to buy and refit
a sailboat and
live on it.
||Please send any comments to me.
How Long Can I Cruise ? section
How Much Money to Cruise Forever ? section
Earning Money While Cruising section
Social Security (USA) section
Frequently-Asked Questions section
"I spent most of my money on women and boats, the rest I wasted."
These calculations don't account for:
- Unusual medical expenses.
- Significant boating accidents.
- Inflation (maybe just subtract it from the interest rate number ?).
- Social Security income (see Social Security (USA) section).
- Existing debt.
- Boat loan down payment and monthly payments.
- Future earnings.
The interest rate is critical. Before I started cruising, I thought
I could earn 5% on my money. Instead, I got -40% the second year !
Now I'm happy just to preserve capital (0%).
How long will you live ?
The Death Clock
The Longevity Game
How much do you need to save for retirement ?
The Ballpark Estimate
Choose to Save Calculators
CCH Financial Planning Toolkit - Financial Calculators
Broad Financial's "Retirement and 401k Calculators and Planning Resources"
AOL's "Extreme Early Retirement"
How Long Can I Cruise ?
Starting with a certain amount of money, calculate how long you can cruise.
You draw down the principal in the bank until
you have to stop cruising, get a job, win the lottery, etc.
To see the number of years change, change
one of the first 7 numbers and then press Tab
or click on another field:
How Much Money to Cruise Forever ?
Calculate the amount of capital (money in the bank)
needed to buy and refit the boat, and then pay for the
annual maintenance and living with the interest only from the money
left in the bank. This means living forever in this way; you don't draw
down the principal in the bank.
To see the total change, change
one of the first 5 numbers and then press Tab
or click on another field:
Earning Money While Cruising
"Verily, men earn their money like horses and spend it like asses."
-- Colonel C. R. Savage, 1869, circa building of Transcontinental Railroad.
Most countries lack enough jobs for their citizens; you may not be allowed to work.
SailNet - Doreen Gounard's "Working and Cruising"
Chris Caswell's "Tax Breaks for Boaters"
SailNet - Paul and Sheryl Shard's "Earning Your Living While Cruising"
SailNet - Michelle Potter's "Financing the Sailing Habit"
Greg Jorgensen's "How I work as a digital nomad"
Mark Roope's "How not to make money whilst sailing"
Likely ways of earning money while cruising:
- Cash jobs for other cruisers:
- Boat maintenance.
- Boat repair.
- Boat detailing (cleaning, varnishing, waxing, etc).
- Teaching kids.
- Teaching a language.
- Teaching a musical instrument.
- Teaching medical skills.
- Teaching yoga or karate or something.
- Computer setup, software repair, teaching how to use.
- Selling homemade fishing lures.
- Fresh baking.
- SCUBA diving for: freeing anchors, scrubbing bottoms, changing zincs, retrieving lost valuables.
Seems to work best in dirty harbors where other cruisers don't want to scrub their own bottoms.
- Work at tourist resorts.
- Work at charter company bases.
- Artistry (painting, crafts).
- Dive instructor ? [Tips only (no pay) in many places ?]
- Work in USA possessions (Puerto Rico, USVI, etc).
- Write expatriate-type articles for magazines or sites.
From Pam on Workaboard mailing list:
Some (lots) of marinas have liability insurance requirements to work at their
docks ... so it is best to be quiet about advertising ... your better bet might
be to listen in at the local bars and suggest that you might be available to
help in certain situations ... in an anchorage, this problem doesn't occur.
Also many marinas don't have detailers readily available ... a word at the
marina office might bring you business ... my 18 year old son has a good rep for
cleaning hulls, fixing fouled props, rigging (climb the mast stuff) etc ... so
the people around refer these jobs to him. Another surprising way to make $$$
is diving for lost articles ... often eyeglasses ... more later if anyone is
From Janet Hartman on Workaboard mailing list:
Re: Funding the dream
Tom and I have been living aboard just over a year at various places on the
east coast. Although I am another one of those computer types, Tom is an
electrician by trade. The last year before we sold the house, he changed
from being a "land" electrician to being a "marine" electrician by working
as a finishing electrician for Viking Yachts. He did that so he could
legitimately claim marine experience after he went out on his own.
