By on May 11, 2017

2016 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS

My father had a lot of career advice for me growing up, all of which I cheerfully ignored as I planned a future as a bike-shop owner or folk guitarist. He thought I should go to work for Proctor&Gamble. Sell soap to the masses. Climb the corporate hierarchy to the C-suite. Own a tasteful but extravagant home in Cincinnati’s most exclusive neighborhood. This was bad advice. I learned a long time ago that I don’t have the bow-and-scrape mentality required for success in a corporation.

You know what Dad should have told me instead? He should have told me to be a doctor. I have all the required characteristics: arrogance, blind confidence, a lack of empathy, and a willingness to forget about people as soon as I walk out of a room. By and large, doctors are terrible people. I should know. I’ve spent more time in the hospital than your average late-stage cancer patient.

Robert Ringer once called medical school “a place where people are trained to think they are infallible” — or something like that. He was right. Doctors are notorious for being poor stewards of their money due to simple overconfidence in their own instincts and innate superiority. Thirty years ago, when long-term open-ended leasing was a veritable art form of forcible financial sodomy, the most sadistic practitioner of that art in my area was a storefront that called itself “Physicians Leasing.” They put our local doctors in loaded W126 Benzes for $400/month. Every two years they’d swap the docs out into new Benzes. Further and further underwater our local physicians went, until the final mid-five-figure bill came due. Luckily, it was an era of skyrocketing home equity.

Doctors love their fancy cars, that’s for sure. But I recently found a website that argues an extreme but interesting case: the most money a physician should spend on a car is five grand, period, point blank.

The article is on a website devoted to investing advice targeted specifically to doctors, because of course doctors need their own investing-advice website, the same way they need their own leasing company. In this case, however, the proprietors of the site make a relatively sound case. Doctors start their careers relatively late in life, often burdened with half a million dollars’ worth of student debt. After years of intense schooling followed by miserable internships and residencies, the idea of rewarding one’s self with a brand-new 911 Carrera GTS has to be very powerful indeed.

Maybe they should resist that impulse. In “How To Get Rich By Driving A $5000 Car,” the authors argue a doctor shouldn’t buy a new, or even a new-ish, car until he has a million dollars in the bank and is saving 20 percent of his income above and beyond that. I’ve excerpted a few of the arguments below:

A $5,000 car is a 7-year-old Nissan Sentra or Mazda 6 with 100K miles on it. That car will probably run for another 50-150,000 miles over 5-15 more years while needing a few minor repairs and a major repair… Let’s acknowledge for a second that driving a $5,000 car isn’t an awesome experience. It doesn’t have that new car smell. You’re not going to impress anyone with it. There are a few little things wrong with it… The bottom line is that your cost of ownership on a brand new car may be $5-10K a year, whereas the cost of ownership on a $5K car may be $1-2K per year, and possibly less if you get lucky with repairs…

Let’s say there is a difference in the annual cost of ownership of a new fancy car and a $5,000 car of $6K per year. Now, take that $6K a year from age 18 to age 65 and compound it at 5% real. What do you get? You get rich. That’s what you get. That adds up to $1.1M by age 65.

The Aspie in me wants to take issue with a couple of these statements. The steady climb in used-car appreciation means that the car he’s describing is closer to a $7,000 proposition nowadays. I’d recommend spending maybe $8,000 and getting yourself a seven-year-old Corolla if you’re really interested in the proverbial automotive hair shirt. I’d also like to meet these people who are saving $6,000 a year from the age of 18.

I did the math myself using 35 years’ worth of $6,000 annual contributions at a 4% rate of return and a 2.5% annual inflation rate, and I came up with a total adjustment amount of $390,000. That’s still real money — call me in 20 years when I’m the conventional retirement age and feel free to ask me if I’m interested in an additional $390,000 in 2017 dollars — but it doesn’t have the visceral impact of becoming a millionaire just from driving a crappy car your whole life. Let’s go back to the article for another important excerpt.

One other benefit of driving an inexpensive car is you have a daily reminder that you are NOT rich, at least not yet. Expensive purchases tend to run in packs if you don’t spend very consciously. Nice clothes, nice cars, nice vacations, nice homes etc. It seems silly to park that $5K car in the driveway of a $2M house. So if you’ll drive a $5K car for a few years, chances are good you’ll spend a little less on some other luxuries, grow into your income a little more slowly and reach financial independence much faster. If nothing else, it will give you a daily reminder of your financial goals.

I think the authors have a solid point here. Many was the time in my 30-something life that I said to myself, “I can afford a $5,000 suit — that’s just one month’s worth of my car payments.” The smart thing to do would have been to throw $9,700 into the bank and spend $300 on that month’s used-Camry payment. I don’t live like that anymore; in fact, I’m busy taking steps to insure I at least have my house paid off, my debts gone, and a bit of money around when I’m in my 60s. I drive an Accord and I’ve sold two of my three Porsches. I’ve spent more money on bicycles for my kid in the past year than I’ve spent on Italian menswear, although admittedly in both cases I’ve laid out more cash than was strictly prudent.

Still. I’m trying to think about what I’ll have in the future. It won’t be anything like what I’d have if I had devoted the last 15 years to saving money and living within my means. I didn’t do that. I devoted the last 15 years to having unprotected sex with random women, most of whom were already married, in the carbon-fiber-clad cockpits of leased luxury vehicles. I don’t want to say how much money I spent in that lifestyle. The sum would be inconsequential to Sheryl Sandberg but it would make the average American dry-heave.

You know what? I don’t regret it. I don’t regret any of the money I spent on cars. I don’t regret any of the money I spent on hotel rooms, expensive meals, linen Kiton sportcoats, last-minute flights, or arrive-and-drive expenses. I might be 45 years old but I’m not stupid enough to think of that as “middle-aged.” That implies that I’ll live to be 90. Let’s say I’d saved all that money and I retired at 65 with $5 or $10 million bucks. What would I do with it? Would I go back and sleep with all those women I’d missed out on because I was driving a seven-year-old Sentra and pinching my pennies? Would I enter all the races that I’d skipped in the past to save money? Would I buy my son an expensive bicycle for his birthday, even if it’s his 35th birthday?

And how would I feel if I wound up with a late-stage cancer diagnosis of my own at the age of 61? As I lay dying in a semi-private hospital room, watching my savings disappear at the rate of two Brioni sportcoats a day for amenities to include one IV drip and three assisted trips to the toilet per day, how would I feel about all those days I’d spent behind the wheel of a Sentra, waiting for the future that would never actually arrive?

I only mention the above scenario in the context of financial advice for medical professionals because I was reading that the average lifespan of a male American doctor is 73 years. Compared to the average American man, they are less likely to die from pneumonia but more likely to die from suicide. So if you’re telling me I need to pinch every penny from medical school all the way to the age of 65 so I can have an average of eight years until death… well, my friend, those eight years had better look like the afternoon parties of the Emperor Nero.

