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Gary William

How Do you Guys Afford Your Boats?

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This is a completely serious question. 

 

How do you guys afford your boats?

 

We are a family of 4. We live in a house that cost us about half of what we were approved for. We drive economy cars, and don't spend a lot on clothing, eating out, etc. I consider us well off.  We earn about 130k combined per year. Kids are 6 and 8. We're in Canada so we're taxed more heavily than Americans, but don't pay for Medical care, etc. 

 

We have a cottage on the ocean, but have not yet made the leap to boat ownership because no matter which way I look at it (new, used, repairs, maintenance, financing, storage, etc) ... boats seem WILDLY expensive to the point at which I wonder how anyone on a normal professional income makes it work. 

 

Would love opinions/enlightenment on how it can be done while not going into big debt or forgoing retirement contributions, etc. 

 

I should note that I am somewhat mechanically inclined, but for any serious maintenance or repairs, I would need to pay someone with experience. 

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Get rid of your kids and the money starts to flow like water

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That doesn't help 90% of us. 

 

I should have specified that the kids are non-negotiable. A big part of the pleasure we would get out of a boat is the time in it together, time working on it , maintaining it, etc. 

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So start out small. Not everybody needs a $50k or $100k boat. Are you looking for a fishing boat or a pleasure boat? Saltwater or freshwater? Buy gently used and hope for the best. 

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Thanks for the response. 

 

The way I see it, buying used is the only option unless someone has exorbitant income. 

 

It is salt water, and we literally could be happy with a tin box with an engine on back. I can find an abundance of boats (without engines) for extremely reasonable costs. Would it be best to buy a brand new engine though?

 

It's the engine cost / engine maintenance cost that scares me. 

 

I need to build/demonstrate a low-cost scenario for my own peace of mind and for my Wife to even consider it. 

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I can't speak for others but in my case, I bought the boat(s) I could afford while providing for my family.  For many years it was a very used 14' jon boat with a 9.9 or 20 horse motor.  In one I had $1000.00 invested and maybe $2000.00 in the other.  eight years ago I made a major leap to a 22 year old tracker with a 70 horse for $2200.00 and felt I was in heaven.  

 

They weren't fancy, flashy or fast but they put me on the water.  As a retirement gift to myself this year I bought my first new boat, a tracker PT190 that will probably be my last boat.  

 

I never let my inability to spend $30,000 - $80,000 on a boat deter me from getting on the water and fish.  I have no envy or resentment of those who can and do spend that much and I'm proud for them if they can afford to do so.  Each person has to make their own decision on their financial ability but don't let the high price tag of some boats keep you on the bank.  Buy what you can afford and enjoy the outdoors.

  

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Not sure I will ever own a new bass boat. I've had several and all were paid in full. My current boat cost me $6000 it's an 18ft bass boat and I've spent probably another 1500 on it in the 3 years I've had it. Nothing major and that includes trailer matenance/tires.

 

No idea what the market is like in Canada but there are plenty of really nice used boats in the 6-12k range in my area.

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Figure out your price range and stick to it. I've had everything from 12' johnboats to the bass boat I have now. I had a limit on what I could spend, then spent almost 2 years searching before I found one I wanted in that range. 

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Started with a jon boat...and have moved up.  Present boat is 16 years old and in good shape.  Never have owned a cottage or summer home.  Would assume this would be a boat payment maybe!? Considering travel time and other expenses.  But...it's all good....we chose what we care to do.

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I can tell you how a lot of guys have their boats.  I used to be the sales manager at a boat dealership.  Many customers could ill afford what they wanted.  They would not even have the money to pay sales tax and wanted it financed in the deal.  They also financed for as long as any bank would take them.  Many of them would finance for 15 years at interest rates over 20%.  What they did not understand was it took several years before the principal on the payment was larger than the interest.  All they were interested in knowing was "How much is the payment?"

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11 hours ago, Gary William said:

This is a completely serious question. 

 

How do you guys afford your cottage on the ocean?

 

We are a family of 2. We live in a house that cost us about half of what we were approved for. We drive economy cars, and don't spend a lot on clothing, eating out, etc. I consider us well off.  We earn about 130k combined per year. Kids are out if the house. 

I have not yet made the leap to waterfront.....

