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Is it better to buy a used car compared to a new car?


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22 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

What does that depreciation thump cost when you cross the dealership lot in a new car?

 

 

Bob

Probably lot less than on vast majority of antique/classic/vintage cars, especially those purchased as “projects”, most of which usually will never be finished, let alone extensively driven by those who initially buy (or hoard) them as such.

I’ve said it before, back yards, barns, driveways, fields, garages and storage facilities around the globe are littered with millions of these sad realities.
At least vast majority of new car buyers get their money’s worth of use out of them to offset that depreciation.

 

For example, I bought a new truck almost exactly 3 years ago fully financing it w/0%. As of today, I owe less than 2/3 of its current (perceived) resale value, but that is somewhat irrelevant as I’m intending to keep/use it long past the day it’s paid off, hopefully another half a decade or more.

My previous daily, which I also bought new with same finance terms, I kept for 7 years and sold it for 1/3 of its original purchase price.

Same with one before it, except sold to replace it in little over 6 years.

One before that I bought used (4 years old, 20K miles, like new, paid cash) for less than 1/2 price and kept/used it for about 14 years & nearly 250K miles (I overhauled the engine & trans at +/-180K miles).

 

Main reason I’ve been choosing periodically to buy new for 15+ years is that I work on rebuilding/restoring vintage cars and their components every day and last thing I wish to deal with is some concerns or issues with my (or wife’s) daily driver and I definitely don't want to work or do repairs on one.  

Besides, I view daily drivers same as any other life's consumables or necessities (food, housing, etc), nothing more, nothing less.

 

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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I think used cars are the way to go, from a buyer's perspective. In some ways, the price of a vehicle hasn't changed compared to forty years ago ...even when you don't take inflation into account! You just have to be willing to buy used.

 

Here's my argument: About forty years ago, you could buy a brand new typical American full size car for 5500 -7000 bucks. And what was the lifespan of that car in miles back then? About 100k to 120k miles, with decent care. Some people got more miles than that before major overhaul work was needed, to be sure, but my brother bought a brand new '74 Maverick that was a piece of junk by 65k miles, so it worked both ways. And what was the lifespan of a car in years back then? Many were rusted out (up north here) within 15 years.

 

So compare that to the 2005 Impala I bought my son a couple of years ago. It had 89K miles on it at the time, and we paid 5000 plus another 1000 for brakes (from the dealer we bought it from.) It also needed wheel bearings and steering work since the purchase, which will bring the cost to over maybe 7500. What will be the lifespan in miles from here on out? I don't think that another 100k miles is unrealistic. 200K should be very doable for a car like this. And what will be the lifespan in years from here on out?  I'd say the car will have less rust on it after 30 years than a late 1970's car would have after 15 years (due to the Impala's plastic body panels and more advanced rust protection.) 

 

In other words, it's kind of like we bought a brand new late 70's car for about the same amount that a brand new car cost in the late 1970's/early 1980's...not adjusted for inflation.

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On 5/13/2020 at 10:09 AM, 39BuickEight said:

I have said for years that there are more new cars manufactured that we can possibly responsibly consume.   

I don't think "responsible consumption" in general has been part of American lifestyle lexicon for many, many decades any more, or longer. 🙄

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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Talk of the Solstice/Sky without being specific is like comparing a Boss 9 to a 302 2bbl. In this case there were two engines available, the 2.4 l NA Ecotec and a 2.0 turbo. The difference is a Whole Bunch.

The most desirable is the GTP Turbo with manual trans (bolt on 325 hp) and removable hardtop. And then there is the base with automatic. I would not be surprised to see $10k difference.

 

 

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On 5/13/2020 at 12:27 PM, Matt Harwood said:

 

Correct. And while that incident really pissed me off and damaged my hand (maybe permanently), it didn't stop the car from driving me to work every day. Gas, oil, four wheel bearings, and that goddamned tailgate over the course of 10 years and 130,000 miles. That's probably par for the course for any late-model car these days. I find that acceptable, even though Cadillac and I are currently litigating and I probably won't ever buy another one of their cars.

