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Posted on Feb 7, 2013 | 0 comments

Passive Income: The New American Dream

Live on the Margin websiteWhen people, including ourselves, first start looking into cruising there is one big question that everyone wants an answer to and is for some reason difficult to find. How much is this going to cost? aka How much longer do I have to scrounge and save in this boring life before I can gtfo? Most people cruising today count on some form of savings to finance their cruising plans and once that “kitty” (as the community likes to call it) runs out, they have to stop and work either permanently or in temporary jobs until they can keep going. Pat Schulte (of Bumfuzzle fame) and Nick O’Kelly have found another solution: Live on the Margin.

Disclaimer: The book is really good, but remember trading stocks and options isn’t like gambling, it is gambling. If you read the book, follow the advice, and lose your butt, don’t blame us. We just found the book entertaining.

Pat and Nick have been traveling throughout the world for many years while making money in essentially one way: trading stocks and options in short term trades. And lucky us, they’ve written a book about it so we can all do the same thing. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Really? You want me to read a book about trading stocks? I think I’ll just go count the blades of grass in my front yard instead.” Normally, I would agree with you, but this book is easy to understand and actually funny. That’s right, I said funny. I actually laughed out loud a few times while reading it clandestinely in my cubicle. If you’ve ever wanted to learn the basics of trading without wanting to blow your brains out afterwards, this is the book for you.

Here are a couple of my personal favorite quotes from the book:

The stock market is brutally sincere when it tells you that it wants to suck every dollar out of you. The guy on the other side of the trade wants your money. He will lead you by the hand and mug you and take your money.

When describing what happens when a “celebrity” stock crashes and takes a long time to go back up:

Nobody wants to dance with the popular kid who just crapped his pants on the dance floor in front of the entire school, and that’s the problem you run into with celebrity stocks.

After reading the book I took their advice and opened an account with an online brokerage that allows you to trade fake money as if you were making real trades to help get accustomed to the ins and outs of trading before you start risking real cash. So far, I’ve learned three things from trying it out myself:

  1. I actually know nothing about stocks. I’ve had to reread parts of the book a couple of times while looking at a trading platform to figure out how to make it work.
  2. If ice in the veins is what is required for making good trades, I think I might have hot chocolate. So far, I’m waaay too reactive to little things that happen and get hyped up waiting for the market to move. This causes me to make stupid decisions and act like a member of the “anxious herd of sheep” that I’m trying to avoid being.
  3. I’m pretty sure that Dan will be the one doing all the trading in this family.

I’ll admit it, I totally suck at trading. I have yet to make any fake money in my lousy trades, but at least I’m learning and not using real cash yet. I just hope I don’t run our fake account into the ground before Dan can finish the book!

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Posted on Jul 5, 2012 | 2 comments

Independence Day

Maybe we’ll set a few of these off when we leave

Today, people all over the United States will be celebrating Independence Day aka the 4th of July. We all get together for picnics and fireworks, and then tomorrow we’ll all go back to work. It leads me to reflect on how close Dan and I are to our own “Independence Day” when we can cast off the lines and really start our cruising life. Almost a year ago now, we took a hard look at what we would need to do to accomplish that goal, and we estimated it would take us around 4 years of saving and planning to have a comfortable cruising kitty.

That was a year ago. Now we’re sitting in office chairs wondering “what the heck are we doing here?!” We’ve come to find that doing the work-a-day life is significantly harder to stomach once you’ve realized there is another option. Judging by some of the other blogs that I have read by cruisers who have already left, we aren’t the only ones who have experienced the over-anticipation that occurs once you start planning to cruise. Frankly, 4 years is just waaay too long to tolerate under our current mindset.

Therefore, we have decided to speed up the process a little. By a little, I mean our goal is now to have our butts in the Caribbean by the end of next year. There are a lot of steps that we are currently evaluating, but let’s just say that things are going to start moving at a quicker pace in our house very shortly.

Independence Day, here we come!

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Posted on May 26, 2012 | 0 comments

Our Little Secret

We aren't quite at this level...

