Mixed Feelings - "Investing" in my car

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corwin
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Mixed Feelings - "Investing" in my car

Post by corwin » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:17 pm

After an annual bonus was used to pay-off debt and income tax I had a small amount I wanted to put into our post-tax VG accounts. This was to be the first of a stepped up commitment to go beyond the 401K. I procrastinated a couple of weeks worried that something would come up. And, I was right.

While driving in the express lanes of one of the US's busiest highways my alternator gave out and I coasted to a stop. This is the first car I have kept more than 6 years. It is paid off and has 128K miles. With a tow, alternator, battery and much needed rear brakes and front tires 60% of my left-over bonus was gone. The money spent on the car would have only paid for 5-6 months of new car payments. The car is in good shape otherwise and I plan to keep it a while more. [Yes, we should kept making payments into a car fund after we paid it off but we didn't.]

I have mixed feelings. On one hand I feel bad about delaying the post-tax investing plan; on the other hand this is why we save: so we have money to do the things we need to do. Has anyone had a similar experience?

jpelder
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Re: Mixed Feelings - "Investing" in my car

Post by jpelder » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:25 pm

Happened to me in December 2015. I got an $800 bonus that month, and drove over a screw. All 4 tires were within about 5,000 miles of needing to be replaced anyway, so I bought 4 new Michelins for about $750. Bye-bye bonus. Meant we didn't have to dip into emergency funds, though

nick evets
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Re: Mixed Feelings - "Investing" in my car

Post by nick evets » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:39 pm

corwin wrote: I have mixed feelings. On one hand I feel bad about delaying the post-tax investing plan; on the other hand this is why we save: so we have money to do the things we need to do. Has anyone had a similar experience?
I feel bad any time I have a firm plan to spend money on something, but can't because something else has cropped up. What I really try to avoid is not fixing things 'right' the first time, and poorly DIY, or making a the wrong call about just replacing the entire HVAC vs. a repair, or....But yeah, stuff happens all the time. My wife and I have mutual account we keep at a certain level (or try to), to handle both the ugly things life throws at us, and the fun things.

Look at this objectively: one needs a certain amount of cash as buffer for just these sorts of emergencies, so if you needed the remainder of your bonus for the repairs, you shouldn't have been buying stock with it.

traveltoomuch
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Re: Mixed Feelings - "Investing" in my car

Post by traveltoomuch » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:19 pm

If the money from the bonus had not been staring at you, what would you have done differently? Not done all of the repairs? (Perhaps only done enough to get it back on the road but held off on the tires and brakes?) Taken on CC debt to do the repairs? Sold other investments to pay for the repairs? Taken out a loan to buy a new car, instead?

How would you have likely felt about that choice? And how does that perspective change your feelings about the course you chose?
Last edited by traveltoomuch on Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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CyclingDuo
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Re: Mixed Feelings - "Investing" in my car

Post by CyclingDuo » Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:51 am

corwin wrote:While driving in the express lanes of one of the US's busiest highways my alternator gave out and I coasted to a stop. This is the first car I have kept more than 6 years. It is paid off and has 128K miles. With a tow, alternator, battery and much needed rear brakes and front tires 60% of my left-over bonus was gone. The money spent on the car would have only paid for 5-6 months of new car payments. The car is in good shape otherwise and I plan to keep it a while more. [Yes, we should kept making payments into a car fund after we paid it off but we didn't.]

I have mixed feelings. On one hand I feel bad about delaying the post-tax investing plan; on the other hand this is why we save: so we have money to do the things we need to do. Has anyone had a similar experience?
Yes. 2017 started out with what seemed like everything needing to be repaired at once (including 3 of our family's 4 cars). Expected and unexpected repairs (brakes, battery, two windshields, alternator, garbage disposal, broken tail light, etc...).

Expected repairs/maintenance vs. unexpected repairs are all normal. Most budget for the expected repairs/maintenance to come out of normal salary cash flow, and then have the set aside emergency funds to cover those unexpected repairs (alternator) that come along. If funds are needed for those unexpected repairs (be it for an automobile or something with one's home), you replenish those funds going forward by taking a certain amount out of your salary for a few months to build up the funds again. Sounds like the remainder of your bonus after paying off debt and the IRS was converted to your emergency/"my car died" fund. At least your car is all "up to date" now.

Might be a good indication that your next step should be to set up a good emergency fund - or a "my car died" fund balance before moving on to additional investing beyond the 401K. Something will always come up - car, appliances, home repair, etc... .

The good news is your debt is paid off, your taxes are paid, and your car is now working. :beer

P.S. Our 2005 Honda is at 211K.
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time." ~ Steven Wright

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bottlecap
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Re: Mixed Feelings - "Investing" in my car

Post by bottlecap » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:56 am

Yup. Sounds normal to me. You'd like to get a little more life out of an alternator, but sometimes you don't.

This is why you save, don't feel bad. Unless you have unlimited amounts of money, something has to give for life's expenses.

JT

bloom2708
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Re: Mixed Feelings - "Investing" in my car

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:37 am

Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong

I have near term spending accounts for Home (stuff breaks), Cars (stuff breaks), Vacations (like them) and Taxes (must pay).

Even with a new/nearly new car you can't account for all the things that can leave you stranded with a car. You could hit something on the interstate and shred a tire with 4 miles on a car.
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