Why we bought a brand new car

Ta Da!

Steve 2.0

Aliases:

Steve, too — Steve Two — Steve 2

Yep. It’s true. We just bought a brand new 2020 Subaru Forester and (gasp!) we even had to take a loan to do it. But it’s not what you think.

I’ll explain later in the coming post: How we bought our new car. I’ll also explain there the process we used to buy Steve 2.0 and why we didn’t buy it from the dealer offering the lowest price, who happened to also be the one closest to us.

But first, since buying new is practically a mortal sin in the FI community (we didn’t even listen to this guy’s advice!), let’s discuss why we did. 

To be clear, if you are on the road to FI, you should not be buying new cars. In fact, as Mrs. Frugalwoods explains so well in her recent post, you shouldn’t even be buying a newer, low milage used car.

 You should be looking at an older car for under $5000, just like our 2007 Forester, the original Steve. That post, BTW, also provides some of my thoughts about the appeal of older cars. Indeed, I find them so appealing that buying new was a difficult decision. The exact opposite of my pal Taylor and her BMW as told in the movie Playing with FIRE.

Most people crave the new and resist the old. We love the “patina” the last 13 years have given Steve and it is hard to give it up.

So, if on the road to FI you should buy an older used car and since we actually like Steve, the older car we already have, why did we buy Steve 2.0?

Let’s deal with the “should” question first:

It is important to remember that the value of any given amount of money is relative. During the great recession of 2008, Warren Buffett’s net worth dropped by about 30 billion dollars, just about the same percentage as everyone else’s at the time. But he was still left with tens of billions of dollars. You, with say a million in net worth, would have see yours cut by “only” $500,000 – the tiniest fraction of Warren’s 30 billion. Warren would be hard pressed to notice that amount, but it wouldn’t have felt tiny to you.

Not everyone is at the same stage in their FI journey. Personally, we have been FI since 1989 and our assets have grown since then. This investing approach works rather well. The loss of the ~$25,000 we spent on Steve 2.0 has far less impact on us than it would on someone not yet FI.

When buying anything, you should buy from a position of strength. This simply means you should only spend an amount that has little impact on your net worth.  As I say in my Manifesto

Life choices are not always about the money, but you should always be clear about the money choice you are making.

The point of achieving FI is that it expands your horizons and options. Once there, one of those options can be buying a new car.

But, of course, just because you can easily afford a new car doesn’t mean you have to buy one.

My pal Bill, who is worth more than I am, loves beaters and one of his hobbies is finding them, fixing them up and selling them on. Sometimes he just gives them away if the prospective buyer seems to need a break. I’m not sure he has ever paid more than $1000 for a car. In fact, at the same time I was buying mine, Bill was negotiating to buy his own Forester. It is a 2003 for $600. That’s less than 2/3rds what I’ll pay in sales tax on Steve 2.0

Maybe when Bill is old and soft like me he’ll buy a new car too. Then again, maybe not.

So why are we replacing Steve, a car we love, with Steve 2.0?

  • These days we are fully nomadic and when we aren’t traveling overseas, we are driving around the US. This December, for instance, we leave Kibanda and head to CO, NM and AZ until next spring when we’ll head back to Europe for Chautauqua.
  • As much as we love Steve, Steve 2.0 is smoother and quieter over the road. And I am at an age where I appreciate a bit more comfort.
  • Steve 2.0 also gets better gas milage, although that difference alone certainly doesn’t justify buying a new car.
  • Along with the better mileage comes a bigger gas tank. Fewer gas stops will be nice.
  • Not be be morbid, but I am also at an age where the exit is closer than the entrance. Steve 2.0 makes it less likely that Mrs. jlcollinsnh will need bother with car buying anytime soon after I’m gone.
  • A Forester is less than half the price of a Tesla, which we also considered, and my restraint makes me feel virtuous. But being nomadic, the real reason is we haven’t a convenient place to plug one in each night. Maybe if/when we settle down…

Why we bought the base model

As you’ll read in the next post, we set out to buy the lowest-spec base model Forester with as few options as possible. There are two reasons for this.

First, we prefer things as simple as possible. More stuff = potentially more stuff to break as the years roll on. And most of the extra stuff is electronic, and those are the things that break most often. A quick internet search reveals that Foresters have few problems and the few they do have are almost entirely part of the higher spec models.

Second, many of the things offered I prefer not to have, let alone pay for…

  • A sunroof is a great example. I’ve never seen the appeal and they rather dramatically reduce head room, which I value highly. Plus this is an SUV and part of the appeal is the ability to carry cargo. A sunroof cuts into that space as well.
  • Most of the extras are electronic and learning how to use them requires, well, learning. Not our thing or how we want to spend our time, especially for features that don’t sound appealing in the first place.

The base Forester is already fancier than any car I’ve had before. Maybe even too fancy. Certainly it has stuff I’m going to have to spend time learning. If they had a still simpler model, I’d very likely buy that.

In short, less is more.

A few words about Depreciation

The biggest expense in buying a car, especially new, is depreciation. The fact that we actually prefer the simpler, cheaper model pays off here too.

First, and most obviously, a less expensive car loses fewer dollars for a given rate of depreciation than a more expensive one. If after five years a $26,000 car has lost half its value, you are out $13,000. A $36,000 car would have lost you $18,000. That’s bad enough, but there is another factor that makes the difference even greater.

Most cars have a wide price spread between models, and the Forester is no different. The MSRP for them ranges from ~$26,000 to ~$36,000. That’s a $10,000/38% difference between them. Each year that difference will shrink on the used car market until somewhere 7-10 years out, a used Forester is a used Forester and the price difference is solely based on miles and condition. Indeed, for some cars, the simpler versions might just become more desirable and command a higher price.

A few words about AWD

Subarus come standard with all wheel drive (AWD).

Many in the FI community, including my pals Bill (mentioned above) and Mr Money Mustache (who even bashes Subarus a bit in this post and who writes about Bill in this one) make a compelling case that AWD is unnecessary and snow tires on a front wheel drive car are better in the snow. For the most part, I agree. With one exception, and this is the reason we bought our first Forester back in 2007.

At the time we lived in a house on a hill with a very steep driveway. While I used studded snow-tires on our Accord, there was no way it could go up that hill in the snow, let alone if it was icy. Pure physics.

When a car is going up hill the front end lightens and the weight shifts to the rear tires. The steeper the incline, the greater this effect. Once the incline is steep enough and the surface slippery enough, those front tires simple don’t have the traction needed to climb the hill no matter how great the tires are.

