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– MONTHLY CRUISING BUDGET – https://sailingsoulianis.com/monthly-cruising-budget/
How do you afford to travel on a sailboat? What do you do for work? What is your budget? Did you have debt? How did you untether yourself from an office? In this episode, we share how we built 3 separate remote income streams which allowed us us to jump on a boat and go cruising.
What’s our secret? Paying off debt, investing in real estate, acquiring remote jobs, and producing video (with a passion!) have been key ingredients to creating a sustainable remote lifestyle.
Hope you enjoy!
Lauren & Kirk
P.S. If you’d like more Sailing Soulianis content or would like to support our video production, consider becoming a patron here: https://www.patreon.com/sailingsoulianis
Adventures – A Himitsu https://youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE
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We are in the lovely city of Chicago right now. This is a special episode, we’re gonna be talking about money and work and how we do this whole work while sailing thing.
How do we make money and sail.
Is the big question.
It’s what everyone wants to know. So that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. That, and a whole bunch of other questions that we get all the time about finances. So, invariably, the first thing people say after, “How do you afford to do this?” their question is, “Are you rich, self-employed? Are you retired, did you win the lottery? Are you trust fund kids?”
Trust fund babies.
The answer to all of that is, no.
Well, we are self-employed.
We are not on a sabbatical. We are not living off of some giant savings that we got from mom and dad.
Yeah, either we got from mom and dad or that we saved up ourselves.
It’s not that we don’t have any money. It’s just we’re not using any savings to fund our travels. Contrary to what YouTube might have you think. Most cruisers are retired and they’re 60 plus. We’re a little different.
We’re a little younger and we’re still working.
So one of our patrons Richard asked us, “Are you prepared to work along the way?” I suppose you could ask anybody that question. What would you do if you didn’t have a job? I think we hadn’t planned to stop in any one area and get a job in that specific area that we were. We would probably keep trying to find remote work which would allow us to keep traveling on the boat.
We are living our lives on a sailboat. Just the way that most people are living their lives from an apartment, from a house, from a condo. We just chose to do everything from the boat.
Next question, Dustin asked us, “what do we do for work?”
So we have three remote income streams. We have rental property income, income from our YouTube channel and I still work a remote job.
I used to work a remote job but now I actually edit our videos full-time.
So we had three rental properties in Chicago and just recently sold one of them. So we’re now down to two.
We actually didn’t wanna sell it. We were forced to sell it but…
Side bar, so now we have two rental properties which make up about 20% of our income. All of our YouTube sailing Soulianis stuff makes up about 30% of our income.
And that includes Patreon, YouTube ads, and other extras like Boat buying dashboards
Boat buying dashboards. New swag.
And then my remote work brings in about 50% of the rest of our income. I started working remotely about eight years ago. It started out just like maybe a day a week here and there. And over a number of different job changes, and a bunch of different years it slowly grew and grew and grew and I’ve been working full-time remotely about four or five years now. Often I’d be offered a raise. And instead I’d say, “Can I just work more hours remotely or can I just work less hours instead of taking more money.” All with a goal and eye on lets travel full-time.
[Lauren] Wait wait wait, you forgot to tell us what work you do?
So I do multimedia production which is video production, web development and online marketing campaigns. My role is mostly project and client management. So most of my time is spent emailing clients, talking on Slack or instant messenger with our development team. So I have to stay connected almost all the time. It would be fantastic if I could just do my work and upload it to the internet whenever we found it but I pretty much always have to stay online.
So while Kirk’s working, I am usually video editing. It’s gotten a lot better, I’ve been able to edit a little bit faster. But it still takes us about 40 to 50 hours sometimes to put together one episode. Hi. Most of that time is spent looking through all of our footage, picking out all of the best clips, putting them in the timeline and then that’s where you’ll find me sitting there and just staring at the computer because I’m trying to figure out how to put the story together.
[Kirk] So intent.
I’ll do one pass of that and then I say, “Hey Kirk, have a look.” He’ll watch it and give me notes. This part is weak, or these shots aren’t that great. Or we need to reverse these sections. Then I go back at it, do another pass. That’s when I rope Kirk back in to help me with voiceovers.
Follow along to see if we’re still married when we’re done.
I get those in and then my job is done. And I send the episode officially off to Kirk and he does the audio and the color. And then after that we’re finally done. Hey, why don’t we go up to Riders Park.
Yeah we can.
[Lauren] Okay let’s do that.
Becoming financially independent is not a smooth straight forward process. There is not a yellow brick road where each step is clearly marked or else everyone would be doing it, it’s easy. “Office Space” was my favorite movie growing up.
I’m gonna need you to go ahead and come in tomorrow.
And there was one thing that I did not wanna become and that was Peter Gibbons.
Every since I started working. Every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it.
And I became exactly that guy. And I hated it.
Is today the worst day of your life?
Wow that’s messed up.
But all the while I was scheming, trying to figure out how to make myself financially independent. One of the other things that I knew was that as economies change, and things ebb and flow, we knew that we would need to be able to rely on multiple streams of income.
Quick stop for coffee. You coming in?
