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Old 01-20-2014, 12:17 PM   #1
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Is it time to go

I am really looking for some advise from people living "The Dream" now.
A little background, I'm 50, my wife is 44, Ive spent 28yrs fighting bad people, and have numerous broken parts on me as a result, one being a neck surgery that did not heal right, and because of it has accelerated my retirement plans by 5 years. My org plan had been to retire at 55, buy a used 39-42ft krogen, and finally live a life surrounded by like minded people, but the krogen part is unattainable now. As of now, other than constant pain that is better or worse on certain days I'm in good health, I'm active, dive, swim, hunt, fish, etc, but am told will probably need extensive surgery in next 15 yrs.and no telling how I will be then. I will get no disability type payments, just what I have earned in my 28 years of working for the dept. I am being urged to retire due to my accumulative injuries, and feel I may have 1 year, before I'm forced out and am wondering if putting up with what I have to, is worth the extra money I would get in retirement benefits. My question is I read people saying go now, if you wait till you can afford it, it will be to late, and thats my biggest concern. If I go now, I would be looking at 81k in a 401k and 4750 monthly, if I stick it out 1 more year, 133k and 4750 monthly, thats compared to 350k and 5500 a month, had I been able to follow my original plan of 5 more years. Should I go now with what I will receive, can I buy and live on a trawler with what I have now, would the extra money for another year be worth it, or is not even attainable with what I will be making? I'm sorry for such a lengthy post, but any advise would be very helpful to me....thank you
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:40 PM   #2
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Pappy:
I bought my trawler when I was 58, now 63. I like to do my own work on the boat as opposed to hiring it out. It gets a little harder each year to do this, as in climbing in and out of the engine room, getting on/off the boat back and forth from the car because I forgot to bring something aboard that I needed, etc. etc. Not a deal killer at all, it just gets a little bit more difficult each year. I am glad I didn't wait till I was mid-sixties as I originally planned for the above reasons and wouldn't trade this experience for the world.
Maybe take that one year extra and spend that year looking for the right boat, it does take time to do it right, plus it's fun. Then you get 2 birds w/ 1 stone: more money and a boat that both of you agree on. Good luck.
Mike
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:55 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. Mr. 43. Indeed a dilemma but I tend to side with Mr. GC on this one. Take the time and find the best boat that will fit with your future. Plus there IS the extra $$ to consider. The start of your new life is only a year away. Keep in mind the members who are being told "go now", to the best of my memory are older and are 5-10 years away from what you are planning to do. Yes, one more year won't put you into the KK budget BUT it should ease you into a more genteel relaxed choice for a new vessel.
Take some vacation time with your better 3/4 to look at boats, walk the docks and meet people. Join a boating group/yacht club. Take some USPS courses. Speaking From experience, looking is 99% of the fun.....using and learning is the other 99%. (Other 1%? Well, there's gonna be some oopsies, gosh darns and dag nabbits)
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:59 PM   #4
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Not much or any change in monthly income, so the real question is the 81K or 133K in the 401K for the boat. I think you will be hard press to find a live aboard boat for 81K and 133K may be tough.

$4,750/month should be enough to live on even with a small boat mortgage. I am thinking about retiring, with no debt/mortgage, this is my budget.

Moorage - $800
Health insurance 600
Auto/boat insurance 500
Food 500
Misc 600

Total 3,000

The big question is the cost of the boat and up grades.
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:10 PM   #5
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From another former crime fighter, I'd actually suggest you seek advise of this nature from a qualified financial planner. Someone recommended by others from your dept. or maybe the PBA? Someone that has YOUR best interest at heart, and doesn't make a dime until YOU do on your investments.

Some things I didn't see in your OP.
1) Is your dirt home paid for?
2) Are you going to sell your land based home and live aboard? Store items or sell everything and drop off the grid, or are you going to keep it?
3) If retaining the home, what are the plans for it? Do you intend to rent or lease it out? If so, there's another source of income to consider in your equation. Get a reputable management company and you're golden!
4) Vehicles? Paid for? Keeping or doing away with them?
5) Other debts? Credit cards, medical bills, etc.?
6) Medical Insurance? Will you be covered or are you going to have to self insure. Under the "Affordable" Health Care Bill, it's NOT all that "affordable."
7) Outside savings and investments? Do you have anything other than the 401k building?
8) Assets you're going to divest? Selling "stuff" you don't need can indeed add to the nest egg, as well as reduce your overall COL by insurance, storage, etc., Just a thought.


This part concerns me greatly:

Quote:
I will get no disability type payments, just what I have earned in my 28 years of working for the dept....
WTF not? Were these LOD injuries?