With all four wheels driving, this problem goes away even without snow-tires.

Of course, I chose to run studded snow tires on the Forester and with them Steve was unstoppable. I used to take him out in storms with two feet of fresh snow on the roads and have a blast.

But now that house is sold and the hill gone. Yet I’m buying another AWD Forester. What gives? Well…

I like Foresters, and my research and test drive confirmed this is the right car for our needs. Plus these days it is priced about the same and gets the same or better gas mileage as its rivals equipped with only 2-wheel drive.

So, for the same price I get AWD with no penalties and even the harshest critics concede there are some advantages. Plus, I like it better than the alternatives, AWD or not.

Initial impressions…

So far we love Steve 2.0 and the driving experience is what we hoped for and expected. We’ve yet to find a single flaw that needs to be corrected which, given the complexity of modern automobiles, I find amazing. It is still early, but this Forester looks to be the best car we’ve ever had. Given how much we liked our last one, that’s saying a lot.

Coming…

…I’ll tell you how I went about buying Steve 2.0, how the deal came together and explain those cryptic comments in the first two paragraphs.

**************************************************

The Original Steve (that’s snow, not patina, covering him)

As his final act of service, looking back over the years and spreadsheets, Steve tells us…

What does buying a new car really cost over the years?

**************************************************

Think you might want to own Steve? Here’s the Craig’s List ad: 2007 Subaru Forester – Original Owner – 161,000 miles

Think we should donate him to a worthy cause? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments. Please provide a link to reach the organization you suggest and remember, Steve is in WI.

BTW, one of the objections I have to donating him is the process. Very likely they will just send him to auction and the charity won’t get much. Better to sell and donate the cash. Or find someone/organization that will actually use and appreciate him.

Update;

Steve is off to his new home!

Readers Vicki and Jeff flew in from upstate NY and are driving him back. He is going to their son who is finishing up collage in VT and then on to grad school in WV. So Steve will get to see more of the USA.
 
He is replacing a ’98 Civic that rusted away.

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Chautauqua news…

For those of you who have been asking, dates for 2020 are yet to be finalized and we are still sorting out the details. Current plans call for four Chautauqua weeks next year: Two in May and two in October, or thereabouts. Most likely we will be going to Croatia and back to Greece.

These sell out almost instantly, and that’s no marketing hype. If you think you might want to join us, you’ll want to be on the mailing list so you’ll be among the first to hear when it is announced and tickets are available. Sign up for the mailing list here.

Meanwhile, to give you a sense of what these are all about, here are two wonderful posts sererated by a year from one of our “dragged-along spouses”…

10 Weird Things

One Year On: 10 things that changed

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Important Resources

  • Talent Stacker is a resource that I learned about through my work with Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI, and first heard about Salesforce as a career option in an episode where they featured Bradley Rice on the Podcast. In that episode, Bradley shared how he reached FI quickly thanks to his huge paychecks and discipline in keeping his expenses low. Jonathan teamed up with Bradley to build Talent Stacker, and they have helped more than 1,000 students from all walks of life complete the program and land jobs like clockwork, earning double or even triple their old salaries using a Salesforce certification to break into a no-code tech career.
  • Credit Cards are like chain saws. Incredibly useful. Incredibly dangerous. Resolve to pay in full each month and never carry a balance. Do that and they can be great tools. Here are some of the very best for travel hacking, cash back and small business rewards.
  • Empower is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you'll see what's working and what you might want to change. Here's my full review.
  • Betterment is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.
  • Vanguard.com

Comments

  1. wendy says

    Go Steve2, Go!

    I’m also on my second new Forester. Gave the first one to a family member who needed some help at the time…it was 10yrs old and had 100k miles. I drive even less now (walk/bike more), so the second one is just shy of 7 years old and has about 41,000 miles. Love how narrow the window pillars are – it has a great field of view/small blind spots.

    Hope the new Steve2 treats you as well as the first!

    • BR says

      I’m on my 2nd Forester (Rubes 2). I live at 7,400 feet in the Rockies at the end of a mile long road, which I plow (not w/ Rubes). AWD is a godsend and gives me comfort re: my wife. One problem: mice!! I have live-trapped over 200 mice inside this car and had the same problem with my last Forester. We have hanta virus here so it scares the beejeus out of me. Subaru won’t tell me how they are getting in and basically tells me to get over. My wife wants another Forester, when this is done. A quandary for sure. As for buying used vs. new, there’s certainly a comfort in knowing where your car’s been and how it was serviced.

      • Joey says

        There are two likely places mice can be getting into your Subbie.

        The first is the air inlet for the air conditioner/heater. Passenger side, base of the windshield or under the hood a little. Should be a plastic grille there that lets the air inside. Have the mice chewed through the plastic grille?

        Second possible place. Usually the driver’s side between the rear wheel and the end of the car under the bumper cover there is an air outlet. It allows the air inside your car out. Air in through the HVAC, air out through this flap. This flap is sometimes not well armored and mice can chew through it. This air passage prevents carbon monoxide from building up in your car if there is an exhaust leak. Also minimizes condensation inside your car so the windows don’t fog up as easily.

        Both grilles can be armored with some sort of tight weave aluminum or steel mesh like screen door material, or gutter leaf guard mesh. You could use glue or silicone to glue it over the grilles.

        Another idea: mothballs. Mice don’t like mothballs. Might be worth putting a few in an open container in the car to repel the mice. Take it out when you drive the car. The smell ought to quickly go away. Make sure you aren’t storing bird seed or other food in the car of course. I hope this is helpful to you.

  2. jlcollinsnh says

    Hi Wendy…

    Nice to hear from you, especially since I didn’t realize you are a Forester driver 🙂

    The outward visibility is one of the things we love as well and the new ones still have it!

  3. Frogdancer Jones says

    I bought a brand-new VW Golf back in 2014. I was doing a lot of driving then and I valued the thought of a car with almost guaranteed reliability. You can’t beat that German engineering!
    Five years on I still love my car and I plan on driving it for as long as I can. It’s been fantastic. I chose the mid-line model for much the same reasons that you’ve given – though I will say that the rear-view camera and the ability to blue-tooth my podcasts through the car’s speakers are features I’ll not willingly forego in any future cars!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Steve 2.0 came with a back up camera as all Foresters do these days.

      I can already tell it is going to be very useful and, best of all, there is no learning curve. It just works. 🙂

      • Ray says

        I updated my 2003 pilot when the air started to go to a 2013. 2013 feels new to me and it similarly has (good air) , back up camera and blue tooth. Asumme safer too but not certain.
        Ray

    • Greenbacks Magnet says

      Speaking of brand new cars, I last bought one in 2003. I have had mine for 16 years now. I paid it off over a decade ago. I haven’t had a car note since 2009. I decided to put that money in Mr. Market and let it do it’s thing. I was able to turn hat $450 car payment into $100k in the market.

