Let's Talk Money

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby HES » Mon May 08, 2017 1:34 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
sardia wrote:You didn't discuss the cases where you have time to spare but no money. Can you think of reasons why you would spend money instead of sweat equity there?

How often does this happen? Poor people quite often have to work quite a lot to stretch their money.


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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby Zohar » Mon May 08, 2017 1:42 pm UTC

Students presumably don't have that much time on their hands. And part-time workers, again, probably still need to spend a lot of time just to use their money cleverly.
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby sardia » Mon May 08, 2017 2:01 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Students presumably don't have that much time on their hands. And part-time workers, again, probably still need to spend a lot of time just to use their money cleverly.

The only example where sweat equity isn't better when you have no money is when the fix isn't very good. Like constantly repairing a broken down lawn mower instead of getting a new one to the detriment of your job. I dunno, I keep thinking of inefficient repairs, should be a scenario where it would be better to just have it professionally done.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby SecondTalon » Mon May 08, 2017 5:06 pm UTC

Time is money. If you have time, learning a skill to repair something eats in to your time spent trying to get money.

There's also the problem of equipment. I would more than gladly learn to build my own furniture if I could just... have... a woodworking shop with proper tools. As is, I've got a couple of saws, drills, bits, blades but no planes, routers or vices. At least not enough vices of necessary strength. I also don't have a few hundred hours to learn it.

But the equipment is the point I'm getting at - lots of repairs and constructions can be done with a limited selection of tools, true, but you're still looking at a few hundred bucks in hardware. And many 30 minute jobs with generic tools are 5 minute jobs using a tool explicitly for that one job.

And, like I said, time is money. Learning how to do task X which comes up once every five or six years - or longer - will take you a few hundred hours with a few tens of hours ever year to keep your skill up. For something you do once every 5-6 years.

If you charge yourself $10 an hour, that's a few thousand bucks, easily, for two decades of repair. Or you pay a guy $100 to do it for you and she'll out $400 for the same 20 year span.

I mean, I get the frustration with people's inability to do dirt simple repairs (unscrew two screws, remove the plate, remove the blockage, replace plate and screws, done) but for a lot of things? Just pay the guy. Society rewards specialization for a reason - it's just more efficient for one guy to master X than for 100 people to get technically correct on A, B, C.... X, Y, Z
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby ucim » Mon May 08, 2017 5:35 pm UTC

But there's many a time where the pro doesn't do anywhere near as good a job as the DIY. Some of these people, really, I wonder where they learned their trade, or whether they care whether the job is done right (as long as the customer doesn't see). This is rampant in the home remodeling industry. I'd rather do it myself than put up with some of those bozos.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby Zamfir » Mon May 08, 2017 8:02 pm UTC

You didn't discuss the cases where you have time to spare but no money. Can you think of reasons why you would spend money instead of sweat equity there?

Sure, there's plenty of situations where people do stuff themselves to save money, or for whatever other reason. They don't need me to tell them what to do.

My comment was solely about people who are on the fence. People who are perhaps willing to spend the money to save the time and hassle, but feel that it's in some sense 'better' to do the work themselves. I thought that your remark about shame referred to such situations?

As an aside, why refer to this as sweat equity? There are no other owners or stakeholders involved.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby sardia » Mon May 08, 2017 8:07 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
You didn't discuss the cases where you have time to spare but no money. Can you think of reasons why you would spend money instead of sweat equity there?

Sure, there's plenty of situations where people do stuff themselves to save money, or for whatever other reason. They don't need me to tell them what to do.

My comment was solely about people who are on the fence. People who are perhaps willing to spend the money to save the time and hassle, but feel that it's in some sense 'better' to do the work themselves. I thought that your remark about shame referred to such situations?

As an aside, why refer to this as sweat equity? There are no other owners or stakeholders involved.

Fair enough. I was always taught that my time wasn't valuable as your family's money. Force of habit to do it yourself, alongside bad experiences like Ucim's anecdote. Usually I'll analyze the cost benefit, but that doesn't always happen.

It's called equity because it most often applies to home property. Ex you labor on an upgraded kitchen and it raises the price of your home when you sell it. Hence sweat equity. Equity is a common term for home values.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby doogly » Tue May 09, 2017 1:10 am UTC

Your time is worth what someone will pay for it.
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby ucim » Tue May 09, 2017 1:40 am UTC

doogly wrote:Your time is worth what someone will pay for it.
...minus what it costs you to market yourself. Minus the cost of any equipment you need (only) to make that use of your time.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby doogly » Tue May 09, 2017 12:19 pm UTC

Fine, your time is gross worth what someone will pay for it.
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby SecondTalon » Tue May 09, 2017 12:26 pm UTC

Your time may be gross, by my time is....

