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Keep going and retire early or take a 5 year recess.
Old 02-07-2011, 04:25 PM   #1
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Keep going and retire early or take a 5 year recess.

I thought I wanted to retire ealry, but now I want to trade some of those retired years for some fun earlier in life while the kids are young.

I'm 33, married with two kids (3 and 1). Combined income about $190k. No debt other than a modest mortgage (225k).
We have $595k in nest egg/retirement savings(we currently save about 40% to 45% of our income). $105k in college fund for the kids (MIL inheritence earmarked for the kids).
By my current forcasts, we could easily retire by 50 or earlier.

Instead, we want to stop retirement saving for 4 years and save directly towards an extended sailboat cruising trip.
When we are 37, quit our jobs and take the kids sailing for 4-5 years.
Then re-enter the workforce and work until retirement.
The intital $595k and college fund would go untouched and invested until we return.

We would re-start work at about the age of 42. And then work later in life until we are able to retire.

What I'm worried about:
  • Health insurance while we're on the trip - I haven't investigated at all. How much is a plan for an unemployed family?
  • Overspending on the trip - But, we've always been good at living modestly and well below our means. I hope we can stick to a budget.
  • Restarting work - I know we won't be anywhere close to our quitting salaries, but will we be down to an entry level position after a 5 year haitus?
  • When will we be able to retire? - I can't get a grasp on this because I don't have a clue how much this will de-rail our careers and our salary. But maybe getting used to a lower salary will be beneficial and we won't be that bad.
Nothing will be set into motion that couldn't be undone for another 3 years, so we have plenty of time to rethink and reinvest to our retirement if necessary.

Oh and yes, the wife's onboard (pun intended)
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:28 PM   #2
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One more thing, I've searched out this forum because I need some sensible advice. All the sailing forums say "Go Go Go"
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:29 PM   #3
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It's your life. You can do whatever you want. The mix of working/time off is yours alone to decide.

My only comment would be... Who would want to go back to work after sailing for 4-5 years. After sailing the world, the change to sitting in a cube farm would be like double torture.
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:02 PM   #4
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No experience in this but a few comments.
Quote:
Originally Posted by las200 View Post

We would re-start work at about the age of 42. And then work later in life until we are able to retire.

In my time (20 years ago) it was much harder to find a decent j*b after 40. Why not do it now and re-enter work force at 38?

What I'm worried about:
  • Health insurance while we're on the trip - I haven't investigated at all. How much is a plan for an unemployed family?
Where are you going? If you are out of the US, then US health insurance is a non-issue?
  • Overspending on the trip - But, we've always been good at living modestly and well below our means. I hope we can stick to a budget.
Boats cost a lot. Make a budget & double it.
  • Restarting work - I know we won't be anywhere close to our quitting salaries, but will we be down to an entry level position after a 5 year haitus?
Maybe, depends a lot on what do you do today?
  • When will we be able to retire? - I can't get a grasp on this because I don't have a clue how much this will de-rail our careers and our salary. But maybe getting used to a lower salary will be beneficial and we won't be that bad.
The $64K question. Sorry, no answer.

Nothing will be set into motion that couldn't be undone for another 3 years, so we have plenty of time to rethink and reinvest to our retirement if necessary.

Oh and yes, the wife's onboard (pun intended)
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:10 PM   #5
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Your kids will be 5 and 7 at the start of your proposed trip. That is an important age to learn in a structured school environment and also to socialize with kids their age. Will they have that opportunity? Doesn't seem good for the kids.
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:16 PM   #6
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You may find yourself not being able to work FT as planned when you get older due to some unexpected event that life throws your way. Then what will you do?
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
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It's your life. You can do whatever you want. The mix of working/time off is yours alone to decide.

My only comment would be... Who would want to go back to work after sailing for 4-5 years. After sailing the world, the change to sitting in a cube farm would be like double torture.
+1

Of course it is your decision, but if this was something I wanted to do, I'd just "power through" until I could really afford that kind of lifestyle permanently.
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:01 PM   #8
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The Kayderli's are an example of people (like you) who actually retired very early (age 38) and lived modestly in foreign countries:

It's amazing how little you really need to live when you give up all the stuff.

Billy Akaisha Kaderli Profile

Retire Early Lifestyle

They post here on this forum on occasion.

username: (Billy)

Early Retirement & Financial Independence Community - View Profile: Billy
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
It's your life. You can do whatever you want. The mix of working/time off is yours alone to decide.

My only comment would be... Who would want to go back to work after sailing for 4-5 years. After sailing the world, the change to sitting in a cube farm would be like double torture.
True for some people, but I actually know an older couple that sailed around the world for 8 years and finally decided that was enough, and they'd really rather have a conventional house. That was 18 years ago, and they still haven't gone back to sailing...

I'm taking a recess at age 56, but it probably doesn't count now that I'm so close to conventional retirement age...
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:32 PM   #10
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Las200. That sounds like a superb idea. What an adventure it would be. The biggest negative I see would be having to go back to a normal life and routine. In my life, adventure never quenched the thirst, it only made it stronger. When you come to a fork in the road take the one with more adventure. I strongly believe that in the last years we will say "I wish I had taken more chances and had more adventure" rather than wishing we had worked one more day at the office.
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:56 PM   #11
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Taking two little kids on a sailboat for five years would make me mighty nervous from a safety standpoint, but I'm a worry wart and no doubt sailing folk do it all the time. You probably have gotten lots of advice about kids on boats.
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:27 PM   #12
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:20 PM   #13
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:02 PM   #14
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As everyone else is saying, it's a very personal decision. I'm personally wired in the exact opposite configuration-- I'd much rather get the tough stuff done now so that I can play later, and forever more! And I agree with the other poster who said 4-5 years for the kids to miss out on socializing with peers would profoundly change the adults they turn out to be.

