Sunday, June 25, 2006

Pressure & Time

Sometimes, I have a weird outlook on life. For the past four or five years, I've told myself that besides clothing, food, and other essentials, I don't want to buy anything that won't fit on my future sailboat.

Of course, I've made exceptions for things like a new office chair and a bookshelf that were deemed 'essential', but overall, I've been pretty good about sticking to my commitment. The only luxuries I afford myself these days are cigars, rum, books, and the occasional DVD. Necessity will dictate the purchase of a new computer and digital camera very soon, because keeping up this website seems to have grown into quite a hobby for me, but other than that, I don't buy much 'stuff'. I've always thought that it would be better to have stories and experiences rather than stuff, anyways, so I'm perfectly content to have everything I own fit in my bedroom, my driveway, and my storage unit. And my usual big-ticket expenditures are usually for trips--cruises, long vacations, etc.

Unfortunately, a sailboat is a huge initial expense, and a significant ongoing one. I had a pretty good plan in place about six years ago--purchase an appreciating asset, my condo, live in it and pay it down, (I had a 20 year mortgage on it instead of a 30-year one, also) and when the time came, sell it off and use the money to buy a boat, and take whatever savings and investments I had and use them to live off of until I was lost at sea or 'went bamboo' in some tropical paradise and swallowed the anchor, cavorting with native girls and drinking rum until they toss my old dead carcass into the nearest volcano.

Now, at 39 years old, I'm starting all over again. I was hoping to get out there by the time I was 55, but just running the numbers, even 60 looks optimistic. Now I have to figure out how to get my hands on another appreciating asset (and hold on to it this time!). Even with the new truck, I'm still able to save a bit of money, now that I'm mostly debt-free, and my years in the brokerage industry have taught me a few tricks that will absolutely help me make a little bit of money in the stock and options markets. And hopefully this new truck will last several hundred thousand miles, the wheels finally rusting off just as I cast off my last dock line, keeping me from a lifetime of car payments that everyone else in the world (well, my corner of it) doesn't seem to especially mind.

That's probably why I'll never lease a vehicle. I know, I know-- conventional wisdom says that you should buy appreciating assets, like real estate, but lease depreciating assets, like cars. Unfortunately, I'm old fashioned because I went through my own personal Great Depression, and having the bank send the repo man after you is quite a trying experience. I just figure that if I'm leasing a vehicle, as long as I want to continue driving, somebody else is going to be controlling me. That ain't gonna happen. And I'll never finance a boat, either. This means that I'm going to have to come up with about a quarter million or more to purchase and properly outfit the kind of boat I want.

Anyhow, I guess the point to all of this rambling is that I need to hurry up and get that second job dealing poker. Of course, that's kind of on hold until this new shift bid works itself out--who knows what my schedule will be like come August.

But numbers don't lie. If I'm working five days a week dealing poker (in addition to my regular job), and saving $150 per day, it'll take me just short of eight years to save up $300,000. That's without interest or capital gains. Of course, that's assuming that I can actually save almost every dime I'd make dealing poker (an unlikely assumption, at best). If I give myself the full 15 years, I won't have to kill myself to get there and I should have quite the nice little nest egg available at that time.

Fifteen years.

It only took Andy Dufresne 16 years to tunnel his way out of Shawshank. I can beat that. And dealing the cards and dice in Vegas beats crawling through a river of shiat anytime. But a man will do just about anything to pass the time, so I've got some chords to memorize and some Jimmy Buffet tunes to learn. So I guess I should probably go ahead and buy a guitar, too. But not to worry--it'll fit on a sailboat.


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