Yeah, it's pretty gross too
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby doogly » Tue May 09, 2017 1:29 pm UTC

seriously how does time get sticky
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby Zohar » Tue May 09, 2017 6:27 pm UTC

In ST's case the answer is goats.
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby SecondTalon » Tue May 09, 2017 6:44 pm UTC

If your significant otter doesn't look at you like my goat looks at cardboard, get a new SO.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby Isaac Hill » Tue May 09, 2017 10:31 pm UTC

I spoke to a financial advisor at my bank, including my moral qualms about investing in companies I know nothing about, and he came up with 3 options:

1) Calvert, a company that specializes in socially responsible investing. The main downside is the 1.3% annual fee.

2) A policy that guarantees a 3% rate of return over 6 years. Basically, I'm loaning my money to a company at 3% interest. The company will try to invest it at a better rate of return and pocket the difference. There's no fees involves, but I'm guessing the company would have no problem investing in morally dubious things.

3) Something that's not invested in the market, but is linked to an index. There's a set withdrawl date X years after I make the purchase. At the end, I have to cash out, even if the index is in a slump; I can't just wait it out for another couple months. On the other hand, the index could be doing exceptionally well that day, and I'd make out. Plus, this is the only one that's FDIC insured.

He mentioned municipal bonds, but not in much detail, as I'd buy them directly instead of through the bank.
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby ucim » Tue May 09, 2017 10:56 pm UTC

Isaac Hill wrote:I spoke to a financial advisor at my bank, including my moral qualms about investing in companies I know nothing about, and he came up with 3 options:
How about investing in companies you do know something about? You would need to pick and research them, but there are (almost certainly) many resources to help you do this. Of course, no company is completely morally pure; you'd have to figure out what moral issues you have, how companies intersect with them, and your tolerance level for moral turpitude averted sainthood. Other options include real estate and municipal bonds.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue May 09, 2017 11:24 pm UTC

Isaac Hill wrote:He mentioned municipal bonds, but not in much detail, as I'd buy them directly instead of through the bank.


Municipals are harder than most people think.

Its rare that you can participate in a direct auction. I've heard people do so, but that's not how it will work from most brokerages. Most municipal bonds are sold to big-banks and then divied out to "smaller" investors who can "only" afford $10,000 at a time. As such, expect markups in the ~1% region from most brokerages, and a bid-ask spread of as high as 5% if you plan on actually selling those things down the road.

Basically, these "fees" are never talked about. Its implicit when buying a municipal bond. Some bonds may take literally months before they're bought or sold, so the brokerages who provide inventory really do deserve some degree of compensation for the risk that they take. However, a bit of research on CUSIPs and the previous prices of the bonds can go a long way. (Try to stick to popular bonds which have lots of activity: if someone else bought the bond in the past week, you can be more confident that the price is fair)

However, there are many benefits. You can buy local or at the state level. Many (not all... but many) are Federal-tax free, and if you buy Municipals from your local state, they're often State-tax free. However, the prices on the tax-free bonds are bad... there are taxed bonds which are usually a better deal if you're not paying the top tier 39.6% tax rate.

Of course, run the math with your specific tax-bracket, maybe the tax-free bonds are better. But don't discount taxed municipals. If you're getting 30% better coupon on taxed municipals but are only in the 25% tax bracket, then you should go taxed. Again, most of the tax-free stuff is for the highest 39.6% tax tier.

--------

It always feels good though to invest in something local. Like there's a road that was recently built in my area, and I considered buying bonds in it. (I know the CUSIP and everything, but I decided to put my money elsewhere, into a Chicago Hospital bond for much higher profits). Without bondholders, those roads or hospitals would never be built... so you do good for your community and everything.

Alternatively, you can buy a mutual fund that focuses on municipal bonds. This adds diversity and simplicity, but costs a %-based fee each year. A good US Federal treasury-bond fund (like TLT) should have fees below 10 BPS (BPS == basis point. A percent-of-a-percent. 10BPS == 0.10%). Municipal bond funds are usually 20-BPS to 150BPS, depending on what you get.
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby sardia » Wed May 10, 2017 2:08 pm UTC

Isaac Hill wrote:I spoke to a financial advisor at my bank, including my moral qualms about investing in companies I know nothing about, and he came up with 3 options:

1) Calvert, a company that specializes in socially responsible investing. The main downside is the 1.3% annual fee.

