Author Topic: Trying to justify four cars for two people  (Read 11247 times)

southern granny

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Trying to justify four cars for two people
« on: February 06, 2014, 07:32:28 PM »
Two empty nesters and we have four vehicles.  Sounds ridiculous, but I can't see how to change it.  We have one late model car, gas efficient, dependable.  I bought this because I sometimes have to travel to remote locations for work.  I am paranoid about being stranded with a broken down car.  Anyway.... this is my daily driver and the car we take for weekend trips, etc.  My husband has a pick up.  Older model, but still in pretty good condition.  He does use it, hauling lawn mower, fishing, etc.  We also kept my old vehicle, a 2002 SUV.  This is not driven much, but it is the only vehicle that we can get all four grandchildren in... so when we take them anywhere, zoo, fishing, museums, we use the explorer.  Okay, now we are to car number 4.  This is a classic car.  Actually my first car that I bought when I was 18.  This is our main source of entertainment during the spring and summer.  We do a lot of cruise ins and car shows.  Usually about one  a week.  We pack a cooler and spend the day with a group of really nice people looking at cars and just socializing.  When we retire we want to do the route 66 thing.  All vehicles are paid for.  Only the new car has full coverage  insurance.  The pick up and SUV only have liability.  The classic car also has comprehensive because I worry about someone stealing it.  I am going to raise the deductibles to $1000.  We both have excellent driving records, so our insurance is pretty reasonable.  So, any thoughts or just face punches.  I can take it.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2014, 08:06:27 PM »
...but I can't see how to change it.

Well certainly not with that attitude! But it's a question of why you want to change. Your cars are paid for, and a lot maintenance costs are going to be pretty proportional to use. It basically boils down to whether your insurance costs+value of space+ depreciation costs are greater than the value you get out of the cars. That's going to be a personal value call in some part. Initially I say: Drop the comprehensive insurance on the classic car. Ditch the truck. Consider ditching the classic car if costs are too high.

The classic car also has comprehensive because I worry about someone stealing it.

Errrrrrrrrrrrt! Stop right there. Reread that. You have comprehensive insurance because you worry about someone stealing the car? Firstly, comprehensive auto insurance isn't going to make it less likely the car gets stolen. Sounds obvious, but the way you're talking makes it sound as though having insurance somehow addresses your worries the car will be stolen.

And if the car does get stolen, your insurance isn't going to cover the real value of the car to you: the sentimental value that it's YOUR first car. Even then it might not cover its true worth: does your insurance agency recognize that it's a well-maintained classic? Or think it's something nearly ready for the junkheap? Their assessment might be way too low, sentimental values aside.

 Thirdly, the insurance company knows better than you the chances your car gets stolen and they've priced your plan to make money off of you- it's a losing gamble you've taken. They know exactly what type of car you drive, its security features, its location, statistical rates of theft of the vehicle and vehicles like it. They set the insurance premiums (your wager) to stack the odds in their favor.

Fourthly, if the car did get stolen, it's not as though anything catastrophic would happen to you- you've still got three other perfectly good cars cars. Unless the car is incredibly valuable and you plan to sell it to finance your retirement, why have comprehensive insurance? You're taking a losing bet to get a payout that will never actually cover the sentimental loss.

My guess is that the car will be pretty inexpensive to maintain with only liability insurance. It is taking up space and might be worth something, so you could consider selling it. Admit it, you don't need it, you want it. Nothing wrong with that, but you just need to be aware of what you're giving up to have that luxury.

The truck:

How often do you need to haul a lawn mower or go fishing? You're telling me an SUV can't also hold your husband's fishing gear or a lawn mower? I'd say ditch the truck and use the SUV for that. If you really, really need a truck, just rent one.

I think you can get by with no loss of utility with just the dependable car and the SUV. If you like it, keep the classic, but dump the comprehensive insurance. I'd dump the truck.