Get rid of the Cadi before the timing chains and components start to rattle. That's the end of the 3.6 engines. Nice looking car, but too many glitches as the miles pile up!

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21 minutes ago, deaddds said:

So how do you find out about these possible sales or qualify if it goes down? Gotta have a connection or its an open sale?

If the Hertz cars go to auction it might be at an automobile dealer only auction house.  I live about 5 miles from Manheim Auto Auction, one of the biggest auction houses around.  You must be a licensed dealer to buy cars at their auctions.  Almost every retired guy in our area works driving cars for the auction.  They have more autos sitting around waiting to get sold than you could ever imagine being in one place.

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I've enjoyed reading your responses, a lot to unpack. I wondered if I even belonged in the discussion, but then decided what the hell! 

 

If car manufacturers had to relied on people like me they would all have gone under long ago. At 76yo I have never bought a new car and never expect to. I look to the other end of the car market for my transportation. All my cars are at least twenty four years old. My affinity for old cars has morphed into this strange world where my drivers have become part of my collection. Neither age or mileage are as important to me as styling, comfort and condition. When I find a car that I like I try to hang onto it. In my world I honestly believe that I can drive any car that I want forever, well at least as long as I'm alive. 

 

There are several reasons as to why and how I can use a car that have all that have but disappeared from the roads. I choose cars that I like, and I like driving cars that are remember, but are seldom seen today. All my drivers were cheap to buy, cheap to operate. By rotating vehicles I try not to put too many miles on any one car. There is no depreciation, I can insure them with just liability and excise tax on their licences is relatively low. Finally our mild climate is just more conducive to a car's long term survival. So I guess that I do it because I like using stuff that others would throw away, and because I can.

 

Bill

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My wife gets a brand new compact fuel efficient, easy to park car. I drive a1938 Plymouth, a 1953 Chrysler, and 1998 Dodge truck. I am not interested in having her car in my garage needing my time. I am too busy having fun looking after my vehicles. I take care of the maintenance her car needs, and it's not much. Purchased brand new in 2016, it's been a real easy car to own. Saying that, when it's wore out and due for replacement, I think I will try to find her a low milage 2 year old car maybe. Less depreciation and less money out up front. 

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  I can go both ways depending on my wants and needs. I generally use a truck as my DD and used low mileage trucks do not seem to depreciate much. When I was in the marked for a truck in 2004, clean, low mileage used ones were not much less than I could negotiate a price for a new one plus I could order everything I wanted for options and even the color. I ended up ordering a new Dodge 2500 quad cab with the Cummins diesel. After 16 years it is still my DD. It has 245,000 miles on it and the most expensive repair it's ever had is new front wheel bearings. The transmission has never been out of it and the engine has NO repairs save for a new water pump twice. I'm looking at new trucks now because the deep discounts and 0% financing for 7 years is hard to ignore. I can order a new one (gas) for about $40k which is not cheap but used ones tend to have 100,000+ miles already and at that I'd feel like I was just buying somebody else's trouble.

  On the other hand we bought my wife's 1993 Honda delSol used in 1996 with 25,000 miles. We paid $13,000 for the car then which was a lot for a used car. It is still her DD and with 180,000 miles it has really been a great, dependable little car.

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As a new car dealer for 30 years and one who sold thousands of used cars I will simply say you cannot make a blank statement one way or another and of course at times leasing can make sense for some. It all comes down to the individual situation with the buyer.  How many miles a year he drives, his car or truck preference, number of years he expects to stay in the car, etc.  Right now is a very curious time as there COULD be some great deals on rental cars taken out of service.  It will be interesting to see how that part of the market goes. With all the low interest rates, certified used cars, manufacturers rebates, etc. there are probably more good options for people than ever.  

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When a new-car buyer could custom-order his car

with his choice of individual options;  15 to 20 paint

colors, maybe 80 or 100 combinations with 2-tones

or vinyl roofs;  and 4 to 10 different interior colors,

then ordering a new car would have been fun!  

A car could be individualized.