53 minutes ago, Oregon Native said:

  But...it's all good....we chose what we care to do.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Jig Man said:

I can tell you how a lot of guys have their boats.  I used to be the sales manager at a boat dealership.  Many customers could ill afford what they wanted.  They would not even have the money to pay sales tax and wanted it financed in the deal.  They also financed for as long as any bank would take them.  Many of them would finance for 15 years at interest rates over 20%.  What they did not understand was it took several years before the principal on the payment was larger than the interest.  All they were interested in knowing was "How much is the payment?"

and I though 4.9% was high when I financed mine. 

 

Selling payments makes dealerships tons of cash. Selling vehicles doesn't.

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I afford my boat because I bought one I could afford with the cash I had put back. As long as you keep what you want and can afford realistic it shouldn't be that difficult. 

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I had a 14' flat bottom for around 15 years that I bought when I was 19 and that's all I used because that's all I could pay cash for. This year I finally upgraded and got a bigger newer boat with electronics. 

 

Stick with what you can afford. Paying cash is a good idea.

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12 hours ago, Gary William said:

Kids are 6 and 8

 

Having raised 6 kids & currently raising 2 grandkids it's a matter of priorities!

 

The priority aint that I love fishing but rather cheap entertainment for kids that teaches them a lot of life's lessons.

 

You can throw them to the world of cell phones & social media or introduce them to the outdoors.

 

Ya know what this boy wants for Christmas?

 

A new baitcaster or a metal detector 😉

 

IMG_05291.jpg

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I bought my first boat when I was 16 and a senior in high school. $1,427 for a new 14' with a 65hp Mercury. Back then I had plenty of money, working after school and bootlegging moonshine three nights a week.  Since then, other than the five years I spent stationed in Italy while in the Air Force, I've never been without at least one outboard powered boat, right now I have five, counting my jons.  However, since getting married, I've never owned another new boat but I've probably bought, used and sold more than 100.  Wheeling and dealing in them, buying the cheap, fixing them up and selling them is how I managed to pay for them and my fishing.  22 years as an enlisted man in the military, with a wife and two kids dang sure didn't provide enough income for me to have one without some way to offset the expense.  I also did the same thing with cars. 

My current (main boat, I still have five) is a 20' 1999 model bass boat with a 225hp Evinrude.  I bought it at auction in about 2006 for $5,000 and was about a $17,000 boat had not parts of the motor been laying in one of the storage boxes.  I spent approximately $1,100 on repairing the motor.  That was parts only, I did all the work.  Since then, the only expense has been replacing the three batteries every few years and upgrading the electronics and TM and couple of times. 

My being able to fix anything about one and not having to pay for repairs, other than parts, is a huge advantage to me being able to afford them, especially now that I'm fully retired and only have my little bit of retirement income.

So, having tons of experience being a boat owner on a modest income, first you have to evaluate your income versus monthly expenses.  If you don't have approximately 25% more income than you have expenses and are not investing in some type of retirement fund, you probably don't need a boat right now.  Boat's can come and go, retirement and the inability to work is going come, period. 

The next thing to consider is just how much boat do you feel you need and your ability to do routine maintenance.  If you are the type that can't screw in a light bulb and have to pay someone to do any sort of maintenance, then you need to greatly limit the size boat you get, because there is a whole lot of truth to the old saying "the bigger the boat, the bigger the hole it makes in the water to throw money in". 

You mentioned storage, if you have to pay storage, that's another huge expense I don't pay, mine are all on my property, be at the lake, my sons or in my yard.  Covered, indoor storage is almost a must if you want to keep a nice boat, nice for several years.  My son pays about $125 a month storage on his boat, but he has one of those fancy indoor storage places at the coast he calls and his boat is sitting at the dock gassed up, checked out, ice in the coolers and ready to go when he gets there.  He parks it at their dock when done with it and they clean it, flush it and put it away inside a huge building until next time.  He even has it set up so the dealer gets it every six months and does the routine maintenance on it.  That's all to high class and way above my budget, but he seems to think he needs to impress his clients when he invites them for a fishing trip, but he also has a guide he pays making making one of his "entertainment" trips.  I guess it's nice to have money.

Another thing you have to remember, you mentioned salt water use, that's the most expensive type of boat ownership there is.  Aluminum, carbon steel and salt water just flat don't mix and the required maintenance and expense goes way up.  I usually try to avoid buying anything that has been used in salt water, and used saltwater motors are only worth a fraction of what a similar fresh water motor is.  I consider 10 years the max life for saltwater motors and most of the time you can only get scrap yard price for one then.  Even then, if one has to be worked on within a couple of years, repair cost is usually a lot more because of the extra time and parts needed to replace the broken and corroded parts taking it apart.  You can run them longer, but be prepared for the maintenance cost associated with that.  Also, about every three years, you can expect to spend close to a grand just on additional maintenance for things like a new water pump and other long wear items.

