Thoughts on the High Life at Sea

The longer I live the more I think my best life would be to make a big yacht my home and roam the world forever with family and friends. Exploring every culture of the world that’s anywhere near a port, all from the comfort of home, is an appealing prospect in any event, but it’s become even more appealing in light of the lockdown crisis.

In a world where governments and businesses turn hostile or friendly on a dime to anyone wanting to lead a free and fulfilling life, where traveling commercially in a dignified fashion or even at all is increasingly a dubious prospect, where even non-pandemic-related regulations and taxes hostile to ordinary people are announced at the drop of a hat, mobility with your own vehicle is of paramount importance.

I touched upon this last year with my posts “College Ships: A Pathway to Seasteading” and “A Social Vision for College Ships”, but that was more in the context of seasteading for large groups, in that case focusing on higher education. Well, college life sure has degenerated even since April 2020; if I were the philanthropist of my dreams I would have acquired one of those cruise ships in spring 2020, refashioned it into Adamas Nemesis University, and offered the students not only a normal mask-free lockdown-free lifestyle but also all of the amenities I outline in that post. Betcha it would be wildly popular.

Anyway, enough about Adamas Nemesis University. What I’m interested in exploring here is the idea of a hypothetical person together with a spouse and a big family; going with the same theme, let’s call it Adamas Nemesis Deluxe.

Yacht Living: Surprisingly Affordable

The costs of living on a boat, even an oceangoing one, are surprisingly similar to analogous lifestyles on land; if you live a middle-income lifestyle on land you can live a similar lifestyle at sea, just with a boat instead of a regular house. This means that if you can work remotely or are financially independent (I’ve written on the latter before, and strongly recommend a 1.5-3x leveraged broad stock market index strategy) the mobile life, including the sea life, is accessible to you.

According to this interesting CNBC article from July 2021 many people are doing just that: moving to sea life. Demand for yachts, boats, and ships to live in has exploded since the lockdown crisis began; the land-based version, living in an RV or a bus, has also been exploding in prevalence. It seems I am not alone in having some wanderlust.

Fine Living

Of course Adamas Nemesis Deluxe isn’t going to be living a middle-class lifestyle; the lifestyle lived will be very upper-class. The lucky person will have a yacht big enough for a spouse and a big family to live opulently, with plenty of room for guests, for recreational activities, and to host big swanky parties. Apparently a 100-foot yacht answers best to that description, and these run in the $8-20 million range to purchase, with perhaps 10% of that figure for ongoing expenses.

In addition to just the home, Adamas Nemesis Deluxe will pursue timeless beauty in aesthetics; fashion, hair, clothes, physique, and figure will all be top-notch, as will the living environment. The yacht will be an oasis of beauty, as will the body.

This is expensive; the best dresses run in the four figures, and the girls will have new outfits all the time, and getting hair, makeup, and nails done professionally every day adds up fast, as does getting a massage every day, and various spa treatments every month. As a rough guess all this might add up to $20k a month. In addition to this let’s say there are 10 people, such as ordinary domestic staff, personal trainers, dance teachers, and various people brought in to coach on other pursuits, and they each get paid $50k per year; that’s an additional $40k a month. So all this beautifying and edifying adds up to $60k a month, $720k a year.

Let’s say the yacht is $15 million and costs $1.5 million to maintain; that brings our expenses to $2.2 million a year. Let’s say we’re out and about traveling in the regions our yacht goes to for 90 nights out of the year and we spend an average of $5000 a night; even that rather spendy figure only comes to $450k a year. So our total expenses now come to $4.15 million per year. That doesn’t cover anything else, so to round out the luxury let’s just round it up to $5 million, giving us $850k to spend on everything else in life. Per the 4% rule to support that level of expenditure Adamas Nemesis Deluxe should have a net worth of $100 million.

Building Wealth: Easier than we’re told?

It’s been said that most people’s idea of what a millionaire is is someone who can spend a million a year, not someone who has a million dollars, and this is so true; at the 100 million level you can spend five times that amount, which gives you access to multiple rich-person-style luxuries simultaneously as an everyday fact of life, instead of only being able to have one all the time and one or two as an occasional indulgence.

$100 million might seem like a mind-boggling sum of money to most people, and frankly it is, but building that level of wealth might be a lot easier than most people think. Courtesy of a leveraged stock indexing strategy you can achieve perhaps 20% returns long-term (3x leverage achieved this from 1985-2020); this is twice as high as you can get not using leverage, and that difference adds up.

For instance, if you invested just $120,000 in the stock market at 2.5x leverage in 1985 and stuck with it until now, with no further contributions, you would have almost exactly $100 million now! Starting from nothing, contributing $2000 a month would have gotten you to the same place.

Even $100 million isn’t the kind of money where you could start your own orbital rocket company, but it’s the kind of money where you can really live large and not compromise. If what Elon Musk says about SpaceX’s Starship costing $2 million per mission is true in the near future, then not just flying on but outright chartering a spaceship will be within Adamas Nemesis Deluxe’s price range for a once-in-several-years indulgence.

Adamas Nemesis Ascending

Ideally I’d like to live like Adamas Nemesis Deluxe, overseeing my ever-swelling investment portfolio, and also be in charge of an organization that would combine several functions: hedge fund, think tank, political propaganda and agitation, film studio, education, scientific and technical research, patronizing of the arts, among others, all under one roof, its assets spread throughout the world to ensure location independence and to take advantage of geographic arbitrage.

To bring this vast web up to full strength would take single or ideally double digit billions, but $100 million is viable to start it all up in a significant way. It honestly makes me sound like a James Bond villain in training (or have I just been watching too much Bond lately?), but hey, there’s a reason why that archetype is the epitome of cool.

The “Bond Villain Billionaire” Slot: Already Taken?

But then again, who could be more of a real-life Bond villain type than Elon Musk? Elon Musk himself would look so at home as a James Bond villain if a character exactly like him appeared in a Bond movie they’d say it was cliched and unrealistic. I mean, he’s a billionaire who owns an orbital rocket company, a cool car company, and an alternative energy company, manufactures flamethrowers, is researching brain-computer interfaces, has a name that sounds like it would fit right in with the Bond villain list, and even has links to diamond mines in Africa!

Elon Musk is sometimes compared to Hugo Drax in “Moonraker”, but honestly he’s much more reminiscent of Gustav Graves from (the criminally underrated) “Die Another Day” (a more faithful adaptation of Ian Fleming’s “Moonraker”). Graves has the link to diamonds and even looks and sounds a lot like Musk; rather creepily, he also likes to use flamethrowers, has cool cars, uses solar energy, and has an outer-space operation, and when “Die Another Day” was made (2002) if I recall correctly it wasn’t even widely known Musk was even interested in any of those things. Let’s hope our very own Bond-esque billionaire doesn’t turn out to be as villainous as Graves (or Drax for that matter).

Anyway, I guess that was a bit rambly but I wanted to put my thoughts on living richly on a luxury yacht and what I might like to do with it out there. Maybe I’ll expand more on it in the future, but that’ll be all for now.

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