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Acquiring Mystery – A Cruising Sailboat Journey Part 1

Acquiring Mystery – A Cruising Sailboat Journey Part 1

Do you find yourself lurking on sailing and cruising forums? I do. I always get a little chuckle when someone posts a question about “the best cruising sailboat.”

I chuckle because there is absolutely no way to answer that question. There are too many variables. How are you going to use it? How many people will be aboard? Where are you planning to go? What is your experience? What is your budget? The perfect cruising sailboat for one person or couple or family, might be an abomination to another.

The boat you ultimately end up cruising aboard will be a compromise based on your unique situation, plans, wants, needs and budget. It’s a very personal thing!

My search for a cruising sailboat began probably like most with hours upon hours surfing Yachtworld.com and similar sites, looking at pictures, evaluating specs and, of course, looking at asking prices. At some point though, pictures just don’t cut it anymore.

One of my favorite waterfront restaurants in Portland, Oregon is Island Café. It’s a really cool floating restaurant on Hayden Island with a Caribbean flair, great food and strong drinks. It also floats adjacent to the docks of the premier sailboat brokerage in Portland, Passion Yachts. After a basket of coconut shrimp and a strong margarita or two, I would often stroll through Passion’s docks ogling at sailboats.

It was on one of these excursions that she caught my eye. She had a Sleek hull, smallish cockpit, and beautiful teak decks. I whipped out my smart phone and pulled up Passion’s website, clicked on inventory and scanned through the listings till I found it.

S/V Mysterycruising sailboat. 1986 CT38 Princess Fast Cruiser.

“Taiwan built, Alan Warwick designed for fast passages and for the challenging Tasman sea conditions.” The pictures of the interior teak work were stunning! I clicked on “full specs.” 16,775 pounds displacement, Yanmar engine, 2400 hours, 50 gallons of fuel, 95 gallons of water, electronics, sail inventory, etc., etc. Asking price, $98,000.

“Hmmm, a bit above my price range.” Maybe someday I could afford a beautiful cruising sailboat like this… Back to Yachtworld…

Over the next year, I surfed many sites, strolled many docks and ogled at many boats, but for some reason this sailboat, Mystery, stayed in the back of my mind. In retrospect I think I understand why.

When Shelly (my other, and decidedly better, half) and I started sailing we were attracted by the looks of the classic old cruisers with all their wood trim and deep gunnels and so forth. But now that we were several years into the journey and had spent considerable time racing and cruising on a number of different types of boats, there were other features that were important to us as well.

I think Mystery stuck in my mind because, with her teak decks and rich teak interior, she was a good compromise between the classic vessel look we were attracted to and the more modern design and performance features we had come to appreciate.

Our plans do not necessarily involve crossing oceans. We plan to sail down the Pacific coast. We may never get past MexCruising Sailboatico – or we may keep going down to Panama, transit the canal, cruise the Caribbean, Bahamas, Gulf Coast and end up on the East coast of the U.S. That’s thousands of miles and years of adventure and nearly all of it is considered “coastal cruising.”

So it is no “mystery” that when I noticed her asking price drop from $98,000 to $89,000 and then to $84,000 that she hit our radar. Mystery was the best compromise for our unique situation, wants, needs, plans and budget. She’s an ideal cruising sailboat for a couple, coastal cruising, under $100,000 and she’s unique, she has some classic character that’s all her own.

Of course, there’s a lot more to consider than just these things when acquiring a cruising sailboat. In part 2 I will share our experiences with the actual offer, negotiation and purchase of Mystery.

Why I’m not a CFP…

Why I’m not a CFP…

I am asked from time to time if I am a certified financial planner (CFP). I am not. There is a lot of confusion out there about exactly what all these “credentials” mean, so if you are so inclined I have provided a detailed (and mind numbing) explanation of the financial services certifications and licenses below. However, here is the shorter answer…

What it really comes down to is that all these certifications and almost all the licenses described below revolve around stock market investing. I could make a case that the majority of the CFP, CFA and Securities Licensing training is essentially a Wall Street indoctrination program – coupled with some common sense personal finance wisdom that pretty much anyone, can get from any number of sources, virtually free…

My philosophy regarding the stock market is very simple. Today’s stock market is a rigged shell game and a house of cards. Most of us do not have the excess capital, the time or the sophistication to make stock market investing more than plain and simple casino gambling.

