Retired Grandparents Ditch Mortgage for Life at Sea

Retired Grandparents Ditch Mortgage for Life at Sea


Hi, we are Margo and Tony and we live aboard here on Denelli Gray. She is
a 1987 Catalina sailboat. We also have a 1982 Volkswagen van that we travel on
land. Our passion in life is sailing and traveling. We’ve been married 50 years and raised three children and now we just travel.
We travelled right from day one. We retired in 2010 and we had come out to California
after Hurricane Andrew in Florida where we were living in the Florida Keys and
it became impossible to stay there moved out to California where our children had
taken up residence and we worked for ten years or so and then we retired in
2010. We retired with enough money in the bank to take care of us if we got sick
in our older age and the rest of the time we live on Social Security. We
sailed our boat down here to Ensenada because the cost of living is so good.
We quit smoking so we can save $400 a month and we put that away and then we
travel either by the van or on our boat. So this is the Denelli Gray. It’s a 36 foot
Catalina 1988. She has two sails: the main and the jib. Right now the jib is stored
because we’re not using it too often. We have this boat here in Ensenada Mexico.
It’s our home and this is our home base and it’s a super nice place to live.
We’re retired. We can take the boat anywhere we want to go which is one of
the great things about living this lifestyle. If we get tired of Ensenada we just untie the lines and off we go.
The unfortunate part of our life is that sometimes we like to travel on land. This
is the Baja buggy. We’ve rebuilt it. It’s a 1982 Westfalia Volkswagen Vanagon. We
take it every place we can in North America and eventually we’ll take it to
South America but right now she’s been all through Mexico, all across the US, and
Canada. The longest we’ve spent in the van is six months and we traveled the
entire US up to Canada Banff Lake Louise and then back to the
US and out to Victoria and then eventually back here. We actually weren’t
really ready to come back but we ran out of places to go so and of course that
won’t fit on the boat so if we decide we want to leave here and untie the lines
we got to find someplace to put that van. We have all the comforts at home. There’s
nothing that you would have in your condo or house that we don’t have here
except a dishwasher. She’s got a 25 horsepower diesel engine to help us in
and out of port, but other than that it costs almost nothing to travel in her
because she’s a sailboat. My wife actually put these in the right place so
that either one of us can always maneuver up the deck and always have a
place to hold on to so there’s never any, hopefully no
possibility, of falling overboard and of course we are tethered
and we have our life jackets on. Catalina 36’s are great sailing boats. I
wouldn’t hesitate to take this boat anywhere. She’s got all the navigation
equipment that we could possibly need and we use it. She’s a great boat. We have
our dinghy off the back. Nissan outboard. We have a West Marine kayak
inflatable right on the forward deck and an ocean kayak on the bow. We generally
will cruise about six knots. Under really great conditions we can get up to
eight. My name is Margo Heising and I live aboard with my husband Tony this
thirty six foot sailboat. We run our life from here.
We’ve lived on the boat for over 20 years. I’ll take you for a tour of our
boat and where we live and how we do things. One of the great things about
everything is its small and easy to take care of. This is our, we call it a reefer
in the sailing world, it’s actually a refrigerator and I have a two burner
stove and an oven and I can cook a meal for six to eight people on here with
absolutely no problem. We have a dry storage locker which is here and that’s
very very deep and we keep all of our dry goods in there and then we have
cabinets here where we keep everything that we need to entertain and to keep
ourselves alive with the food. Tony and I have been married for 50 years and one
of my greatest hobbies and loves in the world is cooking and entertaining for my
friends. One of the biggest questions I had when I moved on to the boat was
how will I do that with such little room? I had a very large farmhouse where I
could entertain up to 20 to 25 people and I thought if anything will make me
unhappy here it will be not being able to entertain so I decided the way to
handle the problem was to bring my bone china anyway and my silver and my
crystal and serve, instead of 25 people, I can I can feed eight people here with
all of the beautiful things that I have which is bone china and it’s very very
durable in the boat. We don’t have any problem with it. I can serve pretty much
as many people as I want in our salon over here. I can seat six on the other
side. I can seat two up on my deck here. I usually put all the men out there
and we can sit six to eight men out there to eat so I can have quite a large
party here and all of my needs as an entertainer are solved. We have a double
sink here. We have drawers here where I keep silver and pots and pans. Under here
is the interesting part of the boat. Our engine is under there. We have a twenty
five horsepower engine. As a woman I had to learn how to work on the engine
because when we’re at sea sailing, if something goes wrong, Tony gives me
instructions while he tends the boat. Over here we have a, it’s technically
called an AB cable, when we’re sailing we use it to use our maps and our
navigation. When we’re not sailing this is my art studio and my computer desk. I
do all the little art pieces here in my spare time. I used to do much bigger ones
but I had to cut everything down to what fits to do on a boat to live here
comfortably and be happy. This table goes down and we
have cushions that fit in here and we can sleep two to three people here. This
table also goes down and we can fit another person here so we can have
company. Tony installed our TV so it’s out of the way on the wall. Oh we also
have a half cabin back here. It’s used for storage right now because we’re
retired but we used to, the children sleep in there, it’s a king-size bed so
we have our place for our grandchildren. So we have our ability to entertain. We
have our ability for company and we can entertain our grandchildren well
at the same time. We have just tons of storage everywhere. This is our silverware
drawer. Our batteries are under these cushions and our fuel tank is under this cushion. Over here we have, under that cushion, we
have our water heater and under here we have a holding tank for our bathroom.
Our clothing is kept in these cabinets and Tony has two more cabinets than me
and I don’t think that’s fair. In our bathroom this is our toilet. This becomes
our shower in the morning. The water goes down into this drain and pumps out into
our holding tank. The v-berth is king-size. We have plenty of room and you
see we have a TV in there too and all of our books. Our whole library I used to
have a whole wall of books and now I have a little tiny library with all my
favorite books. Tony has his guitar which he plays and we’re very very very
comfortable. Underneath of that bed it’s more storage and Tony has his own closet.
Right here these are called ports and they open like that. We have a port up here to
let in more air so we have everything we need to
have a happy sustainable life. Our expenses to stay in this marina are $400
a month. We get $2,800 a month Social Security so after we pay our slip,
we have $2,400 a month left and we budget $500 a week. The extra four
hundred pays for our boat insurance and anything extra we would like to do. The
cool thing about living in Mexico is the cost of the peso because
five hundred dollars a week only costs us about two hundred and eighty dollars. We
stay within our budget. We eat nicely. We treat ourselves to an occasional
nice restaurant. We had mortgages and car payments and insurance rates just like everybody else. Now, we’ve got none of that.
Everything in our life is paid for. You know it once you realize it you don’t
have to to devote your life and money to other people and you can just live a
very peaceful quiet life it’s pretty easy. You just have to make up your mind
that you can do it. We owed our soul to Bank of America. Our boat was mortgaged
through them, our credit cards were mortgaged to them, everything that we
owned was mortgaged to Bank of America. I sat down one day and figured out how
much interest a year that I paid them. It wasn’t worth paying. We have more
spendable cash now than we ever had when we were working and when you realize
that then you realize that you can do it. You don’t necessarily have to live on a
boat but if you’re willing to sell your house and buy a smaller house then you
don’t have the burden. You can travel too. You don’t have to live on a boat. It took
us almost three years to get everything under control. I had to pay off the
mortgage on the boat sold our cars and we retired with the boat and no car and
we didn’t have a car for six months which was the first time in our life
that we didn’t have a car and we took public transportation and had a fabulous
time figuring that out. I can’t say enough how I wish that everybody could
follow their dreams to just make it possible. You have to make it possible
yourself you know and you can do it.

