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Old 12-12-2020, 12:45 PM   #1
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Covid sad - Gonna have to sell

Well, let me tell you a tough business to own in 2020 - student travel to Washington, DC. Airplanes, hotels, destinations - in a word - groups. Yuck. My wife and I have been in that business for 37 years, and we will be in it for many more years, but it has been tough.

We have almost $0 revenue for 2020 but need to support a staff of about 16 people. Enough about that. We are going to have to sell our NP49, after a whole 11 months of ownership.

Our plan is to likely retire to South Carolina. We will buy a home large enough for visitors and will plan on getting another boat in 2-3 years, something we will be able to keep within a few minutes of home. Still, something with probably two cabins so we can still voyage north in the summer with guests. We will be "downsizing" both our land home (from over 10,000 sq feet to maybe 3500) which will reduce our annual financial burden a lot, as well as our boat (maybe a Sabre or North Cove, or ??). And we will get out of northern Wisconsin's cold winters!

I seriously doubt that we are the only cruisers who were "blown out of the water" (pun intended) by COVID. Any others out there? Misery loves company, so I would love to hear from others. Even better is current misery that has a planned optomism as we have.

Such is life. God is good even if we can't see it at the moment.
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Old 12-12-2020, 01:10 PM   #2
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I’ll post a Happy story. I know of so many not happy stories, here is a happy one.


Every couple of months one of this Electrical Contractor specializing in backup power systems, employees would call. Sometimes it was to get a small part. Sometimes it was just to get some troubleshooting help. Sometimes it was to buy a piece of switchgear from us. First name basis like most of my clients. These personal relationships are the heart of my business.

Sometime in May one of the Tech’s Aaron called me and needed help with a piece of switchgear. He had walked up to the shop that Monday morning and found the door locked. The owner had closed the business overnight. Aaron was pissed. No final paycheck, no nothing, just closed. Another Covid Casualty.

Well... One of Aarons clients called his cell with a trouble call and that gave Aaron an idea. He could approach ALL his clients and take over his defunct employers service agreements, and start his own generator company.

Fast Forward and Aaron now buys from us regularly. More regularly than his previous employer.

Why??? Why could Aaron do it when his employer could not?
Aaron is a one person show. He operates out of his garage now shop on his own property. He has no debt, and little overhead.

Aaron positioned himself to clean up and he has done very well.

With all the sad stories out there i thought a positive one wold brighten someones day.
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Old 12-12-2020, 01:36 PM   #3
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Good move for that guy Ken.

So sorry Medic, we got stiffed for about $6 K of pre-planned travel. Peanuts in comparison though.

A local restaurant deep sixed a few months ago. A very capable guy took over and is completely re-doing the same location with all cash. Then he says he'll be ready to re-open at the right time with expanded outside facilities.

In our area the self proclaimed "healthy under 50's" are enjoying life with reasonably full parking lots at the outdoor oriented bars and restaurants. Outdoors (and decent weather) seems the key for this area's night life.
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Old 12-12-2020, 01:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Medic View Post
Well, let me tell you a tough business to own in 2020 - student travel to Washington, DC. Airplanes, hotels, destinations - in a word - groups. Yuck. My wife and I have been in that business for 37 years, and we will be in it for many more years, but it has been tough.

We have almost $0 revenue for 2020 but need to support a staff of about 16 people. Enough about that. We are going to have to sell our NP49, after a whole 11 months of ownership.

Our plan is to likely retire to South Carolina. We will buy a home large enough for visitors and will plan on getting another boat in 2-3 years, something we will be able to keep within a few minutes of home. Still, something with probably two cabins so we can still voyage north in the summer with guests. We will be "downsizing" both our land home (from over 10,000 sq feet to maybe 3500) which will reduce our annual financial burden a lot, as well as our boat (maybe a Sabre or North Cove, or ??). And we will get out of northern Wisconsin's cold winters!

I seriously doubt that we are the only cruisers who were "blown out of the water" (pun intended) by COVID. Any others out there? Misery loves company, so I would love to hear from others. Even better is current misery that has a planned optomism as we have.

Such is life. God is good even if we can't see it at the moment.

So sorry you have to sell because of Covid-19. At least you have hot market on your side!!
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Old 12-12-2020, 02:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Medic View Post
Well, let me tell you a tough business to own in 2020 - student travel to Washington, DC. Airplanes, hotels, destinations - in a word - groups. Yuck. My wife and I have been in that business for 37 years, and we will be in it for many more years, but it has been tough.

We have almost $0 revenue for 2020 but need to support a staff of about 16 people. Enough about that. We are going to have to sell our NP49, after a whole 11 months of ownership.
You told me more about you in one sentence than a thousand words could, that you felt the need to support your staff of 16. That also tells me you'll be back on top and successful again.

For us it's been a tumultuous year but nothing like yours. We risked a lot but our gambles paid off so we're not in the position of selling.

