Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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adam61
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Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by adam61 »

I follow most all bogleheads ideals to the letter. I max my 401k, my SO maxes hers, we both max our vanguard roths, and have an emergency fund of about $30k and a HELOC of $150k with no debt (just paid off house this year). I also do a 529 at $300 a month to help with college expenses. We have 1 child and that will likely be it. We are M36/F40.

Our typical car buying is since my SO tends to get little dings and wear down cars I buy a brand new (don't kill me) car use it for about 4-5 years, then buy another new one and she uses the old for an additional 4 years or so. They are typically in new condition because I am beyond meticulous with my cars. So holding the car 7-10 years is the good side, the bad side is as we've accomplished more of our financial goals listed above I've fallen into the "cost creep" wanting a nicer car each time.

The big issue is I only drive about 6-7k miles a year and my wife 9-10k. My last 3 cars out the door (paid cash no trade-in so all in price) were $53k, $44k, and $34k. Of course maintenance tends to be more as they take synthetic oil, tire changes every 15k miles for $1k or so, etc.

Is this reasonable at this point in our lives or how can I turn this train around, because "upgrading" to a much worse featured car for a techie who enjoys the HP, but doesn't drive enough to use it seems like a big step back.

I'm usually an extremely disciplined shopper waiting months to get some $600 item when several sales line up, and when I think about my next vehicle when I don't need one I think in perfect financial sense. However, as soon as I start test driving at dealerships I'm immediately drawn to new, fast, and feature rich and just lose my financial center. I feel like this could be our big leak financially, we don't take more than one very well priced trip every couple years, we have no debt, we max all tax-advantaged accounts, and pay cash for everything including those vehicles. Help??
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njboater74
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by njboater74 »

So you live well within your means, max out your investment accounts, contribute to college and keep your cars for 7-10 years?

Sounds like your doing just fine.

You mentioned cost creep, which is a larger concern for people who just want to 'look' like they have money, but really can't afford it. You can. So the real question for you is -- do you derive joy from these full featured cars? If so, I don't see why you'd want to change. Life is short, do what you love.
When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth and tell the whole world - 'No, YOU move'--Captain America, Boglehead
livesoft
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by livesoft »

So it's time to buy another new car. What are you getting this time?
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Topic Author
adam61
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by adam61 »

I go in looking for cars around 30-35k with decent ratings in safety, HP, and some features, and get sucked into MORE Horsepower, MORE features, MORE style, etc. I don't know what I would get now as I'm not actively looking, but I looked at several dealerships last time settled on test driving a fully loaded Azera (35k) or a more base Genesis (40k). I ended up with a Genesis 5.0 Ultimate at 53k.

But if the Genesis was 2 years older and I was in the market I feel like I would shop responsibly check ratings for the things important to me, and still get sucked in because everything below my current vehicle feels like I'm turning in my car for something worse which is practical, but very awkward feeling.
mortfree
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by mortfree »

The only thing I can come up with is pointing out that for each vehicle you purchase take into consideration if that sets you back from early retirement. Guess this doesn't apply if you really love your job.

Otherwise continue doing what you do.

I bet a salesperson loves when you walk in as they can convince you to spend all of that money for upgrades. Personally I would feel like a sucker if that happened to me. But you probably have high enough income to not feel that. I also drive 15k miles per year and own two cars of my own
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BolderBoy
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by BolderBoy »

I'd say you are okay and good to go. But the minute you start depriving your mandatory retirement account contributions so you can buy a new car, then you've crossed the line.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect
Topic Author
adam61
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by adam61 »

Sorry I didn't supply that info. It's a fairly LCOL area, no debt, and Gross Household income is $150-170k based on bonuses. I never adjust my 401k, ROTH, or 529 contributions to buy a vehicle, I also don't purchase unless I can do so with cash leaving at least 6 months or 15k in my emergency fund.

