5 Big-Ticket Items You Shouldn't Buy

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Many people's financial troubles begin when they buy an expensive toy or a vacation home.

The buyers assume they'll save money because they'll own the items instead of renting them. While that might be true short-term, it rarely works out that way in the long run.

Here are five things you should never buy unless you're rich enough to stop working:

Timeshares: It never makes sense to buy a timeshare, even if you vacation in the same place every year. Timeshare sellers will tell you that the rooms are bigger than those in a hotel, and come with more amenities. What they don't tell you is that the glut of timeshares has made it easy to rent one at a fraction of the cost of buying one.

You could rent a timeshare every year for the next decade and spend less than you would if you had you bought it. And you wouldn't be stuck with maintenance fees.

Boats: There's an old saying that the two happiest days for boat owners are when they buy the boat and when they get rid of it. Boats are a great way to throw money down the toilet because they cost so much to maintain. There are repairs, docking fees, gas and insurance. You could rent a much nicer boat on the days you want to spend at sea for much less than buying one.

Recreational vehicles: Some people think vacationing in an RV will be cheaper than staying in a hotel room, but that's only true if you're retired and live in the RV. If you buy a modest vehicle for $50,000 and use it 30 nights a year for 10 years, you'll have spent $167 a night. That can get you a nice room in most places in the U.S. That doesn't include the costs to fuel, store and insure it.

If you want to take a trip in a RV, rent one. You could also spend less by staying in a four-star hotel.

Snowmobiles, jet skis and all-terrain vehicles: You might enjoy driving a snowmobile or jet ski so much on vacation that it seems logical to buy one. But unless you use it every weekend, it's going to cost you more to buy one than rent. There are also the maintenance and fuel costs to consider.

Vacation homes: A second home seemed like a sound investment when property values were rising. But the collapse of the real estate market, which has hurt some resort areas more than cities, has many people regretting their purchases.

Buying a rental property to generate income is a good move, but buying a vacation home isn't. When you add up the amount you'll spend on your mortgage, taxes, upkeep and insurance, renting a house makes more sense.

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