Followed closely by this:

Quote:
I am being urged to retire due to my accumulative injuries,
This is what pisses me off about or country and our LE agencies these days! Our agency started something similar many years ago. If you incurred an LOD injury, you had 364 days to return to full duty. If not, they fired you. "IF" you had the time in, you "might" be able to go out on a disability, but the numbers were so low that no one could realistically live on them. On the other hand, unlike the military, if you were a newbie and didn't have enough time in the saddle, you were essentially SOL.
Our supervisors and command staff regularly (and to this day continue) to "urge" retirement over trying to find a place for those that served.

Finally:
Quote:
and feel I may have 1 year, before I'm forced out and am wondering if putting up with what I have to, is worth the extra money I would get in retirement benefits
I don't know the extent of your injuries, but I've had a couple of friends over the years that have had head, neck and back injuries, and were told point blank by the doctors, "one more time and..." Varied from you may not walk again to you may die.

My suggestions for whatever they're worth to you are as follows:

1) As stated above, contact a top flight financial advisor and look at the numbers based on the items above.
2) If you have a PBA rep, sit down with them NOW! Discuss the real options, and not just what the department wants to lay out on the table. In this day, at least to some degree, they no longer hold all the chips
3) Lawyer UP! I hate recommending legal action; however, in this case, it "may" be warranted. Workers compensation, disability benefits, Social Security Disability benefits, Medical Retirement and/or long term care/treatment may be options that will help you live your dream a bit more comfortably.

As for the Trawler, hell yes you can find a trawler within your budget.
If you're going to finance it, do your looking now rather than waiting for your actual retirement. It's sometimes easier when you can show an active income vs. fixed. If you're going to buy it outright, then as others have said, spend some time looking. You may have to do some "fixin' up" of the old gal, but she'll be yours and you'll know how she's strung together. Not a bad thing to know when the SHTF, right?

Do you have vacation, sick, comp, or other time on the books that you have to expend or lose? If so, I'd say now is a great time to start "expending it"

Trust me, these people will get along just fine without you AND, you stand less chances of re-injuring yourself, and actually making it through that final year, and it'll place you that much closer to your goal

If it were me, I'd probably be doing all the above NOW, and start looking for your new retirement home!

BTW-Sorry this was so long winded.

All the best and whatever you do, stay safe out there!

OD
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:27 PM   #6
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If you decide to continue with the boat purchase, you should pay particular attention to engine room / systems accessibility. Speaking as a 67 year old, I can still access to work on all parts of my boat that are not restricted by size - I think boat builders create some spaces specifically for dwarf mechanics. It helps to have a small wife/girlfriend/child willing to squeeze into some of those locations!! It is amazing how even larger/expensive vessels can still have incredibly poor engine room spaces.
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:47 PM   #7
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^^ Absolutely^^
And keep in mind your injuries and the long term problems they may present in just such an engine room.
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Old 01-20-2014, 05:59 PM   #8
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As a retired former bad guy chaser and also retired financial advisor, I heartily add a +1 to what Off Duty said. Every part of it. I'd recommend a "Fee Only" financial advisor because they don't have products they're trying to sell you. You pay them for their advice, and that's not "buy this mutual fund or this stock" kind of advice, it's advice on how ready for retirement you are.

I'd also find someone from TX's law enforcement officer retirement/pension fund and see exactly where you stand. Not that I think an employer would lie to you (are their lips moving?) but you want to know exactly what you have coming to you.

From my financial advisor experience, you CAN live on a lot less money after your retire IF you have your financial house in order. Are your credit cards paid off? Do you own our home outright? What are your monthly living expenses? etc.

Armed with that information, a visit to a Fee Only Planner will tell you whether you're financially ready to retire.

Good Luck, and remember my saying....Life's Too Short To Stay Tied To The Dock!
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:03 PM   #9
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............. I'd actually suggest you seek advise of this nature from a qualified financial planner. Someone recommended by others from your dept. or maybe the PBA? ................
Obviously. Don't ask for financial advice from boaters, ask qualified professionals. Your situation is unique, everyone's is. In my case, I worked a couple years longer than I had to and it paid off. Your situation may be different.

As for buying a trawler and living on it, it sounds romantic, but do you have a boat now? Any serious boating experience? Ever spent a few days on a boat?