In the end, I think it’s best to take advice like what’s presented above, whether from the doctor-money site or from your humble author, in a homeopathic fashion. A little pinch of fiscal responsibility, a dab of outrageous irresponsibility. Maybe you should get an E-Class instead of an S-Class, or a Camry instead of an ES350. Maybe you should ask that girl at work out on a date instead of spending another evening playing Call of Duty. Moderation in all things. And take this advice, too, from a man who knows: Don’t park your 911 next to your doctor’s leased 3 Series and tease him about it. You have no idea how much an annual physical can hurt.

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167 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: The Doctor’s Kia and the Patient’s Porsches...”


  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Live when and while you can, but save where you can.
    That has worked for me.. No complaints so far.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Sage advice from beginning to end. Except maybe about unsafe sex.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    My wife will be finishing her residency program with a well worn in 2012 Camry SE that’s been a champ over the bombed out roads she has to drive every day for the past 70k miles. Of course we might trade that in on a Sienna by then (depending on when a little one arrives). We’re blessed in that her father picked up the tab for tuition so the debt hanging over our heads is much smaller but still in the brand new Land Cruiser range (living expenses, books, horribly expensive tests). My wife’s dream car is a Highlander Hybrid, but she says the new ones are ugly. So basically her dream car is a seven year old Toyota hybrid, which is quite attainable :p . Toyota should seriously have made a Sienna Hybrid by now, makes all the sense in the world IMO. My own aspirations waffle between a Land Cruiser or a Tundra CrewMax.
    She has a few friends though with a seemingly insatiable thirst for debt. All sorts of shopping and eating out all through medical school, living in really nice apartments in residency, etc. I guess it’s a somewhat valid strategy assuming you start making the big bucks and knock all the debt out quickly. But my assumption is upon receiving their first big paycheck, they will prioritize an even bigger lifestyle upgrade. Takes all kinds I suppose.

    • 0 avatar
      romanjetfighter

      we’re in a post-money world. i’m in training too and you pick a specialty you’d be happy in, not what it pays.

      spending lavishly on yourself is great as long as you can afford it, and most doctors can live comfortably doing so.

      it’s all about lifestyle. we have the freedom of choosing 150k doing pediatrics vs 500k doing gas or EM. money is important but happiness and fulfillment is key.

      the puritanical obsession with frugality, viewing any self indulgence with disdain, the judgment we can all do without.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “the puritanical obsession with frugality, viewing any self indulgence with disdain, the judgment we can all do without.”

        In the case of a few of her friends its more so people with literally zero money management skills who didn’t even have a credit card previously. Maybe behind the scenes there is careful planning, somewhow I doubt it. I think it’s more “oh I’m just going to worry about it later.” That all might work out fine, but it might not given the inclination to just ratchet up the spending as soon as any extra cash comes in. Sounds a lot like our government now that I think about it :p

      • 0 avatar

        “The puritanical obsession with frugality, viewing any self indulgence with disdain, the judgment we can all do without.”

        This is one of my least favorite character traits. What makes it different from true frugality is the sense of envy wrapped in virtuousness. I suspect it’s not so much the envy of material wealth but that their identity is derived from being a “company man”, and they don’t have the courage to take a risk – which is what ultimately gets you the 911, or the 5 weeks on the Amalfi coast.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Hoo jeez that’s quite a lot you’re
          “suspecting” and extrapolating Derek. But you’re right a lot of it for me is simply a lack of familiarity with many of these nice things that drive me to question their necessity.

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        “the puritanical obsession with frugality, viewing any self indulgence with disdain, the judgement we can all do without”.

        …..Was reading NJdotcom today and on the front page is a house/mansion in Alpine NJ that has been reduced from $68M to $43M. Check it out.

        …..OTOH, nearly 60% of American families couldn’t come up with $1,000 cash if an emergency came up. They live virtually paycheck to paycheck with zero saving. Astoundingly, 50% of Americans have an average debt balance of $37,000 excluding mortgage. Methinks the majority of Americans should research; frugality and self indulgence.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    It’s a truly depressing calculus, determining whether you want to suffer through austerity now for a shot at richer living during retirement, or having those experiences now while you can enjoy them because you know there’s a chance that you won’t make it to old age.

    “And how would I feel if I wound up with a late-stage cancer diagnosis of my own at the age of 61?”

    There’s truth in this. Chance mortality events like this are constantly taking pot shots at us, and for some of us that bullet will land right between the shoulder blades.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    My wife works in a hospital and we often socialize with her doctor friends. These are specialists in a top tier hospital. I’m always amazed with what they drive.

    At a recent event, the doctors there drove a used Volvo wagon, an older Lexus RX, a VW Tiguan, and a used Lexus ES. One single doctor drove a pearl white Ferrari. One doctor was asking me about my 911, and had been debating for months on purchasing a Porsche Macan S, and still hasn’t pulled the trigger….just continues to drive his 4-yr old VW Passat.

    • 0 avatar
      romanjetfighter

      really depends on the specialty. and top tier hospitals pay anything from beans to a lot. in fact they pay the least for academics. 180k at harvard might be appealing but so is 700k in the boondocks of iowa. everyone has a different situation so differences in spending habits are fun to see.

  • avatar
    wintermutt

    Retired 12 months after 41 years being a Doctor. There is a lot of truth in what you write, although methinks you generalize too much. The question is what do we do now? A patient said to me upon learning of my impending retirement “Now you can take care of yourself”. How did the patient get so smart? My two cents – all that advice you have been dispensing for 40 years – start living it.

    Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)
    from The Water Babies

    WHEN all the world is young, lad,
    And all the trees are green ;
    And every goose a swan, lad,
    And every lass a queen ;
    Then hey for boot and horse, lad,
    And round the world away ;
    Young blood must have its course, lad,
    And every dog his day.

    When all the world is old, lad,
    And all the trees are brown ;
    And all the sport is stale, lad,
    And all the wheels run down ;
    Creep home, and take your place there,
    The spent and maimed among :
    God grant you find one face there,
    You loved when all was young.

    • 0 avatar
      bking12762

      Sage advice Wintermutt. The poem hits home also.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      @wintermutt…..What an awesome poem. Thanks Doc for posting that. Enjoy your retirement, be happy and healthy. Buy a good highway cruiser if you don’t own one already and explore the west…..it is wonderful from the Grand Canyon, to Utah’s five great national parks, to the Grand Teton’s, to Yellowstone, to Mt Rushmore and the Black Hills, to the Cali coast to the Redwood forest……..and beyond.

      Screw the trendy resorts and rubbing elbows with the “in crowd”. . You will forget them long before you forget our natural treasures.

  • avatar
    Serpens

    That’s Procter & Gamble thank you, with an “e.”