Sadly, I believe that is also true of the vast majority of financial planners out there. Instead of you gambling with your money, you are gambling on them, gambling with your money…

The bottom line is that unless you have reached a point where your future financial security is 100% certain, you have no business gambling with your resources. I call it Critical Capital Mass. After you achieve Critical Capital Mass and you have some extra money and want to take your chances in the Wall
Street casino, go for it! Maybe you’ll get lucky.

What this means is that about 99% of people should have ZERO dollars “invested” in stock market based assets – that’s mutual funds, 401K’s, IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, Brokerage accounts, etc., etc. So my only “investment” advice to almost everyone is: “Don’t put ANY money in these types of stock market based accounts and if you have money in these types of accounts already, get it out.”

Most securities licensed CFP’s are in the business of selling you stock market based products like IRA’s, mutual funds, etc. Some securities licensed CFA’s and CFP’s are in the business of helping you pick the right stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc., and may “manage” your money for you. An RIA may also be CFA or CFP. RIA’s do all of the above, but get paid a fee for their time, versus a commission on the products they sell you.

These folks live and work in a Wall Street world. I do not. Therefore, I am not a CFP or a CFA or an RIA. I do not hold any securities licenses because I do not analyze, pick or recommend buying or selling any specific stock market based products. Again, my only “investment” advice is not to be in the stock market casino at all.

The only type of license that fits with my financial philosophies and my actual business practices is an insurance license. As for a fiduciary responsibility to put my client’s interest first; I just thought that was business (and decent human being) 101 and my plain ole insurance license already requires that of me anyway… And if you want to know how I get paid, just ask me…

The strategies I use and recommend are simple, have NO exposure to the stock or real estate markets and have been used with wild success by savvy families for over 160 years. While this closely held strategy has been called by a number of names, Bank On Yourself is the most widely known. To learn more about it, download this value packed Bank On Yourself special report now:

Now for the mind numbing explanation:

First of all there is a big difference between a “certification” and a license. Licenses are issued by government regulatory agencies, “certifications” are awarded by private companies when someone has jumped through a particular set of hoops, established by that private company. Two common “certifications” are the CFP and CFA.

CFP – Certified Financial Planner: A professional certification for financial planners conferred by Certified Financial Planner Board of standards Inc., a private, non-profit corporation formed in 1985.

CFA – Chartered Financial Analyst:  A professional certification offered internationally by the American-based CFA Institute (formerly the Association for Investment Management and Research, or AIMR), a private, for-profit, corporation formed in 1999.

A person can earn these certifications when they have completed a combination of college level study, CFP and/or CFA specific programs of study and some level of field experience working directly under an executive with higher level certifications.

A CFP or CFA may (or may not) also be an RIA.

RIA – Registered Investment Advisor: manages the assets of high net-worth individuals and institutional investors. He or she must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and any states in which he or she operates.

Pretty much every CFP, CFA and RIA will hold one of a dizzying array of securities licenses…

Securities Licensing: Licenses issued to financial professionals by FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) or NNSA (North American Securities Administrators). There are various levels of securities licensing:

Series 6 (FINRA): allows its holders to sell “packaged” investment products such as mutual funds, variable annuities and unit investment trusts (UITs).

Series 7 (FINRA): Authorizes licensees to sell virtually any type of individual security. This includes common and preferred stocks; call and put options; bonds and other individual fixed income investments; as well as all forms of packaged products (except for those that also require a life insurance license to sell).

Series 3 (FINRA): Authorizes licensees to sell commodities futures contracts.

Series 63 (NNSA): All series 6 and 7 licensees must also carry this license, known as the Uniform Securities Agent License and is related to the Uniform Securities Act.

