Bought me a car

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I finally got all the paperwork for the purchase of my new car, which is actually my old company car which coincidentally came off-lease recently. I paid an even $8,000 after taxes and fees for a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix. Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds both quoted approximately $8400 before taxes & fees for the private party value of the car, so I guess it was a decent deal. This car depreciated well over 50% of it’s price in 3 years! Poor GM. I did consider shopping around for a slightly cheaper used car with a more reliable brand, for example a Toyota Camry. But for the same price, I’d have to settle for a 2000 model with ~60,000 miles.

And to save money and spend only about $5,000, I’d be getting a late-90s car with almost 100,000 miles. In the end, I just didn’t want to deal with used car salesmen or looking through the classifieds. And I wouldn’t know the history, whereas my car has had regular maintenance and two new tires. It should have lots of life left in its V6, let’s hope so.

This leaves me with $8,000 less cash, and small dilemna. I haven’t been taking into account my cars, or any other personal property, in tracking my net worth. I also have another car, a ’95 Nissan. Some other money bloggers take their cars into account, along with any outstanding loans. Some only have cash & investments. To preserve continuity, I’m leaning towards keeping the blue-book value of my car minus $500 as part of my net worth, while continuing to leave out the Nissan.

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  1. Congrats on the car purchase — knowing the past history of the car is valuable. When I buy used cars — I always buy them from private parties. Not only do you get to avoid the used car salesman — you often get to visit the house of the previous owner. An immaculate yard / driveway / well kept person / etc. suggests that there is a higher probability than average that the car was well maintained. Anyway — on to the point of my post:

    I was wondering how to take care of my assets as well in my financial tracking.

    Here’s what I decided to do — for Car and Motorcycle (currently w/ no loans and a value of ~$32,000), I do not write them on to my tracking spreadsheet. For the Car — I do jot down the KBB value in the margin every year — just so I see how much it is depreciating. For the Moto — I haven’t done anything yet as the value is kind of hard to determine due to lots of customization.

    Now with the house — I had a similar dilemma as how to deal with equity. I only bought the house 6 months ago — so I assume for now it hasn’t appreciated or depreciated significantly. I am writing on value to my financial summary as exactly what I paid for it (I know if I were to sell it – -I would get nailed with RE fees — so I know that this isn’t perfect).

    If you come up with a better way — put it in the post.



  2. Congrats on the car…sounds like a decent deal. I track my house and one car as assets within quicken (the other car is my partner’s 78 toyota pickup so i leave that out of the overall picture).

    I update the values at least once a year. I use edmunds for the car (2000 Jetta) and I pick the lowest value for the condition of my car and round down a bit to be conservative. I use the home value check at either (my old employer) or I’ve seen some even better ones out there lately (and domania is adding more…which is vexing) including one I think I found via sovereign bank.

    So quicken reflects these things in my total networth, but esp with the house I feel it artificially inflates my “true” networth so I tend to mentally remove the $100k+ in equity in my home because it feels irrelevant until I actually sell…and then it becomes concrete cash anyway 🙂

  3. Good choice.
    The company paid 50% of it, you pay the rest 50% for a car you trust.

  4. savvy saver says

    Congrats on the new vehicle purchase. I bought a company car my senior year of college. I paid $6,050 for it, drove it for almost a year, put 20,000 miles on it, then sold it for $7,100 Company cars can be a great deal!

    I track the value of our vehicles in our net worth, and have received some negative feedback from people for doing so. The reason I do it is so we are aware of the true cost of depreciation on our vehicles. It would be incorrect to have a $10,000 depreciating asset that we didn’t track for 5 years and then all of the sudden we were looking to spend $x,000 on a replacement. It would look like one big hit to our net worth, rather than a month-by-month depreciation over the years. I update the value of our vehicles every 4-6 months, and I value them very conservatively.


    Savvy Saver

  5. Decent purchase … Although I’d go with a Chevy Prizm or a rural Dodge Neon, or, of you’ve got time to lurk until it comes around … BEHOLD! … the 1981-1985 Mercedes-Benz 300D. The car is indestructible, and with a couple of maintenance tricks you’d drive it for 20 years.

  6. Congratulation. It is a good car.

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