Friends of friends of mine did just that, at middle age they sold their home and bought a 40+ ' trawler with no previous experience. It's docked at a marina, they are afraid to take it out alone. They call my friend to operate it and pay him for all maintenance and repairs.
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:03 PM   #10
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Great people

First I want to express my appreciation to everyone that has taken the time to respond to my post. I understand now, how broad of a question it was to ask, and thanks to all that left good advise. To narrow the variables, i will have no bills but uncle sams cut, my boating experience is 19-22ft power boats on lakes, and occasional bay areas on the gulf most of my adult life. I am under no illusion that it will be all fajitas and beers, but I look forward to challenges to keep me active, including all maint. needed to keep my boat operational. I guess what I really wanted to know was, if after finding a well maintained 36ft trawler, and buying it outright, not taking a loan for it, would my known monthly income till I die, be enough to sustain a decent degree of life living aboard in and around Fl.
I also want to say, that after only a few hours on this forum, I've met some really great people, and am looking forward to being your neighbor soon, and thank you off duty, for that phone conversation, my wife and i are looking forward to that dinner. Again thanx to all....Ken
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:32 PM   #11
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It would be a good use of your time to go back and read prior threads that are related to your plans.

Realize too, at some point you may not be able to live on and maintain your boat. Unlike most homes, boats depreciate so when it comes time to sell the boat and move onto land, you may not have the resources to do so. Again, you need the help of a financial expert.

The other side of course, is to enjoy life while you are able to do so. It's a balancing act and none of us knows what the future will bring.
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Old 01-21-2014, 06:04 AM   #12
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Well said WesK

GFC, thanks again for your advise.
I see that we're from the same school of thought:
Quote:
Not that I think an employer would lie to you (are their lips moving?)
He definitely needs to know exactly what he has coming, and what he qualifies for. And your slogan once again rings true!

Pappy- It was an honor and a pleasure to speak with you, and we too look forward to that time we can sit down together and share "lies and war stories." Just remember the difference. One starts with "and there I was..."
The other with..."hey, this is no chit!"

Seriously my friend, stand fast, get proper guidance and bide your time. In the end, I truly believe you'll come out way ahead.

Sincerely,

OD
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Old 01-21-2014, 06:40 AM   #13
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The degree of comfort of living aboard a 36 for ONE person is marginal...everything is small and there's little room for things beyond basics for living aboard.

For 2 to live aboard a 36, I'd say it's out of the question unless you prefer a camping like scenario versus apartment living.

40 footers just barely start to have the room for hobby stuff, bicycles (out of the way), maybe a washer/dryer, rooms for spares and tools...etc...etc...

There may be a handful of less than 40's out there that may be suitable for living aboard...but if they are they are rare because they will be already snapped up or people waiting in line.

The best source of info here is people who live aboard 24/365 and have done it for years. When they can quickly answer your questions like what do they do with leftover Christmas wrapping paper, high school diploma and year books, what kind of scanner/printer they have aboard? Then you can start to trust most of their answers...otherwise, even people who consider themselves cruisers but have never moved aboard really need to take that last step before really understanding the full question.

Once you narrow down your search to a few boats...anyone who regularly operates one MAY be a good source of info on that particular or similar boats.

As you get older a boat needs maintenance just like a house, as long as you budget for "others" to help/maintain...no diff than a dirt house except it's usually more expensive to a point. The biggest issue I see is you have to have a backup plan for those times where the boat needs to come out of the water and you can't stay aboard. Having a place to go is nice, but if going back aboard the boat when it's fixed and you are doing stuff along the way of that fixing process...having a dirt home 1000 miles away isn't much help....you have to be able to absorb the cost of staying local somehow.
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:14 AM   #14
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buy a used 39-42ft krogen,

WHY?

There are lots of boats that will do long shore cruising as well as a Krogen , perhaps at 1/3 to 1/4 the outlay.

Retiring on a boat is a great low stress lifestyle , BUT the planned use of the boat will be the first question.

Crossing oceans is expensive , and perhaps not what a Krogen was constructed for,and requires a vessel with lots of compromises

Longshore Cruising , requires a well maintained boat , nothing special, and an understanding of what CRUISING means to you.

Some folks leave the dock perhaps 4 days a year , and are still delighted with the lifestyle.

Others travel as Snowbirds , grinding up and down the ICW for a decade or two.

The choices are almost unlimited , but for each lifestyle there is a requirement to know in advance how to outfit the boat.

If marina living is the choice with only a month going north or south , the boat choice and systems will be vastly different from the anchor out 100% , on our way to the Carib style vessel.

