What Is RONER?
RONER is the name of our blog and will be the name of our next boat and full time home on the ocean. It stands for Ready Or Not Early Retirement. What follows is the back story of what it means and how it came to life.
2017 is the year I learned about the cruising lifestyle and decided that’s what I wanted to do. It quickly became my Why and has influenced many decisions I have made since then, both big and small.
At the time I was a Sgt in the military and although I didn’t dislike my job, it just didn’t give me the same spark it used to. I was getting close to a point in my career where I would be spending more time riding a desk than a helicopter. I had accomplished just about everything I wanted to in that life, and was ready to start a new adventure.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still recognized how awesome my job was and I was very grateful to have it. I made sure to continue to make the best of it everyday while I worked on my plan to transition from it to the cruising life.
Running The Numbers
I knew I needed two things to accomplish my goal; a large amount of savings to buy a bluewater cruising yacht, and a good foundation of passive income to provide me the financial freedom needed so I wouldn’t have to go back to work. Sounds simple enough right?
At the time my plan was to buy an Amel 54 to be our full time live aboard boat. A beautiful, very strong and capable offshore voyaging yacht. Also very expensive.
I really don’t like the phrase “I can’t…” As in, “I can’t do this” or “I can’t afford that”. Instead I like to ask myself “How can I do this” or “How can I afford that”. So everyday I would run the numbers and ask myself, “how can I afford a half million dollar yacht.” I also decided that $5000 a month of passive income would be a good goal to shoot for. Since that’s about what I was earning after tax from my job at the time.
I was constantly analyzing numbers to see how long it would take us to build up a $500k investment portfolio AND a $5000 a month passive income stream.
Understanding The Value Of Time
At first I was pretty liberal with my analysis and it gave me confidence that I would achieve my goal in a reasonable amount of time. But as time went on and I gained more wisdom in both personal finance and sailing/cruising, my analysis got more conservative and realistic, and it was becoming evident that the original financial goal was going to take more time than I was willing to invest. I started thinking about all the years I would have to continue to put in at a job I no longer loved and about how those instead could be years spent cruising in clear blue waters in beautiful tropical paradises.
I was 33 at the time and had reached a point in my life where my Time suddenly became VERY valuable. I understood that the more time spend doing something I didn’t value, was time being stolen away from something I did. I learned that having that big lofty financial goal was great and all, but it was going to cost entirely too much of my time to achieve it. I thought instead, I would be much happier having more Time while cruising than having more Money.
Brian Trautman from the popular sailing YouTube channel SV Delos said this in a blog post he wrote:
“Everyone anchors in the same sand, swims in the same water, and enjoys the same sunsets. The experience you choose is completely up to you.”
This was very inspiring to me and taught me that I really don’t need the Amel 54 and instead could be just as happy with a smaller and much more affordable boat, and that I really didn’t need $5000 a month to live off of, especially if I didn’t have a half million dollar boat to have to maintain.
The most important thing was just getting out there and doing it while having the most amount of Time possible. I had now realized that time was more valuable than money, and from that point forward I became aggressively defensive with my time and how I spent it. My mission going forward was the relentless pursuit to liberate my time for good and escape wage slavery forever.
The Birth Of RONER and A New Plan
Now that I understood the value of time over money I decided that it was time for a new plan. Working for years to achieve some arbitrary savings goal just didn’t seem right anymore. I followed lot’s of blogs and YouTube channels of people who were doing it for a lot less than what I was originally aiming for and knew that if they could do it, so could I.
Jordan and Desiree from the youtube channel Project Atticus have particularly been a huge inspiration for me, and taught me that big fancy expensive boats aren’t what’s required to be happy, it’s simply working with what you have so you can spend more time doing what you love.
I organized a team meeting with Celene and briefed her on what I had learned about time vs money and proposed a new plan. Instead of having a monetary goal and letting that decide when we go to live our dream, we set a date goal instead, and whatever amount we have saved up at that time is what we’ll have to work with.
After talking it over we decided that on April 31st 2023, ready or not, early retirement. And we would quit our jobs and head to sea.
A New Perspective
Everything changed after this. The stress went away, the excitement grew and life just started getting easier. I continued running the numbers and analyzing spreadsheets and financial calculators, but with this new plan it was like having a solid foundation to work off of. Having a date set, which at the time was a little more than 4 years away meant that I could enter in my savings rate and time horizon and get an accurate estimate of how much money we’ll have at that time. Now that we know roughly how much money we’ll have we can figure out how much we can afford to spend on a boat and roughly what our monthly budget for living expenses will be. Suddenly this all became much more real. We had a solid plan, the numbers worked and we were confident. My work life got much more relaxed as well. I no longer felt like a wage slave trapped in a life I didn’t want, shackled to that next paycheque.
My spending decreased significantly and my savings rate grew in contrast. I no longer spent money on things that held little to no value to me. Every spending decision got compared to the ultimate purchase I was saving for; My freedom.
More often than not, whatever I was considering buying would get put back on the shelf. Spending money meant having to trade more time at my job to make more, and since defending my precious time is one of my top priorities, not spending money on dumb shit has become significantly easier, although still challenging at times.
I was initially fixated on the money and not on the real asset that truly mattered, my time. After realizing that time is more valuable than money I went from being anxious, uncertain and stressed, to confident, excited and relaxed. I wish that I had made this realization earlier in my life, but I’m incredibly grateful that I made it now and not later or never at all.
Our plan changed slightly as Celene decided she wants to work an extra year in order to accomplish her goal of making it to Captain before leaving the military. That’s a respectable goal and I’m more than happy to support her. I still intend to get out by the planned date of spring 2023, and this extra year gives me some time to get our affairs in order prior to leaving for good.
Do you have a plan for escaping the rat race? Let us know in the comments below!