Still, large companies like airlines are noticed but the thousands of smaller businesses impacted seriously as yours was are not in the public eye or the government eye. There was no aid that truly reached the needs of individuals and small businesses because those in government don't understand those people or their needs. Their views are from government positions, not from inside the industries. It's not their fault, just that they've never been there.

We lost a lot of money this year, spent a lot, but we still realize that compared to those like you, we were very lucky. I'm sure you also realize that in being able to regroup and downsize and move forward eventually you're among the lucky ones. Way too many who have lost everything they had. Way too many worrying about food to feed their families and how long they'll continue to have a roof over their heads. Way too many who spent their adult lives building something and now have nothing.

I feel for your customers, not that they didn't get their trips, but that their learning was severely curtailed and they lived often in isolation and fear and witnessed the worst they possibly could from their country and it's divided citizens. Covid 19 isn't the only pandemic. Divisiveness and hatred is another. And for students and young people, depression, anxiety and other forms of mental illness are at record highs. The recoveries from these three will not be easy or fast. We have no idea the long term effects of Covid 19. As to the ugliness in our country, I don't know if we'll ever recover. And as to the mental illness impact, the suffering of our young people, they'll never fully recover. The children of the depression lived with it's impact forever and so will the children of the Pandemic.

We both wish you the best and hope you're as happy in your new life as in your previous one. Personally, we'll be fine, but I don't know if we'll ever recover fully from witnessing all the suffering around us. Every day we do what we can, but every day what we can do seems so woefully inadequate.
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Old 12-12-2020, 03:09 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear, Medic. The travel industry has been hit harder than any other. My wife worked in travel for 25 years but luckily moved into another field just before covid hit. The business she worked for has shut down and doesn't expect to re-open.
Covid ended my job as well, but I'm not really sure if I'm unemployed or retired.

Smaller boats and smaller homes can give you just as much happiness as the large ones.

Remember that many people work hard their entire lives and never get to a place where they can dream about buying a 3500 sq ft home or a 35 foot boat. You've done well.
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Old 12-12-2020, 03:19 PM   #7
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...Remember that many people work hard their entire lives and never get to a place where they can dream about buying a 3500 sq ft home or a 35 foot boat...
Yup, by choice.

2100 sq ft home (duplex) and 30' boat, no debt, retired 5 years early with a reduced pension.

Betting that during my last days/breaths I'll be reviewing experiences in my memory banks, not accounts in money banks.

As hard as it may be in the moment, be thankful to be in a place where you have choices
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Old 12-12-2020, 03:25 PM   #8
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I asked a co-worker, "What's the meaning of Life?"

His one word answer was the best I've ever heard;

"Experience".
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Old 12-12-2020, 03:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Medic View Post
. We will be "downsizing" both our land home (from over 10,000 sq feet to maybe 3500)
Wow, monstrous homes.

3500 sq feet is 325 sq metres
Average Australian Mcmansion is 220 sq metres or 2368 sf and I thought them to be crazy big.
Our 3 bedroom dirt house is 140m2 or 1500sf

Bummer about selling the boat but sounds like you'll be fine (-;
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Old 12-12-2020, 05:29 PM   #10
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Medic
Sorry to hear the bad news but keep your head up and continue on and hope all works out.

Ksanders
Reminds me of a fellow I met almost 40 yrs ago...
Went to a local chain to get some small engine repair done (mower if I remember correctly). Chain said they no longer did repair but might want to check the guy next door. I did and after a chat found out he was their repair guy they let go. He rented a small shop right next to their front door and was hoping he snd his wife could "survive".
Well he proved to be a GREAT local resource for all small engine work. I Took him mowers, chain saws and other lawn equip. Even bough a new one from him.
Cut to the chase.., 40 yrs later im still dealing with his grandson that has moved the business to larger facilities, took over a second building and guess what... the original chain is long gone.
Talented, knowledgeable people that value and serve their customers will do fine and customers will be loyal in return.

I hope all works out for those affected, through no fault of their own, in today's environment!
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Old 12-12-2020, 06:38 PM   #11
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I hope I didn't sound condescending to many when I talked about moving to a 3500 sq ft house. I grew up poor in Canada with an alcoholic father, lived a regular middle class young, and mid-life. My wife and I sold the car she had before we were married (first and only marriages for both of us) and used the money, about $3500, to start our business. The first ten years were extremely tough. We won free groceries for a year in a supermarket giveaway in year one which likely saved us. The next fifteen were OK, and the last twelve were pretty wonderful financially and otherwise.

So, I've been poor, affluent, and most steps in between.

We both know that a smaller home would make the most sense even if we were not going to be financially squeezed because of COVID. I wanted about 2500 square feet, my wife wants 5000, and we will probably end up around 3500. The thing is that South Carolina is so cheap compared to what we are used to that we will have a beautiful house no matter what the size and be happy.

