Seriously, in many cases, the practical answer is "renting" a speed boat. For me, the same is true for a vacation home, jet ski, snow mobile, antique car and motor home. Why?
Maintenance Costs. In addition to purchasing costs, there often are substantial costs for keeping one's property in good condition. Management or storage fees, insurance, routine maintenance, repair and just plain old personal effort are often needed. I don't mind these if I am using the item frequently, e.g. my home or commuting car. However, when the time and effort exceeds the time spent using the item, it's not for me.
Frequency of Use. For me, most of the allure of items such as a vacation home, ski boat, motor home, etc. come from novelty of use. It's always fun and exciting in the moment, because it is a special and infrequent moment. If I owned it, I would NEED to use it more often, to justify it's cost. If higher use would be normal, great! Buy it! But for me, I would use it about the same amount of time, which would be once or twice per year maximum.
Renting or sharing costs is good alternative. A friend of mine once owned a speed boat and skied every weekend from June through mid-October. He would invite me out once or twice a summer and I covered the gasoline and refreshment costs for the day. It was a great deal for both him and me - I paid the out of pocket expenses for the day and he gladly carried the ownership costs.
My friend has since moved away. Since I may use a ski boat on my own once every couple years, it makes sense for me to pay the $200/day rental fee, when I need one. Renting is much cheaper than buying a $20,000 ski boat to be used occasionally.
To note, if one does use something enough, then it may make sense to own it outright. However, for many occasional use items, renting is the better financial choice for me.
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Photo Credit: morgueFile.com, Laura Ashly
This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.
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