2) A policy that guarantees a 3% rate of return over 6 years. Basically, I'm loaning my money to a company at 3% interest. The company will try to invest it at a better rate of return and pocket the difference. There's no fees involves, but I'm guessing the company would have no problem investing in morally dubious things.

3) Something that's not invested in the market, but is linked to an index. There's a set withdrawl date X years after I make the purchase. At the end, I have to cash out, even if the index is in a slump; I can't just wait it out for another couple months. On the other hand, the index could be doing exceptionally well that day, and I'd make out. Plus, this is the only one that's FDIC insured.

He mentioned municipal bonds, but not in much detail, as I'd buy them directly instead of through the bank.

Alternative option, invest in the standard low fee sp500 index fund, and then tithe your slightly​ dirty money to the appropriate cause, either after you retire or after long term capital gains tax has kicked in. Like Ke mentioned, bonds aren't something to invest lightly in, and the fees are horrendous.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby sardia » Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:00 pm UTC

My 2004 car is accumulating wear and tear and I want a better car.
I haven't gone car shopping in a long time and all this new fangled stuff is overwhelming. Standard advice is to get a used car, and pocket the depreciation savings. However these new cars have all these safety features that are only on the newest cars. I have about a year of car life left to take advantage of any market fluctuations or new advances. What would you guys do?
The old car will go to my parents.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby ucim » Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:22 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Standard advice is to get a used car, and pocket the depreciation savings.
Old advice. Mixed results. Applies mainly to American cars.

I keep my cars until they are completely dead. So, when I get a replacement, I get a new one. Every mile on it is mine, and I know its history.

First, read Consumer Reports' articles about cars, their reliability, their features, etc. The top cars in the reliability department will not depreciate much in the first few years of ownership; the "it's worth half once you drive it off the lot" is a myth most applicable to American cars, whose reliability is iffy at best. (Yeah, some are getting better; I'll let them prove themselves for a while).

Some of the safety features are great (e.g. backup cameras and the beep warning for cars coming from the side when you're backing up), some are not really ready for prime time, and some I wish other people had (forward collision braking; I've been rear-ended several times lately while sitting at red lights). However, test driving these features takes a lot of time, and can be confusing, and you have to test the exact model and combination you're interested in, and ensure that the particular feature you're testing is enabled. Lanekeeping assist and lane departure warning are two different and independent features, for example, and they are easy to confuse when testing.

Pay attention to which cars are coming up for redesign. Toyota Corrola and Camry I think are up for redesign, so next year's model might be worth waiting for. Or not; the redesign of the Nissan Sentra (in 2013) was an abomination.

Start test-driving now to get your feet wet, with no pressure to buy. Start with dealers far away, so that when you're actually ready to buy, you're fresh for the dealers you're more likely to buy from. Don't be afraid to test-drive repeatedly; you need to compare how different brands' electronics work. Pay attention to the radio too - a hard-to-operate-while-driving radio will cause a crash more easily than the safety features will extricate you from one. (The Honda Accord does not have a pause or mute button on the steering wheel, and most features are buried inside submenus that take your eyes off the road)

Stick with reliable brands (mostly they are Japanese) and don't even consider the less reliable ones.

If you're considering leather, be sure you go in shorts and test drive a car that's been sitting in the sun in summer; unless you have a butler, don't let the dealer air it out first. :)

Jose
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby sardia » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:23 am UTC

ucim wrote:
sardia wrote:Standard advice is to get a used car, and pocket the depreciation savings.
Old advice. Mixed results. Applies mainly to American cars.
I keep my cars until they are completely dead. So, when I get a replacement, I get a new one. Every mile on it is mine, and I know its history.
First, read Consumer Reports' articles about cars, their reliability, their features, etc. The top cars in the reliability department will not depreciate much in the first few years of ownership; the "it's worth half once you drive it off the lot" is a myth most applicable to American cars, whose reliability is iffy at best. (Yeah, some are getting better; I'll let them prove themselves for a while).

Some of the safety features are great (e.g. backup cameras and the beep warning for cars coming from the side when you're backing up), some are not really ready for prime time, and some I wish other people had (forward collision braking; I've been rear-ended several times lately while sitting at red lights). However, test driving these features takes a lot of time, and can be confusing, and you have to test the exact model and combination you're interested in, and ensure that the particular feature you're testing is enabled. Lanekeeping assist and lane departure warning are two different and independent features, for example, and they are easy to confuse when testing.
Pay attention to which cars are coming up for redesign. Toyota Corrola and Camry I think are up for redesign, so next year's model might be worth waiting for. Or not; the redesign of the Nissan Sentra (in 2013) was an abomination.