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    As a crusty old prof told us in engineering school circa 1970…

    doctors bury their mistakes
    engineers have to pay warranty on them

    Of course back then you didn’t have a tort lawyer advertising every 8 minutes on daytime tv.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    The salaryman ant gambles that he can get out with his soul intact before the heart attack. The grasshopper gambles that he won’t ball up his [insert fast vehicle of choice] and end up like Chris Reeves or get shot by a jealous ant’s husband.

    See also: ST:TNG ‘Tapestry’.

    Speaking personally, a 9mm round is much cheaper than two Brioni’s a day….or a handful of narcs and 3 glasses of a distilled beverage for the squeamish.

    • 0 avatar
      Driver8

      related: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdfeXqHFmPI

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Perhaps the goal should be to change the calculus from “two Brionis a day or lunching on a pistol” to “two pairs of Levis a day, thus making the 9mm lunch far less likely.”

      And the fact that doctors like to spend money on things like Porsches is one key factor in that first nasty calculus.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Jack you’ve brought this point up before and I’d be curious to hear you expound on it: aside from the monetary side of things in regards to a crazy-bachelor lifestyle, what do you think of the concept of prioritizing starting a family sooner, with the opportunity to have more children and spending more time with them, rather than waiting longer and only having 1, maybe 2? I had a sudden realization recently that even if my wife and I had a kid right this moment, my father would be 75 when this hypothetical first-borne is 15. That doesn’t sit well with me. I wish we had already had our first in our mid 20s (granted, we just got married this January), as financially stressful and inconvenient as it may have been.

    Over the past few years I’ve come to the realization that above all material wealth or other experiences, good times with family trump everything else. I wished I had realized that sooner, but better now in my late 20s than even later.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      I didnt have kids til I was 37 and 42…It wasn’t planned it just happened that way. I also wish I could have had kids in my early 20’s They would be adults now and me at 50 could breathe a little easier.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        Same here – I’ll have just a few years between when my last daughter (I have three girls) graduates from high school in 2022, and when I hit retirement age. Meanwhile, my boss, who’s the same age as me, is retiring in two months (his kids are 27 and 29).

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Chocolatedeath – Me too. I got married at age 39. The advantage was being established financially and career wise but the disadvantage is that years of rough and tumble “fun” means that it damned tough to keep up to 13 and 15 year old boys. I don’t regret anything because that is the way it is.

        @FormerFF – I’m looking at similar post secondary education concerns with both my sons. I can retire at full pension at 59 when the younger is done high school. I’m probably going to take retirement but work casual to top up their education funding.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I was 42 when my first born arrived and 44 when the second one came.

      The advantage to have them later in life is that you’ve had a chance go get established, but on the other hand I’ll be at social security normal retirement age when my second gets her bachelors degree.

      Children are very expensive, don’t have more than two. When they’re toddlers they may not seem so expensive but things start to ramp up quickly as they get older.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        ” don’t have more than two”

        We’re gunning for three, maybe even four. I grew up in very modest surroundings, I’d rather sacrifice whatever nice “doctor+engineer” things we’d otherwise be able to afford to have a big fun family. My only self imposed obligation is to be able to live in a area with good public schools and to help offspring with affording secondary schooling. If that keeps me constrained to driving older used vehicles and living in a smaller home, that’s fine by me.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          Four kids? Look at one year’s college cost. Now multiply by 16. That’s the minimum, lots of kids take more than four years. And, that’s just a bachelor’s degree, which nowadays is the equivalent of what a high school diploma got you 40 years ago, chances one or two of them will want a Masters or go to a professional school.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            While it is awesome if you are able to support your children that much, I don’t think it a definite obligation of parents to 100% pay for their kid’s bachelor’s degree and certainly not an obligation to pay 100% towards a master’s or beyond.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Had a friend who had a child at 17 and another at 18.

            When we just passed 40 and I had a newly arrived infant he laughed at me.

            His were just finishing college and his marriage was officially breaking up.

            As he said, “now I plan on losing 35lbs, growing back my hair, buying a great car and re-entering the dating market”.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Agreed, ajla…in fact, I think kids need to put some of their own skin in the game when it comes to college.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            ajla I hear you. And FF I agree the numbers are fairly frightening. But that’s just the way I was raised, all available resources are funneled into the kids’ future, and not in a “I bought my kid a nice new car for highschool” sort of way. I lucked into in-state tuition of a land-grant portion of an ivy league with a further 50% off of that thanks to my father’s time spent working there as a researcher, and I lived at home on top of that. So state schools and other work-arounds exist to help with the affordability aspect. I agree that tuition costs are absolutely insane and something needs to happen for a correction to occur. If a kid of mine wanted to do a trade or a career in the military, I would be supportive of that as well.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Arthur that’s all well and good, but what is it like when your children barely get to know their grandparents before they pass on? That’s my biggest motivator of all, but I understand that others don’t prioritize that as much.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @gtemnykh

            Getting to know the grandparents is nice, but I think it’s nicer for the grandparents than the kids in the end.

            Still, I wish my dad’s parents, who emigrated here from Russia, would have been around to tell me their stories. Those would have been fascinating. Plus, I could finally get closure on the longstanding family rumor that my grandfather skipped New York for Iowa because he was in the Meyer Lansky mob.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @ajla – I do agree that one’s children should contribute to their own education. That gives them much more incentive to work at it as opposed to a free ride. I paid my way on my second degree and I busted my ass to do well.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          We have three, and would have had four, had my wife not gotten breast cancer. The chemo sent her into early menopause. She’s been in remission for 12 years, but a recurrence is always in the back of our minds.

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            @gtemnykh

            I agree with your take on having kids earlier. My mom was 40 when I was born, and I wasn’t the last. Her mom and and dad (the only grandparents I knew) were 64 and 70 respectively, when I was born. I wish I’d had more years with them. My grandmother did when I was 11, and my grandfather when I was 21.

            The only cool thing was my mom’s recollections of being a twentysomething single girl during WWII.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @ gtemnykh: That ‘last’ (an assumption there) child of mine was let’s just say an ‘unexpected blessing’.

            My friend had kids young, lived in his parents basement for a decade. Scrimped and saved. In his early 40’s had little responsibilities and went ‘middle aged crazy’.

            I lived it up into my mid 20’s. The settled down, scrimped and saved and did not have any kids until I owned (at least more than the bank owned) a house and had moved my career to where my wife could stay home to raise the kids.

            Still not sure which way is best?

            As for grandparents. My eldest got to know her great-grandmother. My youngest did not really get to know one of her grandfathers as he died in his 60’s. One of the other grandparents is still around and the other 2 latest until she was in university. So again, you just don’t know.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “Still not sure which way is best?”

