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Old 01-27-2023, 10:37 PM   #1
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Boat buying debt

Tell the what, when, where, why's of boat buying debt.

As an aside, here's something interesting, or scary:

https://www.usdebtclock.org/
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Old 01-27-2023, 10:42 PM   #2
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I try to avoid it. Maybe buy a slightly lesser boat than the ideal one you have dreamt up in your mind. Personally I would never own a boat that I could not walk away from. A few thousand in a loan to fill a gap or outfit a boat nicely but a mortgage? probably not.

I did have to put part of my engine rebuild on a credit card but retired the debt in less than a year, from cashflow.

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Old 01-27-2023, 10:49 PM   #3
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IMHO you can toss out all the rhetoric about getting a boat loan and look at one thing: Can You Afford It?

After you answer that positively you then can start shopping around for a boat loan. A big part of the interest rate you will get will depend on your FICO score, or also known as your credit score.

The higher your credit score the lower the interest rate you will get.

Again, IMHO, if your credit score score is low that means you have had some hiccups in your ability to repay your loans and credit card debt.

You would do yourself a favor if your credit score is low to hold off buying a boat (or car, truck, etc.) and take care of the hiccups. That will get your FICO score raised which will in turn get you a lower interest rate boat loan and that, in turn will save you money on your boat loan.
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Old 01-27-2023, 11:08 PM   #4
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I don't understand the question. My hunch for those in the TrawlerForum demographic, most either pay cash, collatoralize with a mortgage or similar, or tap a generous line of credit. My sense is most in this group view debt for discretionary items as either an evil encumbrance or an opportunity to arbitrage interest rates.

What exactly is the exam question?

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Old 01-27-2023, 11:12 PM   #5
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I know yacht brokers will cringe but I think with boats if you can't write a check you should think thrice before buying it. Boats come with a lot of expenses for moorage, maintenance, and general upkeep. They're not like a car where they are a necessity and have relatively minor maintenance costs.
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Old 01-28-2023, 12:03 AM   #6
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I think a significant factor is how your portfolio's rate of return compares to the interest rate on your loan. With mortgage rates around 5% you may be able to borrow money for free.

With the yield curve inverted as it is, it would seem the market is expecting interest rates to fall.
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Old 01-28-2023, 12:43 AM   #7
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If we had waited until we saved enough to buy a boat for cash we would have missed out on more than 20 years of fun and family memories. My wife was once a bank teller. She has many stories of couples who saved their entire lives only to see one of them pass away and leave their spouse with thoughts of what could have been. We decided long ago to save what we could but still have fun, however within a budget. Now we're on boat number 6, none of them completely paid for when we moved up. We owe money on our current (last?) boat but the payments are well within our retirement budget and if we sold the boat tomorrow it's worth far more than what's still owed on the loan. Have some fun now while you can, within reason, because tomorrow might not turn out the way you think. Just my opinion.
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Old 01-28-2023, 01:07 AM   #8
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If we had waited until we saved enough to buy a boat for cash we would have missed out on more than 20 years of fun and family memories. My wife was once a bank teller. She has many stories of couples who saved their entire lives only to see one of them pass away and leave their spouse with thoughts of what could have been. We decided long ago to save what we could but still have fun, however within a budget. Now we're on boat number 6, none of them completely paid for when we moved up. We owe money on our current (last?) boat but the payments are well within our retirement budget and if we sold the boat tomorrow it's worth far more than what's still owed on the loan. Have some fun now while you can, within reason, because tomorrow might not turn out the way you think. Just my opinion.
Not a bad plan. Everyone is different so if it works for you then go for it. We are on boat #24, some we paid cash for some we financed.
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Old 01-28-2023, 02:13 AM   #9
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If I had to take out a loan to buy a boat I wouldn't have owned one.

I did take out a loan to buy a house.

So I guess I would take out a loan to buy a houseboat -
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Old 01-28-2023, 08:21 AM   #10
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I don't see a boat as comparable to a house unless you plan to live on it. You need some place to live. Either your buying or renting. A boat is discretionary spending.

I can think of few things that can change the cost of ownership as much as a boat. The fluctuation in the price of fuel, dockage, insurance, maintenance materials, and maintenance labor costs can truly crush a long term budget for ownership expenses. There have been several threads on the forum about overall annual expenses as a percentage of boat purchase price. If you purchased a boat 4 years ago, I would imagine 2023 is going to be a painful increase to the percentage of the original purchase price.

I don't finance discretionary purchases, but understand the reluctance to liquidate assets, pay capital gains tax, for something you can easily afford. I can also see the advantage of locking in an incredibly low interest rate and making the payments with dividend income as opposed to selling a steadily growing investment. But my gut feeling is that most people who finance boats can't afford them otherwise, and often can't afford to use them during hard economic times.

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Old 01-28-2023, 09:10 AM   #11
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If we had waited until we saved enough to buy a boat for cash we would have missed out on more than 20 years of fun and family memories. My wife was once a bank teller. She has many stories of couples who saved their entire lives only to see one of them pass away and leave their spouse with thoughts of what could have been. We decided long ago to save what we could but still have fun, however within a budget. Now we're on boat number 6, none of them completely paid for when we moved up. We owe money on our current (last?) boat but the payments are well within our retirement budget and if we sold the boat tomorrow it's worth far more than what's still owed on the loan. Have some fun now while you can, within reason, because tomorrow might not turn out the way you think. Just my opinion.
Thats the way I did it!