100 Replies to “Retired Grandparents Ditch Mortgage for Life at Sea”

  1. I would love to see this couple start their own you tube channel like “Sailing La Vagabonde” did. They might be surprised how many people would follow them!

  2. It is sad you worked all your life so you could save enough money to pay for your Heath Care I am so glad I am Canadian as a senior I pay nothing for heath Care even my drugs are covered

  3. You folks are an inspiration! This is very close to how I want to live when I am retired! Simply and not above my means.

  4. What a fantastic storey I take my hat off to you both you have and will inspire others to follow a simular path including me :)Regards from New Zealand

  5. That's What I Call living the good lights camera action congrats to you both I am so sure it's well-deserved enjoy I love it. I know my daughter and I will have a Winnebago and we travel a lot never thought about the sea I love to give that a thought huh but I don't know who's going to drive the damn boat I can't she can't but that's a thought I got to think this one through LOL. Lights camera action

  6. Thank you for sharing this vidio. Your happiness cannot be bought. You to are making dreams and happiness come true to the fullest.

  7. Tony should give you one of his cabinets so then you both have the same number. What kind of bullshit is that? How did you let this man do this to you?

  8. That's nice, but they didn't cover the expense of owning one of these. I had a friend that sailed all his life. When we were in school he had an 18' hobieecat. Before he retired he got one of these in preparation for retirement. After about 5 years he had enough of that money pit & sold it.

  9. You are a lovely couple. My husband a police officer for 33 years passed away a few months ago.we were married 38 years.Our dream was living at the top of the mountains in Fawnskin Ca. I still live there.