            Your example of extremes and sort of a “black or white” mentality is rather simple minded at best, and more into the territory of insulting IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            dukeisduke – that is tough to live with. Some days it is a little chickadee on your shoulder, other days it is an 800 lb gorilla.
            There has been insufficient focus on cancer survivorship. Even that term has fallen out of favour since “cure” rates have improved and even with incurable cancer, the long term survival in many cases is now on par with many chronic conditions like diabetes.

        • 0 avatar
          56BelAire

          @gtemnykh…you’re an “old school” kind’a guy, I like your philosophy of life.

          My story, I’m 73, brought up in an “old school” German family in Cleveland. Married at 23 and had 4 kids. First son when I was 25, last son when I was 42, 2 girls in the middle. When my youngest was in Little League around age 10, I was in my 50’s and gray, I bring him to all his games and practices and some kids asked him, “why does your Grandpa bring you instead of your Dad?”…..LOL.

          My kids are all solid middle-class with their own homes and only 2 of the 4 graduated college. I have 8 grand kids and counting.

          Have 4-5 kids, they will made you happy and bring much joy. The finances will work out. I have a good shot at becoming a great- grandfather in a year or two……that will be cool.

          Advantage of having kids in your 40’s is that they will help kept you young and usually you will be in better shape financially than in your 20’s. Advantage of having kids young is you’ll be able to see your grand kids graduate HS and college and maybe get married……God willing.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “When they’re toddlers it may not seem so but things ramp up”

        When I hear this I wonder if people have had their kids in daycare. My daughter cost me a damned mortgage payment every month in daycare as an infant ($1600) and it’s gone down (slightly) every year since, to a nice reasonable $1250 now. College aside, I can’t see how a grade school or high school kid can cost me that much every month. I get that some stuff is expensive, but it just can’t be $1500/mo every month.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          We did not use daycare. One of the advantages of being older was that I was well settled in a better paying position and put enough down on our house to where my wife could stay home, so no, we didn’t pay day care, but we did forgo her salary.

          The older ones quite often have activities that can cost from a few thousand per year up to $10K on the extreme. Obviously these are optional, but it’s wise to have at least one thing, it helps them personally and improves their ability to get into a better college.

          My eldest needed $7000 worth of braces in order to keep her teeth.

          There’s lots of other things as well, you’ll find out. I was talking about the cost of raising the child only, not including the cost of having both partners work. Besides if gtemnykh is planning on having four, either he or his wife should probably plan on staying home, the economics will probably work out better.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Key to our planning is close parental support. I had two working parents when I was little, my grandma was basically my nanny/sitter during the day. I see my cousins still in Russia doing the same thing, and my parents here in the US are full well prepared to take on the same role if/when called upon. I guess it’s a cultural thing.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @gtemnykh: it is only insulting because you seem to go out of your way to take umbrage with my postings.

          To return the favour, your statement regarding timing childbirths is rather ‘simple minded’, because humans are not born with a guaranteed expiration date. There are healthy and active people in their 90’s and some who do not make it to 60.

          Regardless a male could still conceivably procreate up until the time that they expire. Or with current technology, even after.

          Contradictory viewpoints and courteous discourse are the lifeblood of a democracy and this site. I prefer to engage in those, rather than some petty nit picking.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            You pick an extreme example of someone having kids in their teenage years and living in their parents basement and point to that as “wow you sure you want to do anything besides the exact way I did?” It’s incredibly patronizing, if you deny the simple-minded claim. You strike the same attitude with the whole used car vs. leasing argument. You extol your personal experience as the gold standard of doing things. You have every bit of the same ego/ God-complex of the doctors that Jack is poking fun at.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @ gtemnykh : Please read what LS1Fan posted below on May 11th, 2017 at 11:07 am. It demonstrates the point regarding the cost of new versus old.

            And your response proves that you are indeed holding some sort of weird grudge.

            Based on my disproving of your supposition that it is relatively easy to find a reliable, honest and competent, ‘shade tree’ mechanic to repair old vehicles.

            In many jurisdictions, including where I live they have been legislated out of business.

            By-laws prevent repairing multiple cars in driveways or parking lots or even private property in residential areas. Safety, environmental and licensing laws require that those performing much of the work hold a valid mechanic’s or bodywork license, have a licensed and inspected waste removal system and follow applicable safety laws. Workers compensation requires that they register and pay premiums if they have anyone working with them. Tax laws require that they register with the government and remit taxes on all goods and services. Fire Codes limit how many chemicals they can have on-site and how them must be stored.

            The ‘rule of law’ is what separates democracies from dictatorships.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “Based on my disproving of your supposition that it is relatively easy to find a reliable, honest and competent, ‘shade tree’ mechanic to repair old vehicles.”

            That’s you putting words in my mouth, and claiming victory. There’s that ego again.

            But to prove you wrong on what you just said, go on craigslist, go to services->automotive, search for “repair” and contact any number of ASE certified guys working out of their shops, garages or mobile. No guarantees, but even the hallowed dealership is known to fleece people.

            Just because you live in some regulated-to-death hellscape, doesn’t mean we all do. What does this even have to do with democracies and dictatorships? Some kind of ‘clever’ jab at where I’m from? If anything I’d argue all of those regulations where you are in Canada speak to a less free marketplace.

            It’s not so much a grudge seeking out conflict as much as it is reacting to you piping up to my comments on here with a lot of hot air.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            gtemnykh, You got upset over one issue that was debated a while ago and since then have kept trying to nitpick on multiple threads.

            Why do you try to read insults into postings, where they do not appear? In fact it has been you who has posted multiple personal insults; God complex, ego, simple minded, etc, at someone who is probably around the same age as your parents.

            And then in retaliation for an imagined insult, you try to insult an entire nation for regulating an industry? By the way in Ontario, mechanics and auto body repair people have to be licensed by the government as a ‘Red Seal’ trade and have to pass government tests, so ASE is not truly applicable. Licensing is mandatory, ASE is voluntary.

            What Jack Baruth has written multiple times is in fact true, that for many (or most) people, owning a new vehicle is more cost effective than owning an old car (maintenance, downtime, time off work, financing, plus worry). Many others, not just myself have supported that, using actual costing examples. Can you not just accept that?

            And by the way, I provided more than one example in my original posts on this thread. My friend who had children in his teens and myself who brought home my first child just after my 30th birthday and my latest child around my 40th. If you took the time to read it you would see that I was unsure which way was best, his or ours. Indeed posed that question. Yet you jumped to some conclusion not based on what was written.

            Rather than making assumptions, why not take the postings as they were meant? Maybe even consider that there is substantial truth to what I posted that originally upset you, and move on?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      If I could do it over again, I would have five sons instead of one. Regardless of what it did to my lifestyle. And I’d have started at twenty-two. Take that for what it’s worth.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        We get by on basically one modest income (my wife works a couple of little part time jobs now, in a wig shop, helping women with cancer, and occasionally giving kids rides to and from school, like today), but it’s been worth it, considering that my wife is home when the kids are, and has been able to do a lot of volunteering at school.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Darn site will not let me edit my previous post to correct the obvious typos!