If you have a better breakdown of costs for each vehicle, your space, ~miles driven each year in each vehicle or number of days/year each vehicle is used we can help you out better.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 08:08:58 PM by chucklesmcgee »

southern granny

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2014, 08:39:04 PM »
The reason I worry about the classic being stolen is that we don't have a locking garage to keep it in.  It stays in a carport under a tarp.  There aren't any security features in a 1970 mustang.  We keep another car parked behind it at night, but during the day when we are at work, it would be easy for someone to take off with it.  We talked about putting a kill switch in, but probably if someone steals it, they are going to pull it up on a trailer.  It is not super valuable, probably 20K.  But its a nice car and a lot of fun to drive around and see people taking pictures of it with their cell phones.  You can get  cheap insurance on collector cars, but you have to meet a lot of requirements that we can't do, such as a locked garage and you have to take the battery out.  My insurance agent said that what they would pay would be an average of what three car lots say they would sell the car for.  I have tons of pictures and a room full of trophies to prove it is in really good condition.  I will consider dropping the comprehensive, but I would be so sick if someone rolled away with a $20,000 car and l was left with nothing but a grease spot.   

m8547

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2014, 08:46:11 PM »
Don't you have enough cars that you can park one behind it in the day, too?

Greg

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2014, 09:02:16 PM »
If you change things around so that the Mustang is in the garage, you could get classic car insurance from Hagerty for less than your current insurance.

Argyle

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2014, 09:25:48 PM »
Can you exchange the late model car and the SUV for one reliable vehicle that you can get the four grandchildren into?

And I agree, with four cars, surely there are two cars at home at all times?  So can't you park the remaining one in a way that will block the classic car?

Dicey

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2014, 11:22:35 PM »
The most important thing that you left out of your post is your overall financial situation. This matters more than how or why you have so many cars. If you have insufficient retirement savings and creditors in your back seat, start sellin', baby. If you can truly afford four cars and you enjoy all of them, why the hell not? You only drive one or two at a time, so four cars may not be as outrageous as it sounds.

Eric

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2014, 11:50:46 PM »
I think the real question is how many bikes do you have?

homehandymum

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2014, 11:52:12 PM »
How often are you driving all the grandchildren together?   For the rare times you need it, I'd be ditching the SUV, and just taking both your car and the pick-up when you need all 4 grandkids to go somewhere with you both.   

We've got a car insured as "3rd party + fire + theft",  so a step up from straight liability insurance, but not as spendy as comprehensive.  It only pays out on *our* car if it's stolen or destroyed by fire, but covers my behind if I drive into a Lexus, for instance.  I have no idea if something like this is available in the States, but worth finding out for your Classic.

Or, how much would it cost to DIY the carport into a lockable garage? 

Dicey

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2014, 11:54:00 PM »
I think the real question is how many bikes do you have?

Touche, Eric!

soccerluvof4

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2014, 05:36:45 AM »
You can justify anything and it seem kinda like thats what your trying to do. Just like you can google just about any argument to support your side.

Its really simple. There is no reason in at least the situations you have mentioned to have 4 cars. Its a desire not a need ! If its the one thing you really love having and its not keeping you from reaching your ER goals then so be it with the classic car. I have alot of friends that do car shows and stuff so its a form of there entertainment,  but having the truck and SUV there is no reason for both. Its all about choices. Chance are you wont miss getting rid of at least one if not 2 of them.

C. K.

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2014, 06:26:32 AM »
Can you exchange the late model car and the SUV for one reliable vehicle that you can get the four grandchildren into?

And I agree, with four cars, surely there are two cars at home at all times?  So can't you park the remaining one in a way that will block the classic car?

I was about to say something similar - sell your hauling truck, people carrier and your dependable car. Buy one vehicle (with cash) that does all of this.

I've seen SUV/Minivan combos that carry push lawn mowers once you take out or fold the back seat. Some off-roaders carry a lot of people and you can hose out the back if your work boots make it muddy.

Keep the sentimental classic car.

You can use this car recommender: http://www.cars.com/go/criteria/criteriaSearchForm.html

Depending on how often you carry the grandchildren around, would it be feasible to rent a big enough car for however many weekends they are down there instead of paying the insurance and maintenance on so many vehicles? Just a thought.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 06:31:02 AM by C. K. »

Ashyukun

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2014, 08:53:53 AM »
I'd agree with most of the others that there's no compelling reason for getting rid of the classic car. I know of my stable of cars the classic/exotic would be the last I'd want to get rid of for how much fun it is and how much I love its uniqueness. I would reevaluate the coverage on it though and see if you can get any better rates.

As for the others, combining the SUV and truck's usage into one seems fairly logical of an approach to me. Something that I don't think has been suggested yet- does the SUV have a trailer hitch? If so and the things you haul in the truck won't fit well (or are just too dirty) for putting INTO the SUV, can you get a small trailer for them instead and haul it behind the SUV?