      I have been able to do so much since paying that car off that I decided not to ever buy a car again unless I could pay cash. Especially after reading that more cars are going for $30-40k with 72 to 84 months, 6 to 7 years respectively, paying $500+ a month. That would run you about $36-42k for one car! I can’t go back to that. It just feels so good to be free.

      Miriam

  4. Life Outside The Maze says

    Hey JL, I just got done buying a car for my lady and was surprised by how high the resale prices were on used models. I have always believed that cars depreciate 30-50% as soon as you drive them off the lot but I was seeing used Toyotas and Hondas selling at reduced prices prorated to mileage over a 100-150k life. This was nowhere nowhere near the old adage. I am wondering if your experience was similar? Is the secret out and now the market has leveled a bit more between new and used?

    • jlcollinsnh says

      It would be interesting to see research on this.

      My sense is that some brands, like Honda and Toyota (and Subaru) hold their value exceptionally well. And that makes them lousy late model used car choices.

      While others like Ford, Chevy and Dodge do not. Luxury cars also seem to take a big hit.

      If I was looking at the former, as I was, buying new becomes more attractive.

      If I was looking at the others, used can be a great deal.

      • Zach says

        This has been my experience too. Bought a brand new 2008 Tacoma for a steal as it was the last one on the lot, had everything I wanted, and was only ~$1,200 more than the 2 year used one I had been eyeing.

        Now, 11 years later, it KBB’s for only $6k less than I paid for it…

        (Granted, it’s 11 years old, in great condition, has all maintenance records, and only 56k miles on it… plus I got it – like I said – for a steal originally because it was last on lot, but most my depreciation has been inflation! Not the actual price drop…)

        Toyota’s are amazing that way…

    • shawn devooght says

      I have found that while generally all cars depreciate along the lines of the old theory but certain cars depreciate way less. For instance, I use F450 trucks for my buisiness and they just dont depreciate like normal cars. I think production is limited by desighn and that has a effect. Similar to going back 10 years the way harley had a waiting list for a new bike. Used bikes often sold for more than new but that has completely changed now regarding harleys.

      The other issue I have had is that these are diesel engines and once i get over 100,000 miles and begin having repairs the costs are astronomical. These diesel mechanics get over 100 per hour! As a result when i get to a certain point the repairs start sinking any savings. Certainly this is isolated to this situation and theres other factors but I do believe u cant always count on the old adage. It pays to assess new versus used for the particular type of vehicle.

      Jl collins , happy to see you and the misses are treating yourself to a little luxury since you deserve it.

  5. vorlic says

    Mr Collins, enjoy the wheels.

    Boy, would I buy Steve…

    But we’re in the UK, and shipping…

    Plus, I think $4500 is a bit steep 😉

    Next vehicle we buy will be a long tall VW Crafter, to live in! Until then, it’s Vernon the Volvo, the Indestructible Swedish Academy Shitbox.

    Best

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Remember, Vorlic, that price is in dollars not pounds. Practically free for you guys over there. 😉

      Had to look up what a Crafter is, looks cool.

      What year and model is Vernon?

  6. soma bhadra says

    It gave me great joy to read this post. Why?
    * In 2011, my 9 year old Subaru Forester saved my life. I used to call him Kalachand (Black Moon in Bengali). I love Subarus! https://m.facebook.com/notes/soma-bhadra/a-moment-in-time-i-was-so-close/10150365380075131/
    * I lived through a 16 year marriage where new cars were bought and shed as cheap fashion, while I shouldered all the weight of the resulting financial impact. It has left me bitter and the thought of buying a new car gives me heartburn.
    * I have not met you, but your impact on my life has been beyond compare. Your financial advice has helped me achieve LeanFI and feel secure. I wish I had you as a dad or uncle in my life, so much pain could have been averted. If my karma is good, maybe one day I’ll get to meet you and thank you in person for the huge impact you’ve had on my life.
    * when I retire, I will get myself a Subaru Impreza. It will be the right size for me, and the security will be good for my sunset years. By then I hope they’ll have a hybrid version. I currently drive a Prius, at 17,000 miles per year the 40+mpg is pretty good bargain.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for the very kind words. You can think of me as your uncle now.

      You uncle will want a cup of coffee when we meet. 😉

    • Ileana Keller says

      I also love Subarus
      I have a 2011 Subaru Forester with 90,000 miles and is a great car

      I am glad to hear that Mr Collins also owns one

  7. Vicki says

    Nice to hear from you Jim! We’re looking at maps right now 😉 It’s a bit of a drive from Western, NY. We have a 2005 Subaru Outback that we left in Sarasota, Florida at our snowbird place that we were thinking of bringing back for our son this month. His 1998 Honda Civic (Snowflake) finally died this summer. He’s in Italy this term (studying finance) and has to head back to the University of Vermont in January to finish up his degree. We are looking for a deal exactly like this for him. Everything we’ve found in this price range has some real issues – and we know the care you’ve given Steve. He’d LOVE this car…. and honestly, I think you are the only person I haven’t met yet in the FI community! Decisions…decisions…

    • jlcollinsnh says

      And from you, Vicki!

      Sent you a PM with my spreadsheet on Steve since the day he came to live with us. 🙂

    • Frank Gerlack says

      Vicki, Perhaps you could make a deal with Mr JLC. You can have a car transported from one spot to another thru either trains or car transport companies. Maybe Jim will give a little to help make it worth your while. Good Luck. Jim we have Forester 65K and climbing 2014, bought late 2013. It was expensive, but hope to drive it until it dies. Maybe 20 years. I too hope to meet you one day Jim. If ever in upstate NY do stop for coffee or even a beer or glass of wine.

      Frank from Up State NY,

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Vicki…

      What a great pleasure to meet you and Jeff this morning. We had a great time with you and I hope we didn’t delay your journey for too long.

      We are so glad Steve is going to a good home and we hope your son enjoys him as much as we have for many years to come. 🙂

      • Vicki says

        The pleasure was ours! What a lovely home you have on the lake too! We’ve made great time traveling today and you definitely didn’t delay us. That’s one beautiful thing of being FIRE’d – time 😉 My son doesn’t know about Steve yet. Can’t wait to have him home and realize it’s his to take. I’ll report back!

