Black Beauty

John Goodell  |  Aug 4, 2021

AFTER 20 YEARS, the U.S. military has withdrawn from Afghanistan. The news brought back memories of the year I spent deployed there—and a crucial financial lesson I learned. Perhaps that lesson resonates even more today given the past year’s pandemic and the role deferred gratification has lately played in many of our lives.
When you’re deployed to a combat zone, the government doesn’t tax your wages. Consequently, most soldiers can sock away a lot of money.

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Keeping My Cool

Kristine Hayes  |  Jul 23, 2021

MY 2007 HONDA CR-V’s air conditioning system started having issues about three years ago. I took it to a shop where they added refrigerant and declared the problem fixed. A year later, the AC stopped working again so I took it to a different mechanic, who declared the problem solved after adding refrigerant and replacing a relay. Several months later, I was once again driving around in a car at ambient temperatures. Because I spent much of the summer of 2020 working from home,

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Ode to a Civic

Isaac Cathey  |  Dec 23, 2020

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM posits that a car is a poor investment, at least from a financial standpoint. It’s extraordinarily difficult to turn a profit, especially over the long term.
According to Carfax, the owner of a new car can expect the vehicle to lose 20% of its value in the first year and 10% annually thereafter. Beyond depreciation, owning a car involves fuel and maintenance costs, insurance premiums, parking fees, registration fees, tolls, sales tax,

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Stop and Go

John Goodell  |  Oct 9, 2020

LIKE SO MANY OTHERS, I’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future. But I know in my soul that we’re all going back—and I’m mostly okay with that. There are things I miss about the office: colleagues who have become friends, the collaboration, the access to ideas and creativity.
The biggest thing I don’t miss? Traffic. Nothing even comes close.
I live in Austin, Texas, which ranks tenth in America in terms of worst commute.

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Scared Debtless

Richard Quinn  |  Jun 17, 2020

MONEY IS ONE of the most emotional issues we deal with. It can create both immense stress and moments of pleasure. I’m guessing the way each of us view money, and how we handle it, is as unique as our fingerprints.
My wife’s car of 14 years was kaput and headed for the junkyard. Fixing the wiring and computer on her 2006 Jaguar would have cost $5,000—far more than the car was worth, even though it was otherwise in very good shape.

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Mercedes and Me

Richard Quinn  |  Sep 11, 2019

MY FATHER WAS A CAR salesman. For the last 20 years of his career, he sold Mercedes and he was good at it. He even won a sales contest that included a trip to Germany to tour the factory.
Unfortunately, selling Mercedes does not mean you can afford one. But he did get to drive them. As a kid, I was also hooked. When I was 17, I was allowed to drive a 190SL in the local July 4th parade.

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Getting Used?

Sonja Haggert  |  Jul 18, 2019

IN THE PAST, WE’VE always bought certified preowned cars. We know new cars lose a big chunk of their value when you drive them off the lot, so we had our eye on a used car when we started our search earlier this year.
Our goal was a Mercedes Benz GLC 300 AWD 4MATIC. My husband enjoys the negotiating and drama that comes with buying a car, so he investigated choices, checked out prices at dealerships and was ready to start his usual two-to-three-month car hunt.

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Elon and Me

David Powell  |  Apr 10, 2019

IN MARCH, I DROVE off the Tesla lot in a new Model 3 with Ben Franklin’s quote in my head: “So convenient a thing to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.”
Elon Musk had just announced availability of lower cost versions of the Model 3. After eight years of waiting for a Tesla that would cost less than my first home,

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Getting Used

Joel M. Schofer  |  Apr 4, 2018

OKINAWA IS a Japanese island that is southeast of mainland Japan and about two hours and 40 minutes from Tokyo by plane. It is famous for fierce Second World War battles and currently houses about 26,000 U.S. military personnel. From 2006 to 2008, I was one of these military personnel, working as an emergency physician in the naval hospital.
Okinawa, my new dream come true. Going to Okinawa was not my first choice.

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Wheeling Dealing

Nicholas Clements  |  Feb 15, 2018

CAR BUYING CAN BE overwhelming, which partly explains why we held onto our 2002 Toyota RAV for as long as we did. When the time came to part ways, we needed to decide whether the replacement would be new or used, how much we were prepared to pay, the features we wanted and what vehicle would meet all our criteria.
These were relatively easy tasks. While I realized that purchasing a used vehicle made more sense financially,

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Along Came Sheila

Anika Hedstrom  |  Nov 7, 2017

HAVING RECENTLY lost several people, I was in a bit of a daze. Grief stopped me from doing some of the things that brought me incredible joy, like downhill skiing and whitewater kayaking.
Enter Sheila.
Being the Swede I am, I fell in love with Sheila—my gently used Volvo AWD V60 sedan. My attraction to Volvos included family nostalgia, safety and longevity. The dealer was a friend of my aunt, so I was able to negotiate a very reasonable price,

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Driving Down Costs

Kristine Hayes  |  Sep 26, 2017

LIKE MOST PEOPLE, owning a car is my second largest monthly expense, right after housing. But unlike a lot of people, I also strive to be a super-saver, loosely defined as folks who max out their retirement accounts each year. That means I’m constantly looking for ways to cut my transportation costs.
Four years ago, when I found myself needing to buy a car, I settled on a gently used Honda CRV. Even though it was nearly six years old when I purchased it,

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Car Talk

Henry Clements  |  Feb 21, 2017

I’VE LIVED IN BIG cities for the past six years—Cairo most recently and St. Louis before that. During that time, I’ve enjoyed inexpensive public transportation and nearby groceries. I never felt the need to buy a car, and it never made sense. But since moving to New Haven five months ago, my calculations have changed.
For the first time since high school, I’m back in the ‘burbs. I can walk or bike to class and to friends’

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Their Own Cooking

Jonathan Clements  |  Apr 17, 2015

I JUST PURCHASED a 2013 Honda CRV. I told the “sales consultant” that I was paying cash. He tried to convince me to take out an auto loan, but I explained that borrowing at 3.4% didn’t make sense when I had cash in a savings account earning 0.25%.
Next, he asked whether I had ever considered leasing. I replied that leasing can make sense if you want to drive a new car every three years—but getting a new vehicle every three years was an expensive habit and I planned on keeping the car far longer.

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