The ONLY debt we have is a small mortgage on a house worth a lot of money, but we are trying to position ourselves for a life with very little income, if any, from our company for at least 3-4 years. So, by selling our boat (debt free), our house (almost debt free), and with CD's, investments, etc we will be just fine even if we get no income for a few years while our company moves forward.

Another boat will come then if the company rebounds which we fully expect.

We have EXTREMELY loyal clients (Christian schools), many of which are already signed up for 2021 spring (praying hard) or fall (more likely, and some spring trips will be able to move to fall), or 2022, which already looks good.

We are blessed no matter what happens, and we know it. We are just contracting now so we will be in the best position to rebound.

So, if I sounded "Oh, woe is me" I apologize. We are excited for the future and I will continue to follow TF almost daily til I can no longer remember how to even work my keyboard.

At that point I will move to Florida and only drive a car.
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Old 12-12-2020, 07:21 PM   #12
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Greetings,
Mr. M.


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Old 12-12-2020, 07:22 PM   #13
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Medic.
Thinking out loud how I would approach this if I had your size boat. Have you thought of living aboard for a time and buying a rental house.
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Old 12-12-2020, 08:01 PM   #14
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Medic;


Think you are responding well to the circumstances. Realistic, flexible and positive. I wish you both well.


Our story shared by many, started 21 months ago with my company restructuring due to .com retail issues at 61. Our original goal was early retirement at 63. After 5 months reworking our financial plans with financial planner/accountant elected to retire last July and surprised my wife with her own early retirement as well. Started to travel in January/February this year having become fully retired just before Covid in March. We were extremely lucky to be fully retired with no fear of income loss and no more train commute to New York City. Took a significant investment hit like many but have since recovered the loss. Our original retirement plan was old school with 55% stock/bonds and 45% cash. That cash now allows us to greatly reduce our investment income so it grows larger in less time and will ultimately replace the savings used as well. Our daughter graduated college 4 years ago but unfortunately employed in the restaurant profession but still employed, although at reduced pay. She has already reached out to contacts, studied and should be sitting for her real estate license in January. We are extremely proud of her including her desire to make it happen on her own. But, we know she has used a good part of her savings this year so we are giving her a surprise check to take some of the stress away. Lucky to have a good relationship with my daughter and especially with my wife of 41 years.


So this retirement start has been a bit different than expected but looking to get that delayed retirement cruise in next year.


Good luck to all,


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Old 12-12-2020, 08:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simi 60 View Post
Wow, monstrous homes.

3500 sq feet is 325 sq metres
Average Australian Mcmansion is 220 sq metres or 2368 sf and I thought them to be crazy big.
Our 3 bedroom dirt house is 140m2 or 1500sf

Bummer about selling the boat but sounds like you'll be fine (-;
3500 is by nowhere close to average in the US. We bought a 1967-built 1800 sq ft home and expanded to 2400. The 1800 was comfy enough, but she-who-must-be-obeyed wanted the additional.

Way to go supporting your people, Medic.
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Old 12-12-2020, 08:57 PM   #16
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Mr RT, here's a good one.

Heard this song for the very first time, at the very minute I should have been walking out the door to go to work, on my first day of retirement.

A most excellent changing gears/moving on/starting over song:

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Old 12-12-2020, 09:19 PM   #17
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Medic, don’t let anybody chide you about the size of your house compared to the average

You earned every penny.
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Old 12-13-2020, 04:16 AM   #18
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Thank you for sharing in such a heartfelt and candid way. To my reading, was most definitely not a "woe is me" story but rather a reminder of the risks small business owners endure, even when successful.

For years, I worried I was an unfortunate mishap away from living under a bridge. It's only been in the last handful that I've gotten lucky and the thought no longer crosses my mind. Losing those hard fought gains and giving up the prizes would be very difficult to me.

When I met my wife 25 years ago, she was a hi-flier middle mgmt exec in telecom. The first dot-com bust gutted the industry with over 300k lost jobs, including hers. We moved to Florida and the real estate market crashed dragging the broader economy with it. Her first step in rebuilding was taking a $10/hr temp job answering phones in a call center which she did with pride.

I wish you all the best and, in a small way, thank you for being what is likely a great role model to your family, friends, and neighbors. I know Cheryll, my wife, has been to me.

Peter
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Old 12-13-2020, 04:20 PM   #19
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Medic,
Sorry to hear about how Covid has greatly affected you. I am sorry that you have to sell your new boat. NP's are nice boats! However, as you have stated, there can always be another boat in your future. You do not sound like a complainer, to me, you sound like a good person, who is caring of others. You also sound like you have a very good outlook, and a plan. I wish you and your family the best of luck and success moving forward.

All the best!
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Old 12-13-2020, 05:02 PM   #20
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Medic I get where you are coming from and going to. Been there and done that. Best wishes on the plans you have laid out.
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