The Boy and a Car
November 14, 2010 5 Comments
The boy has been talking lately about getting a car. Currently he is driving a 1994 Toyota that leaks oil something awful. It is paid off. It runs, for now. But it is definitely on its last leg.
He keeps seeing cars on the road and talking about which ones he’d want. Typically they’re sports cars. Or way too expensive sedans.
I asked him how much car he thought he wanted to buy and he said $10,000-15,000. Ladies and gentleman, the cars he is eyeing on the road are not $10,000-15,000. Also, he doesn’t make nearly enough to pay for a $10-15k car.
He then said that he had about $3,000 in bonds that he was thinking of cashing in to pay for the down payment. He’ll have to get some sort of loan for a car I’d imagine. And his credit isn’t hot stuff in the least.
The personal finance guru inside of me just started going nuts, but I didn’t want to seem crazy psychotic either. So I (gently) offered him some advice.
What I offered was the following:
1) Figure out how much you can pay a month for a car payment and increase in insurance (right now he’s at state minimums, that would also go up significantly if he was financing).
2) Save that amount each month for 3-4 months. Whether that is $300/month or $600/month or whatever.
3) Use that amount you’ve saved as your down payment. OR just keep saving until your current car falls apart and pay for as much of the new car in cash as you can.
I’m so afraid that he’ll end up in a 60 or 72 month lease to try and “afford” a car he can’t afford. Yes, I know he’ll drive his new car in to the ground like he has his current one, but I would like to see him get a loan that he could pay off in 36 months tops.
We’re not at the point in our relationship that I can offer any more than my opinion on matters – I have no real power above that of influence.
He does need a car. I just think that he would be wise to start saving like he’s paying for said car now – so he can get a feel for what he can and can not afford. Better to know when you’re just saving that you can’t afford $500/month for a car than after you sign the papers. I’m hoping he’ll realize that a used car is definitely the way to go in this case. And then he can use the difference to start saving for a car he really wants.
Of course, another part of me also wants him to realize: It is just a car. It is just a mode of transportation. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, how old it is, ect. It just needs to get you from here to there reliably.
We’ll see what happens. I do hope he considers my idea of saving now. But I’m afraid he won’t until after Christmas. If you can’t afford to pay that much extra during the holidays for your car – I’m sorry – you can’t afford the car.