12th Aug 2018, 14:54

To the California Tacoma owner. I don’t know how you will retire living in California, no matter what you save. One of our children lives in the Bay Area and can barely afford to live in an area they like, if they are to even remain there. They have one used car and nice incomes that mostly covers a small home. One may ride one of their bicycles to work. They do not want to live elsewhere or they would leave the state entirely. Read this in the news about the costly Bay Area; even six-figure salaries are considered low income. In the high-priced Bay Area, even some households that bring in six figures a year can now be considered “low income”.

That’s according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which recently released its 2017 income limits — a threshold that determines who can qualify for affordable and subsidized housing programs such as Section 8 vouchers. So if you retire early and live til 90, something has to give living there. A lot of us make similar incomes, but live elsewhere near nice year round beaches and mountains. Own nice homes and cars for a fraction of living there. People look at salaries and never consider it’s not what you make, it’s what you spend. So fixed costs aside, that’s how many of us pay everything off quicker, save more with less taxes and drive our nice cars with saving that way. I too would drive a car into the ground after what I have heard what it’s like.

15th Aug 2018, 15:26

California isn't that different cost-wise than any other state if you put real estate aside. We bought at the very bottom of the housing crash and as a result our mortgage is very easily manageable. Plus we do reasonably well financially. It's all about timing. Now that rent and real estate has ballooned out of control again, the cost of living here has skyrocketed and those who got here at the wrong time are having to pay the most out of their incomes to live here.

Who knows where we will wind up in retirement: California is a huge state and most of it is rural and a lot cheaper. So maybe we will move out into the country.

16th Aug 2018, 12:28

Cost of living certainly affects car ownership for many across the USA. Unless you have a very high income that enables you to drive whatever you want. You have to pay for a roof over your head, then a car selection if any afterwards. Places like Berkeley where even a 1 bedroom apt runs nearly 4K a month or a small home there averaging at a mil and up is where they wanted to live. With plenty to do etc. vs rural. I have friends in DC (very expensive) and in Fairfield Ct. where they also pay an annual car tax. Plus the other high taxes. My one friend rides thousands of miles annually by bike. Cost 8k! Village atmosphere in Ct and no taxes or insurance to pay. So he went large on a bike. I guess you could commute, but they work and live in the city. More culture, more to do. We go to Florida and have nice weather etc for far less. But you also have an impact fee bringing a car bought elsewhere if you have a primary residence. It’s not just the cost of a new car to consider in many areas. It’s all the other expenses. We certainly would not have more than 2 cars if we lived in those areas. And somewhere along the way you may wish to have enough saved to retire out.

16th Aug 2018, 22:44

Basically... we lucked out. We waited and saved, and when the housing crash came, it eventually dropped prices by about 45%. And then it stagnated for a few years. We had planned on moving out of state, but all of a sudden for a brief period it made financial sense to buy a house here. Needless to say the house we bought is apparently worth some two and three times what we paid. But regardless, the mortgage is cheap and as a result our overall cost of living is fairly low. Add that we both have good paying jobs and we're able to save a lot of our income. For now it makes sense to keep living here and save and save. I hope by the time we're in our early 50s we can at least pull back a bit. Maybe even move to a rural area 2 hours away.

The traffic is brutal here, and as far as I'm concerned it makes no sense to buy a super nice car. Our vehicles are both commuter-beater machines. The cost of used plugin hybrids and EVs are dirt cheap and furthermore, many companies - the one I work for included - offer free charging, meaning I pay hardly anything to drive our other car, a 7 year old Chevy Volt.

To be sure LOTS of people here buy very nice, expensive cars. As in I will see on a daily basis at least 20-30 Tesla Model S's, loads of BMW's and Mercedes and other cars that probably cost more than $75,000. Personally I see that as a waste. Maybe when I'm older I'll consider something nicer. But for now? It's all about keeping the nose to the grindstone and keep on saving as much as possible. I'm sure nice cars bring joy to many who buy them and that's fine. It's just not something I personally feel is a worthy purchase.

18th Aug 2018, 10:17

Sitting in congested traffic for long periods of time likely takes much of the automotive allure away. Putting a really nice sports car through its paces on a windy back road to work is a real thrill. Especially in the Spring or enjoying the Fall foliage along the way with the top down. In turn living in a nice major city has its pluses as well. We lived in Washington D.C. for 4 years. Much to do and great night life. However driving today without that hustle and bustle time of day congested commute has its pluses. We have 70 mph interstates that do slow down a bit since our move. But it’s nice to open up with selected bursts at times. Get to enjoy some of the car's potential, but still driving safe. Cars in traffic or slow speed are pretty much the same. May have an influence on what people buy as well.