I saved $ 1.1M for retirement, earned $ 128,000, and have $ 56,000 on my mortgage. Can I afford the car of my dreams – a Nissan GTR?


Dear Quentin,

I’m looking to buy a used Nissan GTR and spend around $ 80,000.

I am 41 years old, single, have no children and have always been a big saver. I currently earn $ 128,000 per year and have a total of $ 1.1 million in my 401 (k), Roth IRA and brokerage accounts. I save 15% of my pre-tax income with a 4% contribution from my employer.

Can I afford the car of my dreams?

I have $ 56,000 left on my mortgage, which I pay an additional $ 500 per month for the principle and I plan to pay off within 5 years. I have about $ 150,000 net worth in my condo and about $ 22,000 in savings.

The dealership valued my current car, which I paid cash for, at $ 6,500, but I may end up keeping it because there are some activities I can’t / can’t do in the GTR (e.g. , parking in town, semi-large / dirty items, etc.).

1. Can I buy the car of my dreams?

2. If I can, how should I go about financing it? Do I have to reimburse it? Ready?

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for reading this.

Dream car owner

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Dear dreamer,

I don’t want to destroy your dreams of owning the car of your dreams. (Like I did with this guy.) But your situation is different from this fellow: namely, you are financially independent and you are in a very comfortable position for retirement, despite any unforeseen circumstances. You worked hard to get the car you wanted. Well done, my friend!

But should you understand? Think about it: it’s over 62% of your gross pay, and it will make you happy (for about five minutes). Yes, that feeling usually depreciates with the value of the car. I don’t know what this model means to you, but I do know that – from what you say about your finances – you are not the type to give in to your impulses at the expense of your financial security.

The biggest and best dreams don’t cost $ 80,000.

It is an expensive toy and an expensive machine. Automobiles do both functions: they take you from A to B, and they give you that Christmas morning feel when you get the keys. Keep this in mind before you buy. Otherwise, consider renting the car first to see if it’s undying love.

I didn’t say you should buy it, and I didn’t say you should do not buy it, mainly because I think if you really knew it was the right decision, right now you wouldn’t be asking The Moneyist for a second opinion. I’ll say this: it’s a relatively modest dream for a not-so-modest price tag. Here’s a secret that shouldn’t be a secret: The biggest and best dreams don’t cost $ 80,000.

People generally shouldn’t buy a car with cash when the price exceeds their own cash savings and / or during a time when interest rates are so low. Considering your $ 22,000 in cash, the purchase a a car of this price with a low finance rate would make more sense. But the question of cash versus financing depends heavily on price. If I were you, would I buy it? No. For all of the above reasons.

What if you bought it with financing? While you might still love to drive it, there might be a day when you owe more on this car than it’s worth.

Too often in America, this is the stuff dreams are made of.

The Moneyist: I am a farmer in my late 30s, lead a frugal lifestyle, and my son has a disability. Do I have to pay more on my mortgage or save for retirement?

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