  8. Sweetlaw says

    Great purchase on the sube we are on our second forester , both were bought at government auction and have served us well. We two have chosen “new” recently bought a 2018 ram ecodiesel with only 3000 miles on it . We preferred not to use savings to buy a depreciation asset and so far it’s been great .
    Love the book and I gift it often in hope I will have someone to talk. To that gets the message
    Warm regards from Canada

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks for the kind words and the warm regards, Sweetlaw…

      …most of what we are getting from Canada these days is Arctic air. 🙂

  9. Profit Greenly says

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I have to say I’m a bit disappointed that if you were gonna be spending big bucks you didn’t opt for a used Tesla. If you buy one used from someone other than Tesla you can still get grandfathered in free supercharging. You could have it autopilot you from supercharger to supercharger on your nomadic lifestyle. I guess the AWD puts the cost above what you paid for your Forester, but not by much (like this 2015 AWD with 61k miles is just $37.5k https://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?listingId=531668582 or you can spend $2k more for an 85 kWh battery instead of the 70 to get more range https://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?listingId=532380529 ). About the only maintenance it has is replacing the tires (which are admittedly quite expensive). I guess your point about not wanting to learn new tech is the main reason not to go that route, but still from an environmental standpoint I’m a bit disappointed (anyone who’s been misled about how EVs take more energy than gas cars please read/watch this first https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/cleaner-cars-cradle-grave).

    Of course your car is just a small part of the emissions you’ve produced over time. With your wealth you could pretty easily offset all the emissions you and your family have produced over your entire lives. I don’t worry about offsetting for my grandchildren because the world should reach zero emissions during their lifetimes but I do it for myself and my wife and kids. There are lots of ways to get this done, many of which provide a decent return on investment. One simple rule of thumb is that installing 50 kW of solar panels is about enough to offset the total lifetime emissions of a single American. This is larger than any one house would need, but could be used to power a high school or two. To offset your wife and daughter you could up this to 150 kW total spread across a few deserving institutions. It would lower their operating costs for the next 25+ years and let you sleep easier at night knowing you’ve used your wealth to help avoid ruining the world your descendants will live in.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Sorry to disappoint, but a used Tesla was never considered.

      –37.5k is way more than the ~24k we paid for Steve 2.0
      –There are none around where we are
      –Adjusting to the new tech is a concern
      –and, as mentioned in the post, we have no place to charge it nightly, which is how these cars shine.

      Still, they are on my radar for the day we settle down 😉

      • Profit Greenly says

        Sorry to hear that. You definitely owe it to yourself to test drive one sooner rather than later. The performance and voluminous storage space of these cars really has to be seen to be believed. The frunk, trunk and rear seats might combine to the same cubic feet as the trunk+rear of the Forester. Obviously, you can’t fit a dishwasher in them the same way as you could with the Forester, but I don’t think dishwasher hauling is on your agenda much these days.

        As for nightly charging, that is definitely a great feature of all EVs, but Tesla’s outshine other EVs because they have access to a huge supercharger network (https://supercharge.info/map). If you get an old Tesla that has free supercharging grandfathered in you can literally travel all over the country without paying for fuel.

        This blogger does tons of road trips in his Tesla 3 and even though he pays for supercharging he’s still saving money compared to a gas car (https://voyagewithoutcarbon.com/). These superchargers add 100-150 miles of range to a Tesla in just 20 minutes so you’re basically forced to take a short break every 2-3 hours of driving. Some find this unacceptable, but it is much healthier to break up long periods of sitting with short stretch breaks like this (this is doubly true as you get older). Anyways, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your new Forester for a bit, but I hope this helps push you to look into Tesla’s a bit more and consider a switch in the near future.

  10. Markola says

    Hello Jim! Internet opinions be darned, you gotta optimize your own satisfaction, too. Nice car! We paid cash for a 2016 Acura MDX in 2018, because it makes us feel safe, it’s a pleasure to drive and it handles Minnesota snow like a tractor. Enjoy!

  11. Bill/Ben says

    This is Bill/Ben and I approve this comment:
    Jim: I will *never* buy a new car. Even when I’m old and demented. In fact, I have a living will that expressly outlines that any thoughts of a new car purchase are grounds for my family to deem me incompetent and put me in the funny farm.

    Great article and long live both you and Steve2 (and yes, you belong in the funny farm too)!
    [and for your large foreign audience: “funny farm” is an American slang for a psychiatric hospital]

  12. Adam says

    I love Foresters. If I weren’t so hung up on buying the very shortest comfortable car with four doors, I’d look hard at one. The visibility is astounding — my wife is blind in one eye, so that’s a large consideration — and they just work.

    We looked at an e-Golf and a Bolt a couple months ago. Seems nobody at VW or GM got the memo about “less is more”. I don’t want to have to navigate menus to deal with basic features in DC beltway traffic. Just give me two or three pedals alongside knobs and switches that I can operate by braille — how hard can that be?? New cars, man. Sheesh.

  13. Bill/Ben says

    Bill/Ben here again:
    I forgot to mention that “old” Steve is a great deal (and nice job on the craiglist ad, Jim!)
    Somebody here oughta snatch it up, as much for the obvious points as for its celebrity ownership. Think about how much cred you’d have driving not only a properly-priced, reliable Subaru but that it’s jlcollins’ old car!

  14. Conor says

    As an extreme coincidence, my wife and I are about to sell our 2007 silver forester (which we did think was a great gas car) and replace it with an AWD EV. I agree with the other EV comment. I greatly respect you and your blog but I am disappointed when any new car purchases go gas, especially for people that can afford EVs (that still tend to be more expensive today). Early adopters of expensive EVs are subsidizing the EV transition to the eventual mass market EVs. money is fungible and the ecological damage from continued GHG emissions may not be. The continued degradation on our ecosystems from GHG emissions is in uncharted territory and the most important reductions are the immediate ones.

    on a financial note, gas cars are likely to become stranded assets in a few years. globally gas cars are getting phased out with target dates for no new sales of gas cars. EVs already cost less to maintain and when purchase costs come down to lower than gas cars, who is going to buy your used gas car? I suppose if you hold the car until it’s without value, that may not be a concern, but many people that buy new anticipate resell value in about 5 years. resale of gas cars is going to get destroyed in a few years. it’s going to be like selling a horse cart after everyone transitioned to automobiles! 🙂

    You have a platform for leadership on this blog, and usually I’m eager to learn about your perspectives. On this topic I think it is incredibly short-sighted for anyone to be purchasing new gas cars. The strictly financial choice would be quality used cars. If you’ve deviating from financial responsibility, at least you could still be responsible (generally speaking). 😉

    • jlcollinsnh says

      While EVs are very likely the future, I’m not sure the transition will be as complete or a quick as you predict.

