A Bass Boat Predicament

Anne and her husband have $30,000 saved to put down on a house. Her husband is a bass fisher, and he wants to save for a bass fishing boat. Anne disagrees. Who is right?

QUESTION: Anne in Arkansas and her husband have $30,000 saved to put down on a house. Her husband is a bass fisher, and he wants to save for a bass fishing boat. Anne wants to save the down payment for the house and then start saving for the boat. Who is right? Dave offers his thoughts.

ANSWER: Once you’ve got your emergency fund of three to six months of expenses, your home is on a 15-year fixed rate mortgage, and you’re putting 15% of your income aside for retirement, if you want to save up and buy a better couch, that’s fine. If you want to save up and buy a better car, that’s fine. But you should be able to do all of that and save for some other purchases that the family agrees on. A nicer car, a nicer couch, a vacation and a bass boat are all on that list. But you have to have done those first. The house on a 15-year fixed, 15% going into retirement, and three to six months set aside for an emergency fund. Then yeah, if you’re in agreement, I’m good with him having a bass boat. My suggestion to him as a boat lover would be to buy about half as much boat as he’s talking about by buying it used, and then he gets a boat quicker and gets to fish. Later on, when he’s wealthier, get a little better boat.

The other rule that we say all the time is the total of things that you own that have a motor in them should not be over half your annual income. A $20,000 boat does not fit in a family that makes $45,000 a year. Later on, when you guys have built some wealth and you’ve saved up, if the house is paid for and there is $100,000 in the bank, you wouldn’t mind him having a $40,000 bass boat.

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