Then you have to remember operating expense.  At $3.00 a gallon and many motors burning 15 to 20 gallons per hour, a fun day just running around or water skiing etc, gets pretty expensive.  For outboards, the newer four strokes and high tech two strokes are almost a must to offset the cost of gasoline for a days trip to the lake, and those motors are expensive.

And the list goes on, so, how do I afford a boat.  I buy a used boat that needs work, usually motor work, repair it myself, however, there a  number of pitfalls to buying used if you don't have one professionally check out, that can make that cheaper used boat the most expensive boat you will ever own.  I don't pay storage, I do all my own routine maintenance, and done got to old to care about just joy riding and I've quite chasing bass all over the lake.

OH! One other critical thing I forgot to mention, get a large boat, and you will need a truck to tow it, and he larger the boat, the larger the truck needed.

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I always wondered how people could afford nice boats too and then I went to Kentucky Lake on vacation for the first time. It seemed every house we passed was a run-down-can't-believe-someone-lives-there trailer. In the yard filled with "planters made out of toilets" and old couches and washing machines and tires was a hooptie pickup truck.

 

And right out front was a brand-new shined up ready to rock 'em bass boat!

 

And then I understood. It's all about priorities...... :lol:

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We all afford what we deem is most important. Or what we want the worst. I have 5 boys and 3 girls. The oldest moved out a year ago. I had to prioritize. Instead of vacation we bought a boat. We decreased the eating out and things of that nature and bought a boat. We determined a boat was worth some sacrifice. Now, it's paid for. Of course, God blessed me with an increased income that helped a ton, but I didn't have that raise when I bought the boat. Ultimately, my wife and I sat down and crunched the numbers to insure we would not put ourselves in financial straits. Then, I shopped and shopped until I found a good deal. I bought it in the off season.  I also bought last years model, so to speak. I got a great deal and went for it. I have NOT regretted it a single day since. 

 

If you have no savings, no emergency fund, then you DO NOT need to purchase anything that is not absolutely necessary. Once you've got a plan to defeat Murphey THEN you can move forward with the elective purchases. That's my outlook on finances. And, as always, you can look for some side jobs and such to build a savings for a nice downpayment or even cash a boat out. As many have said already, it's about priorities. Just how bad do you want it?

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If you are financially responsible and really want to make it happen it's not terribly difficult.  Just make a plan and execute it.  Different ways of doing it, most notably cash -vs- finance...But at the end of the day it's just a math problem.

 

If you have a lot of other expenses, like an extra house, it will probably be more difficult.  Most of my buddies with bass boats are very similar to me...Our boats and fishing are pretty much the only things we spend disposable income on.

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Why sit and wonder why you cant afford a boat when you own 2 homes.trade you my boat for your summer cottage.

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Take your current household budget and allocate some of your discretionary income towards saving for a boat. You can always squeeze some dollars out of the budget somewhere. Stop buying coffee out, use reusable K-cups, cut back on cable or sites that charge a monthly fee, etc) You might not be able to buy a boat tomorrow, next week or even next year but when you do you will be able to "afford" it.

 

Once you buy the boat you should keep allocating those funds into savings for boat expenses. 

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15 hours ago, Gary William said:

This is a completely serious question. 

 

How do you guys afford your boats?

 

We are a family of 4. We live in a house that cost us about half of what we were approved for. We drive economy cars, and don't spend a lot on clothing, eating out, etc. I consider us well off.  We earn about 130k combined per year. Kids are 6 and 8. We're in Canada so we're taxed more heavily than Americans, but don't pay for Medical care, etc. 

 

We have a cottage on the ocean, but have not yet made the leap to boat ownership because no matter which way I look at it (new, used, repairs, maintenance, financing, storage, etc) ... boats seem WILDLY expensive to the point at which I wonder how anyone on a normal professional income makes it work. 

 

Would love opinions/enlightenment on how it can be done while not going into big debt or forgoing retirement contributions, etc. 

 

I should note that I am somewhat mechanically inclined, but for any serious maintenance or repairs, I would need to pay someone with experience. 

Buy a kayak and avoid the costs of a boat.

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