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Posted on Mar 8, 2012 | 0 comments

Money: The Root of All Evil

So, we all know that to live in this modern world of ours, we need money. Money for food, shelter, and basic necessities, like coconut rum. Of course, the continual quest for money is also the biggest reason why Dan and I want to get away from our current life. This leaves us with the quintessential cruiser’s question: How do I get enough money to live and keep my boat afloat without sacrificing my freedom?
In researching this issue, we have found that the average monthly expenses for a moderately comfortable cruising experience will probably range between $1000 and $1500. We’re not looking to “go Hobo” (in reference to the great and venerable Hobo Sailor, who is inspiring in his no money approach), but simply interested in a realistic budget for a small family of three trying to conserve as much as possible while still having some amenities.
The trouble is, while a few cruisers are kind enough to provide good monthly budget information, almost no one talks about how much of a kitty they started out with. We’ve decided that this is probably because everyone thinks that if they put out there how much they are “thinking” about starting out with, they make themselves vulnerable to all the cranky internet trolls out there just waiting to tell people that they certainly do NOT have enough money to leave, when in fact, everyone who has ever actually accomplished the leaving part generally says they wished they would have gone sooner.
Therefore, here is our financial plan for the next couple of years that we think will get us out of Illinois and into the ocean.
1. Pay off student debt. This one we have almost accomplished, as we are now down to about $3000 left, finally.
2. Pay off our car loans. With our current ETA being about 3.5 years down the road, we know that we could just continue paying our normal payments and our cars would be paid off when we leave. However, every dollar spent on loan interest is another dollar not gaining interest in our bank account, and in this game, every penny counts. Also, we expect our two cars to be worth somewhere in the $10,000 range when we sell them, giving us $20,000 in cash.
3. Save at least $50,000 in cold hard cash. Well, not exactly cash, it will be making hopefully some decent interest in our Fidelity investment accounts until we need it with a 60/40 stocks to bonds allocation ratio. Our current budget allows us to save around $1200/month. Add in the extra once our cars and student loans are paid off, and we should more than reach that goal.
4. Keep adding equity to our house. This one is fairly straightforward: pay the mortgage. Based on the current value of our house, we are hoping to get $70,000-$80,000 in cash when our house sells, which we intend to put entirely into our boat purchase so that we don’t have to pay any taxes on it.

That’s basically the plan, $70-80k to spend on a boat purchase/original outfitting and repairs and $70-80k to live on. Using $1200/month expenses and a very conservative interest rate of 4.0% on $75,000, that money will last us almost 6 years with 0 additional input from us. Add in Dan’s plan to become a certified PADI instructor, and his IT experience, we’re hoping to not be hindered from living the life as long as we love it.

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Posted on Oct 19, 2011 | 0 comments

Why we choose to live life aboard

We have been extremely fortunate… we have a wonderfully healthy and exciting son, way too big of a house (there are rooms we haven’t seen for months), great cars, etc… you get the point. Our entire lives we had been told both through media and quite directly by teachers, friends, and even family at times, that we would be happy after we had just a little more money or a slightly larger house. We’ve gone through several iterations of a little more money and a slightly larger house and it isn’t fulfilling. What is fulfilling is our walks on the riverfront at lunch time, watching Carter try to figure out the world, marveling at the sunrises while hunting, talking with friends way too late in the night… life is what is fulfilling, not things.

We recognized this a few years ago but until recently were lost in the quandary of how to maximize life when we needed a constant flow of income to support our lifestyle. Living aboard is a perfect solution to this problem… at least for us. Living aboard will allow us to experience life to the fullest without the constant need for a large stream of income, all while experiencing some of the best sights and most unique people this world has to offer.

Western culture has been drifting away from reality for a while now. I was just over a friend’s house and there were two middle school girls that were good friends and hadn’t seen each other in a while. After the cursory greetings, etc they each whipped out their cellphones and began to text random people and post on their Facebook walls what they had done in the last five seconds since their last post. They then moved to the computer where more such machinations were to follow. Unfortunately it is quite normal for people to go work for 8-9 hours, start dinner, turn on the TV, and tune out of life until bedtime. In 10-20 years (hell, 10-20 days or even hours) will it matter what TV show you watched? What team won the sports game? Who the next idol is? No, it won’t. What will matter is what impact you had on the world. Whom you experienced life with. The time you were able to spend with your children. What difference you made in the lives of people you met. These are things that matter now and forever.

I don’t expect living aboard to solve any of my problems, but I expect it to give me the time to experience life. There are a lot of hardships involved with life on a boat, I get that. I don’t mean to demean the people living in western culture or even the people enjoying it, it’s just that I have found it to be unfulfilling and circular. What is the point of spinning your wheels maxing out yourself so you can buy the next great thing that you will need to replace in six months due to planned obsolescence? So you can do it all again? No thanks.

