboard budget?
Please vote ($US)
If you have any particular thoughts on how much of your annual budget is from passive income, and how much you generate yourself while living aboard, I would be keen to hear them?
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Old 15-06-2006, 16:18   #2
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The reason I have posted this pole is that I am currently trying to figure out my finances for long-term live-aboard life. I am planning on having a passive income that will provide sufficient funds for a fairly frugal existence, which will be supplemented by some work while living aboard.

I have a couple of spread-sheets with my "guestimates", but really, its a bit of a Catch-22; until I do it, I am not going to have good data. So, I'm hoping you experienced "live-aboarders" will be able to help me out.

I am putting things in place to get the passive income thing happening; it might take 4 or 5, or possibly even 6 or 7 years, depending on how my investment grows, but it will happen. I am just not sure how much passive income I realistically am going to need...

Any thoughts or advice will be much appreciated.
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Old 15-06-2006, 17:52   #3
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Every cruiser has a different budget. It really depends on your lifestyle and how much you need to set aside for boat upkeep. There are "checkbook cruisers" who pay to get everything to be done and there are those who do and make everything themselves including careening to scrape and paint the bottom and whittling a prop out of a 2x4 for a wind generator made from an old dc motor. There are those that go with a 21 foot boat and those that won't leave without satellite tv. Are you going forever or one or two years? Save all you can and go sooner than later. The older you are when you start, the more stuff you seem to "need".
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Old 15-06-2006, 17:56   #4
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I thnk it would come down to you more than other people. Your up front expenditures on repairs and stocking might save a tremendous amout later on. Where you are may make a difference for some basic costs of living too.

Being frugal and being happy are a wide range apart some times. My wife thinks frugal but spends otherwise. Her sister is very frugal and spends that way too. She could be a great person to live aboard with if she didn't drive you nuts. Some people make do and some people make do with less and love it more.

Your land lifestyle may be a better indicator of what you'll be when crusing. People really don't change that much all that often. It's not that they can't or don't change but the tendancy to me seems to indicate your trend is not going to change that much. Your goal is to be happy with less. Your reality is how much "less" it really is and yet still be happy. No one can tell you that.

I'm totally convinced I could live on a whole lot less and be miserable. I also think I could have a lot more and not be any happier. Some place in the middle is as good as it can get for me.

Relating to a recent post by Gord. Go as soon as you can or you might not get away. The danger is real. Life reaches out and ties you down and establishes anchors unable to be broken. While not much of it cruising, my life experience tells me getting out of town is the most difficult part of all the really great adventures. I've had a few of them and many of them were a near miss on the getting out of town part of the trip. I never had much money on any of the best ones either.
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Old 15-06-2006, 18:45   #5
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I am not really expecting that anyone here will be able to tell me the "correct" budget for me. I know that I am going to have to figure that out for myself. But I am interested to see what range of budgets you guys have.

Going soon would be great, but rally not practical. Realisticlly, 5 years is probably a reasonable goal. I understand the "do it now" mentality as espoused by Gord et. al., but I have to strike a compromise between the desirability of immediacy and the practicality of preparation & financial planning.

At this stage I am aiming/hoping for a passive income stream of about $25,000 per annum. Whereas, if I were to leave now, I would only have around half that. I also need to finish converting the boat.
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Old 15-06-2006, 18:58   #6
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Hi Weylan:

I appreciate your question and agonize over it myself. Euro Cruiser gave a budget of 10% to 20% (I think???) of your boat value for boat maintenance based on living aboard for more than three years. His reasoning was that most people do not cruise that long and then sell the boat and the next guy refits the boat for his cruise. From people I've tlaked to you can spend most nights in a marina and pay the daily fees and spend a ton of money a month or you can live at anchor and not eat in and live on very little. It also depends on where you are. Beth Leonard and Hal Roth have both written about expenses etc. Insurance both health and boat. Perhaps a good idea might be to write up a list of categories (I'll see if I can find one in Beth L book) and then get an idea from those different categories. I like the topic so maybe we can rephrase the question to get more info from the forum.

BTW Passive income is the way to go.
Fair Winds,


Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 16-06-2006, 02:11   #7
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I'm living on a passive income of $6,000 a year, supplemented by a small annuity that leaves me about $250 a month after paying for health and life insurance and cell phone/internet, until Social Security kicks in in 5 years. My boat is paid for, and I'm refitting much of it with new, rather than repaired stuff. My cruising plans are coastal and living primarily on the hook. Though I have a seperate maintainence kitty, if necessary, I'll get a short term job if money becomes an issue.

Fortunately for me, I was already living frugally. Not because I'm cheap, but because I chose not to be a part of the "consumer society". To me, one of the biggest decisions we make in life is in establishing our "wants" and "needs". And that applies not just to cruising, but to everyday life in general. Many people feel they HAVE to have certain things, or achieve a certain status in life to be happy, only to discover that in getting there, it isn't what they really want, or doesn't give them the happiness they expected.

By and large, and this is only my opinion and observations, the happiest people are those whose wants and needs are not material. Or, to put it another way, those who seek happiness, rather than try to buy it.

This can be quite difficult when you have the competing pressures of a spouse and children. That's not to say to throw them overboard, just that it is harder. Much harder. For there is not only what they want, but also your own expectations of giving them the happiness and security you feel you should.