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        No daughters? I have two and they have turned into smart, funny, beautiful women. If I would have had sons Im afraid I would have been pretty tough on them remembering some of the shit I did as a kid.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’ve often wondered if I’d have had more kids if I hadn’t been married to the wrong woman. In essence, I’ve been a single parent for about 20 years now.

        Fatherhood is a pleasure, but single parenthood is a grind, at best. Single parenthood with a “co-parent” who’s a criminal AND on your payroll to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars is a burden I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It makes the thought of being responsible for any more living beings terrifying. Hell, my youngest kid actually had to talk me into getting a Betta fish.

        • 0 avatar
          stevelovescars

          Single parenthood is usually unexpected and very very expensive. My wife was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer when my second son was 3 months old. I went from a nice comfortable silicon valley management life with long-term plans to a single parent with huge childcare expenses, medical debt, stress, and new plans focused on just making it through the next month. Shit happens… enjoy life while you can. Don’t keep waiting to do things you want to do. There were a lot of vacations we never took because we were planning to do them later.

          Anyway, regarding cars, there is a middle ground between a new Porsche GT3 and a $7,000 Corolla. A 3-5 year old luxury car can usually be bought for half the price of a new one. They aren’t so old that one should be saddled with large repairs and will still give you some pleasure to drive (along with some status if that’s important to you). If you shop around and buy it right one can often even sell the car for a small profit or at least break even after a year or two of driving. Yeah, insurance is a more than on that Corolla, but again, life can take unexpected turns.

          None of the other doctors or neighbors are going to notice that your Mercedes E-Class is two years old rather than new.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Steve, sincere sympathy. You are right, as the saying goes “if you want to make God laugh, announce your plans”.

            Life happens, there are no guarantees, you can only do the very best you can with the cards that you are dealt.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Of course, in your ideal world you’re looking forward to five sons.

        In the real world, had your alternative plan happened, you’d have had your one son and four daughters.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          My great-grandfather had two sons and no daughters.

          My grandfather had four sons before he had a daughter.

          My father had two sons.

          My one known child is a son.

          The odds are in my favor!

      • 0 avatar
        4drSedan

        Double amen to that! Had sons fairly late (when I was 41/43). I thought I was cashing in all my ‘Fun Tickets’ as a free single guy. I now realize that more kids, and the energy to keep up beats all. I too would have 4.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Over the past few years I’ve come to the realization that above all material wealth or other experiences, good times with family trump everything else. ”

      for you and many other people. but that’s not something you can state as a universal truth. I don’t have kids, I’ve never felt any desire to, and I still don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        It’s not for everyone.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Life unfolds for each of us in its own way. All that maters is that one is comfortable with choices one has made and accepts the outcome of those choices. I find that the first few lines of the serenity prayer are a good guide to live by, even for atheists.

        “God grant me the serenity
        to accept the things I cannot change;
        courage to change the things I can;
        and wisdom to know the difference.”

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “I don’t have kids, I’ve never felt any desire to, and I still don’t.”

        Knowing this is more important than wanting kids.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      @gtemnykh, you know that old saying about the three most important things when buying a home are location, location, and location? When buying a home to raise a family, that is at least doubly so. I have a good friend who started a family just about the same time as we did. They bought a nice house in a nice middle income neighborhood. We bought a somewhat more elaborate house in an upper middle income area. What they found was that in their elementary and middle school district, there were a lot of rental apartments and the quality of the schools were not good, so they wound up paying for eight years of private school for each of their two children, and the cost of that far exceeded the additional amount we paid for our home and the additional taxes. Plus, we got to live in the nicer home and have more dollars of equity as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Ain’t you 26 anyway?

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Darn now I get it. I wrote “still not sure which way is best?”. The intent was “I still do not know which way is best”. Fortunately it seems that all but one person here understood my original intent.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Arthur quite alright, I think the internet does that, especially when one goes into it prejudiced based on prior interactions. Unedited It came across as preachy/condescending. My apologies for the over-reaction.

          We’ll never see eye to eye on the whole regulation of auto repair thing I suppose. I support giving car owners more options including working in their driveways, finding cheap shade-tree options, etc. In fact I just made an easy $40 giving an acquaintance’s ’07 Camry a quick once over inspection. Threw it on jack stands for an inspection of the suspension and brakes, topped off coolant, cleaned battery posts, replaced the air and cabin filters he brought me. All in the comfort of my driveway. If that would have gotten me thrown in jail in your part of Canada, then Canada is not the place for me.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            gtemnykh; and in truth I agree/sympathize with you that this type of work/hobby should be encouraged. Nothing like opening up the hood of a vehicle in your driveway with friends/family and doing some work or helping someone out.

            What we have here are numerous by-laws, environmental and safety regulations that restrict where you can perform these types of services on a commercial basis. For home owners most large municipalities have by-laws about how long you can keep a car ‘up on jacks’, how you must dispose of all waste materials and when and how long you can park. Our old Nova ‘project car’ had to go into the garage rather than being left on the driveway.

            These rules are considered to go ‘hand in hand’ with the ‘broken window’ theory of crime prevention. But of course they also generate tax revenue. Here is a link to a story about one of the sillier by-laws.

            https://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/5741329-should-you-be-able-to-park-any-vehicle-in-your-driveway-/

            So, onward and upward.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        Corey (and others)

        n.b. when a thread in this commenting system gets this long, it’s helpful if you either quote a part of what you’re responding to, or at least note who. I’m not sure who you’re asking, and it’s not easy scrolling up that far while trying to measure the 0.1mm offset of the previous comment.

  • avatar
    anthroguy

    I feel like this post had me in mind. The three websites I read most are probably ttac.com, jackbaruth.com and whitecoatinvestor.com.

    I don’t think its about a website just for doctors, but a website that keeps telling high income professionals your not money smart, do these few simple things with your money and you wont pay exorbitant sums to a conman to get you to retirement. The website isnt run by a car guy so of course he wouldnt see the want for someone to buy a 6 speed Audi S5.

    I feel its helped me figure out what a backdoor roth is, where to invest (vanguard index funds FTW), how much is prudent and the advantages and disadvantages of private practice vs employment via case studie and examples

    his advice on lifestyle spending is to be spartan, but I in the end agree with you. you likely have 1 life on this earth, so why not enjoy it to some degree.

    (FYI i’ve never done an extra prostate exam if anyone made fun of my 328i)

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    If you are poor and live in the rural south and have not gone to college you should drive a crap car and save.

    If you are a doctor or anyone else in an urban area considering a $5K car the right answer is no car.

