the north face zephyr triclimate jacket Is it worth it
FP MagazineAll FP MagazineCEO of the YearAs the kids prepare to head back to school and many cottage owners prepare for the final hurrah of the season, I ask a simple question about your summer retreat: Was it worth it?Did you spend as much time there as you wanted? Did you get your money worth? Have you done the math?I am often surprised at how much energy and resources go into owning a cottage, compared to the enjoyment that comes from it. At the risk of insulting a large percentage of cottage loving Canadians, I will jump right in and say that for many owners it just doesn make financial sense.Did you spend as much time there as you wanted? Did you get your money’s worth? Have you done the math?I know many people with a cottage who spend no more than 20 or 30 days a year there. I know there are exceptions, but a large percentage will spend a week or two, and then another 4 or 5 weekends, maybe less.There are many reasons why cottages get underused. A big one is simply stage of life.If you have a cottage when the kids are young, your life revolves around them and their life is relatively simple. You might get very good use out of the cottage. That is unless you find the stress and strain of getting everyone organized on Friday just to repack for the drive home on Sunday.As the kids become pre teens and teenagers, their lives become more complicated and carving out holiday and weekend time at the cottage can become more challenging. As the kids get summer jobs and go away to university in different locations, life continues to be busy for your work and travelling to see the kids. The cottage can go unused an awful lot.There can be stretches of many years where even a well loved cottage is rather abandoned.Consider what cottage owners must put up with:Annual real estate taxes Property and boat insurance Major expenses to keep things running like a new roof or refrigerator Smaller time consuming jobs of opening and closing the cottage, painting, gardening, replacing a window etc. Hours or even days in the car to get there Guilt that weighs on you when the cottage sits empty Anger at the ungrateful friends you have lent the cottage to or have overstayed their welcome Frustration for feeling tied to one location all summer rather than being free to travel far and wide Typical expenses for a mid size, mid value cottage could easily run $15,000 a year. Say you spend 20 days this summer at the lake, paid $15,000 in upkeep, taxes and other expenses. Those 20 glorious sunsets cost you $750 apiece.An alternative is to simply rent. Generally you might pay $800 to $2,000 a week in prime season to rent a cottage.Let say you want to rent for two weeks at $1,500 a week. You pay $3,000 and you are done.If one summer you prefer to go to Europe, no guilt. Or you want to vacation in a different province one year, no problem.Say you spend 20 days this summer at the lake, paid $15,000 in upkeep, taxes and other expenses. Say the family cottage was bought for $50,000, 40 years ago and today it is worth $750,000. The owners want to keep it in the family and pass it on to their three children. When the second parent passes, there is a tax bill of $160,000. Only two of the three children want to keep the cottage. Only one of the kids has the money available to pay the tax bill. While proper insurance planning can help, this is often a serious issue.