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  • Car purchase question

    My nephew is turning 16 and my brother wanted to get him a reliable cheap car and I without thinking said,  "just buy mine".  He thought it was a great idea, I have a 2010 sedan with low miles worth about 6k. They took it for a test drive and now they want to buy it.  I dislike the car I drive but it is reliable, paid off, and gets me  to work and other errands well.  I really want an SUV or truck.  Like WCI, I am in Utah and want something that makes it easier to enjoy the mountains.  Once this year on a powder day I was unable to get up the canyon and it about killed me.

    However buying a car is not in my financial plan now, especially a more expensive truck/SUV. I still owe around 130k student loans (started at 260k three years ago). I have two mortgages: one is a house I foolishly bought during residency and could not sell (it is being rented at about -$75/month loss now) for 90k,  and the house where I live.   I am about half way through my practice buy in with about 120k remaining. I am saving 20%+ of gross for retirement.  I can afford about 30k (which would be enough for what I want) for a nicer used car easily but it would slow down my student debt payoff plan.

    I feel now that I should have kept my mouth shut about selling the car but they do want it and it would be nice to let them have it but I feel hesitant about splurging on a nicer car.  Any advice?

  • #2
    If you're not ready to buy a new car...don't. There are plenty of reliable 6k cars on Craigslist that your brother could buy. Don't feel bad...we are not rich doctors yet regardless of what society and our families think. Now if you were planning on buying a new truck in 6 months maybe just do it now bc selling it to your nephew is much easier than putting it on Craigslist in 6 months but I wouldn't let it derail your debt pay off plan. Just my 2 cents.

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    • #3
      I guess the question is what kind of income do you have coming in?  Are you planning to pay cash?  You have a total of $660k debt. I t sounds like you are knocking it out.  Your income is really going to jump again when you complete the buy in and pay off your loans.  You would be helping your family but hurting your self-discipline.  If this is the only "splurge" and you pay cash for a 2-3 year old truck or suv I can't see that hurting you in the long run.

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      • #4
        I am with hatton1. You can afford it, you (kinda) need it, and you are helping out a family member. If this is the worst financial mistake you ever make, you will be ahead of the game (and ahead of me).

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        • #5
          Only move forward if it works for you. I have justified making decisions that I was uncomfortable with in the past because I did not want to let someone down or upset someone. I have always regretted it. The fact that you are asking the question tells me that you should hold off. And, for what it is worth, do not feel bad if you decide to buy a new car in 6 months or a year. Your brother may be annoyed by that, it is not his financial life.

          Of course, helping them out is great if the timing it right for you. This would be a win-win.

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          • #6
            Take care of yourself first. You said that it wasn't in your financial plan at this time so don't change your plan for somebody else. Offer to help them find (not buy!) a similar car. Your nephew is 16, there are going to be all kinds of vehicles available that would be appropriate for that age.

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            • #7
              Gotta be able to get up to ski.  That is exactly what prompted me to (finally) get a new car with all wheel drive.

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              • #8
                My dearest and deepest sympathies for your near-death experience brought about by lack of skiing.

                What's to say you can't sell him your current car and buy an inexpensive one of roughly the same price?  Do you know WCI's $4,000 Dodge Durango story?

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                • #9
                  No need to get a brand new car.  I recommend a 4 Runner from craigslist in the $5k-10K range (probably looking at an 2005-2008 truck).  Plenty reliable and plenty capable, and won't mess up your financial plan.  If you're willing to go older, an 2004-2006 Lexus GX470 can be had for around that price and is an amazing vehicle.

                  Good luck!

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                  • #10

                    I would compromise and upgrade to a $15k truck instead. Also, is your rental house still on the market? If not, I would re-list it and try to get it sold as soon as possible.

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                    • #11




                      My dearest and deepest sympathies for your near-death experience brought about by lack of skiing.

                      What’s to say you can’t sell him your current car and buy an inexpensive one of roughly the same price?  Do you know WCI’s $4,000 Dodge Durango story?
                      Click to expand...


                      WCI's Dodge Durango that was so reliable that it needed a new transmission and he got rid of it.

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                      • #12




                        No need to get a brand new car.  I recommend a 4 Runner from craigslist in the $5k-10K range (probably looking at an 2005-2008 truck).  Plenty reliable and plenty capable, and won’t mess up your financial plan.  If you’re willing to go older, an 2004-2006 Lexus GX470 can be had for around that price and is an amazing vehicle.

                        Good luck!


                        A sub-$10k 4Runner or GX is going to be a very high-mileage vehicle.  A lot different than his "low mile 2010 sedan."  They're definitely good vehicles but not sure if he's willing to get something comparatively ratty to make his nephew happy.

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                        • #13
                          Good point.  I grew up in a family that wouldn't really consider buying a car until it was over 100k miles, so I admit I'm definitely an more than one standard deviation from the usual used car buyer.  Of course, all my free advice is usually worth the price paid   .

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                          • #14
                            Agree that you shouldn't have offered the car if you were not planning on buying a new one but there's no point in crying over spilled milk and I believe your heart is at the right place by trying to help the family; with that being said, stopping the deal is always an option especially if the relationship between your brother, nephew and you is mature enough.

                            If you do sell it, you don't need to spend 30k to get in some wheels that will handle off-road activities... I just looked with a Salt Lake City zipcode online and there are a couple of Subarus with less than 30k miles for less than $20k. A Forester will handle most of what you throw at it and carry you comfortably for a good 5-10 years.

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                            • #15
                              I am with hatton1 and Vagabond.  Help the kid out.  Get yourself an upgrade - you can find a used vehicle that will suit your needs better.  You have done a great job on your loans over the last few years and are managing to save for retirement while paying off your debt.  You are probably young with many years to earn and save ahead of you, and you have found this website.

                              Your nephew will remember his generous uncle for the rest of his life.

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