How Many More New Cars?

I spent many years working as a financial advisor, but in retirement I’m no longer my own financial advisor. That’s a bit like being your own doctor, and not very wise. I’ve become a client of the firm to which I sold Jerry’s and my financial planning business, and I work with one of the partners there, whom I’ll refer to as “A”. Upon my turning 70, A. decided to calculate an updated cash flow statement which takes account of the resources I expect to have and the expenditures I expect to make between now and age 100.

 

My mother lived to be 92 and I have some hope of reaching that. Having reached 70, I probably have more of her genes than I do those of my father, who died at 49. I think 100 is a stretch, but stranger things have happened and if I’m 100 and want to go out on the town, I’ll be happy to know money is there.

 

Knowing that I’m a car person, that I drove a Jaguar convertible in my former home town of Rochester and loved it but now drive a Subaru, A. asked how many new cars I intend to buy. He left out the rest of the sentence: “before you die.” His assumption was three more new cars: one at 75, another at 80, and the last at 85.

 

I’d wager a good bet that no one younger than 70 thinks about how many more new cars he or she will buy. You just don’t think that way … at least until a certain age.

 

Seventy, without a doubt, qualifies as “a certain age.”

 

When I was younger I was very into buying new cars, and good ones: Lexus, Jaguar. Now that I live in Seattle, with narrow streets and small spaces in parking garages bracketed by unforgiving concrete pillars, I’m happy with the durable, tough, but less costly Subaru. If I have to take the Subie in every year to get dings removed, I do so. If I scratched and scraped my Jag convertible the way I do the Subie, I’d be heartbroken.

 

The Subaru is almost five years old and has barely 23,000 thousand miles on it. I get the car detailed every year, and it looks quite new. I walk a lot in Seattle, which counts for the low mileage. I hardly feel the need for a new car now, or soon. I told A. to calculate one more new car between now and when I die, not three.

 

But I did say to allow for a luxury car purchase, just in case lust for that latest Jag or even an Aston Martin Lagonda overwhelms me.

 

Being a certain age does not mean that driving a Lagonda no longer looks like fun.

 

*********

 

Do you have an experience similar to this, where you’ve been asked or had to think about an expensive purchase in the context of how much longer you expect to live to enjoy it? If so, I’d be eager to hear your story. You can comment below.

5/2015

 

6 thoughts on “How Many More New Cars?

  1. I am ” of a certain age” and accept that. After a recent eye exam I was able to access my summary of the visit online. Imagine my surprise when I found out I had SENILE corneal changes. I get the corneal changes but was taken back by the word senile. It was good for a laugh but certainly puts my age in perspective.

  2. for Joyce” that’s just the kind of thing I want to write about!!! Thanks for sharing the story. Funny, and not at the same time, right?

  3. I thought we had gotten rid of all that derogatory verbiage – senile corneas, vaginitis etc, “elderly primip” for someone having her first baby past 30. Someone has to tell the young guys in the computer room it’s not appropriate!

  4. for Phyllis: I had Sara and Matt at 31 and 33, and I remember being called an “elderly primip”. I also remember asking, “what in the world does that mean?”

  5. I bought a brand new Lexus “cross-over” at age 77 — the “fanciest” car I’ve ever owned. I do expect it to be my “last” car. I love its looks and I love driving it, but I am increasingly torn between my enjoyment of driving it and the frustration of exponential growth in urban traffic volume. Uber is becoming more and more appealing. Lesson: learning to live with paradox.

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