Hi, I’m Alex, an ex-yacht crewmember turned financial coach this is my short story…
I decided to do the opposite of what ‘society’ might expect of a university graduate, I joined superyachts. Of course, I now realise that many graduates join yachts and that I wasn’t doing anything that hadn’t been done before. But it felt to me like I was breaking the mould, at least within my family and circle of friends, and that made me happy.
I absolutely knew I wouldn’t be content following the ‘traditional’ path of graduating, landing a job, house, marriage, kids, etc. Ugh. My views might change as I age but for now, I couldn’t think of anything worse. I imagine, in part, this feeling came from working at a hardware store throughout my studies and seeing real life examples of people trapped in jobs they don’t like. That shit was depressing and would never be me, I promised myself.
After graduating uni I flew through about a month of daywork in Auckland until I landed my first fulltime gig. A deckie on a 50m, bright eyed and keen as, with no idea that I’d be bosun a few years later.
After a couple of months working I noticed my bank account getting bigger, which as a 21 year old student I was not used to, despite having a part time job at a local hardware store.
I found myself repeatedly wondering what I would do with ‘all this money’, surely, there must be something better than it just sitting in the bank wasting away. Sure, I spent it and had fun with the crew but there was still a lot left over.
The problem was, I couldn’t find any good info on what to do! Sure, I came across financial advisors. I also had people suggest I buy property. I didn’t want to do either of those things, many yachtie financial advisers have bad reputations and property involves large down payments. Plus, I wanted to start small and do something I could control.
So, like any normal person, I turned to Google. I began my own research, delving through hordes of content. During work I would listen to hours and hours of financial podcasts and on weekend watches you would find me researching and watching videos about all things personal finance.
I had a joke with my first officer that one ear was for my podcast and the other for my radio/alarms
Like most beginners I had initial doubts and thought that investing was only performed by professionals or geniuses who spend all their time at a computer watching the markets.
It wasn’t until my partner, a stewardess, gifted me a financial book, The Barefoot Investor, that I began to actually invest. I felt ready.
By the end of my first year in yachting I had about 90% of my money invested, and still do to this day. I haven’t wavered and have total confidence in my financial decisions. In-fact, I’m much better off now.
Initially, I kept this information mostly to myself as I know people don’t particularly enjoy talking about money or have much interest in personal finance. But this doesn’t mean people can’t get ahead financially. We all need money and we can always have more of it.
I remember becoming frustrated by the lack of accessible information available, especially for the yachting industry. People weren’t talking about money, kind of strange in an industry in which many people enter to make money.
All I could find was information written by financial advisors or banks which tended to consist of industry specific language, too many numbers and the pedalling of their own agendas.
I didn’t feel like the right information was out there or that yacht crew knew enough about personal finance to make the best informed decision. We shouldn’t have to rely on others for our money, at the end of the day, no one cares about your money more than you.
So, I took it upon myself. First, I started talking with my crew and then the crew on our support vessel and then the crew from the boat next door, and so on. I slowly gained traction and eventually had friends of friends messaging me for advice.
My suspicions were confirmed, there is a knowledge gap amongst the average yachtie and their money.
And so, I created this forum, a place in which I share what I’ve learned in the hope of teaching other yachties how to get more from their money.
My intention is to change the way yacht crew deal with money/personal finance through my online forums and coaching. Personal finance can mean a lot of things but for me, it means educating you in techniques for saving, investing and general financial optimisation.
It can be difficult to see the need for this in our young and lucrative industry but I’m here to show you that yachting is an extraordinary industry which, if played right, can give you a secure and achievable financial future.
Believe me, it’s not as hard as you think.