Currently have:
$280k House Owned in Full
$140k in ROTH
$390k in 401k
M36/F40
indexonlyplease
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by indexonlyplease »

Do it we all have weakness. You could enjoy being a stock daily trader and lose your money that way. So enjoy the cars. You earned it. Don't think about the miles. I drive a new Chevy truck $55,0000 and have a 2010 Camaro SS sitting in my garage with 14,000 miles. Now looking to trade it in for the Hell Cat.

How can I resist????

We have to waste our money on something we enjoy.
FRANK2009
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by FRANK2009 »

So your only vice is buying a new car every 4-5 years? As long as it doesn't affect your savings, (you say it doesn't) you have nothing to worry about.

Enjoy your new cars!
CorradoJr
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by CorradoJr »

adam61 wrote:I go in looking for cars around 30-35k with decent ratings in safety, HP, and some features, and get sucked into MORE Horsepower, MORE features, MORE style, etc. I don't know what I would get now as I'm not actively looking, but I looked at several dealerships last time settled on test driving a fully loaded Azera (35k) or a more base Genesis (40k). I ended up with a Genesis 5.0 Ultimate at 53k.

But if the Genesis was 2 years older and I was in the market I feel like I would shop responsibly check ratings for the things important to me, and still get sucked in because everything below my current vehicle feels like I'm turning in my car for something worse which is practical, but very awkward feeling.
Just a suggestion, perhaps you are striving for something more aspirational? At $53k you have many Tier 1 options.
itstoomuch
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by itstoomuch »

If you wait another, 2 years, there will be self driving cars for the high-end masses. Wait 4 years there will a self driving car for the middle-income masses. The auto you buy today will be worthless in 2 years when self-driving cars hit the market. Feel better now?
YMMV :( :P :twisted: :annoyed
Rev012718; 4 Incm stream buckets: SS+pension; dfr'd GLWB VA & FI anntys, by time & $$ laddered; Discretionary; Rentals. LTCi. Own, not asset. Tax TBT%. Early SS. FundRatio (FR) >1.1 67/70yo
fundseeker
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by fundseeker »

You sound like a car salesman's dream! But, since I hate car dealers and the way salesmen are trained to rip people off, I wish you would, after test driving and getting hooked, go home and shop online and have all dealers compete for your business and beat them down to zero profit. And, hopefully you do not finance with them (or with anyone, but especially them), and I hope you never buy any extended warranties. They're usually a ripoff even if you keep the car longer than you normally do.
delamer
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by delamer »

It sounds like you are making all the right moves financially (cars aside).

But you really need to make the car decision in context of your other goals. Do you and your wife want to stop working when you are 50? If so, have you figured out if you are saving enough to cover your expenses (including healthcare until age 65)? Do you want to send your child to Harvard, loan-free? Do you want to buy a vacation house?

If the cars aren't getting in the way of your other goals, then enjoy. But if they are, then reconsider.
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Watty
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by Watty »

adam61 wrote: My last 3 cars out the door (paid cash no trade-in so all in price) were $53k, $44k, and $34k.
adam61 wrote: Currently have:
$280k House Owned in Full
$140k in ROTH
$390k in 401k
M36/F40
make me feel bad!!
From what you have said your net worth is is about $800K and you have spent $131K on expensive cars.

In luxury spending your net worth is more important than your income. When you buy an expensive car you are putting a lot of your net worth into a depreciating luxury item.
adam61 wrote: I am beyond meticulous with my cars.
They why not buy a car at the lower end of your range and keep it for ten years?

Since your wife does not seem to care about having a performance car she wife could get a nice ordinary mid-range car for less and drive her car for ten years too and she would have a lot lower maintenance and insurance costs.
Last edited by Watty on Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Fallible
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by Fallible »

With any large expenses, an important question to ask is what else might you do with the money? Expensive cars also have expensive maintenance and repairs, etc., so that's something else to think about if you haven't already. Financial author Jonathan Clements calls this "the big picture" and he recently wrote about it:

http://www.humbledollar.com/2017/06/think-bigger/
"Yes, investing is simple. But it is not easy, for it requires discipline, patience, steadfastness, and that most uncommon of all gifts, common sense." ~Jack Bogle
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2pedals
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by 2pedals »

itstoomuch wrote:If you wait another, 2 years, there will be self driving cars for the high-end masses. Wait 4 years there will a self driving car for the middle-income masses. The auto you buy today will be worthless in 2 years when self-driving cars hit the market. Feel better now?
YMMV :( :P :twisted: :annoyed
What is it about these predictions for autonomous cars and "worthless" cars that are not autonomous? I just don't see it happening. Technology is continuing to change all the time. It's part of the consumer cycle. I wouldn't let that distract me from buying what I want and believe I could use for years to come.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by Doom&Gloom »

You have your financial house in order and you aren't trading cars like a madman. I wouldn't fret over it.

