Monday, June 27, 2011

The reality of the money situation

"To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea... cruising, it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about. "I've always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone. What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life? "

The above quote is from the Wanderer, by Sterling Hayden and was shared on a forum i was reading.  I've now decided that I have to have that book!

In that same forum numerous people said they wished they'd started the sailing life sooner, and encouraged me to just go now.  Unfortunately a couple decades of living the "modern" life has left me indebted and as much as I'd like to go now, the government/banks might want me to pay a few things before I go - such sticklers they are!   So I'm going to just list here some things that need to go away (warning this will not be pretty so those with squeamish stomachs should probably look away.


401k   - cut in half by a divorce, and then wiped out entirely by an extended time of unemployment
House - I had more equity until the housing market went south and i lost 10% of the houses value over night
Car     - yep, i have one - 7 years old.
What does that leave?   A really big garage sale charging exorbitant prices for old clothes :)

Debts:     please no comments on my stupid mistakes - they have been made and must be dealt with.

IRS                 - apparently they want to tax you on that 401k distribution you took - without it i would've
                          lost the house though
State              -  yep, they wanted their piece of that pie also
Amex              - credit cards, if only i'd been smarter
Mastercard    - I wasn't smart twice

Let's just say there's about 30k of fun in that list.  I'd be specific, but I think guessing is way more fun for the reader - don't you? Then there are the expenses of one child headed to college, and another one right behind the next year.  So where does that leave me?  I think it leaves me not going tomorrow.  But it's glass half-full time right?  This gives me an opportunity to simplify (yeah - I know, I'm overusing that word this week) my life while still on land, in anticipation of the move to the boat.

Here are things I'm planning to get started on.
  1. Sell the motorcycle  - don't owe anything on it, but it'll be some cash to help pay off stuff earlier
  2. Cut the cable bill down - don't need a land line, and really only need the internet connection 
  3. Cut the energy bill down - AC - sorry kids, fans will work nicely most of the time.  Appliances and lights that don't need to be on are going to be off (just like an energy starved boat)
  4. I live in the heart of the town I'm in - bike rides for small errands and light shopping (saves gas)
  5. Home-cooked meals instead of eating out - sounds like simple boat living to me
  6. Lose some dang weight - closet full of clothes i could wear and not have to buy new if they'd fit
  7. Do some more consulting work - I know you can't tell from this website, but I'm a computer guy :)
  8. No unnecessary purchases - books on sailing and boating are necessary!
  9. And if all else fails -   Start looking for a Sugar Momma!!    
By doing the above, I hope to bring my monthly budget down so that I can pay off my debts quicker.  Hopefully letting me start saving quicker for my sailing fund!  Now I'm going to have to figure out some way to make money while cruising, and will still be a cruiser on a strict budget!   But per the above quote I think I will choose the "bankruptcy of purse", and not the "bankruptcy of life".

If I'm feeling brave, and forthcoming I may do a comparison of how my budget went down and where I'm at after those changes are complete.

So when I do find you down in warm waters, and invite you over for a potluck dinner - it's not me being cheap, I just enjoy the company of many people and different dishes - Honestly :)

As always - Good sailing to you and yours!


  1. We also have to pay off the debt and get rid of the house before sailing into paradise! Isn't it ironic how the American dream of home ownership has now become an anchor? We also have two motorcycles to sell, but until the house sells we can't bear to part with them. Sounds like we have a lot in common, and we love your writing style!

  2. That's a great way to put it - the dream has become an anchor (and very appropriate too :) ). And yes, parting with the motorcycle will not be fun. A stressful day for me can be erased by a nice ride out in the country. But I'd rather try and get rid of all the stress that requires those rides instead. And it does seem like we have a lot in common, although you are a bit closer to the dream then me ( I won't hold that against you).

    I didn't realize I had a style, I thought it was incoherent ramblings - but thank you for the compliment :)

    Lead the way to the dream - I'll follow you!

  3. I'm with both of you, except we own two houses now. But plan on keeping both, one is paid off which we'll rent, and the other will be our land-based home on the West Coast of Florida, just to make sure the dream doesn't turn into a nightmare and I want out. We have a boat, but want a bigger one, which costs more money I know. The biggest thing for me is health insurance - I don't want to go without, even so we are both healthy 50's, I know anything can happen and want to have coverage just in case. So yes, I will continue to dream, and save and hope I can find some cheap insurance!

  4. Anonymous - that sounds like a pretty good plan. You have set yourselves up for a pretty comfortable cruising life it sounds like. You have some income from your rental, and a place on land to get back to if you need to. And I understand the health insurance concern. One of many I will have when I do finally shove off.