The money question

A reader asks, “How are you supporting yourselves financially?”

The short answer is that:
:: We paid what we could afford for our boat
:: We didn’t sell our house or cash in our retirement funds…yet
:: We have a year or two saved up to cruise, and we have no concrete plans

The fine print.

The boat.

When we bought the boat, we paid mid-30s, plus commissioning costs for a total of about $40k. I know some people pay very little for their sailboats–as little as $1–so we are not on the very low end of the spectrum. We bought as big and well-built a boat as we could afford to pay in cash, which ended up being a 32-foot boat. Wildest Dream was built to cruise the North Atlantic. She’s a tough little boat with a large interior for our family. And that’s good enough for us.

As for outfitting and upgrading the boat, we don’t keep detailed spreadsheets like we did B.K. (before kids), so all figures are just estimates. Including the dinghy and the latest haul-out saga, we will have sunk another ~$15-20k into the boat. Since we are only going coastal cruising, we are okay with that. If we were to go offshore, all the rigging, the chainplates, and some of the sails would need to be replaced. We probably would get a bigger anchor and a windvane. But we don’t have plans to go offshore, so that is all speculation.

Not cashing out…yet.

Many cruisers sell their homes or (to a lesser extent) cash out their retirement plans. We haven’t ruled it out, but for now, we’re keeping both for as long as we can. Our home is rented out; income and expenses will be a wash. Lin and Larry Pardey made a point in one of their books (I forget which), that not having a lump sum burning a hole in your pocket may be a good thing. If the decision to cash out is thoughtfully made and the funds carefully managed, it can work out wonderfully. Which leads us to…

A small cruising kitty.

Not having a lump sum has made us more frugal (except when boat projects go haywire.) We will probably need to stop and work in order to fund our cruising. Since we don’t have any concrete plans aside from getting to the Bahamas, we are not budgeting for a round-the-world cruise.

So that’s it. No magic bullets, just setting priorities and making choices.