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Posted on Oct 12, 2011 | 0 comments

About us

We are normal (well ok, not so normal) people that have a dream to see the world and live life as it was meant to be. We both have successful careers in the healthcare industry, even in this terrible economy. We want to break free of the current cycle of trading time for dollars and dollars for more and more things we don’t need. So, we have decided to forego the fruits of our economic success and “retire” well before we are 30 and set out to see what is over the Horizon.

Sometime in 2010 I came across the concept of live aboard sailing… and after talking with Michele about it for a while, we’ve decided to take the plunge. While some people encourage nearly wanton haste like “sell everything, buy a boat, cast of the lines” we are slightly (only slightly, mind you) more pragmatic. Our son is two and a half  and we aren’t comfortable having a toddler on a cruiser. We don’t judge people who do, its just not for us. We plan to wait until he is around 4 years old and by that time have enough investments to be able to purchase a boat and sail to wherever Horizon (the name of our future boat, explanation to come later) might take us.

I am an IT manager of a medium sized organization. I attended one of the top computer science universities in the world, dropped out early because I hate(d) school and became a network engineer when I was 20. It has been 3 years since and I have been the IT Director of a small hospital and now of a medium sized medical practice. I am not saying all of this to try to impress anyone… I am saying this because I believe some people get obsessed with climbing a ladder somewhere and don’t stop to look around and just enjoy what they have. Time travels in one direction and we have a finite supply. My wife Michele and I are fortunate enough to understand this at our ages and we plan to take advantage of this wisdom.

So how’d I get Michele to agree to this craziness? In her own words…

When Dan first came to me with the idea of living on a boat full-time, I was somewhat stunned. Carter was only 9 months old and a lot of our financial issues (promotions at work, loans getting paid off, etc.) were really starting to look up. We were almost to the point of being able to do whatever we wanted with our money and being set for life! But I could tell from the way he was talking about it that Dan was really serious about this, so I at least needed to give it some serious thought. The more I thought about it, read about it, and talked about it with him, the more I realized that not only was it possible to do this but that it was something I really wanted to go for too. Not only for myself and Dan, but for Carter too. I don’t want my son growing up in front of a screen.

I’m still nervous about the idea, but I figure its kind of like the nervous energy performers get before going on stage…its what keeps you from getting bored.

 

 

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Posted on Oct 12, 2011 | 0 comments

Who we are

We are normal (well ok, not so normal) people that have a dream to see the world and live life as it was meant to be. We both have successful careers in the healthcare industry, even in this terrible economy. We want to break free of the current cycle of trading time for dollars and dollars for more and more things we don’t need. So, we have decided to forego the fruits of our economic success and “retire” well before we are 30 and set out to see what is over the Horizon.

Around a year ago I came across the concept of live aboard sailing… and after talking with Michele about it for a while, we’ve decided to take the plunge. While some people encourage nearly wanton haste like “sell everything, buy a boat, cast of the lines” we are slightly (only slightly, mind you) more pragmatic. Our son is 11 months old this month and we aren’t comfortable having an infant/toddler on a cruiser. We don’t judge people who do, its just not for us. We plan to wait until he is around 4 years old and by that time have enough investments to be able to purchase a boat and sail to wherever Horizon (the name of our future boat, explanation to come later) might take us.

I am an IT manager of a medium sized organization. I attended one of the top computer science universities in the world, dropped out early because I hate(d) school and became a network engineer when I was 20. It has been 3 years since and I have been the IT Director of a small hospital and now of a medium sized medical practice. I am not saying all of this to try to impress anyone… I am saying this because I believe some people get obsessed with climbing a ladder somewhere and don’t stop to look around and just enjoy what they have. Time travels in one direction and we have a finite supply. My wife Michele and I are fortunate enough to understand this at our ages and we plan to take advantage of this wisdom.

So how’d I get Michele to agree to this craziness? In her own words…

When Dan first came to me with the idea of living on a boat full-time, I was somewhat stunned. Carter was only 9 months old and a lot of our financial issues (promotions at work, loans getting paid off, etc.) were really starting to look up. We were almost to the point of being able to do whatever we wanted with our money and being set for life! But I could tell from the way he was talking about it that Dan was really serious about this, so I at least needed to give it some serious thought. The more I thought about it, read about it, and talked about it with him, the more I realized that not only was it possible to do this but that it was something I really wanted to go for too. Not only for myself and Dan, but for Carter too. I don’t want my son growing up in front of a screen.

I’m still nervous about the idea, but I figure its kind of like the nervous energy performers get before going on stage…its what keeps you from getting bored.

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