The only difference is that I set my retirement date and cleared all debt prior to that date. My boat loan was paid off two months before I retired.
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Old 01-28-2023, 10:33 AM   #12
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Personally I have to pay cash for a boat. If I lose interest in the boat and am not using it and have a $2000 a month payment as an example, Then in 10 months I'll have lost $20,000. And that doesn't include dockage, insurance, maintenance etc. Being in that position, it would force me to take less for the boat. Being able to make the payment doesn't factor in my way of thinking it that scenario.
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Old 01-28-2023, 10:44 AM   #13
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I think a significant factor is how your portfolio's rate of return compares to the interest rate on your loan. With mortgage rates around 5% you may be able to borrow money for free.

With the yield curve inverted as it is, it would seem the market is expecting interest rates to fall.

That's definitely a factor. In some cases, it makes sense to finance a purchase even if you could afford to buy it outright.

Beyond that, for boats, it depends on the capital cost of buying the boat vs the operating costs. If the capital cost outweighs the annual operating cost by a large enough factor, financing is more likely to be necessary unless you're sitting on a big pile of money. If the ratio is smaller, then financing is more likely to be a product of not really being able to afford the boat. In other words, nobody should be financing an old 40' trawler that's selling for $40k unless they somehow manage an incredibly low interest rate and could afford to buy it outright anyway. At that price range, not being able to buy it outright is often pretty close to not being afford to maintain and operate it, as you could easily be spending 25% or more of the boat's value on dockage and other costs every year.

Think about it this way. Someone wants to buy a new Helmsman 38. We're talking about a boat in the $600k ballpark. Yes, the person could just buy a cheaper boat instead, but in the $600k range it's quite easy to have a situation where someone can afford the loan payments and operating costs of the boat, but would have to put their dreams off for a few more years to have a big enough lump of cash to buy the boat outright. In that situation, especially if they can get a good enough rate on the loan, the extra years of having the boat is likely worthwhile.
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Old 01-28-2023, 10:48 AM   #14
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I pay cash for cars and boats, but have debt against my home.

I'm still not quite sure how to look at that. I could spend less on boats and owe less on my house, so in a sense I'm borrowing money to support my boating habits. Not having any difficulties paying the mortgage though.
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Old 01-28-2023, 11:05 AM   #15
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Think about it this way. Someone wants to buy a new Helmsman 38. We're talking about a boat in the $600k ballpark. Yes, the person could just buy a cheaper boat instead, but in the $600k range it's quite easy to have a situation where someone can afford the loan payments and operating costs of the boat, but would have to put their dreams off for a few more years to have a big enough lump of cash to buy the boat outright. In that situation, especially if they can get a good enough rate on the loan, the extra years of having the boat is likely worthwhile.
That works until the economy goes into recession, the used boat market tanks, the stock market tanks, and the company you work for goes out of business. None of it's your fault other than the debt to sellable equity ratio.

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Old 01-28-2023, 11:17 AM   #16
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That works until the economy goes into recession, the used boat market tanks, the stock market tanks, and the company you work for goes out of business. None of it's your fault other than the debt to sellable equity ratio.

Ted

Agreed, there's always some risk in owing money for anything. That's when you have to look at your sources of income (and their stability), how much money you have in the bank, value of assets vs amount financed, etc. to determine how much risk you're taking and what's acceptable to you.
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Old 01-28-2023, 11:58 AM   #17
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FWIW...I've always paid cash and personally wouldn't finance a boat purchase unless I had the cash tied up in a CD, bond, or something along those lines. Also, I have never bought a boat and NOT put, usually thousands into it after purchase. If I don't have cash for something along the lines of.a.boat...I downsize my requirements.
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Old 01-28-2023, 03:16 PM   #18
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That works until the economy goes into recession, the used boat market tanks, the stock market tanks, and the company you work for goes out of business. None of it's your fault other than the debt to sellable equity ratio.

Ted
I generally agree that ending up in a weak position due to changes in market value and liquidity (time required or expected to convert an asset to cash) is a risk worth considering.
But do we really know how much volatility there is in boat values or time required to liquidate over time?
For example, on a mainstream model such as a Mainship 390 or some such that has been around a long time, if we plotted annual market value for an average example over 20 years to include all parts of economic cycle, is it really that erratic?
I clearly do not know the answer to this, but I suspect it is not highly volatile. In general, luxury is the least sensitive category to economic cycles.
Now, if you have a one off, or a crappy example of a mainstream boat then you are likely at more risk to economic cycles. The bottom end of quality will be more sensitive for sure.
I am old school. I pay cash for toys. I am likely to enjoy my boats less if I am writing checks against it every month. I also pay my moorage annually.
But I recognize that on a purely financial basis this can be a poor decision in some cases. Then there is a whole other level of analysis when it comes to life expectancy and the 'go now' question.
As with most things, it depends.
As someone else suggested, it is probably a more important question to understand that if you are borrowing money to buy the boat, have you reserved enough cash to maintain it in all regards like insurance, moorage, maintenance and repairs? In aggregate, these will add up to significantly more than the mortgage payment.
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Old 01-28-2023, 03:21 PM   #19
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Always folding for toys
Borrowed for income.
And as of a few weeks ago, now debt free.
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Old 01-28-2023, 03:32 PM   #20
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Now, if you have a one off, or a crappy example of a mainstream boat then you are likely at more risk to economic cycles. The bottom end of quality will be more sensitive for sure.
Not really arguing, but this is not always the case. Many years ago I was selling higher end production sailboats. In a downturn cheaper boats were selling fine while the market for our boats was pretty skinny. In good times people were happy to pay a premium, in bad times they still bought boats but were more price concious.

As always, there are few universal truths :-)
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