Dave Ramsey has preached for years to not ever have a car payment. He explains why all the time but day in and day out people go and sign for a new car payment. We live in a society where if we can make the payment then it is okay to finance it. Well, if you want to retire very comfortably then it isn’t okay.
According to a 2007 MSN article the average car payment in the United States is $479.00. If you carry a car payment from age 18-68 you would spend $287,400.00 in car payments. The average household income is currently around $40,000.00 meaning you could live over 7 years without having to work and live at a standard that the average American does. If you were to invest that money you would be a multi-millionaire when factoring in for compound interest.
The Urban Country recently posted an article stating that the average American worker works 2 hours of their day just to make the car payment:
Imagine you could work 500 hours less every year. That works out to be an extra 12.5 weeks of vacation. Alternatively, imagine you got paid for an extra 500 hours of work each year, without having to work those extra 500 hours. That would work out to be an extra $11,000 every year for an average American making $22 per hour.
500 hours a year – or 2 hours each day – is roughly the equivalent to what the average American worker will work in order to pay for their cars (the average is between 1.46 hour/day and 2.90 hours/day depending on which data is used).
Want to get a little more disturbed? The average car loses 65% of it’s value by the end of the 5th year with Kia and Suzuki brands losing 75% in that time frame according to Wired.
So, before you plunk down a $2,4000 down payment realize you could very well purchase the 5 year old model outright and not have a payment to worry about.
Now is a car payment worth it?