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Old 02-02-2017, 06:37 PM   #1
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Input requested from those who made the leap in to retirement

This isn't your typical "I am considering retirement, looking for a trawler and what kind of boat does TF recommend?"

Having been a lurker far longer than I've been a member I have come to have great respect of the members of TF. From life's experiences to boating advice this forum has always been a sanctuary for me due to my love of all things marine-related.

Interesting, my career has been in aviation.

I have been eligible to retire from the FAA as a safety professional for several years. I believe I will finally commit to that decision next January after 38 years of service. Between the idea of not working (having held a job since I was 13 washing dishes in a bakery to the fabulous career in air traffic control, I honestly don't know what it's like not to work. And this my conundrum.

Knowing I am comfortable leaving Uncle Sam's employment (so as to enjoy my retirement longer than it took me to earn it) I don't know if I am ready to "stop working". Meaning if you're doing something you really enjoy, is it really work? I would enjoy doing something within the marine industry but I wonder how many opportunities exist for a 58 y.o.?

I've been around boats most of my life. But my resume is airplanes, safety and program management. Does that translate to the maritime industry? Do I need to go back to school for a captains (not a six-pack) license to "prove" my knowledge?

My wife is 15 years my junior and her desire is to keep working until her son graduates college. That's 8 years or so. Sometimes I think I'd be happy pushing a broom in a shop but I suspect my "type A" personality would soon tire of that and seek something more satisfying given the almost four decades of past involvement.

Have any of you faced similar situations? Was retirement more or less what you expected? Working will not be for financial reasons. I just enjoy being busy and contributing. And my heart (the non-romantic piece) has always been happiest while at waters edge or underway. But I have no idea about what kinds of opportunities exist in marine industries besides mechanic, salesman or surveyor. Seems like there is plenty of them already.....

So frustrating and I fear I am overthinking the whole thing.

Thanks for your patience reading this diatribe.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:04 PM   #2
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I'm 58 and retired. If I knew it would be this much fun I would have retired at 21. Asking what boat you need is a bit like asking a blind person to describe the color blue. It depends on a multitude of factors. Are you independently wealthy, are you wanting to go offshore, do fuel costs matter, are you wanting to do the loop, and the list goes on. I have Marine Trader 50 wide body. Not fast, not much for offshore, and I would only be able to so the great turnaround due to my height. Everything is a tradeoff. Narrow your questions some and you will get some good advice.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:07 PM   #3
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Start a small business as a hobby to fill your time. Nothing capital or time intensive. I've always felt the two greatest opportunities to be a pure entrepreneur are when you graduate and are still living at home or when you retire early. Both times of your life you find yourself with plenty of time and no pressure financially.

Everyone is different, I'm getting a head start playing around with building and self hosting websites. It's far easier and less intense than it sounds and has very low costs. If it's knowledge you're after the university of Google and YouTube will get you farther than you dare dream.

Whatever floats your boat as the opportunity is endless and there's plenty to fill ones time. Volunteer work is another avenue often overlooked. Charities to churches, schools to event centers. We have a rather large Center for the Performing Arts locally that several of our friends are volunteer docents at. Museums too for that matter. Teaching the less privileged among us basic reading and mathematics skills is what one of my friends volunteers his time to do through the local library.

Or just relax, you earned it. The world is your oyster and envy your position as I'm about ten years behind you. Good luck.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:10 PM   #4
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I am weary of the term LEAP. - I slid/eased/sidled - call it what you like but not a leap.

Transition is a term - I started out by reducing my work hours to 4days/week - full time then I resigned and went casual (my wife says I am perfect for that!!) working at selected jobs when and where I choose - probably 2.5 days per week on average. the money isn`t the issue - its the enjoyment and interaction with other people although being able to pay for beer and fuel for the boat and other "hobby spending " without drawing down on investments is a plus.

So...........don`t leap - transition to another phase of your life - can you pull less shifts in the tower?

Remember, you are entering a new phase of your life - not trying to fill in time till your time is up.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:12 PM   #5
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Input requested from those who made the leap in to retirement

Capt B.
Thanks for looking.

This isn't a question(s?) about a boat. It's about a "fear" of not working.

Your comment about how much fun your experiencing is most telling (and comforting). The idea of not working (the "pay check in retirement will provide for a comfortable living) is the concern.

When I have taken a vacation for a couple of weeks in the past I've felt "guilty" for some perverse reason. Does that feeling go away? Once I turn in the ID badge, it's over and I guess I was looking to hear from others who looked at that and had no regrets. You sound like you haven't. That's frankly good to hear.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:17 PM   #6
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I'm more a type "B" personality (read that as not highly driven, but far from lazy) who retired at the end of 2010 after working 50+ years. My retired clients used to tell me that they were busier now that they were retired than they were when they were working and didn't know how they had time to work.


I laughed at that, but find that now I have to agree. And like them, I'm not sure what I do to keep myself busy but I'm busy much of the day.


Being retired has its benefits. We're free to come and go as we please, travel, spend time on the boats, play with the grand kids, etc.