      It might, or this could happen…

      As ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle sales drop, so too will the demand for gasoline (oil). As demand falls, so too will the price of gas which will increase the demand for ICE cars.

    • Profit Greenly says

      I don’t think you should be so hard on Jim. I mean yes, he could have used his platform to help push people to buy EVs, but really this one car is just a small part of the total emissions he’s responsible for over his lifetime. The emissions from all the gas this Forester will burn over it’s 150-200k mile existence will probably fall between 14 and 19 tons of CO2 (with another 5-6 tons emitted to build the car) so 19-25 tons of total emissions.

      This 2013 blog from Britain estimates a tiny 3.5 kW solar system will save 23 tons of carbon from being emitted which is basically as much as this Forester’s total lifetime emissions. If you install it in a sunnier area with more coal generation, like say Florida or Arizona, then the total emissions savings will be far higher. The cost of such a system has also dropped a lot since that article was written. Heck, Mr. Money Mustache did a DIY install of this size for just $3900 (https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2018/02/07/diy-solar-power/) and that’s without factoring in the tax credits you get for installing one of these on your own property or donating the installation to a deserving institution. Even paying professionals to do the install the total cost of Jim’s Forester plus this solar array will almost certainly be less than the cost of a used AWD Tesla and will result in a lower net emissions.

      I’d love to see Jim become a Johnny Appleseed of solar, using his wealth to gift small panel installations to deserving places he encounters during his travels. Who knows, if he does this enough times he could offset the entire lifetime emissions of his whole family (I estimated this as requiring 150 kW of total solar installations above, though that is a very rough estimate). Donating solar seems to match with Jim’s general ethos on investing too as it would reliably generate savings for institutions he gifts panels to for decades to come. What’s not to love?

  15. Amy says

    Good on y’all! I think this says it all:
    Life choices are not always about the money, but you should always be clear about the money choice you are making.
    I understand the concept on buying used when working your way to FIRE and I’m looking forward to seeing your next post on how you bought the car.
    My husband and I retired early (not as early as many FIRE people but definitely early) two years ago at ages 54 and 55. We’ve been so happy with our decision and pinch ourselves every day. We are fortunate to have pensions and at this time we are still letting our savings grow– we haven’t touch a penny of it. Thanks for the inspiration with your work.

  16. Suzie says

    Interesting post. I think it shows that, as with most things, everyone’s circumstances are different so you have to make your own decisions, others opinions not withstanding. My hubby just leased a new Subaru forester a couple of months ago. I know, “God Forbid,” two mortal sins. But this made the most sense for our situation. We are both nearing retirement in the next couple of years. I will probably being leasing a forester in a couple of months. When we do retire we will turn one car in. In addition to AWD I also want seat warmers. In my case it is a “luxury” I am willing to pay for. I live in the Midwest and it gets COLD in winter. I have Raynaud’s syndrome and it is a godsend for me. Again, everyone’s circumstances different, so no judgments.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      If Conor is right in his comment above, your decision to lease could turn out to be positively brilliant. 🙂

      If I might ask, what did the lease on the Forester cost?

      Since I can see us settling down in about three years, and since a Tesla might be in our future when we do, I briefly considered leasing. Maybe I should have looked at it harder. 😉

  17. financialfreedomsloth says

    We also bought a new car earlier this year, but we bought it at the most frugal brand of Europe: Dacia. A brand new car for 11 260 euro. They also have a SUV model: the Dsuter that usually can be had for around 16.000 eur. Which makes me wonder if this brand is available in the USA at all …

      • financialfreedomsloth says

        Lada isn’t really advailable in Belgium (19 sold in 2019!) and because the engines are older and pollute more, taxes on Lada are higher. So even if we would be able to buy one, with taxes it would porbably be more expensive than the Dacia.

        • Ileana Keller says

          Hello

          Lada cars are really good and reliable cars

          I remember that car brand in my country ecuador many years ago

    • jlcollinsnh says

      As far as I know, neither of those are sold in the US.

      At least this is the first i’ve heard of them.

      had to Google to take a look. Good looking cars and they seam to be well regarded.

      • financialfreedomsloth says

        O yes they are well regarded. Renault achieves the low price by not offering too much customisations and building on 1 platform using older tech (no touchscreen to be found in the entire car, passenger windows are still manually operated …). There are few big advantages: less frills = less that can break down. Older tech= cheaper for Renault to use since R&D cost on it has long ago been amortized + the older tech is more reliable since it has already proven its use over the last 5 tot 10 years.
        So what you get is a brand new basic car with proven technology on board at a low, low price.

        For all the above reasons our model apparently is very popular in Marocco as a taxi 🙂

        But I am suprised not more car manufacturers have copied this approach, it is definitely working in Europe: https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltaylor/2019/07/31/dacia-and-tesla-thrive-in-europes-h1-sales-bloodbath/#2b5bce774d0a

        • jlcollinsnh says

          “using older tech no touchscreen to be found in the entire car, passenger windows are still manually operated …less frills = less that can break down. Older tech= cheaper … since R&D cost on it has long ago been amortized + the older tech is more reliable… already proven over the last 5 tot 10 years.
          …you get is a brand new basic car with proven technology on board at a low, low price.”

          Sounds like my kind of car, but nobody in the US does this. Car manufactures seem convinced that US buyers love the do-dads.

          Here’s what I’d like: A very simple car, but built to a very high standard with quality materials in and out.

          • mihai says

            Hey Jim.
            10 years since I have been following your blog.
            I am Romanian and on my way to retiring (3-4 years if I keep investing at the same rate).
            Bought a new Dacia Logan in 2008 and still drive it almost every week ( I am much more of a Mustachian since I bike to work whenever I can).
            The tech is extremely basic : The only electronic system is ABS (was even optional) , manual transmission , FWD , AC (though that was optional as well) and powered windows (front only).
            Anyway in 120.000 km this 12.000 USD car gave me almost no issues.
            Regular maintenance (400 USD/year) and a weird incident when a fuel pipe was broken this year (after nearly 12 years of driving). Being a diesel we get >60Mpg with outside city driving.
            Will I buy another regular car ? Not a chance .. waiting to get to FI and then will buy a basic Tesla Model 3/Nissan Leaf with my last yearly paycheck. After driving the Bmw I3 and the Leaf I don’t think anybody can go back to ICE engines.