Beside picking up electrical work, he has also been paid to do rope
splices, realign an engine, install bilge pumps, and help an owner replace
the head hoses. He was also asked to help with a delivery but had to turn
it down. He also subs for the dockmaster on occasion, and will be doing
some work on the dockmaster's house. One of our liveaboard friends in
another marina is also working in the dockmaster's office.
We had to stay in one place for a while
in order for people to get to know Tom and start hiring him. It helps that
the marina we are in now is populated mostly by live ashore weekend boaters
who do not have the skills and/or the time to do the work themselves. It
is also just a marina, not a working yard, so all work is done by
contractors. Our previous marina had a lot of liveaboards who had the time
and wanted to save $ by at least trying to do things themselves.
It can be awkward drawing the line between just helping out another boater
for free or charging for your service. Tom follows Larry Pardey's saying:
"Advice is free. If I have to get out my tools, I charge." Free advice
gives people a chance to judge how knowledgeable you are. It may or may
not surprise you to learn that many people who start out wanting to do
things themselves end up deciding to just pay someone else once they find
out how much is involved.
We also met and became friendly with some of the local contractors who work
on boats in our marina. They have complementary skills and have begun
referring work to each other.
From Christopher Bergeron on Workaboard mailing list:
Working For Others
A Telecommuting Reflection
A great way to keep the security of a regular paycheck while working
aboard is to try your hand at telecommuting. Telecommuting can work
wonders but if your employer, co-workers, or job specifics don't all
fit just right the entire process can break down, but there's only
one way to find out.
I thought that I had the perfect job for telecommuting. I'm your run
of the mill computer geek, taking care of servers, solving problems,
writing programs. And most importantly I never leave my desk. I
decided that I needed to try my hand at this concept of telecommuting
that had obsessed me for so long. After making arrangements at work
to try two weeks of telecommuting as a trial I took the plunge. I
loaded my laptop with all of the tools and toys I would need and went
off for my adventure.
After the second day the emails stopped, no voicemails, no urgent
requests for help like I usually get throughout the day. Perhaps
things were just quiet. It happens. I went on with my routine work,
the things I never have time for. As it turned out, I did not have a
telecommuting-compatible job. What I had was an office that needed
me there as quickly as possible. Those under me had simply gone to
my counterparts for their problems, emergencies and questions. Or
they had saved them up for my return. My counterparts and several
staff members were resentful for what they saw as a free vacation.
It was culture incompatibility. Although the technology was there,
although I was able to perform every job function more efficiently,
no one was willing to work with me.
If your idea of working aboard is one of telecommuting, try it. You
may find yourself telecommuting much sooner than you thought, or
looking for other options. If you can't telecommute from your house
or apartment you're not going to be able to telecommute from your
From Chris Gregory on the SailNet liveaboard-list:
Re: Working while cruising in the Caribbean:
From David Romasco on the SailNet liveaboard-list:
First, let's clear up a few myths.
This still works in undeveloped nations. In the US and British islands they will gladly
barter. Your US dollar for their goods ... at prices rivaling New
York or San Francisco. I naively calculated that costs in the
islands would be roughly double those in my hometown in southwest
Virginia. Triple was more like it.
2- Nurses are in high demand.
Nope, NA's are in high demand. Nurses are too expensive. The ONLY
place where they hire nurses on a regular basis is the hellhole of a
hospital on St. Thomas. The turnover is tremendous because the
conditions suck. Nurses all have stories of buying rudimentary
supplies out of their own pockets without hope of reimbursement. By
the way, the college on St. Thomas more than meets the need for
NA's. My partner went down (after an interview the year before) to
take a job in the Government Clinic on St. John. When we arrived we
learned that there was a hiring freeze due to the government being
bankrupt and the doctors and nurses at the clinic were not being
paid. Sherrie eventually found work as an Oncology nurse making $25
an hour on St. Thomas. She worked 2-5 hours a WEEK! Her
commute was at her expense.
