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Major purchases – automobiles

Rarely these days do we talk about buying a car together because if you don’t already have one, you’re unlikely to need one and if you do already have one, you don’t think to have the conversation until the need is pressing.  Unfortunately, automobiles are a depreciable asset and you will eventually need another one.  It’s best to discuss strategy (and to save your money accordingly) before you actually need to.

  • Will you continue to use cars as independent persons?  Each person buys according to their needs and their financial ability.
  • Will you purchase one weekend car and one commuter car?  The weekend car will be used by the person with the least amount of weekly mileage while the commuter car will be used by the person with the highest amount of weekly mileage – will that work out as fair?
  • Will you attempt to live with one car?  This will be cheaper but schedules will need to be worked out to ensure that neither person feels taken advantage of.

Whatever strategy you decide on, discuss your needs and budget ahead of time so that frustration and disappointment do not cause friction within the relationship.  When discussing needs, do not forget that if only need a specific type of car on occasion – you can always rent one.  Buy a car for your actual lifestyle, not your hoped-for lifestyle.  In that, never buy more car than you need.  With few exceptions, cars do not appreciate in value.  This means that every moment they are sitting in your driveway, they’re losing value.  Shop ahead of time so that your budget is realistic and begin to save for this eventual expenditure.  No, I’m not crazy – why would you pay interest on an asset that’s losing value?  It’s your money, don’t be stupid.

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