Series 65 (NNSA): This license is required for investment advisors who provide investment advice and money management services for an hourly or other type of non-commission related fee.

Series 66 (NNSA): Essentially combines the series 63 and 65 licenses into one.

Clear as mud?

If you’d like to discuss a financial strategy that is simple, predictable and backed by contractual guarantees, schedule a free consultation call with me. It’s just a casual 15 – 20 minute chat to find out if the strategies I use and recommend might be a good fit for you and your family.


How to pay for things AND create more wealth in your life…

How to pay for things AND create more wealth in your life…

The $10,000 I spent taking my “Big Crazy Road Trip” camping/paddling adventure through California, Arizona and Mexico this past winter, will ALSO create about $80,000 of additional wealth in my life. In fact, almost everything I buy creates more wealth in my life at the same time!


How? Easy. I have a goose that lays golden eggs! Well, sort of…

Some time ago, I learned a very simple 4 step process that allows me to make money on all sides of nearly every financial transaction in my life. The same dollars I spend traveling, operating my business or paying my bills are ALSO creating more wealth in my life at the same time. Pretty cool, right?

Step 1: Understand the Banking Equation. Even if you pay cash, you actually finance everything you buy! There are only two conventional ways to pay for things: A. You save up over time and pay cash or B. You borrow the money for the purchase and pay it back over time. Both are mirror images of the same outcome. You either pay interest on the money you borrow or you give up the interest you could have earned on your cash. This is what I call The Banking Equation. Understanding and mastering The Banking Equation allows you to make money as the depositor, lender and borrower all at the same time!

Step 2: Create a pool of Cash. Saving. This simple financial wisdom has been around since early humans began trading sea shells for loaves and fishes. Have a plan. Live below your means. Saving creates capital. Capital, wisely employed, creates wealth. Despite what it looks like sometimes, you can’t borrow or speculate your way to financial freedom.

Step 3: Have L.U.C. (Pronounced like “LUCK”). Money does not exist in a vacuum. All money lives some where, whether in a savings account, certificate of deposit, stock/bond brokerage account, your retirement plan or in an old shoe in the basement, it lives somewhere until you use it. Choosing the best place for your money to live is the single most important financial decision you will ever make in your life. Where my money lives must have L.U.C. Lifetime Uninterrupted Compounding. L.U.C. is exactly what it sounds like. Every dollar that lives there will compound for life without any interruption (that means it can never go down, only up, guaranteed).


Step 4: Be the Banker. There is a very short list of places your money can live that have L.U.C. If you are savvy enough to choose the right place for your money to live, you can access your money to pay for things, like a cash buyer, but then pay yourself back over time (with interest), like a borrower AND your money will continue to grow and compound in the background (guaranteed) as if you never accessed it at all! This is how you master the banking the equation and can make money on all sides of every financial transaction in your life. You are the depositor, lender and borrower all rolled into one!

Last winter I pulled $10,000 out of my pool of cash and went on a great adventure. I repaid myself the $10,000, plus an additional $500 in interest when I got back. My pool of cash continues to grow in the background at exactly the same rate, as if I never took the $10,000 out at all. In fact over my lifetime, that $10,000 will generate about $80,000 of real, usable, cash wealth. My money has L.U.C. (Lifetime Uninterrupted Compounding). At this point nearly every penny of income I generate lives where it has L.U.C.

L.U.C. is the goose that lays golden eggs!

Can this strategy work as well for you as it has for me and literally hundreds of thousands of other families out there? Honestly, I don’t know… But, I would love the opportunity to help you answer that question. Just visit JEnsley Financial to schedule a time to chat with me about it.







Decisions, Actions Lead to Amazing Adventures…

Decisions, Actions Lead to Amazing Adventures…

January 24th, 2016 – Camped in the Mojave Desert…

Decisions and actions. While I am an admitted big time dreamer, it seems to me that so much in life comes down to making decisions and then taking action on those decisions.