At home I'm a fairly well respected
musician and bandleader. When we're not touring, I also
work part time as an agent and producer as well as a studio
musician. Down there I was offered the opportunity to "play
for beer" until someone decided they could pay me. My best
night was playing with Foxy and his band on Jost Van Dyke (for
free). After that, I never pursued music. Musicians are a
dime a dozen.
As a backup, I became a Master Diving
Instructor - the highest professional rating. Oops!
Overqualified again. The dive shops are looking for Divemasters
(the lowest professional rating) who will work for tips.
Bottom line - the locals do not want your
skills - they want your money. Come down, be a tourist, go
home. Don't compete with the locals for the finite jobs they have
on the island. Most of these people have money or at least land
holdings. They occupy 100% of the bureaucratic positions which
places them firmly in a position of control, and when your little white
face shows up in the employment line they view you as a threat.
Skills which are in demand: You
may have a chance if you're a computer repairman or LAN systems
coordinator. Computers are still fairly new in the islands,
although they're catching up.
Diesel mechanics. Boats are
everywhere and they break on a regular basis.
The nurses I personally knew who were
making a decent living were working as maids in the rental
I lived for ten years in the [US] Virgin Islands, both ashore and on a
mooring, and Chris is pretty much on the mark with his comments.
Obviously he was disappointed in what he found, but life in the
Caribbean can be a rude shock. My wife and I were fortunate in that we
both had secure and relatively lucrative jobs (me in shipping, her in
His take on the hospital was, if anything, an understatement. I lost
two employees there under suspiciously poor care, and virtually everyone
I knew had the intention of crawling on a jet to Miami if serious
medical care was necessary. The clinic in Tortola, small as it is, has
far better care than St. Thomas affords. It's certainly not the nurses,
and perhaps not the doctors, but is certainly the fault of the
administration. The last head of the department of health is, I
believe, currently under indictment for embezzlement in the six-figure
The islander point of view isn't hard to understand when you consider
that their economy has imploded over the last decade. There just aren't
that many jobs to go around for the people who spend their lives there,
let alone for folks who are here today and gone tomorrow. Sorry, folks,
but they'll go local even if it doesn't seem logical to a Continental.
Remember, they see anybody on a boat as a rich yachtsman. From where
they sit, are they that far off? ...
From Jim on The Live-Aboard List:
We had the same idea about selling
handicrafts at gift shops and marinas.
We created several handcrafted items
and a gold ornament (see web page
We even took out color ads and paid
for brochures and flyers, etc.
They were featured as a gift item
in a national boating magazine, but we
still had trouble getting ship stores
and gift shops to handle them. We had
to give as much as a 60+% discount. We spent
thousands of dollars in ads and promotions
and give-aways. They were also featured in
"Soundings" magazine and some others.
At every marina we made the rounds of the
local shops, left literature, business card,
and a free sample. Lots of hard work.
Tried E-bay and web site and direct mail.
Net result = sales of 200 items, almost
at cost. No profit. Loss of some $3000.
Not worth the effort. Too many hobbyists
doing the same thing for less than cost.
That's probably why the "No solicitors"
signs -- shops constantly being bothered
by "amateurs" hawking their hobby wares.
Can't compete and certainly can't make a living.
Did get to write off some boat expenses
on our taxes tho. :-)
We ended up giving them away to new folks
we met at each transient stop. They were
highly popular as free gifts to dock mates.
Do it for fun -- nothing else works or is
worth the time and effort.
From Paul Esterle on The Live-Aboard List:
[About making a "boating stories" TV program or video:]
I also do videos and CDs, mainly boating "How-To"s. I can tell you for a
fact that you aren't going to get rich on this and will be lucky to break even.
