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Buying a car for your retirement

It's the time to reward yourself, to grant all those wishes you once put aside in the name of practicality and priority.

It's as important in retirement as in any other life stage - if you consider your needs, finding your perfect car will become much easier. 

The best car for your golden years will depend entirely on what you expect from that car. Do you simply want day-to-day reliable transport, something cheap to run and easy to park? Or do you want a weekend chariot, a driver's delight, your pride and joy? Or a bit of both?

Retirement is all about you. It's the time to reward yourself, to grant all those wishes you once put aside in the name of practicality and priority. Every retiree is different, so there's no one car we can recommend. But you should consider what you want from your car. Is it fun, frugality, function or form?

How long have you been denying yourself that one car you've always admired from a distance? How many times have you walked past that imported American muscle car and quietly pledged it would one day be yours? Well, car lovers, that day has come. Why compromise? If your car means more to you than a means of moving from point A to point B, then splurge. What better reward for a long and prosperous career?

If you have your heart set on fulfilling that life-long dream of that car you've always loved, and your budget (and spouse) allow, now's the time to make that dream a reality. It's important though to keep in mind, the older the car the more work it may need in maintenance and servicing. There's often a lot of manpower (and sometimes dollars) involved in looking after a classic, so if you don't plan on spending too much time or money on keeping your wheels at their best, maybe a newer model is more your speed.

If your idea of recreation is not behind-the-wheel, then you probably just want the most bang-for-your-buck when it comes to car choice.

In order to achieve that frugality, you'll want to stick with well-known and reliable brands. Consider models with low service costs (which basically means you want an abundance of parts to be available), low insurance costs and low up-front costs. You'll also want a car that is as fuel efficient as possible, so the more modern models will be for you.

No matter what your preference, remember to:

  • Consider your initial budget, and ensure the purchase of the car fits well within that budget. You also need to consider what kind of lifestyle you expect to maintain throughout your retirement, and the ongoing costs of owing, insuring and running the car you're looking at. If you can, try not to go into debt for a car purchase at this stage in life.
     
  • Contemplate the benefits of buying new versus used. Both have their pros and cons, and it's important you take into account all of the potential issues you can encounter with each. The condition of the car can greatly affect the overall cost of the car if you spend a lot of time in and out of the mechanic's workshop.
     
  • Take the time to research and compare models. The great thing is, when you're making a purchase for your retirement there's usually no rush. You can invest time in reading reviews, looking around and driving different models. Definitely don't feel pressured into buying the first car you drive. It's important you find a car you're comfortable with and will perform the tasks you need.
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