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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I normally buy cars that are  2 - 4 years old with low milage and in good condition.  You can normally save around 50% on a car with a few years on it.  Generally you cannot go wrong if you stay away from some of the vehicles know to have issues, and yes there are a few with poor track records.  Seems like there are a few vehicles with a history of automatic transmission issues and a few have electrical system problems.

 

I am not a fan of Consumers Report, but I do my own research before buying a car..

 

The last car I bought was my daily driver 2002 BMW Z3 that got in 2006 or 2007 for $13,500 with 46,000 miles on it, and the car had an original sticker price of $43,000.  I now have over 200,000 on this car and it still runs like new.

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1 hour ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

If he shows up, he'll be surprised by the activity

he inspired!

Maybe not if he (or she) is/was needing reference for school assignment or doing marketing research study for auto sales group/industry and after finding willing target audience, can now just read replies anonymously without signing in ?

 

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Many of the vehicles with perceived issues tend to be owned by people who, not coincidentally, have bad credit.  Those cars are also covered in scratches and stains in 6 months.  The same people loudly complain about them because that's how they run their life.  It gives certain brands a bad name, but it's also their own fault for marketing, catering, and approving credit to a certain group of buyers.

 

99% of all modern cars will last 200,000+ miles if properly driven and maintained.

 

I have a company car (Chevrolet Traverse currently) that I can drive anywhere, so we put very few miles on our own car.  I like 2-3-4 year old vehicles with very high miles (they have to be highway miles and are usually sales rep/realtor type cars).  They have 100,000+ miles and probably on the original brake pads.  Cars most people don't want.  They have already taken a huge price hit due to the mileage, but that difference will average out over time (unless you also drive 50k per year), and you can usually still get great warranties if you want.  I would rather buy a 3 year old vehicle with 150,000 miles for $15,000 than the same one with 30,000 miles for $29,000.  The price can be that different.  In 10 years the miles and value will average out and it won't matter.  The best time to buy a car is when you don't have to.  I am looking everyday for the next deal, and by deal I mean half price of NADA (or whatever guide you like to use).  I have a couple of dealer friends I know who will contact me when that trade I want arrives.  Just last week I helped my son buy his first car, a 2009 Corolla for half of NADA retail value ($3500).  It was a trade that came in the day before.  My wife drives a 2002 MDX that we bought in 2006, so I clearly don't buy cars often, but I am always helping friends and family due to my knowledge of the industry.

 

I have a rule with my money.  I don't buy anything that I can't break even on.  That's next to impossible with late model cars, but I have done it with houses, campers, antique cars/parts, and all sorts of other items.  The Corolla my son bought will be worth what he paid for it for the next 5-6 years or more.  That's a free car (less maintenance) for 5-6 years.  Resale value drives my decision making.  That's why we own a Toyota and an Acura.  Other brands have solid resale too, for example Lexus and Subaru.  The ones that don't, well, I refer you to my original paragraph.  Brand reputation and resale value are often tarnished by the demographics and buying/living habits of their customers, and it only takes a small % to do it. 

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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On 5/13/2020 at 1:09 PM, 39BuickEight said:

I was a wholesaler for Enterprise, so I know how all of this works.

 

I got the flavor of Enterprise retail two years ago. I rode with a salesman to an industrial park where I was allowed to drive a Cadillac XTS about 1/2 mile before giving it back to the salesman. After a ring around three offices I ended up in the conference room where I had to say NO to three levels of management to regain my freedom. If a car is less than 10 years old I am going to stick with the brand dealership in the future.

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4 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

 

I got the flavor of Enterprise retail two years ago. I rode with a salesman to an industrial park where I was allowed to drive a Cadillac XTS about 1/2 mile before giving it back to the salesman. After a ring around three offices I ended up in the conference room where I had to say NO to three levels of management to regain my freedom. If a car is less than 10 years old I am going to stick with the brand dealership in the future.

Retail has never been, and will never be, for me. That whole operation is weird and I am not exactly sure why they even do it.  They sell 1% of their cars retail.  They did close many retail locations several years ago.

