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 GRAYmusings :: New toys

New toys

We spend our whole life in the search for new toys, until at some point, we realise that we’ve been wasting our time and other things are more important. For most people that point is at the ripe old age of seventy or eighty.

Why not be ahead of the pack, and wake up at 40 or 50, or even 20 or 30?

It’s like trying to walk up a sand dune. We get our pay and take one step uphill, then buy stuff we don’t need and slide right back down again.

I made a lot of dubious financial decisions over the years, most of which returned about 0% or worse. But I never made one of the worst decisions of all; I never purchased a new car.
Imagine an investment vehicle (to use some financial advisor jargon) that loses 20-30% in the first year. This same vehicle costs you $500 to have a $50 oil change done because the warrantee won’t allow you to do it yourself. This same vehicle sets you back $3000 if you happen to nudge a bollard and break a tail light.

So you’re a big-time manager and all your peers have BMWs, so what?, have the guts to turn up at the office in a 10-year-old Toyota, and have a quiet chuckle as you put the $50,000 difference in the bank. Some of your workmates may laugh, and maybe you won’t get a promotion. It doesn’t matter, before long you won’t even need the job.

When I worked for Prime computers everyone had flash company cars, and to be honest if they had been free so would I have. But the system was really a pre-tax leasing arrangement, you still paid for the car, from pre-tax dollars admittedly but then it was a lease so at the end of the day in my opinion it was bad deal.

So I parked my 15-year-old panel van amongst the new cars.

It’s certainly exciting to buy a new toy, no doubt about it. But one thing I realised years ago was that it’s almost as big a thrill to buy a small object as it is to buy a large one.

So here’s what you do, next time you feel the urge to buy a new car, go to the hardware store and purchase a drill instead. It’s almost as much fun, a lot more useful, and you’ll be one step closer to being financially independent.

Now I’m not suggesting that you sit in a cave wearing a loincloth for the next forty years, I still buy the occasional toy and, in a classic case of "do what I say not what I do" I recently sold my 30-year old Landcruiser and purchased a new car. I hang my head in shame but in my defence we plan to keep it for 10 years to amortize the losses, maybe even 20 if that's possible with modern vehicles, and I do my own servicing.

It's still a dubious purchase but hey, the Suzuki Jimnis are so damn cute.


Date  ::   05 Aug 2012
Name  ::   Robert
Location  ::   Arizona, USA
Comment  ::   Trade offs are part of what we all do. You've 'swapped' a 30 year vehicle for a new vehicle. The new vehicle is probably easier on you and allows the both of you runs errands with out wondering if you both will make it back. And I would guess that for the most part, its a bit more fun to drive .. :-)

Have enjoyed reading of your travels and travails .. the trips to the hinterlands .. the deconstruction/reconstruction of the graynomad go-man ACCO masterpiece!

Sometimes taking the road less traveled is a great scenic tour and a much more enjoyable journey to wherever that roads leads. ... just watch out for the potholes :-)

Thank you for taking the time to share your enviable perspective of life!

Best Regards,

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