I did a "Guide to Columbia Sailing Yachts" CD with over 600 images on it.
Still haven't recouped production expenses. I think it's probably a labor
of love more than anything else.
For example, if you have a video and decide to sell it on Amazon.com, you'll
need to give them a 55% discount, ship to them at your cost and pay an
annual fee for the privilege. They pay two months after the sale and charge
a transaction fee unless you opt for direct deposit.
From Rick Kennerly on The Live-Aboard List:
Re: Alternative Income Sources:
Most people think of cruising as an all or nothing deal. We did for a long
time and ended up bankrupt on Guam after about 15 weeks of beans and rice.
That was back in the 80's when we were young, stupid, healthy and more
employable. We ended up selling out and coming back to the states. Still,
we had a fair run, 5 years.
Realistically, though, most mom and pop cruisers under 65 probably work off
and on during their cruise. Chandleries are a good option because of the
deep employee discounts, but only if you're doing a refit. Otherwise,
they're torture because you'll be tempted to spend your cruising chips on
doodads. But even 3-6 months dragging bread over a scanner in a 7-11 or
night stocking supermarkets can keep you going the rest of the year. This
scheme works well for those dragging the intracoastal or shuttling between
the east coast and the islands every season.
If you're a US citizen leaving a longer wake, then Puerto Rico, the USVI,
American Samoa, FSM, the Marshalls, CNMI, and Guam are places citizens can
find work without the hassle of work permits. It's harder to get the 7-11
type jobs in these locations, but if you have skills -- computer, bookkeeping,
mechanical, surveying, refrigeration, etc -- you'll probably do okay. If
you're a British Commonwealth citizen there are opportunities all around the
globe as well as, to a certain extent, if you're French or Dutch.
After the first few years a lot of people work because they want to, not
because they have to.
From Fred Fraim on The Live-Aboard List:
I have a steady (but very limited) income. Here at my marina I've found
several ways to increase it (by a small amount):
I boat-sit for owners who plan to be away for a period of time.
I take care of pets for these same people and for people who are working
I've done the odd bright-work job (why can't I get to my own ???).
I help out a mechanic when he needs an extra hand (and learn a few things in
I've made several boat deliveries for people with limited free time.
I've crewed on Bay cruises with people who are not familiar with the area.
I frequently take the helm for a couple who have their own boat but are
incapable of handling it themselves (husband is visually impaired, wife is afraid
to take the helm by herself). "Payment" is usually a good dinner at places I
could not otherwise afford.
These are not steady, high-paying endeavors, but they do help out. I have a
list of references here and have developed a good reputation for being honest and
Not sure how this would work out while cruising. It would require being in
one place for a while, and would not suffice as a sole source of income.
From Don Taylor on Low-Cost Voyaging mailing list:
Re: The financial aspects of cruising - cruising with a larger family
What follows is just my opinion, others may dispute it. What I have
to say is not very optimistic.
Most long-term cruisers are either young or late middle age. I have
met a few families that have gone cruising.
The younger cruisers, like the Hills, have no children and are
prepared to live very cheaply. They can live without medical
insurance or thoughts about a future retirement income. They can
take any odd paying work that they can, which may involve physical
labour or hardship. If they run low on funds then they can live off
rice and beans. They can get by on a very small boat with basic
facilities. I think this is a perfectly great way to spend a
few years before the "deadlines and committments" stage arrives. I
wish that I had done that.
The older cruisers have a grown-up family, have saved some money and
have figured out when they can stop generating income and still
survive for the rest of their lives. This is an equation that I am
finding quite tricky to resolve. On the one hand, you can't leave it
too long before old age and infirmity creeps up on you, on the other
hand you do need to figure out how you are going to survive on your
savings for the rest of your life.
