There are certain rules that, as a personal finance writer, you are expected to follow at all times. One of those rules is that you should never, ever, under any circumstance, buy a new car.
A couple of years ago, I broke that rule.
As with all rules of thumb, the prohibition on buying a new car should be based on individual circumstances and situations. When I went through the car-shopping process, I realized that a new car was the answer for me. I even financed my new car (another no-no).
The Advantages of Buying a New Car
There are certain advantages that come with buying a new car, as long as you do it right. Here are some of the advantages of a new car:
- A reliable vehicle, less prone to breakdowns. In many cases, you have a manufacturers warranty to cover the first few years of ownership.
- You can get exactly what you want, without settling.
- In some cases, dealer and manufacturer incentives mean a lower price than some late-model used versions if you are willing to finance.
- If you have good credit, you can get a low rate when you finance, allowing you to put your money to other uses.
A new car works for me because I tend to drive my vehicles to the ground. I kept my last car, a lease return, for about nine years. I plan to keep my current car for at least that long. There’s a good chance that it will become my son’s primary vehicle when he is old enough to drive.
My new car has everything I want, and when I bought it, the dealer and manufacturer incentives meant that we paid about $3,000 less for it than the late-model lease return I was looking at. That’s right: My brand new car cost less than a used car that was almost two years old. I got everything I wanted in this car -- and it came with that new car smell.
Finally, I decided to finance because the rates were so low at the time. I had good credit, so I got the best rate, which is below 2%. Instead of tying up all that cash and essentially “earning” 2% annually, I can invest that money. With my investment earnings in the last two years, I’ve got a return on track to beat that. I’m investing the money I would have used to pay for a car, and doing better with it.
Of course, this strategy isn’t for everyone. However, if the conditions are right for you, financing a new car can be a good financial move.