  10. What am inspiring vlog, just shows what can be achieved even in retirement . I am considering selling my place next year and buying a canal boat , with vlogs like this I feel I just have to do it !!

  11. Try Ecuador.  A couple can live well for half that, no boat of course, but the $400 slip fee will give you much more space in an apartment in Ecuador.  The US$ is their currency.

  12. It is possible for grandparents to live on a boat without without moving every nick-nack on board, just not for these happy campers.
    We prefer to leave all our stuff, stuffed elswhere.

  13. It always amazes me how every inch of space is utilized in the boat design. Nice to see a video of a couple who have lived for years in the space, interesting life they lead.

  14. Time is more valuable than anything else. I wish I’d had that insight when I was younger.
    I’m not dissatisfied with my life, but I would probably have planned it differently and valued time much more than career and money.

  15. I gave up smoking 5 years a go.and I don't drink.I have always got money.and I'm good to other people.life is better.good luck people.from England .

  16. $400 month on smoking lol that’s a crazy ass habit

    Think how much cash they’d have if they never smoked

    They’d be millionaires lol

  17. Got some in laws both smoked 2 1/2 packs a day EACH

    always broke borrowing money

    I sat em down showed em they were spending nearly $850 month on cigarettes lol

    Now they’re vaping still spending more than they can afford

    SMDH

    but they’re getting no funds from me lol 😝

  18. B of A just sucks! I got rid of them around 2003, glad I did. I just retired, and I used to live aboard several years ago due to an embarrassingly low income. Now that I am about as land locked as you can get I am going to go back to live aboard in COMFORT! (Until a big wind blows up and reminds me it isn't all just laid back easy going!)

  19. Tony married well – she is a unicorn among women – without her selfless spirit it would never have happened. Gratz to them both.

  20. Why not when you still fit and healthy, my wife and I have been married 54 yrs but unfortunately we are not so good with out health. I'm insanely jealous and would love to do something simialr. My you have many more years of good health and sailing

  21. Good sailing to Tony and Margo, I had a friend who was ex- Royal Navy, he retired early as a London broker, he was a millionaire with a £1m house with no mortgage, his long time dream was to buy a boat and sail the Greek Islands, he was divorced with no commitments , he lived in his large house, using one bedroom, lounge study and kitchen, so sad , he could have lived like this, he was so frugal , he was as tight as a ducks arse, he died aged 61 yrs, he never realised his dream.

  22. Good luck too you both, I've lived in my van for 6 years and it's the best move I've ever made! I was looking at boats over Christmas wondering how I could make the change from van to boat watching this has made my mind up!

  23. I wish you both well and wonder when the day comes and you can’t sail anymore will you still stay on the boat or have you a house to go too. I have never sailed before but still have the dream like both of you even tho I am nearly 73. Stay safe and enjoy.
    God bless Malcolm and Jan

  24. The title is a bit disingenuous, these people live in a marina, not at sea. It is like having an RV and staying in an RV park while the tires rot off your RV with UV damage. It is only a 36' sailboat, something to give you a horrible case of cabin fever. You can hear the underlying tension because he has two more clothes cupboards than she does. I wish them great successes in marina life and many, many more years at dock.

  25. Thank goodness for some socialism. People beat up on some of the safety nets our country has, but there are benefits that can make your life enjoyable. They wouldn't be able to do this without it.

  26. I am so envious I am 61 years old my wife and I will be retiring in 4 to 5 years this looks tempting I had to laugh out loud when she said it's not fair my husband has two more spaces than I for storage love to travel am an over-the-road truck driver and have been driving all over the country for the last 35 years this looks so relaxing and stress-free

  27. You saved $400 a month by quitting smoking? I'd call that a sound decision, but maybe if you'd done it 10 years earlier you'd have an extra $50,000 in the bank! Ho-hum…

  28. Live within your means = increases your means + control/reduce your expenses (be innovative!)

    These guys have done it so well!

  29. GOOD FOR YOU . !!!!! also good that you gave up smoking. !!!! it will help you to be around long enough to enjoy your life.!!!!

  30. I'm retired looking for someone to travel with in a sailboat! Good for you folks!!! I have a farm and another house on a lake, and I love the water, so I am ready to buy a sailboat and travel! Where did you say the Marina is that you were on? I couldn't make out what you mentioned in your video. I hope you can continue to travel like this forever!

  31. This is a beautiful story and inspiration to most of us in the vicious cycle of debt, life patterns, yet still not fulfilled. I never knew living on a boat this size could be so comfortable and cozy. Plan your happiness and live it, such a great example to us all!

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