The cruisers with families mostly seem to be quite well off, or they
are being funded by their own parents. These folks are doubly
fortunate, because not only do they not need to worry too much about
money, but their kids get to grow up in a great environment. Without
exception, I have never met a cruising kid that I have not wished was
a child of mine. They have all been smart, responsible and
respectful of others. None of them have been "Mall brats". They
have their parent's attention 100% of the time, they are given
serious adult responsibilities early in life and they see a lot more
of the world and its peoples.
If you have a wife and four children, you cannot get by on a Contessa 26
and a sack of rice and beans. If you don't have an independent
income already, then you are going to have to create one. This means
finding a way to save many sackloads of cash. For ordinary folks,
the only way that they can save is by not spending. This is very
tough to do in a Western, consumer-oriented society. It means
finding a really cheap place to live which will not be in the nicest
part of town, or even in a town. Think trailer park. It means
never borrowing money to buy anything, except maybe a house; even
then you have to have a plan to pay it off quickly. It means driving
a very old car, or no car at all. It means clothes from the GoodWill.
It means no cable or satellite TV, absolutely no eating out, it
means borrowing books and CDs from the public library instead of
buying them, camping vacations, ... Even so it is going to take
years. I am sorry to be a downer, but this is going to be real tough
for you if you have four children to raise and they have needs that
conflict with these constraints.
On a personal note, Sue and I were very fortunate to be able to
cruise for 6 months and then get our jobs back again for the
following six months. We did this for a couple of years. We were
both software designers and in the late '90s it was easy to find work
that paid really well. Then the bubble burst and we both got laid
off. We were both out of work for 18 months before Sue found another
job at 2/3 her previous salary. I have never been able to find
another job. So, for a brief period in the late '90s it was possible
to do what you would like to do. But no more. If you have a
software job these days then you had better hang on to it as long you
need the income because the gold rush definitely is over.
The most successful part-time cruiser I know is an MD whose wife
is his medical secretary. Whenever he comes back to Canada he has to
fight off the other MDs who want him to take over their practices for
a few months. However, last time I saw them, their boat was up for
sale because they had lost so much of their savings in the stock
market crash. The lesson here is that once you have your stash you
still have to be very, very careful about where you keep it.
From Jack Tyler on Cruiser Log Forums:
I agree that some kind of work is available in many places. What needs to be added is that
you may well need to be astute and cautious both when accepting it and while 'employed'.
With few exceptions, poorer countries and island nations are very protective of local work
going to local labor (vs. e.g. "wealthy yachtie foreigners"). What this means for you is that local labor
laws will prohibit or at least make it very difficult for you to obtain a work permit and be legally employed.
Consequently, many yachties do work 'under the radar', keeping a low profile, OR they move on to look for less risky work.
However, WRT to the Caribbean specifically, let me post below a segment of cruising notes I wrote for
the Central Caribbean. This is an island nation that is eager to have non-residents as legal labor and,
being a First World entity, the pay scales are far better than you'll find in most of the Caribbean.
Just one more data point to consider:
"Employment: We don't often read about employment opportunities (and hurdles) in cruising notes but some
long-term cruisers do need to 'work as they go'. If that's you, give Grand Cayman a close look.
When we visited in February, 2002 there were 600 job openings reported in the press despite a somewhat
weak economy. The local chamber of commerce was holding a Job Fair, and many of the jobs – running dive
operations, skippering boats for day charters, generally running the cruise ship and hotel tourists to the various
sights to see, and trade work done by the yacht management/service businesses on the island – are especially
suitable for cruising sailors. The banks and insurance companies also need employees who are computer-literate
and can perform IT, accounting and clerical tasks. One place to begin your job search might be the
Employment Services Center (see the phone book), as it claims to serve in part as a clearinghouse for jobs.
The 'work permit' process reportedly takes about 6 weeks, is initiated by the employer, and shouldn't cost
you a dime (farthing?). Both health insurance and an employee/employer contribution retirement plan are mandated by law,
though you may need to encourage your employer to include you should s/he believe you are a short-term employee.