      • Ileana Keller says

        Hi Mr Collins
        Lada cars are very good and reliable
        I remember that brand Lada in the country I was born Ecuador, they are well know there
        I never had a Lada car while I was still living there but I knew they were good and comfortable cars

  18. Jack says

    I want to buy old Steve just to brag that I own (the legend) JLCollins’ car !! I might became somewhat famous for that alone !
    I wonder how big your portfolio must have grown since 1989 !! Any chances to give us a hint?

  19. Charlie says

    One thing you didn’t mentione.. new cars the safety technology is light years ahead of just a few years ago. Adaptive cruise control.. assisted braking.. lane keep assist.. lane keep centering.. etc. on new cars makes them incredibly safe. This stuff comes standard on even the cheapest base model Toyotas and I *think* the Hondas as well.

    We’re at a time where it’s worth considering new car just for the difference in safety features until we’re all driven safely around in autonomous vehicles.

  20. Tom Erceg says

    Oh I am so offended! You violated the core principle of the FIRE movement by not fully optimizing every penny of spending to maximize the size of your nest egg! The horrors! (that’s sarcasm in case it wasn’t obvious)

    I’ll never forget something you told me at the first Chatauqua. You said “I’ve spent every penny I’ve ever made. Buying little pieces of my freedom was more valuable than buying more stuff”. Since you’ve already purchased FI then I think it’s great you’ve bought a new toy that brings you happiness. Enjoy it!

  21. RobDiesel says

    I’ll never complain when someone else buys a new car. It doesn’t cost ME any money. haha

    Great job on the craigslist ad. Too many people create ads like “car for sale” and no picture. With yours I see what car, how many miles, original owner and receipts. Then I find out what’s wrong AND RIGHT with it (the new suspension and tires etc.) so I can get an idea of what I might need to address after I buy it.

    As for AWD. I’ve never needed it, but I DID buy a RWD Volvo specifically for my move to Colorado. With good snow tires, there was nothing the Volvo couldn’t handle – unless it was deeper than ground clearance would allow.

    Having had a bit of a wild streak, leading to owning my 9th Volvo wagon since 2005, I am now back into 1-car ownership with a Volvo wagon from 2006. Only 170K miles, and from an original owner. OK records from new, but since 2014 when I bought it, every shred of paper is saved.

    Even gas receipts – leading to summaries like this: https://www.robdiesel.com/wordpress/2017/02/2006-volvo-v70-2-5t-mileage-figures/

    But ignoring all the benefits of a new car, mine is cheap to buy, cheap to insure, cheap spare parts that are easy to replace, etc. Plus it’s reliable, so I don’t *have* to buy a lot of spare parts.

    I suspect that as I get older, I’ll get to a point where a new(er) car makes sense as I want to just get in and drive it and not work on it. Which is the very reasoning I had for buying Volvos from the mid-60’s Mopars that I USED to drive.

    Anyway, I’m rambling. Thanks for your post.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Ramble away! I enjoy reading your comments.

      I used to have a ’65 Belvedere myself with the slant-6. Loved that car.

      Back in the day almost all cars were RWD and we never bothered with snow tires. It took a gentle touch to drive those in winter and many times digging them out of the drifts.

      Never had a RWD with snow tires. How does it compare to FWD?

      • RobDiesel says

        “Never had a RWD with snow tires. How does it compare to FWD?”

        Oh my. It’s a revelation. RWD cars give you physics on your side (skipp the diatribe, there’s a reason cop/race/rally/executive protection cars are RWD, or were, before AWD became affordable).

        I spent on a set of Michelin X-Ice 2 (they’re 3 now, I think) and they made the car about as sure-footed in the snow as it were summer and dry outside.

        The Volvos were always behind in tech (like bluetooth and such) but they made up for it with things like the automatic locker in the differential. If one wheel slipped, it would lock the diff and you’d climb mountains with ease.

        For the more youthful spirit, that meant you could goose it a bit to lock the diff, then romp on it hard for those epic drifting slides in the empty parking lots in the winter. haha

        Denver rarely got enough snow to justify winter tires. I mean, winter tires are always good if the temps fall below 40, as the softer rubber gives better grip no matter what, but an older, wiser mind can drive with more sense – and if the snow was at the point where I was wondering if I could safely make it to work, I called it a snow-day anyway.

  22. frugalharpy says

    I don’t have a car and hopefully I won’t need one… Love what you said about purchasing from a “position of strength”. I definitely benefited from compounding interest in the past 8/9 years so now I try to sweat less on the tiny stuff. Still, I’ve trouble spending money on anything that is not for travel.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      The best car is “no” car 🙂

      Sounds like you are spending on exactly what you value. As you should. 😉

  23. That Guy says

    Congrats on Steve 2.0! Per usual, I appreciate the logic and reasoning behind it all. Currently, I’m on my way to FI and this topic, the vehicle topic is where I struggle the most as I’m self-employed (in real estate), spend a good chunk of my day (with clients) in my car. Because I’m self-employed and run everything through my S-Corp. I have some amazing options when it comes to taxes for both buying and leasing a car; mileage expensing, maintenance deduction, interest deduction, sales tax deduction when buying a car, depreciation (this is a big one, especially if the gross weight is more than 6k lbs.), I can even deduct traffic fines. In addition, I work (not live, moved after reading your book) in an area where some of the richest people in the world live (Gates, Bezos, the late Paul Allen and many more). Not saying this to try and justify purchasing something over the top ridiculous like a Range Rover (would love a Tesla thou!). However, I do work with some clientele who wouldn’t have hired me (it’s happened before) if I pulled up in an “indestructible economy shit box,” and others who wouldn’t hire me if I pulled up in something over the top. I do care about how I’m perceived as your reputation will make or break you in my industry, and my clients are the ones helping me get to FI, not a company like most readers. I’ve been trying to figure out what and how to buy it. Any thoughts or advice is much appreciated! Thank you!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      When I was in the corporate world, I noticed among my salespeople two schools of thought regarding cars. One said you should drive the most expensive car you could afford. It projected success and your clients want to associate with successful people. The other said you should drive a nice, but modest car. Something that your clients can relate to and that doesn’t remind them that you make more money than they do.

      I also noticed that those who liked cars fell into the former camp and those indifferent to them into the latter. 🙂

      So my first thought is to be sure you are clear eyed on what you need, not just justifying what you want.

      I have never had any interest in clothes and they are the last thing I want to spend time, let alone money, buying.

      But while I was in business, I bought and wore custom made suits. And they made a difference. I remember once interviewing for a job and, as we parted company, the hiring manager complimented me on my suit. I knew right then, the job was mine. What I didn’t expect is that they brought me in at a salary $10,000 more than I had asked for.