It seems like if you're truly serious about it, you owe it to yourself to really run the numbers, in detail, and see if you're OK with what they tell you. Depending on your particular field, I could see a 4-5 year hiatus either leaving you coming back in at entry level, or even worse, not coming back in at all if it's the kind of thing where you have to keep your skills updated year to year.

Finally, 4-5 years is a really long time. Have you done much extended sailing before to know that the experience would really be what you've built up in your head? Maybe you could swing a 3 month or 6 month leave of absence from your jobs to get a scaled down version of the experience without playing with such high stakes?
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:03 AM   #15
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I'm also worrying about it from the kids' perspective....not only from socialization, but also from what the average (at that time) 5 and 7 year olds (up to 9 and 11 years old) would want to do.

Remember when you were 5, and those 10 minute car rides to the grocery store seemed to take forrrrrrrrever? Multiply that by 1,000,000, and you'll have two junior shipmates pulling a mutiny on you!

I fully realize that for adults, the idea of sailing around the world would be incredible - ESPECIALLY when you're young.

But from the kids' perspective, you really need to rethink including them on such an epic adventure (as wonderful as it is from an adult's perspective). Not only from boredom and socialization, but also their education - do you really think you can boat-school them for 4 entire years during some of their most important development periods?

And what happens when they go through the "I-will-only-eat-Macaroni-and-cheese-not-this-Kung-Pao-native-speciality-that-you-love" phases, and you're 3,500 miles from the nearest Western-stocked grocery store or McDonald's?

Just out of curiosity, are you truly envisioning them learning from the experience, or is it just that you "have to" bring them along for the ride as their parents? It would be one thing to drag them along for a 1 week sailing trip around the Southern tip of Florida in the Keys, and having a 50/50 chance of them realizing how much fun it is after all....but being stuck on a boat for 4 years will likely leave them in therapy for an equally long time!
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:23 AM   #16
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Tom Neale charted the course that you are pondering...their story seems very similar to yours up to this stage. Anyway, he wrote a book apparently detailing all the practical life and boating questions that you probably have: "All in the Same Boat".

Good luck.
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:27 AM   #17
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There are several families out there, homeschooling the kids on a boat and sailing whereever it is nice and warm. Some blog on the web and I guess you could find them online and interview for the ups and downs, the cost as well as the best age for the kids to start such adventure. 5/7 seems a bit too young IMO to really benefit from such trip.

The "danger" not to return to a "normal life" is a real one - or could be a blessing.
Is one of your jobs in high demand? Or is one of your employers offering a long sabathical? That could be a safety net.

I have met a family from India some years ago. The father biked the world and wife and daughter (then 10 years old) joined him for several long stretches on their own bikes. The girl learned much more on the trip than she would ever have learned in school.

Follow your heart. Sometimes an adventure as a family creates more value than some more savings for ER.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:14 AM   #18
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Las200. That sounds like a superb idea. What an adventure it would be. The biggest negative I see would be having to go back to a normal life and routine. In my life, adventure never quenched the thirst, it only made it stronger. When you come to a fork in the road take the one with more adventure. I strongly believe that in the last years we will say "I wish I had taken more chances and had more adventure" rather than wishing we had worked one more day at the office.
I thought the expression for the frugal among us was "When you come to a fork in the road, stop and pick it up."

In all seriousness, I've already had the desire for more adventure versus wishing I'd worked one more day at the office. However, I've come to acknowledge a few things:

1. I have a young daughter (16 months old) who needs a stable home and puts substantial demands on my and DW's time. We're planning on having at least one more, so make that x2.
2. My career is not one that a person can jump out of at the drop of a hat and then re-enter seamlessly (in-house legal counsel).
3. The money keeps piling up and I'm on track for ER by my mid-40s, if not earlier (stock options are vesting over time, ESPP, company doing very well, etc...).

DW and I continue to comment that we need a vacation. We haven't had one in the past few years for various reasons (e.g., my father fought a long, losing battle with cancer, pregnancy and birth of our daughter, layoff and job change for me, etc...) Our need for an extended break might be quenched somewhat once we finally get to take a vacation.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:07 AM   #19
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There's some amount of good reasoning for wanting to do this; when one is burning out we may need some recharging. But there are two concerns I have:

1 -- Are you really going to be willing to go back to w*rk after five years of play? Seems like that would be really tough if your heart's not in it.

2 -- Even if item 1 isn't a problem, I'd be concerned about my ability to find another j*b that was in the field and paid similarly when it was time to go back. Unless you're in a field like nursing, anyway.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:08 AM   #20
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i too dream about sailing the world. and as MB says, once i check out, i'm not turning back to sit in front of a computer. I think it would be a grand opportunity for my kids (yet to be had) once they are a bit older.

my only hope is my employer allows me to take a year sabbatical to at least do some costal/caribbean cruising. maybe make the hop across a big drink depending on how we feel.

there are some excellent resources out there for what cruising families spend. and yes, plan to spend a lot on the boat.

back to reality. good luck, and keep us posted. a vicarious vacation is better than no vacation.
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