This became a bit more long winded than I planned, but a change in lifestyle is as much about philosophy as it is dollars and cents. So when you think about a budget, think about what it takes for you to be happy and enjoy life, then you'll know how much you need.

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Within a dream, we may find a fantasy,
But never within a fantasy, will we live a dream.
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Old 16-06-2006, 09:11   #8
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if you go to and select odd & ends, there is a menu about cruising budget. Stingo is an infrequent member of this forum and collected his data whilst crossing the pond from 13 different boats.

annual budget varied from more than US$23,000 to $7000, with an average of $15,000
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Old 18-06-2006, 14:58   #9
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I am really liking the results that I am seeing, and the posts that are being made here: I guess the results demonstrate what my gut instincts were telling me; i.e. that if you want to live-aboard cruise, you can do it, pretty much whatever your budget, whether that be less than $10k p.a. or over $100k p.a.

The 5-ish year plan for me, before casting off the lines and going, is not just about building the passive income stream, but also about "rebuilding" the boat to make it more appropriate live-aboard (and the rebuilding has to come second to my job - i.e. mostly weekends working on the boat). As many of you know, it is not exactly the ideal vessel in it's current configuation...but I am enjoying the work (sometimes it is a fairly masochistic enjoyment ).

As I said, I didn't create this thread to try and find the "right" budget...I am already working on that, but to get a feel for what was going on out there, and to heare some wisdom from you guys.
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Old 18-06-2006, 17:57   #10
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Also you need to factor in whether or not there are any boat payments in the number. I have two budgets 1 is the boat payment which I maintained cause the cost of money is too low to pay it off the other is the real cruising budget which is everything else.....
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Old 18-06-2006, 20:38   #11
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Jon, I already own my boat outright...100% bought and paid for. Obviously, I still will need to spend a lot of money on it - firstly, to get it set up how I want it, and then secondly, to maintain it....but I don't have any "payment" installments on it...
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Old 18-06-2006, 21:02   #12
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Another one of life's tie down ropes that can hold ya down. If you are working a job. And are planning to go out there and do it one day?

Just recently I have been having problems with my car. And I narrowed the problem down to what I believe is the fuel pressure regulator on my car. Before it was the engine temp coolant sensor. This car is a 1994 Kia Sephia GS. And it only has 99,213 original miles on it.

But, if this is not the problem. I might have to go out and buy a dignosis tool. For OBD1. And scan my car providing that I can get it to run. Like I told my lil' brother. If I cannot get this car running by mid week. I'm trading this piece of s**t in. And get a Honda or a Nissan. No Dodge. No Chevy. No stinking Ford. Just a Japanese built car. I have gained great respect for Japanese cars over the last 10 years. And I love'em.

But, it'll only delay my original plan a bit. Hopefully not for too long a term. But without a car. You cannot make it to work on time. Especially in my situation where I have to work on the other side of the valley!!

"Those who desire to give up Freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." - Benjamin Franklin
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Old 26-06-2006, 14:59   #13

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We're on our 4th GM product.
The first, a Chevy went 70,000 miles with no issues. The Pontiac went 55,000 with no issues. The Buick went 40,000 with no issues and my Chevy van is going on 140,000 and I just replaced a trans oil cooler line that had a minor leak. Otherwise no issues.
The 2 toyotas I had in the 70's were junk.

And who has been grossly misrepresenting the mileage of their hybrids? Not the domestics, Toyota and Honda are vastly overstating their estimates of the economy of their hybrids. And who has understated their hybrids? Ford.

So send those jobs overseas but don't complain when your taxes go up because of it. And don't fall for the 'built in America' BS of the Japanese. They ASSEMBLE the cars here with parts built in Japan. All of the profit goes back to japan and increases our trade deficit.
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Old 26-06-2006, 17:00   #14
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Avoiding debt

I put off trading in my old car for for something newer when she got into middle age, and instead put a paint job on her @ 120k mi. I have a great mechanic. I'm going to run that car past 200,000 miles, and then, into the ground.

I put what would have been a monthly car note into my savings account. Took out the small fraction of that yearly savings for small repairs. Avoided debt of any kind.

Later, I paid cash for my boat.

It may be cheaper in the long run to invest in the car you have, if you have cruising plans. After 12 years, there is no note to pay. Which is cheaper in the long run, buying occasional parts & putting up with a slight occasional inconvenience, or going into debt again? Of course, only you can judge the overall reliability and likely expenses over time.

Additionally, once you're away, do you want 3k tied up in a car you aren't using, or 10k?
s/y Elizabeth Catalina 34 MkII
"Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them." G. K. Chesterfield
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Old 26-06-2006, 17:13   #15
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Not sure how we got on the topic of Japanese cars vs American cars. The question is what does it cost to live aboard. I have to say, there is an important distinction that shoud be made here. Living aboard, and cruising part time, vs cruising. The expenses of living aboard, and cruising part time, working full time are fairly high, as "it costs money to make money". There are costs involved in going to work every day, and cost involved in renting a slip so you can access transportation to go to work every day. I would say the cost is about the same as living in a cheap apartment. Cruising can be done MUCH cheaper, as you do not have all the overhead, and you can regulate your expenses directly in contrast to your needs and comfort.
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