Start test-driving now to get your feet wet, with no pressure to buy. Start with dealers far away, so that when you're actually ready to buy, you're fresh for the dealers you're more likely to buy from. Don't be afraid to test-drive repeatedly; you need to compare how different brands' electronics work. Pay attention to the radio too - a hard-to-operate-while-driving radio will cause a crash more easily than the safety features will extricate you from one. (The Honda Accord does not have a pause or mute button on the steering wheel, and most features are buried inside submenus that take your eyes off the road)

Stick with reliable brands (mostly they are Japanese) and don't even consider the less reliable ones.

What's this about japanese vs Korean vs American cars? Is there really a competitive difference in this day and age? Or is that just a previously outdated truism from the last decades? I googled it, and found a propaganda piece from JD Power and Ass. about how it's a myth, but there's just not a lot of data out there.
Additional wrinkle, I may qualify for supplier discounts because I work tangentially to the auto supplier industry. Only applies to American cars, which really frustrates me, since they cost more (based on my googling of prices of equivalent cars)
Good point about depreciation and safety features. Something to chew over.
I was looking at carmax for 2017 cars, and they're selling 2017 cars with 30k+ miles on them, which is crazy. Who the hell is buying brand new cars, and driving the hell out of them in a year, only to return them?

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby ucim » Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:02 am UTC

sardia wrote:What's this about japanese vs Korean vs American cars? Is there really a competitive difference in this day and age?
Yeah. It's not universal, but the quality (will it break?) of American cars in general still lags behind the Japanese ones. (Kia, from South Korea, seems to be getting quite reliable too, though they are less well known.) My source is Consumer Reports, especially the reliability indices they publish in their April issues. They are sourced from questionnaires sent out to CU subscribers, asking about repairs to their cars. Consumer Reports is not ad-supported, and does not permit commercial use of their material*, which makes it more likely that their reports are unbiased. Car magazines are dependent on goodwill from car manufacturers for their income, so there's more than a little bit of pressure to shill for them. Reliability is just one aspect of car ownership; I find it pretty important though. And to me, a trend and history of reliability (in the company) is as important as the reliability of any particular vehicle from that company.

* (... although I've found Subaru posting their (great) ratings from CU in their showrooms, and did not find the response from CU to be adequate, so maybe this is changing. Perhaps CU lost a court case that they usually win, but if so, they didn't say so.)

sardia wrote:Who the hell is buying brand new cars, and driving the hell out of them in a year, only to return them?
Car rental companies maybe? Actually, that's something to look into; the cars (I've heard) are late model and well maintained, (depending on the company, I suppose) and you might be able to get some good deals directly through the rental companies, especially if you work in the industry.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby HES » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:59 am UTC

ucim wrote:Car rental companies maybe?

Not just traditional rental, same applies to leased vehicles for company cars, site cars, service vehicles, courtesy cars etc.

So I guess the answer to "who" is "businesses".
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:35 pm UTC

sardia wrote:My 2004 car is accumulating wear and tear and I want a better car.
I haven't gone car shopping in a long time and all this new fangled stuff is overwhelming. Standard advice is to get a used car, and pocket the depreciation savings. However these new cars have all these safety features that are only on the newest cars. I have about a year of car life left to take advantage of any market fluctuations or new advances. What would you guys do?
The old car will go to my parents.


The "big" security features are:

* Anti-lock brakes standardized
* Electronic Stability Control Standardized
* Traction control standardized
* Various Air Bags systems
* Rearview Camera

I forget exactly which years these were standardized. I'm thinking in the 2010 to 2012 era or so... except the Rearview Camera which came into effect like 2017 or so.

------------

From the free-market side, there's also the advancement of crash-tests. Older cars were tested before the "Small-overlap Front Test" was devised. When a pole or other object hits only 25% of the car or less, it misses most of the designed "crumple zone"... and also transfers the maximum amount of force directly to the driver. So there were a lot of cars that had 5-star ratings before 2012, but failed the newer "Small overlap Front Test".

The small-overlap Front Test is one of the "worst-case scenarios", and tons of cars performed poorly with it. But if you think about it: small trees, small poles, and offset head-to-head collisions (ie: both drivers try to get out of the way, but still "clip" each other), its actually a rather common "real life crash scenario". It just... simply wasn't tested for before 2012.

I personally think that you should get a car that has Anti-lock brakes, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control, and a Small-overlap Front Test. Those are the big "safety" advancements.

