Even though I don’t feel bad about recent financial decisions my husband and I made, they are probably not what you would expect from a personal finance blogger.
While both decisions were very intentional, I am certain our choices would differ from others in the personal finance realm.
That said, we try to make decisions, financial and otherwise, that are in line with our dreams and values, or our Why, if you will. And that is exactly what happened when we made these personal finance-altering choices.
Confession #1: We bought a boat
Last summer, we took a little camping trip to a lake in Minnesota and we rented a ski boat. We’ve rented boats before but this time our kids were older and we rented a tube. A fantastic time was had by all.
Unfortunately, our teenagers don’t love taking regular camping trips with mom and dad anymore (they used to love it!). But, boating, they said, was something they were more than willing to do.
My husband started looking at boats on Craigslist before we even arrived home. I admit, I wasn’t completely “on board” for quite some time. First, the boating season is fairly limited in the Midwest. Second, we had financial goals and buying a boat would put us behind on our goals.
But, then, I took a step back and looked at how much time I have left with my kids at home. Maybe they’ll decide to continue to live with us into their college years, but they will start their own lives despite where they live. Things will change very soon. I can see it with my 16 year old son already; he’s getting excited about his future and making plans for what he wants to do in his adult life. He sometimes spends an entire weekend with his friends and we hardly see him. We want to spend as much time as we can creating lasting memories.*
So rather than be so stubborn and focus too much on the money, I climbed aboard. We wanted to be cautious and make an informed decision about the boat. Our plan was to buy with the assumption we may want to sell it in a couple of years. My husband educated himself about all things boats (by educate, I mean he relentlessly obsessed about everything and anything there is to know about buying a quality, used ski boat).
In September, we bought a 1999 Chapparal ski boat for $1500 under NADA value off of Craigslist (with cash). The boat had been in climate controlled storage it’s entire life and was well maintained and clean. If we decide to sell the boat in a couple of years, we will likely be able to sell it for what we paid for it. We are on the hook for tax, title, license, insurance, operating costs and maintenance (which we will DIY). That’s the beauty of buying used – the cost of use is quite low compared to new.
We were able to buy the boat because we save money in so many other ways. We cut ruthlessly on the things that don’t matter to us, but are willing to spend on the things we love. Sometimes it’s vacation and, this time, it’s a boat.
Confession #2: The Investing vs. Mortgage Payoff Experiment is Dead
Remember the investing vs. mortgage payoff experiment I posted about several months ago? Well….I reserve the right to change my mind!?
I wanted to pay off the mortgage for peace of mind. I really did. At least I think I did. But after refinancing at a rate of 3.25% and looking at our 5 and 10 year goals, paying off the mortgage didn’t make economical sense. It would slow our goals. My motivation waned and I converted to the investing side of the equation.
Once again, the decision goes back to taking a good, hard look at my “Why”. One Why is our kids, who will soon be heading off to college. Though we don’t plan to pay for all of their education, we would like to help them out along the way. Another big Why is creating freedom. Freedom for my husband to walk away from the 9 to 5. Freedom to start working on a business idea we’ve had for years.
I am not saying we won’t pay off our mortgage eventually. It is in the plan, just not right now. We have enough equity in our house that we could sell it in a few years and pay cash for a smaller home, so it’s not a huge barrier to early retirement.
To help speed early retirement, we plan to invest in real estate. For years, we’ve talked about buying a rental property and we’ve finally decided it’s time to stop talking and just do it! At this point, we are working on the numbers and down payment strategy, but hope to buy our first property within a year. Stay tuned…
Making these decisions really boiled down to making sure we are spending and living in a way that’s in line with our dreams and goals, our WHY. We’re happy with our decisions and I’m grateful we are in a position to be able to make these decisions.
Do you have any confessions you’d like to share? Please!?
I was inspired to share my “confessions” when I read Ms. Montana’s post, “When Frugal Buys a Classic Car”, where she shares how the “little things can be leveraged into bigger things”, and Penny’s post, “The Best Money I Spent This Month”.
*We have had the boat out on the water, with the kids on board, three times since we bought it (before it got too cold). So far, so good!