Heck, had I known retirement could be so much fun I'd have done it years before I did.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:23 PM   #7
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Great post, Tex. I can guarantee that an individual with your curiosity and experience won't run out of things to do if you decide to go with the majority of trawler-type designs we have here on the Forum. If you do, come and work on my boat. The list of things to do with repairs, refits, maintenance and improvements will never end. It's great that you're traveling among us now instead of lurking. We'll all eventually benefit from your perspectives.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:25 PM   #8
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Well I spent 50+ years in the marine industry. Retired a couple of years ago. Along the way i worked with a number of people like you who like boating and wanted to work in the maritime industry. Understand, you will be competing with people who have a lot of years of experience working in on and around boats. Also remember employers are looking for full time employees, so you will be back to working from 7:30 to 4:30 with two weeks vacation. Don't want to throw cold water on your dreams, but it won't be easy. Here are a few avenues to consider. One is project management. The bigger and more professional yards do have project managers to manage repair projects. Someone with your management skills might find an opening there. Another place to look is marinas. They are often looking for dockhands and with a bit of initiative you can be the Dockmaster or Harbormaster pretty quickly. Again, those positions would probably fit with your management experience.

I'm sure many others on this site have USCG tickets. I received my first in 1968. Since then I have seen hundreds of people with "100 Ton" licenses and very little knowlege or experience. They are good test takers but it does not necessarily prove any knowlege of boats. That only comes with experience. However, with a USCG ticket you might well be able to find a place running a launch or a tour boat. Those jobs can be a lot of fun. They are ususlly seasonal, but then again you could move with the seasons. Best of luck. There are opportunities out there.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:35 PM   #9
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Regarding keeping busy after retirement, many of us work on the boat heavily in the winter and then head out in the summer. This approach accomplishes several things. The self esteem you lost by retiring from your corporate job is now replaced with becoming a marine jack of all trades......it uses your innate creativity to solve problems, saving you a lot of money by doing your own work. At the same time, you'll have a fighting chance to fix things while you're cruising rather than total reliance on outsiders. I went from being an accountant by training, to a corporate manager, to a small business owner and finally to running my boat to Alaska each summer, where self sufficiency is the watch word. I don't have to tell you which the most rewarding.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:39 PM   #10
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Well, Tex,

Let me help, as one of at least two air traffic retirees here (there's a guy from the SAC FIFO also).

My personal perspective is that retirement (51 in my case) isn't a license to vegetate on the porch, waiting for the reaper, but a fiscal floor under your lifestyle (sorry) which permits you to try one of those interesting but under-compensated occupations which abound in modern worklife. You no longer have to ask "What's it pay?" Just, "Will I find it fulfilling?"

In my case, a wonderful rewarding academic position at a fraction of my Fed wage came looking for me, which is a bit of luck you can't count on, but trust me, there is a huge body of potential employment out there for a guy who can speak in complete sentences and who knows that "on time" means ten minutes early.

Others have advocated small business, and I can speak to that, too. Because the academic opportunity wasn't clear to me initially, I acquired a 14-room summer resort hotel at the same time. Over ten years, I basically worked for free, but I loved every minute of it, and my retirement annuity is what made it posssible.

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Old 02-02-2017, 07:56 PM   #11
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I just retired at the end of December.

First I would sit down with your missus and ask a very important question - "What do you see us doing together when we are both retired?"

If it isn't trawlering, then you need to move along until you find that joint love, with one caveat, leave a little space for the things you love to do separately as well.

We have two loves.

First, I am one of those lucky people where the other guys in my waterfront neighborhood look at my wife and say "I wish my wife liked the water as much as her."

She was taking the 15' RIB out on her own yesterday and a coupe of neighbors saw her as she was in the lock. They asked her where she was going and she told them off to the local crab shack for lunch. After the lady expressed surprise the lock master told then "she is always out running around in this thing!"

She is currently in the market for a two person canoe to throw on the back of Sonas.

Just this evening at dinner at the club we told a table that we would see them in June as we are off to the Exumas for three months. One of the ladies asked us if we had a crew. My wife puffed up her chest and said "yep, you are looking at her!"

Secondly, so as not to get stale with boating, and boating, and boating, we love to travel. We just got back from two weeks in Ireland. After the Exumas we are shooting off to New Orleans to visit some friends, then OK and MT to visit the kids. We are going to spend September between Italy and the UK.

Then back on the boat for the fall.

Find something you both love and something each of you love separately. Spend time on the stuff you both love but give ourselves space for the things you individually love.