The Rearview Camera is obviously an important safety standard, but you're not going to find that on anything but a brand-new vehicle. IIRC, the rearview safety standard came into effect like... early in 2017. But if you get a used 2014 model or 2013 model, you'd get most of the important safety standards and also avoid a big "deprecation" hit.

-----------

Non-standardized "premium" features currently include blind-spot detection (beeps when someone's in your blindspot) and automatic braking (car will brake automatically if it detects a collision). These are only on higher-end vehicles though, but I guess you can look out for them.


What's this about japanese vs Korean vs American cars? Is there really a competitive difference in this day and age? Or is that just a previously outdated truism from the last decades? I googled it, and found a propaganda piece from JD Power and Ass. about how it's a myth, but there's just not a lot of data out there.


I was impressed by the Ford Fusion and Ford Focus, as far as reliability goes. I personally went with a Ford Focus Mk 3.

There seems to be a long-term transmission problem there... but if you go manual you completely avoid the problem. The only major issues on the Ford Focus's "reliability" score from Consumer Reports were:

* Radio (IMO... whatever)
* Automatic Transmission

I don't think there's a major difference in the "Sedan" or "Small Sedan" market across the board. If you get a Ford Focus, a Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza, Honda Civic... you'll notice that everybody basically is making the same car from a size, safety, and maintenance perspective. Just check for specific issues in Consumer Reports for your model, and stay away from "New Revisions".

When a big model-change comes, there tends to be some reliability issues as the car-company is twerking their new production line. Ex: Ford Focus Mk2 to Mk3 happened in 2012. The information about the automatic transmission problem didn't really become well known until 2013 or 2014. I guess this only applies if you're planning on buying a 2017 or 2018 model.

I was looking at carmax for 2017 cars, and they're selling 2017 cars with 30k+ miles on them, which is crazy. Who the hell is buying brand new cars, and driving the hell out of them in a year, only to return them?


I have friends who change-out cars every year or two. It completely boggles my mind. They don't get 30k miles on them (maybe 15k/year), but otherwise... yeah... its baffling that some people are so prim-and-proper that they demand the newest generation of cars all the time.

Generally speaking, they lease the car for those years, and then ultimately return the vehicle at the end of the lease.

ucim wrote:
sardia wrote:What's this about japanese vs Korean vs American cars? Is there really a competitive difference in this day and age?
Yeah. It's not universal, but the quality (will it break?) of American cars in general still lags behind the Japanese ones. (Kia, from South Korea, seems to be getting quite reliable too, though they are less well known.) My source is Consumer Reports, especially the reliability indices they publish in their April issues. They are sourced from questionnaires sent out to CU subscribers, asking about repairs to their cars. Consumer Reports is not ad-supported, and does not permit commercial use of their material*, which makes it more likely that their reports are unbiased. Car magazines are dependent on goodwill from car manufacturers for their income, so there's more than a little bit of pressure to shill for them. Reliability is just one aspect of car ownership; I find it pretty important though. And to me, a trend and history of reliability (in the company) is as important as the reliability of any particular vehicle from that company.


Consumer Reports is the best resource. The few $$ for quality information during car buying is important.

However, I say go one-step further and read up on specific issues per brand. American cars seem to get lower-reliability scores overall... but when you actually dig into the details, it may or may not apply to your case. (IE: A Ford Focus with manual transmission basically is as reliable as any other car, since the only issues were Radio and Automatic Transmission).

Its a slight flaw in the Consumer Reports reliability scheme. The survey question they send out basically says "Have you sent your car to the shop in the past year??". But if you go to the shop to check on a radio issue or something minor, that still counts as a reliability problem.

Still, Consumer Reports is probably the best car resource in the USA. So I highly suggest getting a subscription for a month or two.
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby Zamfir » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:46 pm UTC

Perhaps this is too obvious to mention, but what I found useful: make a "history" table for a car model you're interested in.

Define a model your interested in, including engine and trim level. Go to a used car website, and find a 2 year old, 4 year old, down to 10 year example of that same car (includign earlier models), with roughly equally spaced kilometers on the clock. From sellers that look reputable enough.

This gives you a pretty good idea of depreciation. And at the same time, you learn when the older iterations lose features that you value.

Look up real-world mileage and convert it to yearly cost. Look up insurance quotes for the whole list; that doesn't take much time either. Some websites estimate maintenance costs. However unreliable, it's better than nothing. Put it all together, and you can see how yearly cost of ownership varies with age. You can add other cross-sections as well. Different engines, different kilometers-driven for the same age, same brand but larger or smaller model, similar model from other brands.

