Today was one of those rare, picture perfect Oklahoma Days, where you can sit on the porch and hear yourself think. All the dogs are laid down and nappin’, no meter readers sneaking thru the yards, the police helicopter is in the stall at the downtown airpark, and I have peace of mind.
Sitting there in my very best George Bush Lied T-Shirt, sucking on a cup of good Columbian Coffee from China Mart and thinking about how sweet life seems to be.
Then my neighbor Donna walks up and out of nowhere and announces, “You are going to have to take that camper off your truck, and get rid of that wind thingy on the roof.” (It is an air deflector, but you have to remember, we are Okies, and a lot of the time, we just don’t know any better) Not being a big fan or a charter member of the “we are running out of oil doggy and pony show” that currently is showing all around the country, I said to her, “Why?”
And then she proceeded to tell me about how the world as we know it is just about flat out of everything known to modern man, that we will all perish in some cataclysmic event, and much like the dinosaurs of late, disappear from the face of the earth. That the rays of the sun will turn our well tanned bodies into tomorrows’ old wrinkled prunes, and that we will in the end be worm food for some wide-eyed half-crazed environmentalist from the Sierra Club … or the San Francisco Bay Area …. Or something like that?
It never ends for me.
Just when it gets better, and I believe I am round the corner, here they come! Someone, somewhere, opens a gate, and they all stampede to my house, foaming at the mouth. Her solution to the dilemma was for me to either strip my vehicle to bare bones or buy a new car. Weird science, but like I said, “we are Okies, and a lot of the time, we just don’t know any better.” (I can just hear all those folks over there in Arkansas at the Retirement Home snickering on that one.)
If you want to subscribe to the new car, I can beat the oil companies and GM/Ford at their own monthly installment game plan, go right ahead.
Personally I am not all that hopped up to spend a couple of thousand to save a few hundred. It is just outright insanity. They are building better cars these days, I will give them that. But they can do a lot better than what they are doing now. Until then, it is just kick back, take your time, drive slower and do your level best to slow down.
In 2004, I caught car fever; I just had to have me a new silver hoopie, fully loaded with all the bells and whistles as they say. I knew all the negative consequences with financing and purchasing a new car, but I found a way to justify the purchase in my mind. Only two years later, my $34,000 vehicle was worth about $17,800, according to “The Blue Book.” Next to nothing, according to the “Finance Specialist at the dealer.” It was the worst depreciated asset I ever bought, and to this day, I regret it.
That’s a $16,200 loss in value over a two-year period. That’s like driving down the street and throwing $169 out of the window each and every week. And now, with fuel benchmarked where it is, and my 13.4 mpg, I would virtually “have to pay them” to take it off my hands, it is that bad.
New cars lose up to 70 percent of their value in the first four years. Depending on how many miles you drive per year and the physical wear and tear, it could be more. Lottery Winners drive brand new cars. Self-made millionaires drive slightly used, paid-for cars (2 years old). They don’t believe in car payments.
I’m not talking entertainers, athletes or CEOs. I’m talking about common, everyday working people, who might be your next-door neighbor. They became millionaires by investing every month what the typical American pays in car notes. I tend to ask people I run into with new cars, what their payment might be, if they don’t mind?
Most of the time the answer is over $500 per month.
Doing a little researching today I discovered that the average car payment is $378 over 63 months. Let’s say that you invested $378 every month, instead of making car payments from age 30 to age 65 (35 years). If you average a rate of return of 12 percent (which is doable), your money will grow to $2.4 million.
Do you still want the car?
Much as it breaks my heart to disappoint my well intentioned neighbor, I am keeping my old hoopie. I am hanging onto my old family truckster, it has all the bells and the whistles, an Okie Box to sleep in, four new tires and I can buy truck loads of fuel with the $500 a month (and don’t forget insurance on a NEW car). I am not shelling out what little cash I have to the boys at Ford and GM, or some Sand Pirate in the Persian Gulf.
I am gonna sit right here, drink my coffee and bleed a little more …