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It has been my experience that certain brands of vehicles retain their value better than others. That makes buying a used vehicle more expensive but can also make a used vehicle one is trading more valuable. When one compares the cost of the same model vehicle both new and used of one of these brands the price difference and other factors usually has made the new vehicle a better choice for me. That was the case when I purchased my current truck. The 7 year old SUV of the same brand that I traded retained it's value fairly well considering that value was about 58% of the cost that I originally paid for it.

 

My truck that is currently 12 years old seems to be hovering around 62-66% of it's sale price at it's current value. I expect that value to decline faster given the current and near future of the new and used vehicle market. How much remains to be seen.

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I would argue that any vehicle used as transportation is a liability rather than an asset. Value will go down almost indefinitely, maintenance costs will go up, insurance and storage will add to the cost. It makes sense, then, to minimize the overall cost of ownership. A used car will take most of the depreciation hit out of the equation, with the offset being potentially greater repair costs if it is out of warranty.

 

There is no free lunch in the car world.

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What I advise people to do is often tailored to the individual and not what I would do. At the moment I think "off-lease" cars can be a great deal. Always made sure my family had new cars that occasionally became my car. Have bought new cars generally because I wanted a specific engine, power everything, gauges, 4-speed, and AC. Also twice bought new tow cars- '72 Goat wagon just because could, and current '12 Grand Cherokee (best two car I've had). Had the wagon for two decades and the GC is working on it. Also with many rebates and discounts, new car was just a large more than a used one. Warrenty runs to 2099. Doubt I'll last that long.

 

Beyond that do not know how many used toys I've bought, lots easier to find interesting cars with AC this century. Am also on a retractable kick, no more cloth tops (never say never).

One of the herd is a '11 CTS coupe. Is later than timing chain issue.. Great road car with fold down rear seat if super MPG is not a necessity. Is one more retractable I'd like for the right price (am a Scot).

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18 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

 

I got the flavor of Enterprise retail two years ago. I rode with a salesman to an industrial park where I was allowed to drive a Cadillac XTS about 1/2 mile before giving it back to the salesman. After a ring around three offices I ended up in the conference room where I had to say NO to three levels of management to regain my freedom. If a car is less than 10 years old I am going to stick with the brand dealership in the future.


Bernie, I get the feeling you were put under some pressure to buy the car. After all they let you drive it, so you needed to live up to your part of the bargain!

 

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On 5/14/2020 at 5:39 PM, TerryB said:

If the Hertz cars go to auction it might be at an automobile dealer only auction house.  I live about 5 miles from Manheim Auto Auction, one of the biggest auction houses around.  You must be a licensed dealer to buy cars at their auctions.  Almost every retired guy in our area works driving cars for the auction.  They have more autos sitting around waiting to get sold than you could ever imagine being in one place.


 

Terry.......just the cost of moving the cars will be too much to deal with. I expect they will sell them right off the lot at the rental locations........do the  math. A car auction charges well over 600 for the dealer to sell, and the same for the buyer. Doing it themselves, they will save fifty to one hundred million easy.....the outstanding debt is 3.6 BILLION. Also, the tourist areas will have better deals. My local lot has parking for 1200 cars at the airport.....and 7800 parked all around town last I was told. The trick to a good deal is buying with cash, and walking out the door. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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29 minutes ago, edinmass said:


 

Terry.......just the cost of moving the cars will be too much to deal with. I expect they will sell them right off the lot at the rental locations........do the  math. A car auction charges well over 600 for the dealer to sell, and the same for the buyer. Doing it themselves, they will save fifty to one hundred million easy.....the outstanding debt is 3.6 BILLION. Also, the tourist areas will have better deals. My local lot has parking for 1200 cars at the airport.....and 7800 parked all around town last I was told. The trick to a good deal is buying with cash, and walking out the door. 

Your point is a good one, but high volume sellers don’t pay anywhere near $600 per vehicle.  They often give free transportation and only charge a fraction of that when you tell them you can give them hundreds or thousands of cars to sell.  We actually stored cars for free for weeks at the auctions when we had too much inventory. 

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About 95% of the cars I've bought have been fleet vehicles from government auctions.  High mileage never scared me, and most government cars are fairly well maintained.  By the time I sold them, the mileage averaged-out to 'normal' so it wasn't a factor.  I bought one new car ('84 Cutlass Supreme) and was not impressed.