    The time repairing that garbage car plus the cost of storing it and insuring it will be many times the $5K cost. Plus the car will be unsafe and you have invested a lot in yourself.

    If you are ready for a car instead of public transport (and I know a number of people making $120 – $200K with no car) then find a good lease deal. You should be able to get a fine sedan with nothing down and tax included for about $200 a month. Read the fine print and do your research, but getting a good lease deal takes a lot less research than not getting f’d on a $5K car.

    Or buy a new Prius or Subaru for the low to mid $20s. A lot of rich people do that.

  • avatar
    brawnychicken333

    Article reminds me of this from Hunter S. Thompson:
    “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

    So buy the shoes, the car, and the fancy dinner. But don’t go too crazy, you might live to 93.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    So many thoughts and tangents in one short posting. Re-affirms that although JB may be ‘dork’ at times, he is still a very good writer.

    1. Always invest the opposite of dentists. This has been proven time and again over the past 40 years, at least in Ontario. Once dentists take up an investment approach it has crested. And why didn’t Jack at least once in this article refer to the 911 as “The Dentist Killer” which is what it was called, even by VW Canada executives in the 1970’s?

    2. Many medical professionals drive expensive cars because their competitive nature compels them to. They have generally had to compete all of their lives, in school, to get a residency, etc. Once they are practicing, how can the majority (non surgeons) demonstrate how ‘good’ they are to their peers? Only be conspicuous consumption. My GP who I have known for 30 has a practice that is not in a wealthy part of town. He compensates by driving an Aston-Martin.

    3. Never drive a car worth more than your home. Learned that at an early age. A good friend of The Old Man’s won a Rolls Royce in one of the regular poker games that The Old Man used to organize. When his wife saw it in the driveway of their modest home, she demanded a new home.

    4. Jack is generally correct regarding used car pricing. And investments. I have dutifully contributed 10% of my annual gross income into a retirement plan for 30 years. And my income was ‘above average’. Still do not have enough to retire. Primarily due to an incompetent ‘investment advisor’. Thankfully in our area, home prices have skyrocketed.

    5. Finally it is very rare to ‘win’ financially with an automobile. They are generally quickly depreciating money pits. And when their depreciation slows down, they are either too expensive to keep repaired (see ‘you need to be rich to own a cheap car’), or worn out, or your family refuses to be seen riding it it.

  • avatar
    arach

    Are you really from the ‘Nati?

    I’ve been on here for years and never realized your from the same area as me. I find it odd how prevalent cincinnati is in the autosphere. For a place with little innovation or exciting new tech, not a week goes by without reading an article about cinci cars, from Lebanon’s Ford $39k 100000 HP mustangs, to budget race car drivers who competed on borrowed parts, to Enthusiast Automotive Group’s crazy BMWs, to Chevy Motors in Ferrari specialists, national news generating traffic cops (arlington heights), red light cameras (new miami), National Championship Corvette drivers (danny popp), to Exotic Car Manufacturing (Hamilton), to historical muscle cars (GM/Pontiac F-bodies), 2500 person car show cruise ins, and more… And now you! haha.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    That site you’ve quoted is vastly overstating the savings to be had by driving an older car. Considering the case of a mid line midsized sedan or compact crossover, you can buy one for $27K or so, and provided you keep it for 6 years or more, you should expect depreciation to be around $3000 per year. Allowing for depreciation on the used car and its greater need for maintenance and repairs, you’d probably save around $1200-$1500 per year.

    I’ve found that the most important factor in the cost of ownership is the original price of the car. Expensive cars have higher ownership costs whether you buy them new or used.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Enough doctor-related criticism to make it clear you’re significantly bitter about not making the cut, huh, Jack?!

  • avatar
    arach

    $5000 will easily get you a Hyundai or kia, and Hyundais aren’t bad anymore.

    In fact, there are $9,500 CPO Sonatas on the market right now. CPO, as in 10 year warranty, no repairs.

    So use the advice above and instead of buying a 10 year old Toyota, get a 4 year old Hyundai, and have 10 years of relatively worry free driving.

    They are actually pretty decent cars too.

    • 0 avatar
      IBx1

      If I find out a doctor I use is driving a hunday, I’m never going to that practice again.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        I do the same with Bimmers.

        If the docter drives a BMW, time to find another one… Unless its at least an M or something. 328i? your out.

        As far as Hyundai’s concerned… all the smartest people I know drive Hyundais or Toyotas.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          +1 on the Hyundais, arach. A relative drives a Hyundai and is an MD. He did well enough in his education to have been offered a position at the Mayo Clinic. Good to know he’s not up to IBx1’s standards, though.

  • avatar
    zayg

    A great article Jack, but I don’t think we need to equate driving a $5k Sentra with having a life not lived. For a car enthusiast like the readers of this site, a beautiful 911 that we have always dreamed of seems a fair goal to aspire to once becoming successful in our careers. However, if one is not a car enthusiast, the mindless consumption of luxury goods to show that we have “made it” is likely not going to make one as content with their life as one might expect. In fact, I would expect that the doctor (or anyone) who consumes “just enough” in the areas that are not truly passions of theirs will be happier. There is a lot of stress and anxiety that comes with trying to keep up with the joneses. Living a bit more simply could benefit all of us sometimes.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Imma just congratulate our dear author on the well-placed use of the word ‘cockpits’.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    My wife finished residency 10 years ago and is now in the process of taking those expensive azz exams again for recertification in OCT of this year. We both come from humble beginnings so even though she got a “free ride” at Duke, actual Medical School was major expensive. We had cars when we met and got newer (used) ones after we got married. 01 Aurora and 99 Intrigue. After that we get her an (in 06) 07 ES 350 (first Moon Shell Mica on the Eastern seaboard) that we still have and has been paid off for about 5 years.
    While in residency she made about 40 grand and we did eat out alot and traveled alot but I dont regret it.

    The second home after residency was about 5 times more expensive than the one we got when we first married. Unfortunately the bubble burst right when we were moving from NC to FL and we got stuck with 2 house payments. It took 4 years to sell that home at a loss of about 200k.

    We stopped renting here in Jax FL a few years ago just in time for the market to re-adjust. My CX9 has was also bought new in 08 and paid that off as well a few years back. She now desires a new ride (RX hybrid) however we both know we have goals and plans.

    Jack they also have Physician loans for homes as well. Its an 7 year adjustable that we will refinance next year. We have been blessed to pay off all my credit cards and will start on her 300k worth of school loans in June as well as her credit cards.

    I dont regret living the way we lived. Jack is right about the Mid Life thing. A PA told me about 13 years ago that Mid life is about 35 and that if I were lucky I might see 40 more. It hit me then. Yes I have responsibility to leave a legacy for my kids and grandkids. Sorry to say but some folks dont think that way and I didnt until few years ago. However 6 years ago after literally never even having even so much as a cold for years i ended up in the hospital for a week and in the end they couldn’t even find out what was wrong with me.