      People are shallow and the right image can be very powerful.

      I came to think of my suits in the same way I imagine a mechanic or tradesman thinks of their tools: They are essential to getting the job done and it is worth investing in quality.

      Oh, and get the Tesla. (I had to say that or risk more scolding from Profit Greenly and Conor 🙂 )

  24. Rudolf Diesel says

    This post and the ensuing comments are just what I needed at this time. My little high mpg car is getting long in the tooth. I need to replace it. The information provided herein will help me travel the simple path to wealth. Thanks.

  25. Mr. Tako says

    Great car, we absolutely love our Forester so I definitely approve of your choice of vehicle!

    It’s also one of the easiest cars to do basic DIY maintenance! Enjoy the new car!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Mr. T!

      Didn’t know you were a Forester owner, but you always struck me as a man up taste. 😉

      What year is yours?

      Looking over Steve 2.0, I was struck by that as well.

      The airfilter is right up front and held by two simple clips and the oil filter is right in the engine bay close at hand. It is almost enough to tempt me back into doing my own oil changes. 🙂

      Plus, it is remarkable how little maintanence these cars need anymore.

  26. Done by Forty says

    We try only to drive wagons and I am one of the last holdouts who wants to drive a manual, so we’ve been eyeing a 2011-2014 Outback for whenever our current 2006 Matrix gives up the ghost (or we decide to become a 2 car family).

    I’ve heard from a few people that Subarus spend more time in the shop than other Japanese cars: has that been your experience?

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Sticks are becoming hard and harder to find. Subaru no longer offers them in the Forester and I am not sure when they stopped.

      As for time in the shop, I’m not sure my experience is broad enough to be significant. In addition to our ’07 Forester, we’ve owned three Accords, an ’87, ’93, ’00 and only kept the ’93 as long as the ’07 Forester. Both were trouble free until 100k miles and after only had a few minor repairs.

      So I have never had one of those cars people claim went 300,000 miles on just oil changes and tires.

      But then, I also over-maintain my cars. 🙂

      For instance, when we replaced the struts on Steve at ~123k we didn’t really need to. I just wanted to freshen up Steve’s ride and handleing for a long trip we had planned.

  27. Dakota says

    We made the same choice a couple years ago, albeit with a new Outback. I’d do it again! When it’s a small % of the net worth, you’re FI, and you use/need the car for the places you want to get to, I think it makes a lot of sense. (Or maybe I’m biased.) Also of note: the 0% financing that Subaru offers vs paying cash allows that money to crush it for us in the market.

    Love the BMW tease at Taylow, btw. She rides her beater bike almost everywhere here in Bend, while Scott is the lazy one on his thrasher ebike!

      • RobDiesel says

        Yeah, the offer is usually 0% OR $x in rebates.

        It’s usually pretty quick math to figure out which one comes out better. If you can get a great rate from your own credit union, finance the car through them with the dollar rebate, then refi with your own credit union and enjoy both a low rate AND the rebate.

        In some cases, the 0% comes out better – in the case of my GF’s Prius, in which case it was a simple no-brainer.

  28. FIRECracker says

    “A Forester is less than half the price of a Tesla…and my restraint makes me feel virtuous.”

    Such a hard sacrifice. Pretty soon you’re going to be saying things like “I had to sacrifice my massage appointment for a TV shoot, but I guess it was worth it”. Yes, that is an actual sentence I have said this year. Cue “it’s a hard knock life” tune.

    Congrats on getting Steve 2.0! Why not give it a new name? Dan and Cindy have this cute idea to come up with a name that starts with the letter of the model. So for Forester, maybe something that starts with F? Like Frank? Fanny?

    • jlcollinsnh says

      “Steve 2.0” is a new name.

      The old name was “Steve” 😉

      Full names:

      Steve Subaru
      Steve Subaru 2.0

  29. Kim says

    Hi JL,
    Appreciate your blog very much, it’s the first one I send my friends to when they have investing questions since not everyone responds well to a face-punch.
    When you drive your shiny new car to the southwest for our sun (high of 88F today BTW) are you up for some meetups with local groups?
    Safe travels!
    -Kim
    Former NM and now AZ resident

  30. Nice joy says

    Hi Jim
    Thanks for your great post. I am glad that you are visiting Az. When you are in Phoenix please let me know if you need a place to stay. I will consider myself very lucky if I can be your host. Also let me know if you need any other help while you are in town. 😁

  31. Mark says

    Hi Jim,

    If it’s not too late… gift old Steve to a family member or friend, if there’s one that can use it. — e.g. I gave my version of “Steve” to my nephew in college.

    It’s a nice thing to do for someone close to you, and you don’t need go through the hassle of dealing with people on Craigslist or goobs attracted to your FI fame.

    Mark

    • Super Goob says

      [and for your large foreign audience: “goobs attracted to your FI fame” is Mark’s ironic self-reference to the word “fan”]
      😉

    • jlcollinsnh says

      That was my original plan, Mark…

      …but my daughter prefers to be car free, which I fully support, and my nieces and nephews are not FI enough to see the value in driving old cars. 🙁

      I was also planning to donate him until I found out he’d be wholesaled and after expenses the charity would only get about 70% of that low number. Better to sell him and donate the cash.

      Plus I don’t mind dealing with potential buyers, even though some have been flakes, especially my readers who so far have not been.

      So far, Super Goob is the only goob I have. 😉

  32. rdsradioct says

    Hi, JL: Congratulations on your new ride.

    Mine is a 2004 Honda Civic DX VP with 215k miles on it and plan to keep it until the wheels fall off. I purchased this car in December 2003 from the dealership and paid cash for it. Please don’t judge. Being able to walk into a dealership and buy a brand new car for cash was on my “bucket list.” Now that I checked it off, I’m OK buying used for the rest of my life. Again, please don’t judge.

    All the best with Steve 2.0.

  33. Froogal Stoodent says

    I have to admit that my first car, a 1993 Subaru Legacy wagon, was a real piece of junk! But, for $1k, it did get me around town for a few months before getting me–and most of my stuff–home over a 1015-mile drive. Not too shabby!

