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The Myth of Yachting Luxury: Understanding Real Financial Health

Have you seen the meme with Denzel Washington? The one that questions your very existence as superyacht crew? This one:

It’s one of ours. Maybe you know it, maybe you don’t. Regardless, you probably do recognise the truth of what it says. The truth that you work in a world that isn’t actually yours, even though it feels like it is because it surrounds you daily.

Deep down, you know this isn’t your world. You’ve been let in on a temporary basis. The luxurious beauty of the boat, the exotic locations, the high-powered people, the superstars—access to this world is given to you out of necessity. You’re not an equal here among peers. The bubble of wealth about you isn’t yours to command. It belongs to someone else.

That said, it’s understandable that the daily input of luxury imprints itself on your mind, and seduces you with its allure. As a result, you start to dabble in the symbols of the world you work in. You may not own a yacht, but you can afford a bottle of Dom Perignon 2012 now and then. Or a prestigious watch; maybe even a very prestigious one. Luxury holidays at the end of the Med season. Expensive fashion. Flashy car. Nice things to have, for sure, and so tempting when you are conditioned by the consumption patterns of the ultra-rich on a daily basis.

But they eat through your money. This level of spending isn’t sustainable. Once you leave yachting, it’ll most likely have to stop, unless you are very lucky. Jobs ashore simply don’t offer the salaries to match your potentially tax-free earnings on board a superyacht. On top of which, you’ll have to pay for accommodation, food, clothing, utility bills, travel expenses to work… When you lived on the yacht, all of those expenses were taken care of for you. They were invisible to you.

Inside the superyacht bubble, inside the fake reality, you’re earning a healthy salary in a world of privilege and prestige. Who wouldn’t be sucked into wanting to copy the enticing consumption behaviour that goes with this world?

But if you want to achieve genuine wealth for yourself, you must avoid being sucked into luxury spending patterns, despite being exposed to them for 24 hours a day. Let’s look at how.

You’re living in a dream—own it

Superyachts are fantasies made real—and at great cost. They are built to make dreams come true and to underline success and wealth. They are the indulgence of the super-rich who can manifest their own luxurious dreams and imaginings, as well as those of their interior designers, into physical things.

This luxury comes with a huge price tag. Vast, even. Sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars, almost certainly tens of millions. Those are not levels of discretionary spending (in other words, non-critical spending) superyacht crew are accustomed to in their life outside the industry. If they were, they’d own the yacht, not be serving the owner.

So Tip 1 is: embrace the fact that you work in the physical manifestation of a dream that’s not yours.

Your dreams will come true outside the bubble

Superyacht crew live inside a golden bubble of luxury, but they will achieve a meaningful life outside that bubble

Everyone should have dreams and ambitions. You get one go at life, so you should absolutely make the most of it. But your dreams will be made into reality away from the yacht, most likely after you’ve stopped crewing, and nearly always outside of the yachting industry itself.

When you leave yachting, you will be returning to the world outside the bubble (unless you marry the yacht owner), so even if you don’t want to pursue your dreams outside the bubble, you’re not going to have much choice in the matter.

Having to make your dreams come true outside the bubble of the wealthy is a good thing. You understand the rules in the world beyond the realm of the ultra-rich. It’s where you can do your best and most effective work to improve your life and fulfil your dreams. This is where you’ll make your success. 

Note: we’re not saying the world outside the bubble of the über-rich is where you belong. Absolutely not. Who’s to say that following your dreams in the world outside the luxury bubble won’t lead to so much success that you enter the bubble yourself on equal terms with those already inside?

What we are saying, though, is that it’s easier to maintain a healthy financial mindset outside the bubble of luxury than it is inside. In fact, we’d even argue that the same goes for the super-rich, but that’s a whole other discussion.

If you don’t own the yacht, you don’t own the lifestyle

If you don't own the yacht, you don't own the lifestyle

You might think we’re laying it on a bit thick. Surely superyacht crew grasp the fact that working on board a superyacht isn’t the same as owning it or the lifestyle that goes with it? 

We’d love to say that’s true. The reality of the matter is that the vast majority of superyacht crew (and we mean at least 85 percent) leave yachting with very little besides some incredible memories and experiences. They might, at best, leave with some savings and a few luxury items as well.

That’s quite shocking when you think that over a 10- or 15-year career in yachting, they’ll have earned anywhere between USD 250,000 and USD 1,000,000, and had pretty much no regular daily living expenses. Where did the money go? It was squandered on a luxury lifestyle inspired by the consumption behaviour of the wealthy people they worked for.

Put bluntly, when you leave yachting, you can do so with your USD 1,000,000 (or however much you earned) pretty much intact or you can do so having spent every penny. 

In fact, you can leave with more than you earned. If you make a solid financial plan and put in the hard work and commitment to see it through, you could be leaving yachting with an awful lot more. It’s not easy, but you can do it. The reward: genuine financial wealth.

Genuine financial wealth isn’t about money

When we say ‘genuine financial wealth’ we don’t mean a nondescript wedge of cash in a bank account somewhere. We mean financial freedom: the ability to pay your daily bills without having to work for someone else. If you don’t have to work to pay your bills, nobody owns you or your time. You get to use your time exactly how you want to.

By the way, do you know who also gets to spend their time exactly how they want to? The ultra-wealthy.

Let that sink in for a moment.

In reality, what most people want is the freedom to live their life without having to bow to the demands and priorities of someone else out of financial necessity. In other words, most people don’t really want to be super rich. They just want the daily freedom the super-rich enjoy.

Well we’ve got some good news for you. You can achieve that.

Real financial health comes from a meaningful life

If you’ve been around us long enough, you’ll know that we don’t think money and wealth are particularly interesting. What makes them interesting is what you use them for.

In our opinion, there is only one thing worth considering using money for: doing what’s meaningful to you. Because when you do that, you turbo-inject your money with a purpose that is aligned with your dreams. You’re making your dreams come true. That is the exciting part. And that is where your true financial health lies.

That doesn’t mean go out and spend all your money. Ironically, we’re advocating you do the exact opposite. Don’t even think about touching the money you leave yachting with. Instead, use it as the financial power generator for the rest of your life.

Let’s say you leave yachting with USD 1,000,000 and invest it relatively conservatively. You should be able to generate investment returns of around five percent per year. That’s USD 50,000 every year to live from, without touching your investment million. It’ll just keep pumping away, giving you money that you can use to live a fulfilling life.

Yachting luxury is temporary, a meaningful life lasts a lifetime

There is a time limit on your time in yachting. There is also a time limit on your time on Earth. But one will last you a lifetime, the other only part of that. Which should you place more value on?

The luxury you see around you everyday on board is transitory. You’re passing through. 

Be a money magnet. Attract it, rather than repelling it as you progress through your career in the industry. Leave the bubble with wealth, rather than leaving your wealth behind. Never forget that the only riches you’ll take out of yachting will be the ones you decide to bring out with you. If you leave it all behind, then you’ll have fallen into the trap of the myth of luxury yachting.

Don’t do that.

Let us help you build a solid financial plan so that when the yachting bubble bursts, you’re left with real financial health:

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