(The retirement plan is portable after one year, which sounds like a long time but can go fast in this convenient location,
and you can take with you the employer's portion as well as your own). And while some cruisers purchase 2nd-hand
cars while working ashore here, don't forget that the island is small and the W end of Grand Cayman is covered by
an extensive bus service. Visit the bus terminal area adjacent to the library for more information."
From Tony on Cruiser Log Forums:
I've lived in the BVI for 12 years now and I can tell you that Labour and Immigration depts are pretty much on top
of people "under the radar" - and they don't like it!
Also, it's a completely different thing living and working in these
places than "just visiting". Too many people fall in love with these pretty places and friendly natives when they are
on holiday and then find that attitudes change, prejudices become noticeable, and often claustrophobia sets in,
when they actually try to settle.
From "Get Smart":
99: "Oh, Max, sometimes I wish we just had normal lives, that you were just
a businessman with a 9-5 job."
Max: "Well, 99, we are what we are. I'm a secret agent, trained to be
cold, ruthless and savage. ... But not enough to be a businessman."
From Paul Brown's New York Times review of "The Ultimate Cheapskate" by Jeff Yeager
He is an expert in cushion mining - fishing around for lost change
in hotel lobby furniture. "Trust me", he says, "those things
are like upholstered ATM's".
My thoughts about my own situation:
I don't want to work, and fortunately I don't have to.
I was a computer programmer for 20+ years. But I find much of my experience
wouldn't really help me do paid computer work for cruisers; no one out here needs
a program written for them. Tech-support
skills would be much more useful than programming skills. And I'd have to be
up-to-date on the newest versions of operating systems. And probably carry
setup CD's and bootable repair CD's.
Some computer problems cruisers have had:
- Computer won't boot (may be dead hard disk, filesystem damage, or something else).
- Display is dead (probably hardware problem).
- Sprint cell-data-modem stopped working (turned out to be a Sprint tower problem, I think).
- Windows 7 trying to get a USB-to-serial adapter to talk to a GPS.
- Some Mac update making a GPS or cell-data interface stop working.
- Wi-Fi won't connect (usually something simple, a setting or switch wrong).
- What Wi-Fi adapter should I buy ?
- What laptop / netbook should I buy ?
- Computer is full of viruses.
Lynn Pardey's tips for writing sailing-magazine articles, 2011:
- Sailing mags are hungry for articles, 500-1800 words.
- Use a new angle on an old technical topic.
- Photos shot at an upward angle to subject.
- Bit of boat in people pictures.
- People holding something.
- Morning/afternoon light.
- $600-$800 for Cruising World Article.
- $400 for Good Old Boat.
- Send 10-12 photos to choose from to editor.
Social Security (USA)
Get statement from Social Security.
Social Security Online - Benefits Planner.
Don't bother downloading and trying their benefits-computation program;
it is impossible to figure out.
My understanding of Social Security and early retirement:
- You have to have worked at least 40 quarters during your lifetime to be
eligible for benefits when you reach retirement age.
- Benefits are calculated from your SS income for the best 35 years of your
working history. So if you retire early, some of those 35 years will
have zero income. This reduces your benefits.
For example, I retired early after about 21 years (3/5 of 35 years)
of working, so my benefits will be about 3/5 of what they would have been if I had
worked at the same income level for the full 35 years or more.
I think a "Benefits Statement" you get from Social Security while you
are still working assumes you will work 35 years; you can't get a statement
from them that shows your benefits if you retire early.
- Your total benefit amount is calculated from your 35 years of earnings,
and the calculation is progressive (it's not a straight percentage;
low-wage earners get a higher percentage benefit).
- Choosing to start receiving benefits early (age 62) or late (age 67+) does
not change your expected total benefit amount. It does change your monthly
benefit amount. When you choose to first start receiving
benefits, the SS Administration looks at your life expectancy and specifies
your monthly benefit so that the last check you receive just before you die (they expect)
pays you the last of your total benefit amount.