The late-model car... is the SUV that much less efficient and reliable? Though if you both go off and do your own thing and each need a car and don't drive the Mustang for normal usage I can see it being useful- I know we'll never likely have less than 3 cars ourselves because the fiancee and I both need our own for work commuting and the exotic while reliable enough for commuting is just not well-suited for it.

thurston howell iv

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2014, 12:09:55 PM »
frugalconfederate: You will never be able to justify 4 cars for 2 people on this web board. (Maybe 4 bikes for 2 people, maybe.)

That being said, I think that the idea of the MMM philosophy is to guide you and show how and where you waste money. We all do it. I have a similar dilemma. (7 cars for 2 people) eek!  I have a few for sale and 3 classic cars. (It's a disease, I know)...

The problem we have is similar as well. We love the car shows, we use the SUV for hauling and big trips. We use the smaller cars for dd driving (bike riding is impossible at this time- roads are too treacherous to drive much less bike)

As far as I'm concerned being able to retire early and having this abundance of money isn't worth spit if you cannot have some enjoyment. We like the cars (as stupid as that sounds). It's a hobby, an outlet. It keeps us occupied. We (DW included) would rather work on the cars than go to the mall and spend money on useless trash.

My advise, sell the suv if it's only used for the grandkids and sell one of the DD cars and then buy 1 slightly larger car... My mother just bought a 2002 Cadillac Deville  (the big one) for around $3k. She regularly hauls the 3 grandkids with no issues. MPG is around 20 but it beats having an extra car.

Additionally, put the classic in the garage and find a way to lock it. GO to American Collectors Insurance. I pay $285 a year for my 3 classics.

Lower the coverages if you can and increase the deductibles on the other 2 cars. 

This way you can have your cake and eat it too!
« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 12:12:05 PM by thurston howell iv »

warfreak2

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2014, 01:02:44 PM »
As far as I know, the MMM philosophy is also that, if you want to, you can change what gives you enjoyment.

thepokercab

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2014, 01:05:09 PM »
The most important thing that you left out of your post is your overall financial situation. This matters more than how or why you have so many cars. If you have insufficient retirement savings and creditors in your back seat, start sellin', baby. If you can truly afford four cars and you enjoy all of them, why the hell not? You only drive one or two at a time, so four cars may not be as outrageous as it sounds.

I would agree with this.  If your in FIRE, or near it, and having these vehicles are part of your overall plan, then that's a choice you've made and more power to you.  However, if your in a debt emergency, or want to reach FIRE sooner, and are trying to figure out how to achieve your financial goals, then having 4 cars is definitely weighing you down.  As long as you realize you're making a choice to own 4 cars, and that you're prioritizing that choice over the alternative (i.e. not owning 4 cars and saving more money) then I don't see the issue.   

StarryC

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2014, 01:06:25 PM »
Do the grandchildren all fit in a car one of their parents/ your children drives?

When you want to take them, you could borrow your kid's car, with the grandchildren, and leave mom and dad with your smaller car.  I think this is relatively common for carseated children- it is easier to trade cars than try to get the car seat into grandma's car.

Then you don't need the SUV.  3 cars for two people is a lot, but when one is a rarely used truck and one is actually a hobby, it makes more sense.
  I agree about dropping comprehensive on the classic.  How sketchy is your neighborhood?  How often are cars getting stolen really?  Could you tell your neighbors that you aren't having that car towed any time soon, so if they see that happening they should give you a call?  Would a "club" fit on the car?  Could you put a motion sensor light near it at night?  How visible is it from the street?  What about putting a "boot" on it?


daverobev

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2014, 01:51:22 PM »
Ditch the pickup, put a hitch on the SUV?

Other than that, it depends on the insurance costs, maintenance costs vs your overall position. If you *need* the pickup for work (your hub, rather) - then keep it. If he can get by with the SUV, keep that but lose the pickup.

Nothing wrong with having a classic car if it is your fun, nothing wrong with driving an efficient car long distances. But do compare it, overall, vs selling it and driving the SUV everywhere. Do whatever makes sense.

southern granny

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2014, 07:54:48 PM »
I think the real queion is how many bikes do you have?

