What You Can Learn about Finance from Yacht Budgeting

5 August 2021 By Oliver Maher
wallet with money and calculator illustration
iStock/Mykyta Dolmatov
Oliver Maher

Oliver Maher is a director at United Advisers Marine. Disclaimer: UA/BFMI is a member of Nexus Global and an appointed Representative of Blacktower Financial Management (International) Limited (BFMI). BFMI is licensed and regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (FSC). UA/BFMI are not tax advisers and clients should always seek independent tax advice for their individual circumstances. +34 871 115 928;

Why is it that we can manage a budget on board but the same task for our personal finances gets pushed aside? Building and managing an operational budget requires structure and accountability to others. So, what lessons can we take from managing a budget on board and how can we apply them to our personal finances?

Clear Objectives Make All the Difference: Every business, on a superyacht or otherwise, starts with a plan that acts as the roadmap. When it comes to your personal financial situation, you should also have a goal for where you want go.

When it comes to setting a budget, there are often fears that it’ll limit financial freedom in the now. In fact, it’s the opposite. Budgets help you manage your personal finances so you can achieve financial freedom.

Perhaps you’ve already used SMART objectives for managing your onboard budget or for setting team development objectives. This very flexible planning tool can be applied to setting objectives for your personal finances as follows:

  • Specific: Target a specific area of your finances, such as saving for retirement.
  • Measurable: Quantify, or at least record, an indicator of progress (e.g. to save X amount by X date).
  • Achievable: Be realistic about what you can achieve (e.g. save X amount of your monthly salary).
  • Relevant: Ensure your goals make sense to you and your lifestyle.
  • Time-bound: Set realistic dates for when you want to achieve your goal(s).

Without realizing it, we often make decisions based on emotion. Instead, you should weigh logical options for managing your money. Setting clear objectives will help remove emotion from decision-making.

Involve Key Stakeholders in Decisions: If you share your finances with anyone, it’s important to involve them in the process. Ensure you’re all on the same page and that your financial goals are aligned.

It’s also wise to discuss your individual attitudes to money; in particular how you approach financial responsibility and whether there’s anything in your respective lives that could have a major impact on your finances. Be honest about what matters to you.

Budgets help you manage your personal finances so you can achieve financial freedom.

Make Time for the Things that Matter: Just as you would set time aside at work for something important, schedule time to properly plan and review your personal budget on a regular basis. Financial management isn’t suited to “set and forget.” While you don’t need to review things daily, you do want to review them on a biannual basis or when there’s a significant change.

If you’re in a relationship, make the time to do this together since you need to be on the same page. Once that happens and you communicate clearly about financial goals and objectives, you’ll be surprised at just how much more smoothly things run. As a result, it will be far less daunting to manage your personal finances.

This article originally ran in the July 2021 issue of Dockwalk.


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