Inertia: a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.


It was really hard to get started. I had a few butterflies in my stomach – a mix of fear, anticipation and exhilaration. I headed down Interstate 5 into Oregon in a driving rain storm, clicking off the first few miles of what will be my “big crazy road trip,” taking me a couple thousand miles south to sunny California, Arizona and Mexico for the next two to three months. My thoughts turned to the decisions and actions that brought me to this exciting moment.

In the weeks and months before I departed, the reactions I would get from people about my plans were pretty consistent. “Wow, that sounds awesome! I would love to do something like that.”


Why don’t more people do the things they would love to do? Mainly because of something called inertia.

There is a part in the movie “What The Bleep Do We Know,” where Amit Goswami says that we humans “get stuck in the sameness of reality.” While I am neither for, or against the film itself, I love this statement.

We have jobs to do, lawns to mow, dogs to feed, soccer practice on Saturdays, piano lessons on Tuesdays and survivor is on Thursday nights. We become reliant on these routines and that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing until we become over-reliant on them.

Often we don’t take action because it is so very hard to break free from our routine lives. We get stuck in the sameness of our life. Inertia.

When we are stuck in inertia it is oh so hard to make decisions – and even harder to take action. It is really hard to get started… That is the key to breaking inertia. Get started. Make a decision and take an action in the direction of a dream, even if it’s a tiny and seemingly insignificant action, it will set you in motion in a new direction.

Here’s an example. I made a decision that I was going to make this trip. Then to lock in that decision I took a simple action. I made a commitment to volunteer crew aboard a replica tall ship in California for two weeks in February, six weeks into my trip. It took very little effort to take that simple action months ago, but that simple little action virtually assured I would get started on my big crazy road trip and have an amazing adventure (stay tuned to hear all about it!)…


What dreams have you been putting off? What decisions and actions can you make and take right now today to get started living that dream?

Financial Aid – #3 (of 10) Deadliest Mistakes Parents Make…

Mistake #3: Assuming only minority students, athletes, and academically gifted students get financial aid.

Reality: Nothing could be further from the truth! “Need-based” financial aid is solely awarded based on “financial need” which is calculated by taking the cost of attendance at a school and subtracting the family contribution (which is the minimum amount the government feels you can afford to pay based on your income and assets and your child’s income and assets). Whatever is left over after you subtract these two numbers is your “financial need” or eligibility for financial aid at a particular school. If you haven’t noticed, this has nothing to do with a student’s ethnic background, athletic ability, or grades. It’s purely based on this simple formula:

COA (Cost Of Attendance)
– FC (Family Contribution)
= FN (Financial Need)

Do you want to know how to pay for college without going broke? Grab a copy of my book, The Essential Guide to College Financial Planning – How to pay for college without going broke. Paperback or Kindle version is available at Amazon – www.amazon.com/Essential-Guide-College-Financial-Planning

Would you like to learn more about How To Get Maximum Money for your Child’s College Education? Sign up for my FREE College Financial Planning Workshop & Webinar: Register for the FREE workshop & webinar here!

Financial Aid – #2(of 10) Deadliest Mistakes Parents Make…

Mistake #2: Focusing your time and energy on a private scholarship search instead of spending your time trying to qualify for “need-based” financial aid.

Reality: Private scholarships make up only 3.1% of the money available to you to help pay for your child’s college education. The other 96.9% comes from the Federal Government, the state you live in, and the colleges and universities your child is applying to. Therefore, you are much better off spending your time and energy going after the 96.9%, rather than spending your time on the 3.1%.

Do you want to know how to pay for college without going broke? Grab a copy of my book, The Essential Guide to College Financial Planning – How to pay for college without going broke. Paperback or Kindle version is available at Amazon – www.amazon.com/Essential-Guide-College-Financial-Planning

Would you like to learn more about How To Get Maximum Money for your Child’s College Education? Sign up for my FREE College Financial Planning Workshop & Webinar: Register for the FREE workshop & webinar here!