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The Most Expensive Hobbies in the World

The Most Expensive Hobbies in the World

Unless your yarn is made of gold, taking up knitting as a hobby won't cost you a fortune. Some hobbies do involve expensive equipment, materials, training, and maintenance costs. But if you have a passion and can afford to spend the money, it can be worth the financial commitment. Let's dive into the extravagant world of exotic hobbies typically reserved for the elite, and then we'll break down ways to make these hobbies more affordable.

Motor Sports 
If you have a love for luxury cars, high-end car collecting might be the hobby for you. From vintage classics to limited-edition supercars, owning a collection of these high-performance vehicles can be a dream come true for car enthusiasts. The cost of acquiring and maintaining these cars can be staggering, but for those with a passion for automotive excellence, it's a small price to pay. Formula 1 racing, for instance, requires top-notch racing cars, a team, and maintenance costs, but there is a limit on how much you can spend. In 2022, Red Bull was fined $7 million by The International Automobile Federation (FIA) because they exceeded the $145 million budget. One inexpensive way to get into motorsports is Autocross. An organization like the Sports Club Car of America rents a parking lot for the races and sets up a track. You can enter with a valid driver's license, vehicle in good working order, helmet, and entry fee. For regional Autocross, the entry fees range from $25 to $60. 

Yachting is not just a hobby; it's a lifestyle. Owning a sleek and powerful vessel can cost you a fortune. To get into this hobby, expect the yacht's purchase price to range from $50,000 to $40 million. Then, budget for docking or mooring fees ($3,600 - $18,000 per year), annual maintenance (10% of purchase price), insurance, fuel, and crew (if desired). The luxury and exclusivity of sailing the open seas attract wealthy individuals who seek the ultimate escape. But for those without an unlimited budget, you can start sailing for as little as $500. Spend a weekend taking sailing lessons and obtain a US Sailing Certification. With that certificate in hand, you will be able to visit your local marina and rent from a fleet of small boats.

If you've ever dreamed of taking to the skies, flying can be a costly and addictive hobby. Beginning expenses include study material ($250), exams ($750-$1,250), flight gear ($500-$1,500), flight lessons ($1,000-$5,000), and aircraft rentals ($6,000-$15,000). Going with an average cost, let's say it costs $15,000 to get your private pilot's license, but that's just the start. How much will you spend in the air each year? Will you buy your plane or continue to rent it? According to Honeywell Aerospace, the average annual cost of flying ranges from $12,570 to $29,650. If you want to test this hobby without breaking the bank, schedule a discovery flight at a local airport with a flight instructor for between $100-$200.  

Equestrian sports and horse ownership
Horse ownership and equestrian sports have long been associated with wealth and prestige. The cost of purchasing and maintaining a horse, along with the expenses of training and competing can be astronomical. From dressage to show jumping, these sports require a significant investment of both time and money. However, the thrill of riding these majestic creatures and the camaraderie among equestrian enthusiasts make it all worthwhile. Starting with basic horse ownership, you will spend between ($4,800-$9,600) to feed and board your horse, according to horseillustrated.com. Then add routine veterinary care ($350), farrier fees ($600-$3,600), tack, gear, and riding clothes ($250-$8,000), insurance ($600), lessons ($200-$1,200) and shows ($200-$3,500 per weekend). Besides the annual fees, there are the cost of the horses themselves. The price will depend on the horse's pedigree and use. Hobby horses average $3,000, whereas Olympic quality horses purchased when they are young can run north of $10,000 or $100,000 when mature. Well-trained polo horses can cost more than $50,000, and racehorses cost $100,000-$300,000 plus $45,000 in annual expenses. If your daughter is begging for a pony for her birthday, you can expect your starting costs to be lessons ($200 to test if she likes it), helmet ($100-$400), and boots ($50-$100). 

Building and maintaining a collection can be a rabbit hole of expenses, especially when acquiring rare and valuable items. Rare stamps, for example, can fetch astronomical prices at auctions and collectors' markets. Luxe Digitial estimates the most expensive, the Mauritius Post Office Stamp from 1847, to be worth $12,790,600. Meanwhile, the asking prices of the slightly less rare but still valuable green Ben Franklin 1 Cent US Postage Stamps range from $33 to more than $10,000 eBay. Determining the difference takes skill and knowledge to discern the difference. Similarly, with their high demand and limited supply, fine art, vintage wine, jewelry, and rare coins can come with extravagant price tags. In addition to the substantial investment to acquire a collection, you may need to pay a hefty sum to maintain your collection in a temperature-controlled environment and ensure protection against theft or damage. 

Balancing Passion and Budget
Expensive hobbies can bring immense joy and satisfaction, but if the costs involved break the bank, the enjoyment of the pursuit will be short-lived. Whether you choose to indulge in luxury hobbies, seek adventure, collect rare treasures, or explore more affordable alternatives, the key is to pursue your passions in a way that aligns with your budget and financial goals. For over two decades, the Hurlow Wealth Management Group advisors have helped clients explore their passions by modeling their financial plans. Schedule a free consultation today to help you decide if your plan will support a yacht to sail around the world or a dinghy in the lake nearby.  


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