September 16, 2010

TERRIBLE ADVICE

Evidence that our priorities are completely out of whack...

In the USAA Magazine this month, my husband noticed a section on buying a car.  It was adding two cents to common buyer claims.  And to the claim "I just need something to get me from here to there," this financial advisor said, "Really? Can you truly be happy with no frills [...] Deep down, you don't want your car to reveal that you're on a tight budget."

And that, dear readers, is part of the reason America is going to hell in a handbasket.  Because financial advisors tell us to pretend that we're all ballers.  Don't buy a cheap car you can afford; people might think you're living within your means!

Terrible advice.

Posted by: Sarah at 07:34 AM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
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1 Wow...are you kidding me? The hubs and I usually love that little magazine...what crap advice!

Posted by: CaliValleyGurl at September 16, 2010 08:41 AM (u7VAs)

2 I usually love USAA Magazine, so I hope they just worded something badly.

I HOPE what they meant was, "Is that cheaper car really cheaper?" Because what we discovered with our stupid minivan is that, no, the cheaper car was a lot more expensive when you factored in the repairs and stupid crap like that, and spending 5 grand more in the beginning would have saved us more than that in repair bills for a piece of crap that we ended up trading in for a car that is slightly more expensive than others, but has an excellent resale value and a great reputation (which you should totally know, right?).

But if what they meant was what they really said... ugh.  AFG commutes to work in a 10 year old Honda Civic, and we love that car more than we love bacon.  Okay, not quite.  But almost.

Posted by: airforcewife at September 16, 2010 10:20 AM (uE3SA)

3 AFW, I see no way to reinterpret "Deep down, you don't want your car to reveal that you're on a tight budget" as 'Beware of hidden expenses'. That phrase refers to a buyer's fear of other people's perceptions of them, not the cost of repairing what's under the hood.

I read the entire article. The author is trying to appease every kind of driver she can think of (in this case, the vain), so she is not entirely consistent. No one can please everyone because some people will notice inconsistency and object to it.

She might defend herself by saying, "Yes, I admit I did have vain buyers in mind, but I can't change their attitudes with a single article and at least I am advocating safety which is my number one priority." In other words, she was asking them to find a compromise between vanity and safety. She might also elaborate on her heading "A Perfect Fit: Safe and Comfortable" and state she was referring to mental (i.e., ego) comfort as well as physical comfort.

She is appealing to a subjectivist mindset that emphasizes feelings over reality. False self-esteem based on what others think about you. What will the neighbors think? Who cares? Think for yourself.

Posted by: Amritas at September 16, 2010 11:05 AM (5a7nS)

4 I am so thankful that my parents taught us by example to only buy vehicles we can pay for with cash. Never having to worry about a car payment makes me a happy camper.

Posted by: Lucy at September 16, 2010 11:52 AM (IDfv2)

5

Doesn't USAA finance car loans for members?  So, there's a pretty clear motivation to encourage their readers to buy a more expensive car.  I'm just saying'.

Posted by: Christa at September 16, 2010 01:37 PM (2qSbp)

6 When I read the article, what kind of irked me was the interpretation that if you were saving money, you were then shorting yourself on safety features. Um, not true...kind of like the same taunting you may get from the medical professionals if you complain about overly invasive prenatal care: well, obviously you don't care about the health of your unborn baby!

Posted by: CaliValleyGirl at September 16, 2010 02:59 PM (u7VAs)

7 That's enough to make me want to write something to the magazine. Who's editing crap-ola like that? Holy shit, I actually pay for things out of envelopes and stop driving if I don't have anymore gas money and we're nearing the end of the month! And I don't get embarrassed anymore if I have to turn down lunch dates. That FA can bite me.

Posted by: Sara at September 16, 2010 08:10 PM (tz27a)

8 I appreciate the eye you keep for these kinds of things and for calling them out for what they are! I find so often that people refuse to believe that what's being said is really being said. When something is said long enough, though, it starts creeping into the cultural psyche and pretty soon we have citizens [and non] demanding the right not only to be gifted money but also to APPEAR to be wealthy. Which, of course, means more money. . . . I can't tell you the number of times we've questioned why we try to be financially responsible [and frugal] when it seems everybody else is throwing money around like they're going to get double back what they've spent! And God help the person [like you] who actually points out what's going on. Thanks for taking the stand.

Posted by: queenie at September 20, 2010 12:28 PM (QNScr)

9 Just today, there was an item somewhere on car companies being worried because younger people aren't viewing cars as status symbols as much as they used to be considered...

Posted by: david foster at September 21, 2010 09:08 AM (Gis4X)

10 David, the spread of common sense is good news.

Younger people are also driving less:

http://streetsblog.net/2010/06/02/younger-people-driving-less-auto-industry-getting-nervous/

The less one drives, the less status one's car conveys.

Posted by: Amritas at September 21, 2010 10:40 AM (5a7nS)

11 That's a bit egocentric. My two sisters and I all recently traded our pretty girl cars for beaters that were bought lock stock n barrel for under 1k to be out of debt. Ya I own a 91golf. No I don't want an upgrade.

Posted by: Darla at September 26, 2010 03:17 AM (t/qhR)

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