If I do this for 20 or 30 examples, I get a decent "feel"for the market - what's a reasonable deal, even for variations that were not exactly in the list. At that point, it can be useful to simply go to the guy who maintains your car. Explain what you are looking for (various models, age range, must-have features, colours you hate), and how long you can wait for a nice one to show up. In my experience, they like this. They call around to their buddies, make you an offer when something shows up. Saves them on storage cost and risk if they have a likely buyer lined up in advance. And it's always worthwhile to buy from someone who still expects future business from you.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby sardia » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:43 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:Perhaps this is too obvious to mention, but what I found useful: make a "history" table for a car model you're interested in.

Define a model your interested in, including engine and trim level. Go to a used car website, and find a 2 year old, 4 year old, down to 10 year example of that same car (includign earlier models), with roughly equally spaced kilometers on the clock. From sellers that look reputable enough.

This gives you a pretty good idea of depreciation. And at the same time, you learn when the older iterations lose features that you value.

Look up real-world mileage and convert it to yearly cost. Look up insurance quotes for the whole list; that doesn't take much time either. Some websites estimate maintenance costs. However unreliable, it's better than nothing. Put it all together, and you can see how yearly cost of ownership varies with age. You can add other cross-sections as well. Different engines, different kilometers-driven for the same age, same brand but larger or smaller model, similar model from other brands.

If I do this for 20 or 30 examples, I get a decent "feel"for the market - what's a reasonable deal, even for variations that were not exactly in the list. At that point, it can be useful to simply go to the guy who maintains your car. Explain what you are looking for (various models, age range, must-have features, colours you hate), and how long you can wait for a nice one to show up. In my experience, they like this. They call around to their buddies, make you an offer when something shows up. Saves them on storage cost and risk if they have a likely buyer lined up in advance. And it's always worthwhile to buy from someone who still expects future business from you.

Good idea, I started compiling a variant of this table. I'll post it as it grows.
Side Note: I understand why people hate dealerships so much. I walked into a dealership, and their website is awful. Google's information is crystal clear, and the manufacture's data is almost as good. Why the hell can't I tell what options were installed on the cars in your inventory? No, having airbags and powered locks do not count as "features", it's a 2017 car, damnit.
On the brightside, it was fun taking a fancy new car I had little intention of buying through it's paces. Apparently they got rid of the feedback that antilock braking does. I think I'll request the premium trim for my next test drive at another dealership of course. It was ok driving a mid level trim, but I want to know what I'm missing. I'm not impressed with safety features so far. I think I need to see the advanced technology packages to see if they're worth the $2000 upgrade. I'm aiming for a 2016 to 2017 car rigth now, with the possibility of a 2018 model if that one car I was eyeing gets an urgent upgrade. I have a bike that fits inside a CR-V. It's nice to bring a bike around, and not have to pay for single use tools that I might only use once a month. Should I pay a premium(increased size) for a suv that's big enough to fit a bike? Or am I being silly and should ignore the bike? Uptime on the bike is summer+ half of fall and spring; not including climate change extending summer. I should have taken pictures of my test drive. =.=

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:06 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Should I pay a premium(increased size) for a suv that's big enough to fit a bike? Or am I being silly and should ignore the bike?
Or get an external bike rack. Depends how often you'd use it.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:32 pm UTC

sardia wrote: I have a bike that fits inside a CR-V. It's nice to bring a bike around, and not have to pay for single use tools that I might only use once a month. Should I pay a premium(increased size) for a suv that's big enough to fit a bike? Or am I being silly and should ignore the bike? Uptime on the bike is summer+ half of fall and spring; not including climate change extending summer. I should have taken pictures of my test drive. =.=


If you have a habit / lifestyle, you should buy the things that fit your lifestyle. For example, my dad plays golf. So he needed to make sure that multiple golf-bags fit in his car without folding any seats (enough for a foursome to play).

I think ucim has the right idea there: are you willing to use a bike-rack? Either on the roof of your car or on the back? Or do you really need it to be in the SUV (protect it from rain, behind a lock for security...). The answer likely lies in your personal situation... such as whether or not you trust your neighbors, where you plan to drive with a bike (ex: I'd be comfortable leaving my bike out at my Office for various reasons. But I wouldn't be comfortable if I drove to the Grocery Store)
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:21 pm UTC

sardia wrote:My 2004 car is accumulating wear and tear and I want a better car.
I haven't gone car shopping in a long time and all this new fangled stuff is overwhelming. Standard advice is to get a used car, and pocket the depreciation savings. However these new cars have all these safety features that are only on the newest cars. I have about a year of car life left to take advantage of any market fluctuations or new advances. What would you guys do?
The old car will go to my parents.


