“You have to make it possible for yourself. And you can do it”
If there is one takeaway from this article it would be this 2 sentence.
Tony and Margo raised their 3 kids. Then they retired in 2010.
Like many of us, they had mortgage and high health insurance payments (in the United States, the health insurance cost is much higher than in Singapore). In Margo’s words they “owe their soul” to Bank of America. They owe Bank of America so much in high-interest payments that they realize it was just not worth it.
So they decide to buy a 32-year-old 36-foot Catalina sailboat and lived in it. And they have been doing this since 2010. They also bought a used 37-year-old Volkswagon van.
One common theme we can learn from this elderly couple is that instead of giving yourself an excuse, asking yourself “is it possible for myself” and exploring the subject deeper may let you know that perhaps it is doable.
It took them 3 years to stabilized by selling off their home, paying off the mortgage on their boat, selling their vehicle. It was the first time they tried to survive without a car and it took them 6 months to figure it out. (When you are retired and have so much time, you cannot use “I have no time” as an excuse anymore.)
Nobody grew up knowing how to operate a sailboat and if there are only 2 crew members on the boat, both will have to learn how to operate the boat. Margot told us she had to learn how to operate.
To successfully retire for 10 years, we have to get the numbers correct as well.
Margo and Tony retired with enough in the bank in the event that they get sick in their older age. Their social security gave them US$2,800 a month. This is their main source of income.
Expenses work out to be US$400 a month at the Mexico marina. They budgeted US$500 a week. What is left would be meant for their boat insurance and good-to-haves.
As they live in Mexico, instead of needing to spend US$500 a week, in reality, they spent the equivalent of US$280 a week in Mexico Peso. They quit smoking to save $400 a month.
There are some aspects of life that Margo refuses to compromise.
Margo prioritized their ability to entertained people at the place they lived. They used to live in a bigger space where they entertain at least 25 people. Instead of dismissing living in a confined space entirely, she explored the possibility and found that they could still cook and entertained up to 8 people on their 36-foot sailboat.
In a way, Margo did compromise. She moved down the spectrum between entertaining a lot of people to entertaining less people. Less dualistic thinking.
“Once you realize you do not have to devote your money and your life to other people, and you can live a very peaceful and quiet life, it is pretty easy. You just have to make up your mind and do it.”
You can watch Tony and Margo’s experiences here:
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