Southwest Florida Yachts


Retirement Planning is Fun
y Barb Hansen
April  2006

Rich and Suzy Koths of Michigan have discovered that retirement planning isn’t as dry and boring as it sounds. In fact, it can be terrific fun.

Still “nine years and nine months” away from retirement (and obviously counting) the GM engineer and his wife Suzy are fondly picturing the day when, free at last, they will spend summers cruising the Great Lakes and winters exploring Florida’s Gulf Coast aboard the yacht they are now purchasing with other people’s money.

I met the Koths (pronounced “Coats”) in the winter of 2002 when they came down to Florida and chartered one of our power yachts in paradise. Paradise, as you may know, is cruising Southwest Florida’s placid channel behind exotic Gulf barrier islands like Sanibel, Pine, Captiva, Cayo Costa, Gasparilla, Cabbage Key and Useppa.

Rich and Suzy enjoyed their charter cruise so much they asked us for more details about what Vic and I call the “Floating Retirement  Plan.”  This is the plan in a nutshell: Buy a sail or power yacht, new or used.  Put it to work for you as a charter boat. Chartering revenue helps pay for the boat and upkeep.

The Koths purchased a Jefferson 42 Viscount with huge cabins fore and aft, two baths, salon, dinette, wet bar, heat and air conditioning. It has everything except a Home Sweet Home sign. They put excess chartering revenue they earn back into their boat – appropriately named Final Sea-Lection -- buying new electronics and other nest-feathering upgrades.

The Koths escape snow country and cruise about three times a year on their winter home away from home. They like it that Final Sea-Lection stays busy with charters and is looked after carefully by our maintenance crew. It gives them confidence that all systems are go when they take a little vacation time and fly down from Michigan for a cruise on their boat.

Golly, the way real home prices are going up, it’s a wonder more people who want the best of both worlds – summer up north, winter down south -- don’t consider a floating home. Each year new boats cost a little more than the year before but home prices are zooming up beyond -- dare I say it -- reason.

Rich and Suzy’s winter home is one of the most popular vessels in our charter fleet here at Marinatown Marina. In fact, the chartering business is very good. That sound you heard was me, the proprietor of a certain yacht chartering enterprise, crying for more boats to charter. The law of supply and demand is a good law except sometimes it doesn’t feel so good to the buyer or the seller.

In fact, I’m actively looking for more people like the Koths who long for the day when they can retire and actually have time – and a vessel – to sail into the sunset. Meanwhile, Vic and I will put their boat to work earning money to keep the dream alive.

The way I figure it, life is only as good as you make it.

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Southwest Florida Yachts
3444 Marinatown Lane N.W. • North Fort Myers • Florida 33903
(239) 656-1339 (800) 262-7939 Fax (239) 656-2628

Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W

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