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The Adventurer’s Retirement Plan

I’ve really been giving this some thought.  In my mind there are only a few things that keep most people from living an otherwise extraordinary life in our grey pharmaceutically overloaded risk averse society.


  1. Lack of some form of health insurance
  2. A provision for some form of pension/retirement.


A lot of people take jobs not for the paycheck but for the benefits.  I can truly understand why.  I am happy to say that Hilary is 12 weeks pregnant!  We are excited about the addition to our little crew, but our current health insurance doesn’t cover the pregnancy.  In fact, I couldn’t add coverage for all the money in the world now that my wife is pregnant.  Our options are:


  1. pay cash (to the tune of 15k for a healthy birth)
  2. use welfare (medicaid pregnancy covers the baby fully of approved)
  3. get a job with group health insurance (pregnancy is not considered a pre-existing condition)


Getting a job with benefits means not coming up with the projected $15,000 in cash.  That’s a big incentive regardless of the paycheck.

I think we can develop a plan on time tested (and I mean going WAY back in time) methods to safely provide both a minimum of health care for our families and a minimum of financial security without investing 50 weeks a year for the better part of your life for the betterment of an obscure corporate objective.

Let’s start backwards.  A plan for retirement.  Let’s call this the Adventurer’s Tithe Retirement Plan.  If you invest 10% of every dollar you earn pre-tax with great discipline over the span of 15-25 years you will have a nice little nest egg.  Will it allow you to retire and never work again?  No.  Will it provide you with a luxurious millionaire lifestyle?  No.  Will it allow you to NOT work fulltime?  Yes!  Will it allow you to live maintain the same lifestyle?  Yes!

The precepts are that instead of waiting for retirement- go out and LIVE today!  Work to Live!  The Adventurer’s Tithe Retirement Plan is intended to OFFSET a portion of income to allow you to work less, but not to stay at home all day and play golf.

Want to see some details, OK.


Note that the last part doesn’t include the interest you receive from the balance of the Retirement plan after you draw down some principal.  Depending on your age and the amount of money you can invest- you results may vary.  Adjust the annual income and rates to get a better picture of how it might apply for you.

Here’s a link to the excel file.  alt-retirement

Now for the Health Care.

I analyzed all the different plans available to us ranging from the lowest deductible to the highest deductible.  Once I put them into a spreadsheet and projected forward a few years I was surprised at the results!

The big assumption is how often will you need major healthcare.  I don’t mean stitches, broken arms, or flu shots.  You can take a little hit to see a doc or clinic in those cases.  I mean surgery, or heavens forbid- worse.  Obviously the older you get, the more frequent your health visits may become.  Hilary and I are both 38 this year.  With an active lifestyle, decent diet, and some care around the foredeck, I would suggest that once every 5 years one of us ‘might’ go into the hospital would be a conservative guess.  If you add up the monthly premiums then add in the deductibles (after reading the fine print) I think you’ll find that a plan with a higher (often cases MUCH higher) deductible will save you more money in the long run.

This is also assuming you don’t work full time and have a individual or family policy (not group insurance).

For our family it worked out that the $10,000 deductible with a monthly premium of $235 was the best value.  Do I have the $10,000 for the deductible?  Nope.  But I could beg borrow and plead to come up with the money if my child’s or wife’s life depended on it.  If we stick to the Tithe Retirement Plan, we can use those funds as our backstop for the catastrophic deductible.  Who needs retirement if your dead?

As you get older you can decrease the deductible if needed or rely on the funds being in the bank.

Now all we need to do is work on how to EARN enough money while still having the freedom to wander and explore this big planet.  I have two ideas for you to think about until the next post:

  1. seasonal employment
  2. pensions

Here’s a quote that’s attributed to the great Gonzo Hunter S. Thompson:

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, shouting GERONIMO!

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2 comments to The Adventurer’s Retirement Plan

  • floyd linton


    I am at the other end of the tunnel – 64 – I am nearing retirement with my 401k bruised but intact and my integrity intact, and want to say that it’s possible to do ok taking the other fork in the road. I have worked for the same company for more than 20 years and am now national sales manager. I was just about your age when my daughters were born. I’ve taken some other paths, too, – ran for congress (lost, fortunately), published my own magazine on a shoe string, survived near bankruptcy, lost jobs, but then decided that I better learn to crawl on plane, drive to new customers, sell some, advise some, make some, so I could provide for my family. I often wished I had the practical skills you obviously have, but I made do. So I made it through the other stuff, too, like raising daughters, orthodontia, teenage driving, dumb boyfriends, college, weddings, major illnesses, grandchildren, etc. Even so, I still think that I earn to live and not the other way around. Just a thought.
    But here’s some practical advice – you need some more insurance (I don’t sell insurance by the way). What you have described is insurance, but I suggest that you set up an MSA, to cover the possibility of needing additional funds to cover the self-insured retention piece of your plan. You might also consider a CHps program for you children as they are less expensive and cover a broad range of children’s potential health issues. You have to be careful that while you have covered a major event with high deductible, you have to have protection for chronic illnesses. Secondly, you might also consider some disability coverage while you are young, as well as some life insurance as part of your savings, while you are young and can qualify. I know smart alecks say life ins is a bad investment, but my whole life policy I took out when I was your age actually held up, at guaranteed 4%, better than most of any thing else I have, and I was able to borrow against it for the kids college and can convert some of the cash to an annuity. Just a thought.
    Now with your self awareness and thoughtfulness, you might want to consider teaching as a career. Over time, you can do well financially and you may find a good career/life balance in doing that. Just a thought.

    Finally, your wife seems to be a really great sport about all this and if I were you, as it is going to be Mothers’ Day tomorrow, you might consider doing something really nice for her. Just a thought.

    Nice boat, by the way.

  • big cheese

    Hi Floyd-

    Thanks for taking an interest and commenting. You have some good points I hadn’t considered.

    I’ve always been self employed my whole life. Every job I’ve had I was either fired or quit. Now as an older man, less stubborn, and more weathered, chances are good I am now mature enough to keep a J.O.B.

    The thing I struggle with is to deny your inner truth. Certainly necessity comes to play, but what is apparent to everyone else around me and slowly I’ve come to recognize it myself is that I wasn’t meant to work indoors or at a desk job.

    That doesn’t mean I can’t take a job with career potential, but what I’ve been facing (especially in this job market) is jobs that I would enjoy or find satisfying don’t pay enough (after taxes) to tip the scales to work the 40+ hour work week.

    Certainly necessity will come to play. Broke is broke and the bills keep rolling in, there is no denying that.

    I keep working (maybe in vain) to find a creative combination of simple living and open mindedness towards money to provide my family the greatest resource I have to offer- my time.

    I’m a lucky man to have such a tolerant and patient wife.

    I would be interested in getting your opinion on what are ‘necessary’ expenses and putting a price tag to the build a ‘living’ pro forma. From there we can work backward and come to a modern day figure of what it realistically costs to prudently survive in our society.

    Thank You for your input!