    I want a comfortable retirement however I refuse (God willing) to settle for severe compromises now. As long as we are blessed to do certain things, kids private schooled (needed in Duval County), summer camps, trips to Disney, all the things I could have never gotten as a kid due to parents making 2.25 per hour I will continue to do.

  • avatar
    kefkafloyd

    My uncle is a doctor, though now pretty much retired. He’s not an MD, but rather a microbiologist who worked on infectious diseases. His car was a company car provided to him by the lab he worked for, since he would have to travel all over New England to give talks or to work in their labs. They were always fairly sedate cars—Ford Tauruses. I don’t know what he had before I was born, but I imagine they were equivalent. His last car was a Chrysler 300, which only lasted until he retired two years later, after which he purchased a Toyota Matrix with his own money. My aunt, a nurse, always drove a family car. She bought a Pontiac Aztek when they came out, and was a huge fan of it. Currently they have a RAV4.

    He spent all of his money on outdoor equipment and fishing trips rather than cars.

    Now, his buddies were a different story. One had Jeep Grand Cherokees for many years until he got an H2, which was totaled by a woman in a Volvo crossing the double-yellow. Now he has a Yukon Denali. His other doctor buddies all drive cars that are the equivalent of Lexuses or Buicks.

    That said, my uncle is a very type-A personality who fits in with the description of doctors being too smart for their own good. I love him, and he’s been very influential in my life, but I wonder if there wasn’t a little Chuck and Jimmy McGill going on between my dad and my uncle over the years.

  • avatar
    John R

    Jeez. I think we can begrudge freshly minted doctors a $8000 Civic with 40k miles.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    My pediatrician growing up drove a Panther Town Car, but was a woman and married to a farmer whose driveway demonstrated a strong love for Ford and John Deere.

    The number of children she had herself it saw use as a true 6 passenger vehicle.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    “By and large, doctors are terrible people. I should know. I’ve spent more time in the hospital than your average late-stage cancer patient.

    Robert Ringer once called medical school “a place where people are trained to think they are infallible”.

    No…off base. Understanding the need for creative writing, this is simply a bit much and as narrow minded as police, gender or any generalizing garbage.

    Fighting my boy’s rare sarcoma since November, I have run across the exact opposite.
    From the top at MD Anderson, Mass General to now here at Moffitt, we have met and deal with the best in the world and the loving care is not describable.
    These people bring our son’s condition around with them everywhere they go.
    We get cslls from Drs around the country interested in helping.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Which is why I said “by and large”.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      it’s interesting how so many people magnify their own personal experiences as though it’s the norm everywhere, isn’t it?

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        Who am I to believe?
        Jack or my lying eyes?

        Throughout the years my family n I have met quite a few medical professionals, many in our own family.
        Heck, even spent a few years in court fighting them.
        Ya, there are the arrogant, egotistical “why are you asking me questions, you of the unwashed!”.
        However, we have also met a great many more that we have grown close to and still miss.
        But for anybody that doesn’t live there’ll and real life confusion and crisis to crisis lived they do, it’s to easy to wrongfully criticize.
        Having to “practice” medicine and make decisions that are hardly more than best educated probability makes you an easy target when you’ve failed.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I see Physicians that are as Jack described and I see ones that are as TrailerTrash describes. In some cases it depends on the chosen specialty. I talked to a young Oncologist and he said he chose that profession over Cardiology because all of the Cardiologists he met/knew were arrogant pricks. All of the “old” surgeons I know are arrogant pricks on the job. Most of the “young” ones are laid back and view themselves as just another team member.

      I can say the same for Nurses. All of the Oncology staff I know are great but the majority of ER or OR staff are bitches. ICU is a mixed bag. Most are chill.

  • avatar
    ajla

    My general vehicle purchasing rules:

    1. Buy something that you actually want. This will make you more likely to take care of it, more likely to keep it, and be a salve for the cash you spend on it.

    2. Save for it. Partly for economic reasons and partly for psychological reasons. I usually go with 40% of the actual purchase price (although on something like an old S-class or M5 you should probably do 40% of the original price).

    Now for the Mr.Wall Street types with 17% annual investment returns, you don’t *have* to put this money down if you can’t stomach it, you’re just proving to yourself that you’d rather have the car than money in the bank.

    3. If you finance something, pay off the note 100% before you trade it in or sell it off.

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    For me, with my fairly average income, saving money isn’t about putting off living life now in order to live luxuriously in retirement at 65. The idea is to live well without wasting my money, so that money can buy me the two most important things: time and freedom. When I think about driving a new Lexus compared to a mediocre but mechanically-sound used car, I don’t think it would give me that much extra pleasure, especially compared with what else that money could buy me. Running my old, slightly-fettled Miata (worth maybe $5,000 in the US) at the track or a country road gives just as much thrills at my skill level as a Porsche would, and is a better learning tool. 160 MPH on an old sport bike is just as exciting as it is on a new one. Doing the occasional repair lets me get my hands dirty and builds character.

    What my money will do for me – I hope – is allow work to become optional when I’m in my 50s. It means sleeping well at night knowing that I don’t owe anyone anything, and that I have the freedom to change jobs, locations, romantic partners if I decide to, without worrying about paying my bills.

    I’m in a position where travel is quite cheap for me, and when time allows (I’m still working on a business degree in addition to working full-time), I don’t hesitate to take advantage of it. In March I decided with about 6 hours’ notice to travel with my mom to Zurich, so I did that, Business Class. I’ve seen Thailand, looked at Machu Picchu from above, stayed at a small all-inclusive resort in Barbados, mountain biked in the Rockies, and a bunch of other things. These experiences are worth way more to me than having a bigger home, fancier clothes, or a car that costs a year’s salary but everyone forgets the moment it drives by, and I’m still able to put aside 40% of my take-home pay.

    I don’t worry about leaving money behind when I die, because I don’t measure my life by how much cash I spent. Besides, I hope to have kids someday. My grandparents left money to my parents, my parents intend to leave money to me, and I think it’s only right that I do my best to leave something behind to the next generation as well.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    It’s always an interesting perspective when car guys opine on what non car guys should drive, and how they should spend their money. For us car guys, cars are transportation AND hobby, and we may spend comensuratley. I have no issue ‘overspending’ on cars because it’s something I really care about. On the other hand, someone who really doesn’t care about cars aside from maybe the image they project probably should be counseled to spend less.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      This. A car is more than *just* transportation to most of us here. If someone is impressed by it, great, but most of us buy cars for US. If it puts even a little smile on my face as I drive it, it’s money well spent.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Something unspoken from this thread: the amount of money doctors actually make. And that speaks to why so many of them buy expensive cars – they’re rich, by and large. Rich guys tend to buy expensive cars.

