1. You eat, drink and party like it’s 1999.
You just HAAAVE to experience a day in your own private cabana at Nikki Beach with your mates, because you’re tired and need some “me” time after that exhausting charter. Sure, we understand but you do know that there are tonnes of nice beach clubs to go to that don’t cost an arm and a leg, right?
2. You think that all of your money is disposable income i.e.: spending money.
After all you have a free bed to sleep in, all the food you can eat, no utilities to pay, no clothes to buy and no car payments. There’s even a gym onboard so no monthly dues there. Which leads us to…
3. You assume your salary is tax-free.
You don’t file a tax return which is the only way to see if you qualify for the Seafarers Earning Deduction. You just ignore the whole thing, bury your head in the sand, and hope the whole thing will just go away.
4. You think when you’re ready that you will be able to walk into a bank, apply for a mortgage and buy a house.
Think again… if you haven’t filed a tax return in the UK for example, you are not in the system. (And that ladies and gentlemen is the case for most places around the world.) If you are not in the system that means… no mortgage, no pension and forget about investing in any stocks.
5. You get paid in one currency and your bank account is in another.
You don’t pay attention to the fact that there are currency exchange fees, ATM card charges and foreign transactions costs on every single purchase, paycheck and withdrawal. Yes, every single one. All those wasted fees add up to about one month’s salary per year.
6. You think that filing taxes is hard and expensive for yacht crew.
Even though you may qualify for the zero-income tax, you won’t know for sure until you pay a nominal fee and actually file a return. You don’t realise that everything can be done online and that there are companies that can help yachties do just that.
7. You think about the here and now.
You assume it’s pointless to save unless you are putting away a hefty amount a month. You have no idea that putting away even just 100 dollars a month for your entire career onboard could produce a hefty down payment on a house. Hello compound interest?!
8. You think you are the owner.
How about those 3000 thread count embroidered sheets in the master suite for a Chrissie present for Mum and Dad? How about getting your mates back home one of those ultra-cool drones you have onboard? Let’s repeat that again…. You. Are. Not. The. Owner.
9. You think you’ll have more money than your mates in 10 years.
Since 95% of your income is disposable, compared to friends at home who are probably around 10-12% you automatically think you’ve got the life. But if you don’t save, or put away a percentage of money each month for your career as your earning capacity grows you won’t go far. Think percentages, not numbers.
10. You don’t keep any record of how many days you are in certain country and have no idea when the tax year starts or ends in your particular country of residence.
You may think now that you’ll be able to figure it out later, but have you ever tried to remember where you were on May 12th last year? Yeah not so easy. Stop Facebooking before you go to bed for 10 seconds and jot it down in your discharge book which by the way should be your new best friend. There’s also a cool app for keeping track of this.
11. You give in to peer pressure.
No matter how well-intentioned you are, you will be shocked by the opulence of the industry. Be careful not spend like your other crewmates unless they are going to be there in ten years to help you get enough money together to buy your first car or house.
12. You sign your contract and don’t really understand what the phrase “your fiscal responsibility” means.
You hope somehow, at some point, the captain, a crew agency or even the management company will sort this out for you. Well look, you’re in the big world now and need to understand what you are signing up for.
Has all this got you thinking about your situation?
Crew Family Office takes care of exactly this type of advice for yacht crew. They are ex-yachties, and having made all the mistakes themselves, their mission is to make sure you don’t.
They will get your tax return sorted and get you on the path to financial health regardless of your country of residence. They already do it for close to 1000 crew, so really, what are you waiting for?