I don't live in a bike friendly town.  The city wanted to institute some bike lanes a couple of years ago and the citizens objected because they would lose parking places.   Not a good town for mass transit either.  Busses end at 6 on weekdays , 4 on Saturday and don't run at all on Sunday.  Pretty much everyone drives.

southern granny

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2014, 07:56:53 PM »
If you change things around so that the Mustang is in the garage, you could get classic car insurance from Hagerty for less than your current insurance.
There is no garage.  Only a carport so I can't qualify for the collector car insurance.

southern granny

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2014, 08:05:26 PM »
How often are you driving all the grandchildren together?   For the rare times you need it, I'd be ditching the SUV, and just taking both your car and the pick-up when you need all 4 grandkids to go somewhere with you both.   

We've got a car insured as "3rd party + fire + theft",  so a step up from straight liability insurance, but not as spendy as comprehensive.  It only pays out on *our* car if it's stolen or destroyed by fire, but covers my behind if I drive into a Lexus, for instance.  I have no idea if something like this is available in the States, but worth finding out for your Classic.

Or, how much would it cost to DIY the carport into a lockable garage?

Thanks,  the insurance you describe is what is called comprehensive in the states. That is what I have.    It covers the car if a tornado damages it, the house burns down around it, or someone steals it.  It covers the other car if I run into someone... but it doesn't cover my car if I run into someone.  The other insurance we call "full coverage" or "collision" coverage.

TreeTired

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2014, 08:15:32 PM »
A car is for transportation.  A classic car is a hobby.   To me they are 2 totally different things.  You should be able to get rid of 1 of your 3 transportation vehicles.   I have a 68 Corvette, but it is in a locked garage and I pay $220/yr for agreed value collector insurance.  NC assesses property tax on cars, but the tax value of classic cars is limited to $500,  so it's pretty cheap to keep the classic as long as I can do the maintenance myself.

In your case, due to insurance, you have a more expensive hobby. 


southern granny

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2014, 08:32:36 PM »
The most important thing that you left out of your post is your overall financial situation. This matters more than how or why you have so many cars. If you have insufficient retirement savings and creditors in your back seat, start sellin', baby. If you can truly afford four cars and you enjoy all of them, why the hell not? You only drive one or two at a time, so four cars may not be as outrageous as it sounds.

I like this way of looking at it.  The vehicles are paid for.  Since three of them are over 10 years old the taxes aren't much.  Actually the mustang for taxes is only valued at $250 dollars because it is so old.  So the extra expense is in the insurance.  Neither one of us has even had a speeding ticket in the last 30 years, so insurance is reasonable.   I am feeling a lot better about it.  I will make some changes on down the road, but for now I am keeping them.  Thanks again

southern granny

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2014, 08:39:08 PM »
frugalconfederate: You will never be able to justify 4 cars for 2 people on this web board. (Maybe 4 bikes for 2 people, maybe.)

That being said, I think that the idea of the MMM philosophy is to guide you and show how and where you waste money. We all do it. I have a similar dilemma. (7 cars for 2 people) eek!  I have a few for sale and 3 classic cars. (It's a disease, I know)...


Okay... so there is at least one other person on this site with motor oil in their veins and grease under their fingernails.   Thanks for your input!

Jamesqf

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2014, 09:35:25 PM »
Add another vote for you being fairly ok as is, depending on your financial situation.  If it's a struggle, sure, something has to go, but if you can easily afford it, why not?

I do agree about dropping comprehensive on the Mustang.  Also, how ofter do you have all the grandkids in the SUV?  It might work out cheaper just to rent something for their visits.

greaper007

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2014, 10:44:39 PM »
If you're looking for something to get rid of, the pickup sounds like the least versatile.   I drive a VW golf with a roof rack and I've only run into a couple things I couldn't carry.   Since you have a large suv (more than 4 seats behind the driver) I bet you have at least a 5000 lbs towing capacity.    Why not just buy a cheap harbor freight trailer and use that for the rare times you need to transport a lawn mower?   

But, if you like all the cars, and they're older.   What's the big deal?    I pay something like 30 dollars a month on my 03 golf, and registration is under a hundred.   Cut out a few meals out  a year and you're even.

Jack

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2014, 12:01:14 AM »
Replace all three non-classic cars with a Mazda5 with a trailer hitch. Or, if you really need two non-classic cars, then replace the SUV and the late-model sedan with the Mazda5.