For example, suppose your total benefit amount is $150K, and your life expectancy
is age 77. If you start taking benefits at age 62, they'll pay you $10K/year,
expecting you to die at age 77, having received a total of $150K.
If instead you start taking benefits at age 67, they'll pay you $15K/year,
expecting you to die at age 77, again having received a total of $150K.
In either case, if you beat the odds and live past age 77, you continue
to receive the same monthly benefit ($10K/year or $15K/year) until you really do die.
So if you live longer than expected,
you make out better if you had started taking benefits at age 67 (you get $15K/year during the
extra years, instead of $10K/year). But: maybe you have to factor in the interest you'd make
on the money you get earlier; maybe that makes it more attractive to start taking benefits earlier.
So, at age 62, you have a choice to make. If you desperately need the monthly
money right away, start taking benefits at age 62. If you think you'll die
well before the date they expect you'll die, start taking benefits at age 62.
But if you think you'll live well past your expected death date,
start taking benefits later.
If you have a spouse who didn't work enough to qualify for SS benefits on his/her own,
that affects the logic, since their survivor benefits are derived from yours.
If their life-expectancy is longer than yours, I think that means you should
start taking benefits later. But I'm not sure.
- Weird: apparently there is a way (Form 521) to collect benefits for less than 12 months (at lower monthly rate),
then pay all of it back and start collecting benefits again later (at higher monthly rate).
This choice is complicated, obscure, and may go away if the law changes.
Secret Ways to Boost Your Social Security
Fabulous book about the long-term health of the Social Security system:
"Social Security: A Non-Biblical Perspective" (2005) by Mark Shemtob
He makes a couple of important points:
- If the current system and environment are unchanged, starting in 2018, Social Security
will have to start cashing in the government bonds in its Trust Fund.
This will put pressure on the federal government (they may have to raise taxes
or cut spending), and it could react by defaulting on the bonds (very unlikely)
or cutting Social Security benefits or pulling some other trickery. Or it could
just borrow more on the world market and pay the money it owes to the Social Security
- If the current system and environment are unchanged, and the government does pay out for
all the Trust Fund bonds starting in 2018, Social Security's Trust Fund will
reach zero by 2042. At that point, some change will have to happen (increasing
the payroll tax, cutting SS benefits, etc).
- Lots of assumptions and projections (about demographics, the economy, lifespans, interest rates, etc)
affect these dates and the health of the system. And fairly simple changes, such as
increasing the SS tax rate slightly or cutting benefits a bit, can have big effects.
- Since Social Security is a government program, it can be altered by the government
at any time. But major alterations that affect people nearing or in retirement are
very unlikely politically.
Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ)
I have no money, but I want to go cruising.
Save your money. Cancel the cable TV and cell-phone,
stop going to bars and clubs and restaurants and coffee shops,
drive your old car until it dies, stop buying clothes,
take up cheaper hobbies (hiking, bicycling, running, etc),
take no vacations or cheaper vacations, stop smoking,
share a house/apartment, pay off the credit cards.
Go to the library instead of buying newspapers/magazines/books/CDs
or buying/renting/seeing movies.
Eat a bag lunch (sandwiches, yogurt, soup, whatever) from home instead of buying lunch.
Drink tea made from tea-bags, instead of coffee or soda.
Drink tap water instead of bottled water.
A very hard one: get rid of pets (food and veterinary bills).
Cut expenses wherever possible.
Keep a personal spending journal to see where the money goes.
Trent Hamm's "How to Live a Rich Modern Life Without Much Debt"
Trent Hamm's "100 Things to Do During a Money Free Weekend"
[There is a whole movement called "voluntary simplicity" that
advocates this kind of lifestyle change. I have yet to find a
really good web site about it, but try some web searching to find out more.]
Move to a sailing town.
Hang around marinas and look for opportunities to help, learn, crew, sail.
Or move to where the best jobs are, work and save like crazy until
you do have the money, then do it.
"In my youth, we would laugh about people with more money than
brains. Now I aspire to it."