Jaguar, Aston-Martin, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Range Rover, Audi, Volvo, Cobra Mustang. No, that isn’t part of a car collector’s inventory list, but a list of some sexy vehicles I’ve been fortunate to enough own, lease, or at least drive at one time or another.
Okay, so maybe I’ve only owned a few from that list, but the others I was fortunate enough to drive on occasion as demo vehicles since my ex-husband worked at a luxury car dealership. As sexy and luxurious as these cars may be, are they better than sexy-ass financial accounts?
I’d been wanting to write this article for a while and was inspired to do so today by this interesting article – The Cars of Personal Finance Bloggers.
Sexy Vehicles…or Not?
I thought I finally had it made when I moved up to a Jaguar XK Convertible from my Jaguar XF. The XK was all black and beautiful. Fast, sexy, and in case you glossed over it the first time, a convertible. Yes, a real head turner. A match made in heaven I thought, my Jag and I.
Skip ahead one year (now early 2011) – the car goes away in a divorce – boo hoo poor me right?
My next vehicle, because I need something quick and it needed to be cheap, was a very unsexy Volvo station wagon. Older, an ugly brownish kind of color, big, boxy, but oh so reliable and paid for in cash. But I hated it – any sympathy yet? 🙂
The wagon was replaced six months later with a middle of the road 2011 Chrysler 200. Not a Jag but not what I thought was embarrassing either. Ya know, image – I used to care a lot about that.
It’s a Jeep Thing
In March 2013, John and I married, and a couple of months after that we purchased our Jeep Wrangler…err, I should say we financed our Jeep Wrangler. Turns out both John and I always wanted one. Since we had good jobs and could afford the payments, we thought why not.
We choose a black Sahara model. Loaded and sexy (especially topless) in a different kind of way, with saddle leather seats, removable hard top, towing package, etc. All to the tune of around $40k. We soon took a road trip with it – the top off, hair flying, 4-wheeling, kind of fun road trip.
Approximately, three months later I read my first Mr. Money Mustache post. Dammit. Our fun and jazzy Jeep started to lose its appeal. Well, not the Jeep but the cost of it.
The more I read MMM and explored other FIRE (financial independence, retire early) bloggers, the more the auto loans sucked. I soon focused us on paying off these debts as quickly as possible, hoping that would make me feel better.
The small loan on the Chrysler was disposed of rather quickly. We then fixated on eliminating the Jeep loan. We accomplished that within 20 months of its inception. I felt better…for a while.
The thought of $35k + in vehicles just sitting in the garage kept haunting me, as we were now pursuing financial independence so we could retire sooner rather than later. I found myself repeatedly wanting to put those dollars to work for us versus losing them in depreciating assets.
Did you say Jalopy?
We knew that to attain the financial numbers we wanted in our future for a secure retirement, we needed to take some further steps.
That started, in late 2015, with first selling the Chrysler 200 to free up some cash. It was replaced with a 2008 Ford Focus, affectionately named Barney, that we bought from my mom at a splendid deal of $4k since she wanted a newer vehicle. Thanks, mom!
After months of deliberation, and as much as we loved the Jeep, late last summer (2016) we sold it and purchased a Currant Red 1995 Ford F-150 pickup for $2,500, which I named Wilma.
The Focus and F-150 are not sexy and not head turners, but not really jalopies either. (Jaguars, Jeeps, and Old Fords did not flow as well.) What they are though is reliable and loan free, with less than 85,000 miles each. And for us, that’s enough right now.
Lest you now think we are way too frugal when it comes to vehicles, I should mention our 1965 Ford F-100. Betty’s her name. Picked her up for $3k in 2014 for a little bit of fun. Think ‘The Woodward Dream Cruise’ in the Motor City, with a whole different kind of sexy vehicles.
Do we still want to wave at every passing Wrangler? (It’s a Jeep thing) Yes, we do. I’ve even slipped a few times and waved from the Focus. Ha, maybe that can be a new trend.
Sexy Finances Over Sexy Vehicles
Do I envy the luxury cars I so often see living near the Motor City? Of course I do, for a few minutes anyway (in the summer it takes me a little longer to recover – convertible and topless Jeep remember). Then I remind myself of our sexy savings, investment, and retirement accounts.
Cars just get us from place to place. Our finances get us through life. And from what I hear, Budgets Are Sexy.
While you can afford the payments for a vehicle, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can afford the car. Especially not when pursuing financial independence.
We decided we couldn’t afford not to invest our money instead of drive it. Our financial well-being is greater as a result. How about you?
Are you driving sexy vehicles or building a hot retirement? Kudos if you are accomplishing both!