One of the Best Ways to Retire Early – Living Aboard a Sailboat


Of all the ways to retire early living aboard a sailboat is probably not on your radar.

Some think a sailboat is a pleasure craft you take out on Saturday. The rest of the time the boat sits at the dock…right?

Wrong…a cruising sailboat is a floating home, one my wife and I lived on for 8 years in the Caribbean. We cruised from Venezuela to the Virgin Islands, making stops at virtually every island in between. No we didn’t get off at night and stay at motels. The cruising sailboat is fully equipped for “liveaboards”.

Of all the ways to retire early, this was the most fun for us. What did we know about sailing?…close to zero. We were fascinated by the lifestyle, so doesn’t let lack of knowledge stop you from trying this great way of living.

We spent less than $ 1,000 a month when we were on the boat. It actually seems like a lot when we think about it now.

We anchored off shore (20 to 100 yards is offshore), which is free. We usually went ashore daily by dinghy. We used public transportation (cost $ 0.07 to $ 1.00 max) or walked, we all need regular exercise, to go to the store, have lunch, etc.

Why is this one of the cheapest ways to retire early? Think about how little you need when your home floats. No heating AC, the sea breeze takes care of that. No clothing costs, we wore swimsuits and T shirts and cover-ups. No temptations to spend money unless the fishermen have fish or lobster to sell. We ate 90% of our meals on board, exception of Venezuela; a nice meal for 2 there with drinks cost less than $ 10, so we ate ashore more there.

I am not talking skimping either. Thanksgiving meant turkey or chicken with all the trimmings, cooked aboard, and usually shared with other cruisers.

It was also safe for us, we and the friends we made never had a problem with crime…we never felt uncomfortable on any island. Just use common sense like you would in the USA.

If you have never considered living aboard a sailboat to be one of the cheapest ways to retire early…think again. It was safe wonderful frugal fun for us…it can be for you as well.

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