    Now I drive a 2007 Honda Accord. The thing is a tank, and I’ll keep driving it until the wheels fall off 🙂

  34. Project Rijk Leven (Zus B) says

    Yay, a new post by JL Collins! Always makes for an interesting read, as well as the comments that follow. I was really looking forward to reading more about “(gasp!) we even had to take a loan to do it”, but guess I’ll have to wait a bit longer on the ‘why’. 😉 For me it comes down to this: what does FI mean if you can’t even make your own decision about buying a (new or used) car? Unfortunately, maybe people will think the story above means you’re not being consistent. But 1: everyone has the freedom to make their own decisions with their own money and 2: people just are not that consistent and life is messy. So, congrats on the new car, I wish you and the Mrs. lots of fun travels! (Sister B)

  35. Kristina says

    Congratulations on your new car! I hope you live long enough to buy several more!! And I do also hope your next one is an EV. Having made the switch to electric vehicles I would never go back. They are so much cleaner and great to drive. I’m not sure about the economics, but for me, having reached fi, it’s worth it to be part of the solution or at least to decrease my contribution to the global warming problem. I understand the shock of the other EV owners that you bought a gas car. That’s so last century. 😉 We have moved on and are waiting for the rest of you to join us so we don’t have to breath your fumes. I live on the west coast and the infrastructure is there to make owning one delightful. It won’t be long until it makes sense for you too!

  36. Darrow Kirkpatrick says

    Interesting, thanks Jim. We’ve owned several Foresters now — used and new — thanks to your original recommendation. Another factor in purchasing new, for us, was the EyeSight safety systems. Foresters are great cars for our needs. Looking forward to reading the rest of your story…

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Our new one has the Eyesight system and I am interested to see how we like it and how it is to live with.

      The 2020, even our base version, is certainly much fancier than our 2007. 🙂

      • Ileana Keller says

        Hi Mr Collins
        Yep Subaru Forester are great cars
        Mine is 2011, but I am kind of thinking of getting a new one
        I love my Subaru

  37. Jeff says

    Hi Jim,

    Someone hit and ran my wife’s Impreza and if it’s totalled we’ll be getting a new car as well. Which studded snow tires did you go with?

    FYI we are looking at the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrids. They get 40mpg and the new ones have a 10 year 150k mile warranty on the batteries. I still have my turbo Outback for when I want some BRAP BRAP BRAP noise though!

    Jeff

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Jeff…

      The Snow Tires were Nokian Hakka and as I recall the tire-store added the studs.

      I’m put off by the complexity of hybrids, but people who own them seem to love them, especially the Toyotas. 😉

  38. Cline says

    I’m going to read your blog to get more informed, but could you address the comments I have read the the carbon footprint left in building and EV is greater than that of a gas car? Like most things on the internet it seems that both sides of the argument just throw stones at the other side. I’m firmly in the middle, love the idea on new technology but have gasoline in my veins. Very interested in your prospective.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Cline…

      Not too much more to say, other than my comments in the post, and this is not an area of expertise for me.

      Overall, I find Teslas very intriguing and did a fair amount of reading/video watching on them. But there are no dealers around here and they fit best for people who have a house and place to plug them in at night. For us homeless nomads, not so much.

      Plus, the Model 3 with extended range priced out at ~55k. That is well over twice what we paid for the Forester. I realize the 3 is competitively priced with the cars it competes with, BMWs and MBs, but we weren’t looking at those.

      That said, when we are in CO next month, and where they seem to be thick on the ground, I plan to visit one of the two (!) dealers around Denver for a test drive. If/when we settle down they will get a closer look. The driving experience sounds awesome and the simplicity is very appealing to me.

      I think EVs are the future and I think that is a good thing. But I also think the transition will come more slowly that the true believers think or would like. For one thing, modern ICE cars are pretty amazing vehicles and I am shocked at how little maintenance is required for our new Forester.

      Plus, as EVs become more popular and the number of ICE cars drops, demand for gasoline will drop as well. That will make ICE cars (especially the big pick-ups and SUVs Americans love) even more attractive, giving those a new lease on life. But in the comments above, you’ll find a link to an excellent post by one of my EV fans making the case that I am wrong about this.

      Having grown up in the age of muscle cars, it is hard for me to see EVs appealing to car enthusiasts (as opposed to EV enthusiasts). But then I never would have guessed 4-bangers would become the darlings of their generation. So I am probably wrong about this.

      Finally, I’d suggest the scolding tone some EV backers take will likely delay their wider acceptance and the speed at which it comes. Or maybe that’s just me. 🙂

      Hope that helps!

      • Cline says

        Thanks Jim, I actually meant to direct this at Profit Greenly.

        My personal philosophy on cars is I buy them at the bottom of their depreciation curve and then maintain them myself. This seems to work for Porsches and BMWs .

        To me, this is the greeniest thing I can do. Basically the carbon footprint of that car has been left and I’m keeping it out of the junkyard and keeping local business running by purchasing parts, using mechanics when I’m lazy, and buying gas. I also have a bit of a mental problem and can’t seem to ever sell a car when I get another so I’m supporting the local and state government with additional taxes. I haven’t done a spread sheet but I bet I’m coming out cheaper than a Tesla.

        All that said, I think in a few years I might do exactly what you have done. Get a great buy on a car that will last 15 years or so with minimal worry. Isn’t that what FI is about?

        • jlcollinsnh says

          I’d be curious to hear more about this…

          “buy them at the bottom of their depreciation curve and then maintain them myself. This seems to work for Porsches and BMWs”

          Seems like a way to cheaply drive interesting cars but, as I don’t do mechanical work myself, I have always been scared off by the potential M&R costs on those kind of cars.

  39. Heywood says

    My first new vehicle was a 1990 Toyota pickup.
    I drove it for a bit over 25 years and 320,000 miles until the engine gave
    up the ghost.
    $16,800/25 years is $672/year.
    Buy a new car and keep it until it dies, especially if you can get
    it financed at super low interest rate.

  40. bubarsu says

    I just bought a 2020 Forester Premium (I liked a few of the extras the next step up provided over the base) and bought it for a big discount over MSRP through shopping around and the dealership gave me $1500 trade in for my 2005 Subaru Legacy with 195,000 miles. Two other dealers only offered me$200. I did not want to deal with selling it myself. I hope this car will last 15 years like my last one. Maybe my ownership cost would be a bit lower buying used, but I found that the lightly used with low miles were not much cheaper.

  41. Rob says

    The concept of “running the numbers” applies just as much to buying or leasing cars (or choosing to keep your existing car) as it is to the choice to buy or rent a house or apartment. After you run the scenarios on paper, you have a frame of reference of your next step. Doesn’t mean you can afford or can’t afford, it just means you know the situations and can decide at that point which one works. No matter which situation you take, it’s a choice, and the choice has consequences; including unintended ones.

    Here’s to many years with Steve 2.0.

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