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Why I Bought a Boat, Even When I Couldn’t Afford It

“I can’t afford a boat and the numbers just don’t stack up!”

I was a super busy corporate mum of three kids, we’d become expats and moved to Asia ten years before and I was trying to keep up in my job, keep up with my kid’s activities and schooling, keep up with all the bills and payments and be a great spouse as well.

I really wanted to have some fun in my life before I turned 50 and it was all too late, so I wouldn’t have to regret that I didn’t get to have some fun back in my life again, after having had 3 kids in 2 years, raising them for the next 17 years. I was scared I might keel over and “drop dead” early because this is what had happened to my brother, my mother, and my father during the first 29 years of my life.

I wanted to be able to get some relaxation and fun into my life, and also create more family experiences and memories of a lifetime so I could be a better person, mother, partner and importantly, have no regrets and I could also enjoy reconnecting with friends and family in Singapore, because I had been so busy working, studying and raising our kids, I hadn’t had time to do that during the first 10 years we’d been here.

The thing is I was acutely aware that while my hubby had been in the boating industry all his life, we’d never owned a boat before, and simply put, we couldn’t afford it. So, coupled with not having the money to do this and being worried that I was making a huge mistake, it simply screamed out to me that we couldn’t afford this. And it seemingly did not make any logical sense to even try!

That meant I wasn’t able to get some relaxation and fun into my life, so I could be a better partner and mother who had no regrets, let alone enjoy connecting with friends and family, where I simply hadn’t had time to do that during the first 10 years that we’d been here.

To make things worse, I felt terrible because I could miss out on having the fun in my life and to me, this was important to do, before my life was over, as this had happened to many people in my family already.

I felt even worse about the situation because due to my family situation, I had convinced myself that I was going to leave planet earth sooner rather than later and I would regret not moving ahead with the next adventure and — the next stage of my life before it was too late.

I felt like an overworked, overwhelmed mother and sub-standard partner whose life was coming to an end soon and I would really regret it, with all the work I had done and still no time left to complete my life with some “me-time” and post-child-raising fun and relaxation.

The problem was that we’d taken out an equity loan against our house so that my hubby William could buy and sell a boat or two, and make some money. This meant suddenly it dawned on me that adding the monthly berthing costs as well, we’d be massively increasing our monthly payments, which significantly increased our debt risk and what would happen if the unthinkable came true and I lost my job.

Then, as if by chance, something amazing happened…

That’s when I realised that I wanted this boating life and this was how I wanted the rest of my short life (or so I believed), to unfold — a change and a reward from the hard work so far and I realised that I could cover my increased costs by renting out our boat or renting out rooms in our house and learned all about how to create the income I needed to cover the monthly boat costs!

It was now crystal clear to me how to have my “cake and eat it too”, or how to buy a boat when I couldn’t afford it because I saw how my mission-critical and time-limited “pre-retirement and post-children” days were shaping up to be and it was very important that I immediately take advantage of this time, which like the rest of life, passes very quickly.

Getting out there and grabbing those opportunities before they are gone, I knew this to be so true from my experiences.

I also learned that I didn’t actually drop dead before I had enjoyed the time and created that awesome family fun! But I could have! We created experiences and memories and I am so happy about that — so, that is why you should review the “I can’t afford it” or “it doesn’t make sense” (life doesn’t make sense; and my mother, my father and my brother all dying young, aged 24, 34 and 54 still doesn’t make sense to me either).

Or the “I’m too busy at work”- but you need to create that future, now, to bring your future vision of your boating life into the present, like I was able to do for our family, and make those family memories happen.

As a result, we went ahead and bought the boat, and then it all happened. We stayed one night on board and simply put, we rarely ever went home after that, we were hooked, and we found our new community, our new “tribe” within our marina family and Island lifestyle. Our kids loved it!

After I did that, I started having so much fun on our boat, with our new friends, on their boats, lots of the fun was even just at the dockside and in the marina community, the BBQs, we had business meetings, amazing family outings, swimming and spending precious time together.

Suddenly, I was feeling more complete, more fulfilled, and for the first time, was at peace with my life as I’d had the fun I needed and at the same time, created so many precious family times, memories, and photos, before the kids all left for work, college, and their adventures.

Bam! We nailed it, my hubby and I, and that feels so good to this day. Phew, just in the nick of time though, it could so easily have been a different story, like it is for so many people.

That’s when I realized that the secret to keeping up in my job, keeping up with my kid's activities and schooling, keeping up with all the bills and payments was that I could have ANYTHING I wanted, but I just couldn’t have ALL that I wanted, that I needed to make choices to get my dream happening, alive, real and underway. That dream of living life on the water, enjoying the fun, and creating those precious, irreplaceable family memories.

My plan was to start by searching for a boat that I liked. I really had no idea what that looked like and how to start finding a suitable boat. But I had that spark well and truly lit, I just didn’t know how to put the spark into a sensible plan. There was plenty of information on the internet but it was all a bit overwhelming and there was no clear path from point A (where we were at the dockside, wanting to do this, but not knowing how) to point B, being fully confident of what we were about to do.