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Interesting. Neither Google nor Bing would tell me how many rental cars are in Orlando,  just pages and pages of ads. All I can say is A Lot. Agree auction rules are different for high volume and special people at auctions. A "flat fee" would not surprise me. Is also the "dealer only" Orlando Auto Auction which has no relationship to a BJ circus, more Dallas Car Sharks. Guess a lot will hinge on how long they have to vacate their lots.

 

That said I bought a Fiero at a Sheriff's auction that was great  (ex-DARE car).

 

Fleet auctions can be great if you want a four door sedan with the usual option package and base engine. There is a company locally called "off-lease" that has some interesting cars.

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3 minutes ago, padgett said:

Interesting. Neither Google nor Bing would tell me how many rental cars are in Orlando,  just pages and pages of ads. All I can say is A Lot. Agree auction rules are different for high volume and special people at auctions. A "flat fee" would not surprise me. Is also the "dealer only" Orlando Auto Auction which has no relationship to a BJ circus, more Dallas Car Sharks. Guess a lot will hinge on how long they have to vacate their lots.

 

That said I bought a Fiero at a Sheriff's auction that was great  (ex-DARE car).

 

Fleet auctions can be great if you want a four door sedan with the usual option package and base engine. There is a company locally called "off-lease" that has some interesting cars.

There are over 10,000 rental cars in Orlando.  

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Decide what you want and go to Carfax, plug that model in, the max mileage you want to see, the max distance you are willing to drive to pick it up, and then click "go".  I'm on my second certified used Duramax pickup, both with under 13k miles when I got them, and will never buy another way.  I saved thousands on each truck.

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Owning only cars aged 24 years or older may have an impact on collector car insurance if it is used on some of them. But it may not surface unless a claim comes up.

 

I have a policy that there is a "cost of ownership" for everything. Understanding that helps me get through things that have caused others a huge a.mount of angst. I learned that from my grandfather when I was young. He would comment on customers. "That guy doesn't have anything but a pocket full of fishhooks."

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1 hour ago, 39BuickEight said:

Your point is a good one, but high volume sellers don’t pay anywhere near $600 per vehicle.  They often give free transportation and only charge a fraction of that when you tell them you can give them hundreds or thousands of cars to sell.  We actually stored cars for free for weeks at the auctions when we had too much inventory. 


 

I disagree with your analysis.......with this many cars, the auction houses would call the shots. Nothing in a bankruptcy is ever done for free, it’s a stick it to them situation. I had a lot for thirty years, and most independent dealers only handle 10 cars a week.....yes there are a few high volume guys.....I know several that buy and sell hundreds of cars a month. With depreciation staring them in the face, and new cars being manufactured, it’s going to be a Rush  to dump The inventory. The dealers my take a beating like never before with floor planned units now worth cents on the dollar. It’s going to be a mess for sure.........we won’t have to wait very long to find out how it plays out..........

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15 minutes ago, edinmass said:


 

I disagree with your analysis.......with this many cars, the auction houses would call the shots. Nothing in a bankruptcy is ever done for free, it’s a stick it to them situation. I had a lot for thirty years, and most independent dealers only handle 10 cars a week.....yes there are a few high volume guys.....I know several that buy and sell hundreds of cars a month. With depreciation staring them in the face, and new cars being manufactured, it’s going to be a Rush  to dump The inventory. The dealers my take a beating like never before with floor planned units now worth cents on the dollar. It’s going to be a mess for sure.........we won’t have to wait very long to find out how it plays out..........

This isn’t really my analysis, but rather how it is done.  I was a rental car company wholesaler for many years.  We were the biggest customer of the auctions and called our own shots.  Just like we named our price when we bought new cars.  When you process 100,000 cars a month, you can do that.
 

I do agree that the bankruptcy factor will play a giant role in all of it.  The whole situation is quite ridiculous.  A company have have nearly $10 billion in revenue and still lose money year over year.  Talk about mismanagement and poor

planning.  The virus was just the final nail in the coffin.

