Hello Financial Loungers --
I was a bit more active on here a few years back, as I had just graduated from school and wanted to ensure I was on a wise path, but dropped away due to other priorities. Things have been going well though, and I feel I'm in a good financial position for my age. Entering my fourth year out of school, I'm itching to own the one thing that unites us all on this site, a new car.
I've never owned one. I drove my parents' through high school, didn't have one in college, and then moved into the city which never warranted a need. I would still say I don't have an overwhelming need, but it would add a good bit of convenience for running errands, visiting friends in the suburbs, taking trips home, etc. Plus, I just want a freakin' car!
- Age: 27
- Salary: $72k
- Retirement Account: $44k (listed as $24k in original post)
- Sharebuilder Account: $24k
- Rainy Day Fund: $16k
- Random Savings: $7k
- Debt: --
My monthly take home salary after all deductions (taxes, insurance, retirement, stock purchase plan, charitable contributions, etc.) is $3200. I contribute 21% of my salary to my retirement fund. Rent and utilities total $900, I *try* to put $1700 into savings, and the rest is consumed by food, clothes, etc. (and I'm not a penny pincher -- I eat out a lot).
With that said, I've been inconvenienced by not having a car as of late. I've had to rent cars to make it to friends' weddings, recently moved and had to rent to enable that, went home for the holidays and had to juggle between a $600 plane ticket or $300 car rental, etc.
Obviously, I can afford a car. I'm in a good financial position and have a grasp on what I'm doing. There's plenty of 2008 Toyota Corollas and 2007 Nissan Sentras I can get for a song, pay for in full, and be done with it. I don't like those cars... I like newer cars.
The car that I want is a 2012 Volkswagen GTI, appealing to my longstanding boyhood desire to have a GTI. The sensible side of me is screaming run, avoid this at all costs! They are whores that consume your money. My college roommate had a Jetta that had all the classic MkIV problems: check engine light, coil packs, window regulators, peeling interior, etc. Every logical part of me is saying this is the worst possible car for you to buy, but I still am drawn to it like a gnat to a light bulb.
Emotional reasons aside though, I'm also conflicted because of cost. Can I really afford the GTI? Configured the way I'd like with tax, title, tags would put me out the door at 30g. Volkswagen has some good financing rates at 2.9%, so I'd put about 12g down and finance the rest over 60 months, coming to $350/mo (or $450/mo with insurance).
While by all means do-able, this would slow down my savings rate. I would consider used, but my experiences with Volkswagen make me want to have a warranty. I also fear that I may get that classic itch that car people get, and be ready to unload it sooner rather than later (though as someone raised in a Irish Catholic house I have good practice with squelching my own desires). Obviously I could consider other cars, but I've waited 27 years for this!
Do the almighty posters of the Money and Investing forum have any advice? I've just had to get this off my chest, and my S/O is tired of hearing me *whine* about this...