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Motorized fun financing

Motorcycle and Rider at Sunset

Does your idea of a good time involve pistons, spokes or propellers? Have you always wanted to zip around a lake on a jet ski? Go off-roading with friends? Take an epic road trip by motorcycle or RV?

If you feel the need for speed, financing can help you get your fun machine sooner than much later. Here’s the smart way to fund your next boat, jet ski, ATV, dirt bike, motorcycle, or RV.

Cash or loan?

People will say you should never finance “toys.” You wouldn’t need to in a perfect world. But sometimes being ready to ride or drive now is worth what you’ll pay in interest. This is the age of experiences, not accumulating things. But in this case, these “things” make the experiences happen.

The appeal of financing is obvious as it doesn’t eat up your savings. Financing can help you afford a more reliable, safer machine. For example, many newer motorcycles come with antilock brakes, a crucial safety feature. New boats and watercraft have cleaner, more efficient, and more reliable engines.

Can you afford it?

First, make a budget. After all the necessities, will you have a comfortable amount of room for a new payment? Make sure you include all the other costs of owning and using your new machine, like insurance, licensing fees, taxes, maintenance, storage, launch fees, winterizing and fuel.

Then there are the accessories. It’s hard to pass on accessories when you’re at the dealership. Will you need luggage for a motorcycle or an anchor for a jet ski? Will you need a trailer to transport your toy? And do you have a vehicle with the towing capacity?

Before you buy, call your insurance agent for an estimate. Don’t skimp on insurance by getting the bare minimum, and don’t buy the cheapest premium from a company no one has heard of. And even if your machine will be safe in a garage, don’t try to skip insurance during the winter.

Find out what fees the marina or storage facility will charge you. Ask your friends with similar machines what other costs to expect. If you’re looking at an RV, motorcycle, or boat, see if you can rent a similar machine for a weekend to get hands-on experience.

Put down some bucks of your wwn

Avoid $0 down, 100% financing. Put down at least 20%. You’ll probably get a lower rate, and you reduce the amount financed. Plus, you’ll pay off your pride and joy much sooner. Note that rates tend to be higher because lenders view toy loans as high risk.

Keep the term short

It’s a bad idea to keep payments low by agreeing to an extra-long term. You’ll pay more interest adding cost to a fast depreciating asset the moment you leave the lot. This could also be an indicator you just don’t have the budget. Pick a different machine or put down more cash to keep to a 24-48 month term for smaller toys. That said, larger RVs and bigger boats sometimes have longer terms because of the higher price points.

Salespeople often ask the question, “how much do you want your monthly payment to be?” Focus on purchase price; if you’ve already done your homework, you’ll know what the payments are and what you can afford. It’s hard to resist a salesperson (who is doing their job) showing you options and accessories that seem more affordable because of the lower payment.

You can see yourself in your side-by-side ready for trail riding and hunting with full skid plate, rock sliders, cab storage pack, bed storage pack, and fabric roof. So maybe that low monthly payment for extended term makes sense…

Whoa, don’t do it! Stand your ground. Keep your financial health in focus, and don’t get emotionally attached to the vision of yourself in a fully-kitted toy financed over the longest term available.

Tips to save yourself money

As a member of White Sands FCU, you can take advantage of very competitive loan rates. Plus, we know you and will discount your rate if you already have a loan with us.

Check out our current rates for motorcycle/ATV loans, RV, and PWCs (personal water craft). Plus, you can get pre-approval for more leverage when you go to the dealership.

Check into dealer or manufacturer financing if 0% interest deals, rebates, or incentives are available. But run the numbers before you sign; sometimes you can lose important incentives or price breaks if you take the 0% deal.

And don’t forget the principles of plain old bargain hunting. Powersports and recreational vehicles are seasonal, so you’ll find discounted prices at the end of the season or out of season. And if you’re ready to buy, you can also score deals attending RV, motorcycle, off-road, and boat shows.

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