I realized something while eating too many sweet potatoes last week.
You: That they need to be cooked first?
Something even more insightful: cars are way underrated.
You: This coming from a man who in his entire life has only owned a Neon and a Saturn? Don’t you mean that cars are overrated?
Nope. So when it occurred to me that cars were actually underrated, I was quite taken aback.
You: Sure it’s not sweet potato # 12 talking?
You: Buy an expensive car last week and now have buyer’s remorse?
You: Then what’s going on here?
Cars are underrated in terms of their importance to your financial well-being. Seriously. I believe many folks have come to believe that cars do matter financially, but most don’t genuinely understand the size of their impact to your fiscal well-being.
And when I’m talking about cars, I am – at least for today – talking about:
The Cost of Your Car – Not only does the price of the car you use impact your monthly payment, but it also affects the cost of your auto insurance and maintenance expenses.
Leasing vs. Owning – Another post for another day, but suffice it to say that with leasing you guarantee yourself non-stop monthly payments. You never get to the promised-land of looking in your driveway and seeing your car while looking at your bills and not seeing a car payment. Guess when it’s easier to save?
Your Car Replacement Rate – Get a new car every three years? That means, on average, you need to pay for a new car every three years. Guess what happens if you can hold on to your car for six years?
You: You need to pay for a new car every six years?
You: Meaning that you could expect payments to be half as much.
Or half as long, assuming you get the same car.
You: And that’s a big difference.
Even bigger than you think. Next time you wonder why it is that someone else can afford something, look at the car they drive. You just might be unimpressed.
You: By the car?
Yes, if you’re a car person. Of course, if you’re a car person, there’s nothing wrong with driving nicer, newer cars – provided you can afford it. But remember there are few people who can afford unlimited discretionary spending, and readers of Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck are not among them.
So maybe you should be impressed by the car; not for how it drives but for what it allows elsewhere in that person’s life: priorities.
Your thoughts on cars? Underrated? Overrated?