But as others have said, it will impact your rate of accumulation of assets which will leave you with a smaller nest egg than you would otherwise have down the road. That is your real choice here.
squirm
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by squirm »

Just purchase a car less often if your insecure about your purchase decisions... Otherwise not sure what your asking.
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nedsaid
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by nedsaid »

If you buy your cars new and use them for about 10 years, I would say that you are well within the bounds of Bogleism. You are buying nice cars and keeping them up. You also can well afford your purchases. Another factor is that owning newer cars means that you will own safer cars. You are doing just fine and don't sweat it.
A fool and his money are good for business.
jharkin
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by jharkin »

Make you feel bad?? On the contrary I think you have earned adding some additional weaknesses.

Saving is great, but you are saving so you can spend it someday. Not just to sit at home your whole life staring at a pile of cash. :)
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Flymore
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by Flymore »

2pedals wrote:
itstoomuch wrote:If you wait another, 2 years, there will be self driving cars for the high-end masses. Wait 4 years there will a self driving car for the middle-income masses. The auto you buy today will be worthless in 2 years when self-driving cars hit the market. Feel better now?
YMMV :( :P :twisted: :annoyed
What is it about these predictions for autonomous cars and "worthless" cars that are not autonomous? I just don't see it happening. Technology is continuing to change all the time. It's part of the consumer cycle. I wouldn't let that distract me from buying what I want and believe I could use for years to come.
Hahahaha not only that but last week a buddy of mine told me he likes driving so much he'll never have a self-driving car. Similarly, back in the office before I retired got the same comments from youngsters - they like driving so much they don't want a self-driving car. One bought a new car with that lane departure stuff, said it worked bad. The technology has a long way to go and consumers don't want it.
TN_Boy
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by TN_Boy »

adam61 wrote: The big issue is I only drive about 6-7k miles a year and my wife 9-10k. My last 3 cars out the door (paid cash no trade-in so all in price) were $53k, $44k, and $34k. Of course maintenance tends to be more as they take synthetic oil, tire changes every 15k miles for $1k or so, etc.
I'm not going to try and make you feel bad about your cars, but I am going to try and make you feel bad about your tires. You are paying $1k every 15k miles for tires? Are you street-racing your way to work? Burning rubber on the way to the supermarket?

I have Z-rated tires on my car (ultra-high performance all-seasons) and I'd be seriously upset if I only got 15k miles out of them. I get double that, easily. And I don't wait until the tires are extremely worn to replace. Nor do I spend $1k on them when they do get replaced. I think you can easily save some money here by better tire choices (or more conservative driving or better attention to tire pressure!)
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adam61
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by adam61 »

Thanks for all the help and advice. I'm taking away as long as I stay within my means, don't effect other goals, and get a good price (The $53k was on an MSRP of $60,950 BTW with no financing or trade-in to mess with actual cost).

I may look at decoupling my wife's car from mine as mentioned here and just drive mine for 8-10 years while letting her get something that fits her needs. I want her, and our baby, in a newer safer car and she likes getting my 4-5 year old cars because they literally look brand new inside and out. Whereas, when she purchases a car she has a ding here and there and fender benders every 3-4 years and never washes it or has any real pride so they very quickly just become a conveyance instead of something to be proud of. So an inexpensive, but safe off lease car for $20-25k may be a great way to split the difference.