So I started by doing what lots of people in Asia do, by buying a ticket, hopping on a plane, spending some money on flights, accommodation, and taxi fares to go to Thailand and view a boat that took my eye. But we didn’t stop there.

We then started imagining how a boat was going to become part of our life and how we could make changes to afford it. How we could do it if ultimately, we chose to.

After that, we went ahead and purchased the boat, not the one in Thailand, but another one, that was closer to home — I fell in love with it pretty much the first time I stepped on board, it was perfect in so many ways, and that was really scary in itself as seemed to happen too fast.

We hadn’t looked at the 20,30 plus boats most people do. Then, here we were, on our boat staying aboard overnight and we were hooked. We stayed on the weekends and then we designed how we could make this our everyday adventure for ourselves and our family. Simply put, it was pure magic in more ways than one.

But there was still a problem…

I really wanted to keep my boat, but the purpose of buying the boat was that my hubby was going to flip it and hopefully make a profit. But now I wanted to keep it and I still hadn’t figured out how we could afford it.

I struggled with wanting it all, but that “wasn’t realistic”.

The numbers didn’t add up and it just didn’t make financial sense. The monthly berthing costs were an added expense, and the cost to run our boat with two big thirsty engines meant we were hesitant to go too far. Also, we had bought a big boat for our first boat, a 61 footer, and we were both scared how to drive it and park it inside the marina, with the other boats around us as we went in and out, seemed to be drawn to us, saying ‘don’t crash into me’ but at the same time, it felt like they were a magnet and drawing us closer and closer to them.

So, we also needed to hire a captain which added to our cost.

We ended up getting so frustrated that we decided to map it all out in a blueprint, a clear step-by-step plan to work through all the issues, the ins and outs, the costs, the barriers, the doubts, and the fears of owning a boat.

From “I can’t even drive my boat,” to “how to find a boat, to how to align our couple goals, our family goals, and our individual goals”. We ended up solving the practical part by hiring a part-time captain and taking them out with us on our adventures, so we could enjoy the time out on the water without having to worry about being on the watch or berthing it later.

We also decided to rent out part of our large house that wasn’t being fully utilised and we generated more revenue to cover the monthly costs. We worked through a 9-step blueprint bit by bit and we made the exact right decision for us and for our family.

We chose to call it “The 90-Day Boat Buyers Bootcamp”.

We thought if we could create something that would make it possible to help others who are struggling with the same “I’m too busy, I don’t spend enough time with my family and it doesn’t make financial sense” conclusions, but even so, still want to find a way to make those bucket list boat and family dreams come true, that would be truly awesome and super cool! And we’d be really happy to share what it means to achieve that peace of mind and sense of fulfillment that comes from having taken the right risk, given up the right things to achieve the mission of being able to say, yeah we did that right by our family. Bam!

After 8 months of building a platform, honing the steps, investing a bunch of my retirement savings, months of testing and tweaking, and 7-days a week of attending to enquiry after enquiry, finding boat after boat, I created The 90-Day Boat Buyers Bootcamp.

I can now understand the under USD1 million boat market like a boss, the prices, the boats for sale, the industry practices to avoid, the pros, the cons, the struggles, and the couple’s alignment that’s needed, and have boat information all in one place without having to spend hundreds of hours across more than 30 sites picking through this and that to find what’s available and what’s not.

Now it’s now so much easier and faster than hiring a broker and paying their outrageous commissions or worrying about them selling you something that ends up being a lemon, or the wrong thing simply because it had the highest commission for the broker.

We then started to let other boat deciders and searchers use The Boat Buyers Bootcamp.

As a result of all this we were able to achieve the following:

  • Help boat searchers and deciders become completely aware of common challenges in the first year of the boating lifestyle, so they can connect with family and friends without making costly mistakes

  • Decipher needs vs wants, goals, and objectives with complete clarity so you know exactly what you are looking for, without wasting precious family time

  • Find a clear path forward to a unique family boating lifestyle, without the complicated stress and uncertainty of brokers

  • Demystify the industry jargon and experience options, without suspicion or misplaced trust

  • Anchor your costs with certainty and explore ‘insider information, without risking family safety & finances

  • Quickly find what you are looking for, so you can connect with your family & friends on the water, without frustration and distractions

  • A precise and accurate shortlist of options, so you can involve your family and friends, without indecision, anxiety, or overwhelm.

  • Achieve a powerful & savvy negotiating position so you can make a decision to achieve a unique family boating lifestyle, without fear of losing the sale or overpaying

  • Gain complete confidence in the boating lifestyle decision, so you can create memories of a lifetime, without disappointment to yourself or your family.

After creating The Boat Buyers Bootcamp, I was not only able to provide a service to boat searchers that no other firm provides, I’ve also been able to stop worrying about boat buyers having to go from broker to broker and still not finding the right boat at the right price, because we can now help boaters gain complete confidence in the boating lifestyle decision, so you can create memories of a lifetime, without high stress or uncertainty of dealers and brokers.

And in the end, all of this means I’m now able to be with my kids at the drop of a hat, and never miss any of the highlights of our lives; spend time relaxing and doing the things I really enjoy, like spending time with my hubby or building our company by serving more and more first-time boaters or new to Asia boaters, aboard our boat all the while, enjoying immensely our life on the water.

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