Good luck - and if you can do it now, get off the treadmill and start enjoying what you have earned!
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:02 PM   #12
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You will always find something to do or improve on your vessel. If you are into electronics, the marine industries is very short for ABYC certified marine electricians. It seems many yards have none on staff or you wait weeks to get job done, then it's not correct. And like an aircraft you will find a well written check list will help you run your vessel must smoother. Don't wait. Go while your body will do a safe job at sea.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:12 PM   #13
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Greetings,
Mr. t. If you're going next January, you've got 10 months to plan. A LOT of good suggestions thus far: Volunteer work? Maybe teaching something at a local college? Travel? Hobbies? ESL volunteering? Any sea scout troops in the area? How about some university courses? Cooking school? Meals on wheels? Ever think of writing a book? Dog/animal husbandry? Learn a new language? Woodworking/small boat building? Politics (Hahahaha....just kidding, a bit)? Hang gliding? Drone photography for real estate brokers or other boaters? The list is endless and limited only by your imagination. NOW is the time to do your research.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:28 PM   #14
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My wife and I have a plan to be retired in a bit more than 10 years. She will be 57 I will be 53. In fact she will retire 3 years before me but we needed to fix a date so... Her parents often ask us what we will be doing and argue that we will find the time long and boring. They are the type of person who had only two things in their life, their daughters and their job. My wife and I are the opposite, while we like our job, it still a job but we have so many things we want to do or do more and don't have the time to do because of our jobs. We spend most of our vacation traveling. We are dive addict, we spend a lot of time in different carribean islands and europe to dive but it is not enough we want more. We spend weekends and some vacation weeks boating, but it is not enough, we want more. We spend some time traveling in Quebec to see some wonderful scenic place, but it is not enough we want more. I love maintaining my boat, my house, wood working and many other things and I do not have enough time to do it. On top of all that, my wife is working nightly and I am working daily so we spend little time together, and we just want to spent more time enjoying life together. Will I find the time long and boring while retired... NO WAY I will just spend all these hours to do all these things I have not enough time to do right now, and this will keep me busy for more time than I will have the chance to live.
I guess that there are two type of people around, those for who work was the center of their life without much except working (no criticism here just a fact), these will find retirement boring. And there are those who have multiple activities but not enough time, those will just enjoy.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:32 PM   #15
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Jimney crickets! So many wonderful thoughts and suggestions. I knew I could count on a sincere and thoroughly inspiring response from the TF world.

I am looking forward to sharing this thread with the Mrs. It's going to provide a great head start for "our" planning. (Thanks Menzies! I have been a little too self absorbed with "my" retirement to not correctly be more considerate of the impacts to her. )
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:46 PM   #16
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Menzies makes a good point. Your wife, and then likely you, may be unhappy if your activities take you away from home a lot.

I have always been someone that can get very interested in a variety of activities, flying, running, photography, brewing, volunteering, writing, boating, etc.... If I could afford to retire, being bored would be the last of my concerns.

Since you love the water and boats, have you considered the idea of buying a boat to charter? I know another North Pacific 43 owner that has done that in his retirement. It lays presents challenges and something new to do and learn as he maintains his boat. He then got his 6-pack so he could do captained as well as bare boat charters. He then started to do some deliveries for North Pacific. He is very busy hanging out on boats and able to make a bit of money to supplement his retirement.

In other words, why work for wages when you can work for yourself on your own boats?
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:46 PM   #17
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Hey Tex,


Welcome to the other side. As a federal retiree after 35 years of service, I know exactly where you are. I have been retired for 1 year and retired at 56 1/2 years old. I started 3 years out building our dream. We made our first trip to Alaska and the inside passage last summer. Heading back up this summer.


I am assuming you already have a boat, so what are your plans? The Great Loop, Caribbean or something else? Then you need to convince the Admiral to do it.....I was lucky, my wife is also a federal employee but retired 10 years before me. She loves the liveaboard life style.


BTW my son is a ATC at the Anchorage Center.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:56 PM   #18
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Is there a Non- Federal tower nearby? They might be happy to have some part time relief. Less busy and keep your hand in.

BTW, after 40 years and 12,500 hours in aviation, at 59 I have no problem staying busy
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:56 PM   #19
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I am not sure I can add a lot of useful information to the thread but I wanted to comment, that we spent the summer on the Loop with a buddy boat captained by a friend who is a retired ATC. For part of the trip he had a friend aboard who was also retired ATC. While on the loop, we met at least 4 other retired ATCs. There are three in Fort Myers this winter.

As for your retirement questions - I retired at 55 and my wife was concerned I would get bored. I laughed and reminded her I never have been bored before. My "to-do" list on the boat is in an excel spreadsheet and is over two pages. There is always something that needs cleaned or maintained.

A lot depends on what your plans are with the boat - are you going to live full time on it or use it as a hobby? How much do you plan to cruise? It will be a bit difficult if your wife is still working. I have been very lucky in that my wife shared our plan to sell the house and we have been living aboard for over nine years. When I was able to retire, it was easy to point the boat south and start cruising. There is always ALOT to learn. Just for fun, I bought a guitar last month and started classes once a week until we start moving north again when it warms up.

Good luck and enjoy your options...you are very lucky to have the choices.
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:09 PM   #20
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I was on track to retire well off in my early 50's. At 40 I hated myself for it and quit a job with an obscene paycheck.

now 43. couple of small businesses that can be done where ever - enough income to pay for some diesel and groceries and a safety net of family and former colleagues.

Remind me the purpose of retirement again?
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