|This post is not about the AMC Pacer, the Pontiac Aztek, or any car for that matter.....|
Imagine if you had an older model used car that you liked to drive from time to time. And, from time to time having this car has really helped you enjoy a better quality of life. Sometimes, you have really relied on this old car….
But because the car is older—it has some issues. People make fun of it because it is older and looks kind of funny.... It doesn’t get the same gas mileage it used to; maintenance is becoming more costly because things are starting to break down. The paint is fading and the headliner is starting to droop inside the cab-tires and struts need to be replaced and it needs transmission service and a brake job. But the engine is solid, and the old car still runs “real good” and gets you where you are going when you need to get somewhere!
|This post is not about the AMC Pacer, the Pontiac Aztek, or the Chrysler PT Cruiser...|
But you really want to get a new car, so you don’t have to worry about the pesky problems of maintenance. Hey—who doesn’t like a shiny, brand new car complete with that new car smell!??
So you tried selling your old car—but buyers simply were not interested. And then there is the irritating fact that you still owe a little bit of money on the old car, a few more payments worth…
But you still really want a new car!!
What should you do?
Here’s the thing: What you can’t do, what defies logic and common sense, is to scrap this car until you have a plan for a new one to replace it with no gap in car ownership. As much as you would like to wring your hands of this old, ugly car—the fact of the matter is that you still owe money on it, from time to time you really need it, and to not have any car would be devastating to your quality of life.
So the idea of running the old car off the cliff to get rid of it sounds good, it almost sounds cathartic. But what would that leave you with? Answer: nothing. No car and still a few more payments to make.
So what is the prudent thing to do, then?
Answer: you develop a workable plan to replace the car, a plan that fits within the current budget, but that does not lead to any gaps in car ownership. You can’t “go into debt” to replace the old car, because you're just about to do that to remodel your flooded-out basement at a cost of about 25% of your average yearly salary. You're determined to overspend on the basement project, because experts have convinced you that you must, so therefore you can’t take on any more debt because that would not be smart and it would hit your credit rating-making financing much, much more expensive.
|This post is not about the AMC Pacer, The Pontiac Aztek, Walter White, or Breaking Bad....|
So the answer is, if you value having a car, even an older, ugly one, you continue to maintain the one you have (even as costs increase) until you pay it off ---so at that point you can start using your “car-payment” money to start saving for a replacement as more options become available.
You unfortunately have to abide with the status quo until you get a windfall, have a relative “go in” on the purchase, or develop a better plan to get the new car.
Sometimes the best course of action is to stand still.
Nope, driving the car off the cliff without a replacement would be stupid, it’d be just a reckless idiocy demonstration, a flight of fancy through a la la land of fiscal irresponsibility…..