We are blessed to live by many rivers and lakes, and growing up I spent many summers at my grandparent's cabin swimming, boating and fishing. I love the water, and being near it on a summer day seems to be a necessity. We're not sure if we're going to stay here long term or not, but when we day dream about what our future life here might look like we often talk about buying a boat.
The cost of living is quite low where we live and so having a boat seems like a small luxury that will give us lots of enjoyment, but this weekend I found myself reconsidering.
My husband and I were sitting under a shady tree right on the water, and it was like heaven. We had a lovely breeze, we had jugs of cold water and sandwiches, and watching the boats putter and the ducks splash gave me such pure joy. I turned to my husband and asked him if sitting here on the bank was really so much less fun than puttering in a boat. He immediately said that yes, a boat is more fun, but then I asked him why and he couldn't really come up with anything.
It'd be one thing if people were tubing or swimming, but unfortunately the river isn't very clean, so most people just boat to chat and feel the breeze. Here we were though, chatting, enjoying the breeze and the smell of the water, under some shade that some of the boaters were sorely lacking, and near some public restrooms if necessary.
I know that a boat is fun. I love driving a boat, especially really fast in open waters, but I don't know that I love it so much to derail our financial goals.
So let's look at the financial impacts:
- A used 2000 Stingray Speedboat will cost around $9500
- A boat slip for a year will cost $1,888 in my area
- Transfer and registration will cost $45.75 the first year and $32 thereafter
- Winter storage will cost about $25/month or $225 for the 9 months of the off season
- Gas for a weekend may be around $40 a weekend (based on a bit of research but it obviously will vary) so an estimate of $480 for the summer
The total cost of this boat will be $12,138.75 for the first year and $2,625 each year going forward. While a boat is really fun, I don't think the extra fun I get from putting around the water versus sitting on the bank is worth that much money. To put it in perspective, to afford the yearly cost after the original purchase we will need to have an additional $65,625 in our portfolio to be able to generate that amount based on a 4% return. That is a whole lot of extra dough needed for a little bit of fun.
The other factor to keep in mind is the number of times we will actually be able to enjoy the boat. Most weeknights we are too tired to go anywhere so we'd probably only use it on the weekends. For 3 weekends of the year we are typically out of town, leaving only 9, and then how many of those will be bad weather or will we simply not feel like heading out?
Bottom line is that a boat, while fun, just isn't in the cards for us. But that's okay because we can still enjoy the water just fine sitting on our blanket under a shady tree, with great food and good conversation.