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At 100,000 per month, yes, definitely a different proposition........but that’s less than .000001 percent of the dealers. I expect you were running cars at the exclusive dealership sales, not the general auction for the small guys. Ultimately it’s a “retail” situation when the mess hits the fan......what dealer would dream of buying in when his inventory is almost worthless compared to his in number. It’s a shame that Wall Street over leverages world class companies, steals what it can for their pockets, and leaves a crippled entity to try and limp along......and then die. 
 

Just ponder these  thoughts while thinking about the big picture. Probably 75 percent of the regular used car market purchasers are broke, trying to keep in their home or apartment, figuring out their retirement picture, send their kids to collage, trying to pay off debit that should have been easy to control until the shutdown. Just about every big dollar purchase is going to be in jeopardy for several years while people do without and land on their feet. Yes, 25 percent of the population will be ok.......but LOTS of people are hurting now, even thy big boys. Time will heal most of the wounds........but the used car market is a short term problem, and it will have to be solved very quickly. I think almost any prediction you can come up with in the daily used car market will be true.......on the down side. I have good friends in the Industry.......and I bet most of them won’t make it. Sad.......

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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The auto industry is but one of the industries in store for a VERY big correction in terms of business practices. Was Hertz owned by one of the automakers? For years the Big Three used rental fleets as a way to pump up their sales volume and the easiest way to do it was by owning the rental companies. Selling cars to yourself doesn't seem like a viable business strategy, but it worked to make, say, the Ford Taurus the #1 seller for many years in the '90s. Maybe that was the point, I don't know. Eventually, however, the Japanese at that lunch for them, too.

 

With the shrinking markets in every possible sector, automakers are going to get killed and some may not survive (does Fiat/Chrysler sell anything anyone wants other than Ram trucks and Jeeps?). It's going to cost a ton of jobs that were probably unnecessary anyway and I'm not sure how I feel about that. As with our own collector car market, I think the norm even five or ten years ago is no longer going to be viable in the future. In some ways I guess that's good, but we're running out of jobs for all the people who need them. There are only so many "service industry" jobs available. I don't know how to address that--it's not regulations, it's progress and the demand by consumers that everything be cheap.

 

I don't know where I'm going with this other than to be amazed by the huge volume of raw materials and product that's basically been dumped onto the market for so many years; now the bill has come due but nobody knows how to pay it. I think our parents and grandparents who lived through the Depression would be ashamed and horrified by our lifestyle, even if you don't live extravagantly. I know I throw away a lot of stuff and just replace it (I lose patience and trash a weed whacker about every year, for instance), so I'm not innocent, either. Maybe all this will make us all stop and reconsider how we live and our consume-consume-consume lifestyle.

 

Sorry, I don't know what I mean. I'm feeling particularly glum today. Carry on.

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It seems that some here do not realize there are at least three different automobile auction venues.

1) Many know about the collector car auctions (BJ, RM, etc.). This is where well lubicated cusomers are heckled into bid (would be consided assault in some states).

2) Dealer auctions: these often have ginormous numbers of common cars that have been "wholesaled out". Rentals often show up here.

3) Specialty auctions like our local Sheriff's auction where old police and impound cars are auctioned off. These often have the lowest prices & sometimes have an interesting car.

These are in order of increasing speed and decreasing hype.

And then there is e-Bay and the online ilk.

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My 401k is bouncing also, not concerned now just wonder where it will be in December. Prolly for the first time, being on a fixed income is not all bad.

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1 hour ago, padgett said:

My 401k is bouncing also, not concerned now just wonder where it will be in December. Prolly for the first time, being on a fixed income is not all bad.

 

I don't even look at my statement, I shred it when it comes. When hyperinflation kicks in [and it has to I will put all my money in a 5 or 7 year CD at the bank. I remember 1980 when interest paid by banks was about 17% and I believe that day is coming again. That will be when I pull out of the stock market forever. At age 63 my plans are to work another 5-7 years as I work in a low stress, no physical labor industry..

 

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Bought my house in '85 and was 12.75% then. Now have a 3% fixed mortgage mainly as a hedge against inflation. Have not understood why not already in hyperinflation but suspect the current downturn will prevent much of a change.

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