The long and short of it is we afford to sail because we made a lot of sacrifices and we put plans in motion 10 years ago to start building remote income streams. And one of those was finding ways to work a remote job. Another was building a very small rental property portfolio. And the third was trying to figure out repeatedly and failing over and over and over again how to build a nomadic business. I tried building websites, creating mobile apps and designing physical products. But every single one of them fizzled out. Mostly because the passion was more in the idea than in the execution. Lauren and I started our relationship in college, working on projects in our video production classes. And ever since then, we wanted a project for us to be able to work on together. And if we could make a little bit of money doing so and people enjoyed it, all the better. We’ve sort of done that using our passion for video production with sailing Soulianis. Some behind the scenes action. Perfect, ah this is gonna be so good. But of the countless number of failed business projects that I tried to start up, this was the one that took off. Why, because we were the most passionate about it. Because it was something that we cared about and we enjoyed doing together. What you got there?
Cortado, sort of a large cortado. It’s one of my favorite things, coffee.
[Kirk] What’s our budget for sailing?
We kind of arbitrarily picked $3,000 a month when we first bought our boat. I say arbitrarily because we didn’t know yet how much it would cost to live on a boat. But we took a guess based on how much we normally spend on land. We never really stick to it and not because, I don’t know, what were we spending money on then? It’s kind of ridiculous. Like…
[Kirk] I don’t know.
[Kirk] Gold watches.
Yes gold watches. we’ve just been buying tones of stuff for the boat.
[Kirk] I just wanted to ask you how much of that coffee is in our budget? What’s our coffee budget?
$30 a month? It’s definitely an integral part of the creation of our videos so… I would say it’s worth it. Clark and Devon.
Spend a lot of time there.
It was our go to spot for supplies to rehab our very first condo. Which we bought in 2008, fresh out of college. At least fresh out of me for college. Kirk had finished a year before me and he had lived with his aunt for almost a year in her basement. Because he was that much against paying rent. So after I graduated, we lived for exactly three months in a rental property and then bought our first piece of real estate. We got kind of lucky because it was right after the first big dip in the market so this place that we had bought had already lost like, I don’t know, 50% of it’s value, I think.
In a couple of months. So if we had to have sold it at that point, we definitely would have lost. But that wasn’t our plan. Our plan was to buy and hold. And we’re still holding. One thing to note about our very first property was it had no kitchen. There was no sink, no cabinets, nothing. There was a refrigerator I think and a stove sitting in the middle of the room. It was a big project and it took us the better part of a year to actually complete the rehab. And we did that all while Kirk was working full-time, nine to five at an office job. And I was working nights and weekends waiting tables. So when we lived in Chicago, we did not really get to experience Chicago very much. Which was kind of a bummer. But we’re still young kids. So now we get to come back here once or twice a year and I don’t know, kind of be tourists, visit people. Go out for a cocktail. This is Rogers Park, it’s the farthest north you can go and still be in the city of Chicago and still be on Lake Michigan.
This is our third rental property which we actually just sold this spring. Which was in much better shape than the first condo we bought. But it still needed a basic facelift. With the help of my parents we whipped it into shape in just a few days. So when we say that we have rental properties, everyone’s reaction is always, “How do you manage a rental property while living on a boat?” Well, we’ve actually always managed our rental properties remotely. We bought our first property in 2009. And decided in December of 2009 we wanted to travel to Australia. So we hurried up, finished the renovation of the property, put it up for rent, and immediately moved to the other side of the planet. There has not been a single year that we’ve been in the same city or state, let alone even half the continent as our rental properties. So we’ve managed them remotely since day one. So adding a boat to the mix really doesn’t change the equation at all. We don’t hire a management company. Our rental properties are all self managed. We’ve really benefited from the fact that we only own condos. So we don’t have to deal with the roof, we don’t have to deal with the exterior. We don’t have to deal with landscaping or all that. The Home Owners Association for the condo building takes care of that for us. Which has made managing our rental properties extremely easy. And whether we’re living on a sailboat, living across the country, across the world, or three blocks away, if there’s any issue with the plumbing I call a plumber. If our appliances are broken, I call an appliance repairman. There’s not really a whole lot else that needs to happen. The only time where we’ve really felt like we wanted to be here at our rental properties is when our tenants turn over. And in the 10 years that we’ve been doing this, with the three properties that we’ve had, that’s only happened four times because we have really, really focused on tenant selection and finding people who we feel will treat our properties like their home and take care of them really well. And that has made all the difference in the success of our rental property as opposed to all the horror stories we hear from a lot of other people who do this.
Another common question we get is, “Did we have debt?” and the answer is yes. I had I think it was about $60,000 in student debt when I graduated. And it took me about 10 years to pay it off. I paid it off I think one year before we bought the boat.
[Kirk] Yeah! Lauren just paid off all her school loans.
We did have other debt so we had a couple of mortgages on our properties but those were covered. Those were covered by the rent. So that was good debt.
So after people asked how we afford to sail, the next question is usually like, “how much does it actually cost?” we’ve been keeping very close tabs on our monthly budget. We’ll probably do another video which will go into our budget in a little bit more detail. But in the meantime, feel free to check out the monthly cruising budget blog post series on our website.
And one last thing, we just launched our shop. Where you can get shirts like this. All designed by Kirk. You can also get a couple of coffee mugs because I love coffee and we have organic lip balm that is made in Michigan with love of course. So if you’re interested, check it out on our website. I think this is our first real storm.