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Old 05-11-2010
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Another House v Boat Question

I understand I am bringing this question to a slightly biased group, but I am hoping to gain from some other peoples' perspectives on a concern I have.

First let me provide the background for the question. My wife and I are in our late 20s, and we are fortunate enough to live on a solid income. I am grateful that we are even able to have the choice to live aboard or own a home. We are currently considering a move back to Hawaii or Florida and are thinking about living aboard in either location.

More background:
Most, if not all, of the people we know seem to be following "the plan." They all currently own, or have owned homes in the past, and an increasing number of them are now settling down and having kids. I'm not interested in any of that (especially the kids part of the equation), and my wife is similarly disinterested, but I am sick of throwing away money each month by renting.

Now for the question:
As I consider moving aboard (either our current boat, or a 2010 production boat we've been thinking about) I am beginning to wonder if we are being irresponsible. I can't shake the feeling that by living aboard we are somehow missing the train in terms of financial well-being down the line. I know boats are never a good investment (that's not really how I am viewing this), but when I look at the numbers I will be missing out on the equity that comes with a home in an "up" market, and missing out on the more traditional lifestyle (which may or may not be a bad thing-I really don't know). So to those who have wrestled with similar concerns prior to living aboard, would you recommend it based on a long term financial perspective, or do you think it makes more sense to do the so-called "responsible" thing and buy a home and enjoy the boat on the weekends? I know there is no one size fits all answer to this question as each person has different considerations in both finances and lifestyle, I'm just trying to see how those people who have been in my shoes before feel about their decision to forego the "American Dream" that's been force fed to us and live aboard.

As always, thanks for your input!
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Old 05-11-2010
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IF you're going to have a boat anyway because you enjoy boating, then it makes financial sense to live on it; essentially you're paying for one place instead of two. Of course this is very location- and time-specific, but in general, over the very long run (100 years), housing doesn't appreciate vastly differently than the rate of inflation. If you are handy and enjoy doing home improvement projects, you can alter this by building sweat equity, which truly will increase your net worth.

However, the more important question is, what do you enjoy doing? If you like boating, why not live on a boat? Houses are great for people who want to stay in one place, surrounded by their possessions and in comfort. Boats are great for people who want to collect experiences and friends instead of possessions. But as you point out, you're asking a biased audience. We sold the house and moved aboard 8 years ago and will not move back to land until we have to.
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Old 05-11-2010
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You might consider all the expenses that go with house ownership and that the money you might save by living on a boat, if invested, would give you the same or a similar long-term investment that builds equity, but just not in a physical piece of property.

I'd point out that many people who did buy a house are now underwater, since many homes were well overvalued. They're now paying far more than their house is worth and have very little chance of recovering that lost value in less than 20 years, if at all.

Owning a home does not guarantee financial prosperity. Living on a boat has many other rewards, and there may be ways to offset the financial gains owning a home might reap in the long term.
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Old 05-11-2010
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Thanks for the replies guys, and I'm sorry for the duplicate postings. I think you guys gave me the push I needed.

Last edited by creedence623; 05-14-2010 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 05-11-2010
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Good advice you got so far .

"Normal" is way overrated in my opinion.
I am at the opposite end of the spectrum. I have a house I am trying to sell and so does my partner so that we can make our dreams come true,which is buy a boat and house with mooring. We won´t be permanent live aboards at this stage yet .But if for any reason we could only realise one part of this,the boat would be the choice and I would not hesitate to become a live aboard.

With regards to the housing situation I don't see improvement in the near future. In fact I expect another downturn. I would also be careful if you are buying as property taxes are on the up and up.

Last but not least, you are considering a 2010 production boat. Maybe it would be an option to go for something slightly older,pocket the difference and invest it in something with a good return,although what that is these days is anyone´s guess . If you have investments already the world is your oyster.

Good luck with whatever you do.
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I also have a house that im trying to sell. My wife and I are living on our 34 foot C&C with the hopes that the house will sell and we can purchase a larger boat in the near future
My feeling is that very few people accuratly figure the cost of owning a home my home is paid for but still its costing me at least 500 per month to sit there empty ( Taxs, Insurance, and utilities ) thats not counting maintenance which is probably 3 or 4 thousand per year. the morgage is on top of this. If I had invested that money over the years i would be sitting pretty by now. To bad I didn't think of it years ago. It's my opinion that owning a home is not a good investment at all if you figure the real cost of it.

Mitch
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