How do you see your future lifestyle ?
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:56 AM   #15
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Hey FF, to answer your questions, why a krogen, simple answer is I like the layout, I know of no trawler with a similar layout, if you do, any suggestions would be appreciated. As for my cruising lifestyle, I was informed by off duty, that what I want to do is considered coastal cruising, longest passage im wanting to make out of sight of land is 50 miles.
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pappy43 View Post
Hey FF, to answer your questions, why a krogen, simple answer is I like the layout, I know of no trawler with a similar layout, if you do, any suggestions would be appreciated. As for my cruising lifestyle, I was informed by off duty, that what I want to do is considered coastal cruising, longest passage im wanting to make out of sight of land is 50 miles.
not sure why you think it's an uncommon layout...what do perceive as "unique"?
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:57 PM   #17
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Pappy- From your post it sounds like one more year gets you $50k more in the 401k. Sounds like a no-brainer to stay for that one more year. During that time shop for a boat, buy one, and get it outfitted and get aquainted with it.

There are decent boats out there in the 36-42' range in the 100K range. Put half down and finance the rest. Don't buy the cheapest or the most expensive. I think your monthly income will support such a life, if you are somewhat frugal with expenses.

I've noticed my CC monthly bill goes down when traveling. Harder to go shopping, go to restaurants. Easy to cook really nice meals on the boat. As in, what the heck else are you going to do on a long passage?? Might as well cook. Fuel, well that cost does go up. Fish cost goes down.

Two can live on a boat that size, depending on their "domestic" demands. It is better to maintain a land based dwelling to get a break from the boat. Easier to live on a boat if you don't have to live on a boat.

I do engine surveys as part of my business. I get to see a lot of boats, and there is some JUNK out there, and some gems. And you can't rely on visual impressions to assess machinery. Ever heard of a "rebuild in a can" (hint, that is spray paint!!). Common in the marine world.

One good strategy is to hire an engine guy to do a "quick check". 80% of engine trouble can be found in one hour. If it flunks that, the expense of the full survey process is avoided.
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:17 PM   #18
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Ken, I'd say go for it! As a full timer since 2008, I can tell you its fun and frustrating- just like living in a hose or apartment is. The biggest challenge you're going to face is the "stuff syndrome". If you or your wife are addicted to stuff, you'll very quickly run out of room on a boat, no matter the size. As for size, I went from a 38' to a 40' to a 52'- while the larger boat is extremely enjoyable, the 38' Bayliner was more than adequate. As always, buy your 2nd boat first!

KKs are wonderful boats- but there are many others just a wonderful. Starting your search at a boat show walking thru the various layouts may open your eyes and expand you horizons....
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:43 PM   #19
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I've seen many people move both aboard and back on land. As an owner of a GB 42 I think you should look at one. Mine came from Boston through the ditch and up to CA. They are very comfortable, have great head room and economical to run. I've had mine in 20' breaking seas and 60 kt winds so those who say GB's won't take it are wrong. It's the skipper.

Good luck Pappy, I'm 69 and I'm rebuilding my boat as we speak.
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Old 01-21-2014, 03:05 PM   #20
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Pappy43- First of all let me thank you for your service and your sacrifice to the community. I will not even try to speak to the financial question and can't speak from the experience of living aboard, but I can tell you my story.

I never fought the bad guys but I did fight fires for 27 years with plans of buying that 42' Krogen and retiring to the PNW. I am also 50 and my wife is a year younger. Four years ago I was in a roof collapse and severely burned. I did not think I would survive. I spent 3 weeks in a coma and nearly two months in the hospital with a 14 month initial rehab (rehab is now my life). While I was in a coma I had hallucinations about being in the Krogen drafting room having my mangled body measured to see if they could fit me into an engine room. I was serious about this boating thing.

I made it back to work and considered working until 53 when I would hit my maximum and planned retirement. Last June I turned 50, the minimum age, and finally asked my wife what she thought. She told me she had been through a lot and every day was difficult watching me go to work. I retired two days after my birthday. Like you, I do not know how long this body can keep it up. I work hard everyday to be able to move my arms and legs.

I considered boats in every $100K increment from $100K up to my dream 44' Krogen. It really didn't matter. When retirement came and we knew our affordable range we immediately got serious. My wife quit her job and we looked at boats older than I had hoped for. Last month we closed on a 42' Krogen. I feel fortunate to be able to afford the boat we got but I was also prepared to just keep my 1982 Carver 28' and cruise the rest of my life in her.

We realized life is short. We really don't know how short until it's over. For me the ultimate boat would be that brand new Krogen, but the perfect boat is one that allows me and my wife to get out on the water in all the comfort we can, including the comfort of not being financially strapped. The Dream is not the boat, the Dream is the Adventure the boat takes us to.

I wish you all the luck in this next phase of life and look forward to hearing your stories as they unfold.
Jim
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