I'm glad to hear that there are others around here for whom cars are a hobby as well as a means of transportation. I myself am considering getting a third car (for a 2-person household). Right now I have a 1998 VW New Beetle TDI (diesel) and a 1996 Ford Ranger I-4 4x4. The TDI is for commuting and the truck is for hauling (my house is a fixer-upper), but I'm planning to get a 1999-2006 Mazda Miata for redundancy (so that the truck doesn't have to be a daily-driver, and so I have something to use when the VW breaks down) and for autocross.

homehandymum

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2014, 12:37:58 AM »
Thanks,  the insurance you describe is what is called comprehensive in the states. That is what I have.    ...
 The other insurance we call "full coverage" or "collision" coverage.

Ah, I understand now.  Darned language. You'd never guess we were speaking the same one, some days.

Dicey

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2014, 10:32:53 PM »
Hmmm, in re-reading this thread, I notice you have no garage and crappy public transportation. Is moving an option, either now or once you reach FIRE?

southern granny

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2014, 06:52:15 PM »
Thanks everyone.  I am moving the Mustang from transportation to hobbies/entertainment.  That is actually what it is.  In 37 years we have driven it maybe 30.000 miles. 

MrsPete

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2014, 12:18:00 PM »
Okay, "trying to justify" means you know it's not rational. 

My take on the whole thing: 

About being paranoid about being left somewhere -- how realistic is this?  Have you ever been stranded?  Do you travel to places where your cell phone won't work? 

About your husband toting around mowers, etc.  How often does he do this?  Instead of maintaining a car that can transport a mower, why not buy a second mower for the secondary location?  It's certainly cheaper than maintaining the car. 

I could see the classic car as a hobby -- so include it in your entertainment budget. 

You're both still working?  Do you both need a car right now?  If you downsized to one car, could one of you stop working?  Sounds crazy, but MANY families have a second income JUST to support a second car.  When you stop working, I'd suggest you definitely downsize to one car.  It's very do-able. 

I agree that I'd want to be able to transport all the grandchildren in one vehicle.  If one of your adult children's cars will do this, great.  If not, I'd consider trading in your bunch of cars towards ONE that will suit ALL your needs.  And in the meantime, if you can't trade with one of your adult children, consider renting a car on the occasions that you need to transport the kids.  We do this occasionally, and it's a reasonable option -- cheaper than owning the car all the time. 

phred

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2014, 12:31:46 PM »
take the tires & rims off the mustang and store them elsewhere.  Put the 'stang up on jackstands before you throw the tarp over it - now harder to tow.  If you know someone who can do acid etching, etch a slightly small design onto each car window; replacing glass costs too much to most thieves.
  Pickup trucks are generally gas hogs.  Line the back of the SUV with cut sheets of ply so you can haul the mower.

Villanelle

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #32 on: February 10, 2014, 12:44:33 PM »
Mower and fishing supplies into the SUV.  If for some reason your SUV won't fit your lawnmower, sell both it and a truck and buy an SUV that will work for both purposes.

And yes, the idea of borrowing the parents' car when you have all the grandkids.

There are definitely some practical, not difficult ways to get down to 2 vehicles (and a hobby).  If you want to do it, it can be done.  If you don't, then depending on your finances, that might be stupid, or it might just be not the way most of us would do it.


MustachianAccountant

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #33 on: February 10, 2014, 12:44:45 PM »
take the tires & rims off the mustang and store them elsewhere.  Put the 'stang up on jackstands before you throw the tarp over it - now harder to tow.  If you know someone who can do acid etching, etch a slightly small design onto each car window; replacing glass costs too much to most thieves.

Some local and county police will etch your VIN number into your windows for free. They usually have "VIN Etching" days, so it's not a "just walk right in" kind of a thing. Worth calling around.

Eric

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2014, 04:34:20 PM »
take the tires & rims off the mustang and store them elsewhere.  Put the 'stang up on jackstands before you throw the tarp over it - now harder to tow.  If you know someone who can do acid etching, etch a slightly small design onto each car window; replacing glass costs too much to most thieves.

Some local and county police will etch your VIN number into your windows for free. They usually have "VIN Etching" days, so it's not a "just walk right in" kind of a thing. Worth calling around.

Just make sure to visit the ATM Machine with your PIN Number before having your VIN Number etched, just in case it's not free.  ;)

warfreak2

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Re: Trying to justify four cars for two people
« Reply #35 on: February 11, 2014, 05:36:41 PM »
Use your Personal PIN Number - someone else's won't work. I also recommend the Automatic ATM Machines, which are much more reliable than the ones you have to hand-crank.