This depends a lot on where you live, how often you need to drive, and what is available in your area, but I have saved a huge amount of money by skipping ownership entirely and opting for a car share. The one I use ends up costing only a couple hundred a month, including gas and insurance (though I don't drive that often), and all of the cars are brand new, and there's enough selection in my neighbourhood that if I need to move something big, I can get a pickup truck or a van, or if I just need to go around town I can grab a Prius.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby sardia » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:51 pm UTC

Here's my first chart. I've noticed while test driving that I really like the auto driving and safety features.
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby ucim » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:20 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Here's my first chart. I've noticed while test driving that I really like the auto driving and safety features.
What's the sort order?

My (limited) experience was that I liked the autosteer in the test drives, and ended up with a Honda Accord. However, if I use the lane keeping and manually steer at the same time, the ride is more jerky as I end up fighting it; sometimes going with it and sometimes going against it. I did not notice this when I test drove the Honda CRV (which I thought was smoother than the Subaru version), but I don't remember if I paid that close attention to the Accord, figuring it would be similar.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:10 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Here's my first chart. I've noticed while test driving that I really like the auto driving and safety features.


I suggest bringing your bike with you next time you test drive. I think a relevant metric for you is "Does bike fit inside of car" ?? If so, how much of a hassle is it? (Requires backseats to be down, vs fits in the trunk comfortably, vs outside / on top of car only)

The best way to measure is to just try and stuff your bike into the back. And you can probably test out the seat-folding mechanism while you're at it.

------------

Also, thanks for the reminder on how arbitrary the "SUV vs Wagon" debate is. Really, a Subaru Outback is an SUV?? Not a wagon? The Forrester looks far more "SUVish" to me! (Higher clearance, etc. etc.) Ah well, its an arbitrary / marketing distinction. Not really a technical term...
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby sardia » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:40 am UTC

ucim wrote:What's the sort order?

My (limited) experience was that I liked the autosteer in the test drives, and ended up with a Honda Accord. However, if I use the lane keeping and manually steer at the same time, the ride is more jerky as I end up fighting it; sometimes going with it and sometimes going against it. I did not notice this when I test drove the Honda CRV (which I thought was smoother than the Subaru version), but I don't remember if I paid that close attention to the Accord, figuring it would be similar.

Jose

There's no real sort order, I put highlight fields by price.
I've made some more filters to my chart. Anything without advanced cruise control + lane keeping is automatically out. That still leaves me with a lot of cars, so I'm going for a hatchback/suv to cram my bike into. Oddly enough, Toyota apparently gave all their low trims the fancy cruise control. That's pretty tempting. It does mean that I have to pay a premium for the toyota brand name though. I'll have to crunch the numbers against the Ioniq and niro.
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1. I've noticed that car reviews all center around power and how it drives, and pay lip service to all this exciting tech stuff. I guess it's a product of who car reviewers are, car guys. They aren't from the tech world.
2. I hate sunroofs but they are so ubiquitous and are almost always bundled with premium features. I've given up on avoiding one.
3. I hate salesman who brag about the autodriving features, but won't let me test it. Congrats, you just wasted our time, and cost yourself a sale.
4. I hate how every company has their own special names for the same damn features. =( At least lane keeping is a standardized term. Trim levels and cruise control names can go to hell.
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby ucim » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:50 pm UTC

sardia wrote:...It does mean that I have to pay a premium for the toyota brand name though.
You get Toyota reliability in the package though.
sardia wrote:1. I've noticed that car reviews all center around power and how it drives, and pay lip service to all this exciting tech stuff.
Cars are sold by the macho.
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sardia wrote:2. I hate sunroofs but...
So did I, but the Honda Accord I got has remote engine start (which I always wanted) and remote window (and sunroof) open... which is remote engine start for summertime. Love it.

If you're thinking of leather seats, be sure you sit in them in shorts after the car's been sitting in the sun on a summer day. Then decide.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:49 pm UTC

ucim wrote:If you're thinking of leather seats, be sure you sit in them in shorts after the car's been sitting in the sun on a summer day. Then decide.


Or buy a windshield sunshade and religiously use it.

Leather gets hot in the sun. But there are ways to mitigate the problem.
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby sardia » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:04 am UTC

ucim wrote:You get Toyota reliability in the package though.Cars are sold by the macho.So did I, but the Honda Accord I got has remote engine start (which I always wanted) and remote window (and sunroof) open... which is remote engine start for summertime. Love it.

If you're thinking of leather seats, be sure you sit in them in shorts after the car's been sitting in the sun on a summer day. Then decide.

