Our house goes up for sale next month. If it sells....and that's a big "if" but we are keeping a positive attitude about it, we plan to retire and hope to be headed south on the ICW by fall.
We will not have a pile of cash to speak of. We bought our house at the height of the housing boom. It went upside down (a LOT!!) the next year and has remained so for the past 10 years. On top of that we took a substantial home equity loan at the time of purchase because it was an 80 year old house that needed substantial repairs and upgrades. Between what we have paid off in principal and the slight rise in housing prices we will be lucky if we make enough off of the sale to pay off both of those loans. C'est la vie.
It turned out to be a wonderful place to live for the past 10 years, but a horrible investment. We don't really care if we walk away from the settlement table without a dime, as long as we can walk away free. That's how committed to leaving we are. We have no desire to hang onto it after we retire. We could never rent it for enough to cover the two mortgages, and we have no plans to ever live in Maryland again (oh hell no). Besides, being "unencumbered" is one of the main attractions to cruising for us.
Our boat is paid for and will have just undergone a major refit, so it shouldn't need anything for a little while other than routine maintenance. We have some future upgrades planned, but those are already figured into our monthly/yearly budget, and none of them are essential so if something happened that we couldn't do them it wouldn't stop us from cruising and enjoying it. Everything necessary to make the boat comfortable and safe will have already been done. Everything else comes under the category of "nice to have." There will be enough stashed away for a rainy day, an unexpected emergency, and occasional trips to see the kids, and that's enough for us. But we are not depending on our savings to contribute anything to the cruising budget.
We are, however, fairly well prepared in terms of yearly retirement income. My husband took an early retirement of sorts from the Navy (for those who are familiar, VSI) back in 1993. That will go on until he is 76 years old and is a nice little annual stipend. In addition we both will have decent pensions from the school system where we now work, and two social security checks. My husband just turned 66 so he starts drawing full social security next month and also has Medicare. I am only 62 so mine won't be nearly as good, and I'll have health insurance coverage to pay for the next three years, but "tis enough." With the 5 checks combined we are budgeting to live on 60-70% of our after tax income, including ongoing upgrades and maintenance to the boat. While not a fortune, it is actually a pretty generous amount of money which should give us a comfortable lifestyle. Truth be told I am confident we could live on the social security checks alone without ever touching the pensions or VSI, but we are planning to enjoy the experience to the fullest.....we have no desire to be members of the $500 a Month Club
. We have worked too hard and waited far too long for this.
We're not really thinking much about having a house to come back to. The next phase for us could be a trawler, it could be an RV, a cabin on a mountain,a condo in a senior community in Florida, or who knows what. We'll jump off that bridge when we get to it, but I hope we don't get to it for quite some time to come. We want to enjoy this ride for as long as we're able.