No retirement, no home. Enter the Shantyboat.

Submitted by Ben Anderson.
A friend of mine has a financial existence that is nothing short of hand to mouth.  By some standards he lives in poverty.  But it’s a choice he’s made.  Due to his carear in theater, payments into social security were a now and then sort of thing, most often his paychecks were under the table.
Retirement funds don’t exist and health benefits come from free or reduced fare community clinics.  He lives month to month, day to day, and what money he does get he spends on Hummel figurines.   There’s quite the collection.
There was a time, some years back, when we would bail him out… come to his rescue… give him a place to land for a few days.   During these brief visits I would head out in the morning to a high stress and somewhat thankless job, only to return home to find him still in bed.    That got more than a little tiresome to this old ant… our visiting grasshopper simply fiddling about, if that.
He was able to buy a house, thanks to that odd period a few years back when you could join the mortgage saddled crowd with zero interest down and zero payment on principal.  His first task was to install more shelves for his Hummels.
He’s a fun guy… well spoken, interesting.  Women seem drawn to him, many a couple of decades his junior.   It’s just… he won’t live the 9 to 5 life.  Security is rejected outright… freedom and a love for the day, that day, his mantra.
My friend… he’s an actor, and even there he specializes in fight scenes.   When he works he’s paid fairly well.   When he works.  And now his body is failing him… those fight scenes taking their toll.   And that loan?  That balloon payment is due.
The writing is on the wall… and my phone number is in his quick dial.
In grade school we were taught that instead of giving the pilgrims fish to eat, the indians showed them how to plant corn and use the fish as fertilizer.   The tales are probably apocryphal… but the moral of the story rings true.  Applied to my friend any rescue should be in the form of long term solutions, not my short term finances.
Enter the Shantyboat.
Low cost to build.  No moorage fees.   And… with the right frame of mind his mantra is made for it, as they can offer freedom with every bend in the river bringing something new and unknown every for day.   Apply the shantyboat lifestyle to food and worldly goods, and his financial commitments really could be minimal.
Setting aside any thoughts that he may have challenges with the discipline of it all, which seems rather likely, what would this lifestyle look like?   And what of the boat?
More Soon.

Originally posted 2015-02-22 07:27:57.

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  1. 60. Fiddler Jones
    Edgar Lee Masters/Spoon River Anthology

    THE EARTH keeps some vibration going
    There in your heart, and that is you.
    And if the people find you can fiddle,
    Why, fiddle you must, for all your life.
    What do you see, a harvest of clover? 5
    Or a meadow to walk through to the river?
    The wind’s in the corn; you rub your hands
    For beeves hereafter ready for market;
    Or else you hear the rustle of skirts
    Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove. 10
    To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust
    Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth;
    They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy
    Stepping it off, to “Toor-a-Loor.”
    How could I till my forty acres 15
    Not to speak of getting more,
    With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos
    Stirred in my brain by crows and robins
    And the creak of a wind-mill—only these?
    And I never started to plow in my life 20
    That some one did not stop in the road
    And take me away to a dance or picnic.
    I ended up with forty acres;
    I ended up with a broken fiddle—
    And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories, 25
    And not a single regret.

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