Friday, October 1, 2010

Using our house for a bank and other 'Murican themes

Five long years of our lives were spent pouring every last penny into our luxury house on the hill. Every evening. Every weekend. Every gov'ment holiday. I even rolled change so we could do things like rent movies. Our goal was to spend $1 once rather than finance that $1 and end up paying $3. Our deb-adverse shuffle paid off when we financed our house last May. We owed about 25% of what it was worth. We celebrated by renting 2 movies and buying sugar-snap peas for our salad.

We live large. Oh yes, we do.

I know I've been thrilling you with our adventures on the high seas, making commercial fishing that much less romantic. This lifestyle shift has sort of taken over our lives. I spend "free" weekends building spreadsheets on income/expenses for commercial fishing. Last week we drank beers and tallied our season's catch (4,865 pounds). See, we're fiends for the fishing. This isn't going to stop and the next logical step is owning our own boat and building a viable business based on commercial fishing.

Unfortunately, commercial boats are more than Toyota Tacomas or Kamik boots. Boat officially stands for Break Out Another Thousand. Buying a boat is like buying a house without any hope of building any equity.

Fortunately, we built our own little equity farm. We can borrow against our house! Whee! refinance to buy something else that doesn't retain value but maybe will make us some money! We are now as American as the debt crisis and apple pie. I am not exactly happy about doing this but borrowing against a house provides better terms than a boat loan. There are fewer strings and hurdles but it still squicks me out. We would be building a debt layer cake.

I immediately had to call my Brother who set me straight. "It's not like you're buying a jet ski and financing a vacation to Disneyland," he told me. I felt at least a little better. We decided it was like starting a small business or trying to finance that ground-breaking indie film (ha). Having the means to buy a decent boat and gear allows us to focus on fishing and not trying to cut corners on boat maintenance to save money.

We're going to the bank and set the paperwork in motion. I know talking about money in America Is Not Done, but you all really need to know what goes into building a life and career in Commercial Fishing. People take out a tremendous debt-load to buy into the industry (at least those who do not inherit permits and boats). People fish because they love the life it affords, not because it's easy or lucrative.

I'll keep you posted. I feel more adult doing this than when I first bought homeowners insurance.

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