As an answer to the question above, the reason the tires don't last is the mileage I drive (6-7k a year) so that's 95% stop and go which is most of your tire wear and the fact the genesis has staggered 245 Front 285 Rear with only Ultra High-Performance A/S or Extreme Summer recommended they tend to have softer rubber. I have a 10 mile round trip to work with 9 traffic lights each way.
itstoomuch
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by itstoomuch »

^ok, then OP should buy an automous car that doesn't work so well. That oughta make him feel bad. :oops: :annoyed :twisted:
Rev012718; 4 Incm stream buckets: SS+pension; dfr'd GLWB VA & FI anntys, by time & $$ laddered; Discretionary; Rentals. LTCi. Own, not asset. Tax TBT%. Early SS. FundRatio (FR) >1.1 67/70yo
jharkin
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by jharkin »

2pedals wrote:
itstoomuch wrote:If you wait another, 2 years, there will be self driving cars for the high-end masses. Wait 4 years there will a self driving car for the middle-income masses. The auto you buy today will be worthless in 2 years when self-driving cars hit the market. Feel better now?
YMMV :( :P :twisted: :annoyed
What is it about these predictions for autonomous cars and "worthless" cars that are not autonomous? I just don't see it happening. Technology is continuing to change all the time. It's part of the consumer cycle. I wouldn't let that distract me from buying what I want and believe I could use for years to come.

I know, I feel like every other auto thread goes down this track. I really want to make a 7 figure bet with some of these folks.

Then in 2 years when I win I can retire and enjoy more driving :twisted:
itstoomuch
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by itstoomuch »

Retired here. Do not appreciate driving.
I just got a new Trek fx7.4 and need to get on my TaoTao49er. :mrgreen:
Rev012718; 4 Incm stream buckets: SS+pension; dfr'd GLWB VA & FI anntys, by time & $$ laddered; Discretionary; Rentals. LTCi. Own, not asset. Tax TBT%. Early SS. FundRatio (FR) >1.1 67/70yo
c078342
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by c078342 »

Depends somewhat on how close to retirement you are and how much you have amassed. We have few extravagances other than the country club and cars. Been retired for five years and only taken 1 vacation (boat trip down the Rhine - it was great.) Other than property taxes we live entirely on pensions and SS. But, we are car people. WE currently own a Porsche Boxster, a Porsche Macan S and an Audi A4. But with a 2-car garage. WE recently decided to downsize to 2 cars, selling the A4 and Boxster and and replacing them with another Macan. I'll miss greatly the Boxster but I'm 68
and have been thinking about selling it for awhile. Won't have to move the outside car for plowing during the winter. So, buy a nice car ... after all, did you ever see an armored car in a funeral procession. You can't take it with you. Just make sure you are not shortchanging yourself. There is noting wrong with having a nice car!!!!
Thesaints
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by Thesaints »

Hyundais are not that big of a weakness..
c078342
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by c078342 »

Do not appreciate driving.
I just got a new Trek fx7.4
Your comment is irrelevant. Sorry you don't "appreciate driving," think you are a bit flaky. I assume the reference to Trek is to a bike. Fine, but the OP was NOT talking about bikes, but CARS. It might surprise you, but I and many others like cars and driving. And I'd really like to know, why do you bikers insist on wearing you spandex bike uniforms when you take up the road? Really look pretty childish.
itstoomuch
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by itstoomuch »

^I'm trying to make the guy feel bad, as requested :P
And why are you looking at my spandex? :shock:
Rev012718; 4 Incm stream buckets: SS+pension; dfr'd GLWB VA & FI anntys, by time & $$ laddered; Discretionary; Rentals. LTCi. Own, not asset. Tax TBT%. Early SS. FundRatio (FR) >1.1 67/70yo
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ClevrChico
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by ClevrChico »

It may not matter much, as ride sharing/automation could take over in a few years. :-)
bluebolt
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Re: Cars my only weakness, make me feel bad!!

Post by bluebolt »

I would feel bad for purchasing somewhat expensive cars, so I make sure all of my other financial priorities are met first before considering the car and then I make sure I can afford to pay cash for the car. Sometimes I finance if I can get a significant below market rate, but that's only after knowing I could pay cash without a problem.
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