So, for those of you who are keeping count, Dan and I have been sailing this year a grand total of… three times. Well, actually he’s been three, and I’ve been sailing twice and trying frantically to find somewhere to land the boat once. Seeing as it is almost the end of May you might be wondering where all of our sailing stories are. There are a couple of reasons (see: excuses) why we haven’t seen as much wind this spring as we had originally anticipated, but hope to improve over the summer.

  • First, the weather has been crazy. All week it will be beautiful sailing weather, then its freezing and rainy all weekend.
  • Also complicating our plans is that our boat is not currently in a slip. This might not sound like a big complication, but it takes significantly longer prep time to have to pick up the boat and step the mast before heading out on the water. It pretty much limits our sailing time to weekends except for in the middle of the summer when there is a lot more daylight time to work with.
  • Finally, Dan’s brother Kyle has been working most weekends, and due to my status as resident weakling, we need help stepping the mast.

Now that I’ve got all of the logical reasons out of the way, here’s the embarrassing one: we’re a little afraid of another disaster. Our confidence has been somewhat injured by our failures so far. (Though one of our 3 days was actually perfect.) Kyle, Becca, Dan and I actually had the boat down at a marina on Sunday, but we chickened out after watching another boat glide peacefully out of the harbor, only to get practically laid down as soon as they hit the 20 mph winds on the river. We just aren’t ready for dealing with that yet.

No worries, though! We haven’t given up, we are just going to get a little confidence boost before doing anything else crazy. Dan and I are taking a sailing class starting in June that should get us right back to our good-old-selves. Nothing like a little hands-on where the most experienced sailor in the boat isn’t the one who took the free online class! In the meantime, we’re going on a sweet dive vacation to Bull Shoals, Arkansas…full details forthcoming.

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Posted on May 8, 2012 | 0 comments

A Wife’s Tale

It has come to my attention that I am not the “typical” boat wife. Apparently, a significantly larger percentage of men in the boating world would like to go cruising than their long-suffering wives… patiently rolling their eyes as the husband goes on again about the freedom of the open sea and other such nonsense as she sees it. Therefore, I have decided to take up my little soapbox today in the name of the crazy wives who actually think that the cruising life sounds like the best idea our husbands have ever come up with.

Let me start by saying that when Dan first brought up the idea a few years ago I actually laughed in his face. This was the most ridiculous idea he had ever come up with. We didn’t sail, I’m somewhat afraid of water, and we don’t even eat fish! No thank you. Also, I was enjoying our life and looking forward to a little family and the white picket fence; June Cleaver was my subconscious hero. In short, I just wasn’t ready yet for such a drastic dream.

Then a year ago, Dan starting looking into cruising again, more seriously this time. He brought the idea to me somewhat more cautiously optimistic than the first time, backing himself up with some realistic expectations. His enthusiasm caught my attention more than anything else. He let me know that he really wanted to go cruising but he needed me to make my own decision about it; he couldn’t let himself get any deeper without becoming emotionally committed to the dream. So I decided to do my own research and that I would make a real decision after our cruise to the Southern Caribbean, where we would be spending some time on smaller boats that would give me at least some idea of what sailing was about.

The first conclusion I came to was that living on a boat was definitely possible for us. (I know that sounds a little obvious, but it was a pretty big leap for a girl who had never been on a sailboat before.) Now I needed to decide if this was really what I wanted for me. Not because I loved my husband and wanted to make him happy, not because it would be a nice experience for my son, but because this was my dream. As I read and listened, a yearning started to build in my heart that was becoming my own. Finally, near the end of our cruise, I was standing on the top deck of our ship looking out at the huge moon reflecting off of the ocean waves and I knew: my life will not be complete until I see this scene from my own deck.

I want to encourage the wives out there, take your husband seriously when he brings you a dream that is in his heart. I believe that we find the person who was designed to unlock our deepest desires and greatest potential, but we are also the person who could crush that potential much more easily. Do you want to be the wife standing in the wings with a leash, or do you want to be a partner in a fantastic adventure?

Follow your dreams. Follow the Horizon.

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