Let's be honest here, if you want anything fancy, there's no way around getting leather seats or a moon roof. You have to get it because the factory either made the stripped down base model, or shoved all the unnecessary stuff in. I'm looking for a few mid level trims that aren't entirely wasteful, but still have the stuff I want.

I managed to cram my bike into the Ioniq, and theoretically I could do the same in the prius if I took down both the rear and front seat. They didn't have a demonstration model that they were ok with me scratching up. I'm saddened that my corporate discount is worthless because all the cars I want aren't included. (I have discounts with big three auto, and Nissan.) Scratch that, I also have discounts with all the luxury cars, and Hyundai as well.

KnightExemplar wrote:
ucim wrote:If you're thinking of leather seats, be sure you sit in them in shorts after the car's been sitting in the sun on a summer day. Then decide.


Or buy a windshield sunshade and religiously use it.

Leather gets hot in the sun. But there are ways to mitigate the problem.
Honestly I'm just gonna remote start my car and turn on the ac... I just googled it, and apparently hybrids don't have remote starters, lol.

Everyone knows that suvs are overpriced due to them being in demand, but my spreadsheet indicates that sedans aren't any better. As soon as you increase a trim level (which lets you have the privilege of paying for an option) the savings disappear. You can't even get a full size sedan, you either get mid size or compact. It almost erases the hybrid premium as well, which I found strange.(only for models that were designed to be a hybrid from the start. Hybrid variants of normal models still cost more)
Edit: I'm not including oversupply/weak demand for nonsuvs. Supposedly desperate dealers will give up to $9000 to offload them. I don't think that applies to hybrids though or hatchbacks.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby ucim » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:21 pm UTC

sardia wrote:It almost erases the hybrid premium as well
The hybrid premium isn't just money; it's also cargo space (especially for plug-ins, if you want to be able to drive pure electric for a decent run). The batteries eat up almost all of the plug-in Prius' cargo space. On the Honda Accord, the hybrid (not a plug-in) doesn't have fold-down rear seats; the batteries go where the hole would be. So much for putting a ten foot 2x4 in it.

sardia wrote:Honestly I'm just gonna remote start my car and turn on the ac...
Pretty inefficient, no? Remote window/moonroof open does almost as well for far less pollution. In any case, test it to ensure that the ac will actually cool the leather while the sun is still beating on it.

Yeah, it's hard to get upscale without leather - it's a pet peeve of mine too. I do like the leather wrapped steering wheel, but I don't understand the pre-empting (of cloth options) appeal of leather seats.

Jose
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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby trpmb6 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:49 pm UTC

I really like the seats in my 2013 Dodge Ram. They are a man-made polyester-like material that isn't cloth, but doesn't burn your legs like leather. They don't stain like cloth but are breathable and quite comfortable and stylish.

But if I'm in a sports car it just feels right to have leather seats.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby sardia » Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:27 am UTC

Quick math/finance question. A car price is reduced by $2000 if you pay upfront. Alternately you can pay it out at 0% interest over 2 years. You can get a private loan which is used to get the $2000 upfront, at the cost of some interest. Assuming you had most of the money already, how much interest could the loan cost before it's no longer worth it? How much do you value adding another account to your credit score? (This would increase my total number of accounts noted in my credit score into the next bracket) If I can keep interest+fees below $100, it should be worth it. The bank's profit comes from me potentially not paying off the loan before too much interest accrues.
Example: Car H costs $22000 with cash, or $24000 with Dealer financing(and ups your credit history). Bank A offers a x% interest rate loan over y years. For some really low x%, you save money. If interest rate from Bank A is too high, then the only benefit (as far as I can tell) is the ability to make two payments to buy the car. Rapid repayment negates most of the interest.

For those of you who are confused, if you pay upfront for a car, you don't build your credit score. If you take the 0% financing from the dealer, you lose out on the cash discount. The car dealer only offers high interest rate loans, a short term 0% loan, or pay for a car upfront for a discount(but nothing is added to your credit history). Having a bank loan allows you to get most to all of the discount of paying upfront, and still add to your credit score. The bank probably won't do this for free, but there is no prepayment penalty. I'm guessing there's gonna be a fee somewhere that I need to know about before committing to either decision.

Edit: Added example in case I'm thinking this the wrong way.

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Re: Let's Talk Money

Postby Isaac Hill » Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:25 pm UTC

sardia - Does the dealer have a prepayment penalty? Mine didn't. So, when I bought my most recent car, I took the $2k cash discount with dealer financing over 5 years. Then, I paid the can loan off in the next few months saving (almost) all the interest. I don't know how this affected my credit score, though.
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