SimplySailingOnline.com shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.
It seems that more people are disheartened with the rat race earlier in life than ever. While our parents were content to work the nine to five grind for forty years and retire with a nice pension and "security," some of us just aren't built that way. But even those of us who are "free" have to eat and will eventually become retirement age. Whether you jump off that gerbil wheel at 55 or 25, the question has to be considered: What do you do about a retirement plan?
I know there are plenty of readers who shake their heads at us for some of our decisions, but the first head-shakers were our parents. My father worked a union job with excellent benefits, retired with a great pension and financial security, so when I quit teaching at 34 to go sailing, his first thoughts were for my retirement fund.
"You can leave that money in there, right? And draw on it when you're 65?"
The poor man has never understood my true spirit.
"I guess I could have, yeah. But I withdrew it. That's the money we used to buy the dinghy."
I think he is still shaking his head.
So what will we do about retirement? Good question, but here are some of our options.
1) We may not live long enough to worry about it. (Not my favorite option, but still something to consider.)
2) We are still (relatively) young. We could find our niche, start a career, and still spend 20 years at it before we are retirement age.
3) We don't retire. We always joke that we retire for six months every year. So we are taking our retirement in installments. But it's not really a joke. I doubt we will have the financial security to quit working at 65, or maybe ever. And I'm not even sure that's a bad thing. I look at people who work 50 weeks a year for 40 years, retire, and then get a job. They obviously don't do it for the money, but for something to occupy their time. Conversely, I've seen people do their time in the grind, only to retire and sit around and do nothing. So why did you work away all the best years of your life? For this?
So the fact that we may never be financially secure enough to quit working for more than a year at a time, is not necessarily a bad thing. I'm sure that many people with health insurance, 401k's, and other retirement plans are shocked to know that some of us don't want or need those things. Some of them aren't worth the cost: in money, time, and moments of my life that I'll never get back. We know people in their seventies who are working in order to have a better retirement package. But when do they plan on using those benefits? You have to retire for them to be of any use to you, right?
A few of our sailing friends of retirement age are living on their Social Security checks, some as low as $800 a month. A lot of them stepped off the treadmill decades ago and, like us, have been doing the "work when you have to" thing since then. There are times when these guys want a bit of extra cash, so they do some work in the harbor or pick up odd jobs here and there. They are doing a lot more than "surviving" on their meager incomes; they are thriving, living the way they want to live, out of the box and free.
We figure we've got a few decades left of being able to work at our current careers, at our pace of whenever we want/need to, before we have to consider other options. And if we find in our 70s that we didn't plan very well for our old age, well, shit. We'll deal with it then. In the meantime, we'll be doing what we want, enjoying life, and sailing my retirement plan around the anchorage.
With the migration upon us, we are seeing a lot of boaters doing circles while waiting for a bridge opening. MONDAY we'll explain a more professional option.
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