    In 16 years of doing mortgages, I’ve seen plenty of their paychecks and tax returns. Know who the *lowest* paid docs are? Check your local ER. By and large, they make around $150,000, give or take. Meanwhile, specialists can make upwards of a mil a year. Yes, the guy who will literally bring you back to life after you keel over from a heart attack, or get wheeled in with half your chest shot away, is the guy struggling with six figures of student debt. The multimillionaire anesthesiologist paid that loan off years ago, and now he’s on to getting a home equity line on his *third* house so he can pay off the balloon note on his Lamborghini (true story). I did a loan a few weeks ago for another doc who was buying his *third* investment condo in the same upscale condo in Marina Del Rey (’cause one investment condo in that building just isn’t enough, I guess).

    All this becomes germane in the context of our national conversation on health care. No one with any sense begrudges doctors a very comfortable living – these are smart, competitive people, and when it’s time to have our guts rearranged, we want smart, competitive people doing it. If these folks can’t make a highly comfortable living being a doctor, they’ll do something else.

    But let’s circle back to that Lambo-driving anesthesiologist – doubtless he got rich in the first place because he’s kick-a** anesthesiologist, but how much of his Lambo-and-two-vacation-houses lifestyle ended up in his patients’ bills, and thus paid for by our (ever-increasing) insurance premiums?

    Doctoring should be a ticket to a very comfortable living. It shouldn’t be a ticket to get rich, unless we’re OK with overpaying for care (which, apparently, we’re not).

    So, like Jack says…moderation in all things. It’ll save us all a lot of money.

    • 0 avatar
      Driver8

      FWIW, the last estimate I’ve seen for Doc’s salaries as a percentage of total health care expenditures was around 8%.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        No doubt true, and doctor pay is by no means the only reason why health care costs are so inflated. I’d add things like resort-style hospitals to that list as well. A while back my youngest daughter ended up at Children’s Hospital in Denver over a school incident – she’d expressed a wish to self harm, and the school sent her to the hospital. The place could easily be mistaken for a luxury hotel. She ended up basically sitting in a room for about two hours in a waiting room with nothing more than a TV and a couple of couches. She wasn’t given any medications, or hooked up to any machines. We were just sitting in a blank room for a couple of hours watching daytime TV.

        Cost of the room alone (not including the consult) was around $3,000. Don’t tell me a room with two couches and a TV costs a grand an hour for the hospital to run. It costs a lot to make a hospital look like a luxury hotel, after all. And the insurance company was complicit in all this – it paid the ridiculous room cost.

        But doctor costs are a definite contributor, particularly when it comes to the kind of high-cost treatments that can bankrupt patients.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          While in Mexico, I met a number of doctors and dentists who voluntarily quit their practice and now reside full-time in Mexico.

          I got the impression that no matter how much they earned, it was never enough to cover all their expenses and overhead.

          Sometimes it is better to take the money and run. The only ones hurt are the patients or those looking for a primary care giver.

          Hence so many Nurse Practitioners and doctors with foreign-sounding names in the US healthcare system.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            HDC, I have only seen ***one*** doc in my 16 years doing this that is so broke he couldn’t afford to buy a house. One.

            Having said that, some practices are more prone to what you’re talking about than others. Family practice and OB/GYN are notably lower profit / high cost. But most of these folks make in the neighborhood of $200,000, give or take. If you’re self employed, and you’re showing the IRS a $200,000 income, your company (practice) usually isn’t losing money. And that’s a pretty solid living no matter how you slice it.

            If you talked to the doctors who quit, you’d probably find a lot of factors that have little to do with money, such as work/life balance, stress, etc. Plus, it’s kinda hard to quit your job and move to Mexico if you’ve been living hand to mouth your entire career, you know?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            FreedMike, yeah, I can believe everything you wrote because different people leave the work force voluntarily for different reasons.

            I never rejoined the work force after I retired from the Air Force. I became one of the underground economy self-employed instead.

            One surgeon in MY area closed his practice here and left for New Zealand. Practices there, though.

            Our long time family internal medicine doctor closed his practice and went to work as the Chief of the ER at the Regional hospital.

            Our gastroenterologist closed his business and moved to Albuquerque to join another practice and pool their resources.

            Our Cardiologist, closed his practice and went to work for the VA in ABQ.

            Those are just a short list of the doctors we were actually seeing that left us on account of the ACA.

            We’ve got a doctor from India now. And he is just working off his debt before going back ‘home’ in a couple of years.

            Now, the doctors, dentists and lawyers I met in Ensenada, BC, Mexico, each had their own story, but I really wasn’t that interested in those stories since they had promoted themselves into the leisure class, because they could.

            Some of these guys were not that old, certainly 10-20 years younger than I am.

            The big loser is the person looking for a primary care provider because now we have a shortage of doctors in America, especially in Rural America, where I live.

            Couple that with the fact that many doctors do not accept Medicare and/or TriCare, much less MedicAid, and the problem gets even worse.

            I heard this morning that Aetna pulled out of the Exchanges after losing >$700Million.

            It’s sad that Trump has to fight the GOP, the ‘crats AND the Fake News Media and will not get anything done for the American citizens.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            My girlfriend is in HR at a large hospital in the Denver area, and a lot of the docs that work there were in private practice previously. I get the impression that they mainly go to work for hospitals because it’s a lot less stressful to practice medicine without the added stress of running a business (which makes sense, as most of them have no business acumen). They’ll take a lower paycheck for less BS.

            The only way I see to fix rural medicine is to subsidize the patients via single-payer, or directly compensate providers. Otherwise, like you say – there’s no money in it.

            Under ACA, more Medicaid patients began showing up to doctors’ offices who couldn’t before (they couldn’t afford to, after all), and under ACA cost control, Medicaid didn’t always pay as much, or as quickly. Providers had pay more to treat more people, and didn’t necessarily get paid as well for it. It was definitely a problem for providers, and it was for the hospital my GF works at. But as the first wave of “broke patients” began to subside, this problem began to subside in the last year or so.

            And don’t get me started on “Trumpcare.” It ain’t taking care of anyone. There are a million completely legit criticisms of ACA, but it clearly never was aimed at getting people screwed on their insurance. This house plan clearly, obviously is. I’m just glad I get my insurance through work.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Most of the younger Physicians I encounter prefer to work part-time. They enter medicine mostly on altruistic grounds and don’t want to be slaves to the profession. They’d rather make 150k a year and live a good life than work 120 hours a week and pull in 1.5 million a year and only have a big house and a Porsche to show for it.

            In Canada, the Doctors who push for a USA style for profit system are the ones that see medicine as a way to make a fortune. There is a court case right now over a private surgical centre wanting to bill patients directly. They are using freedom of choice as their argument but reality says different. The only ones “free” to use their services are the very rich or insurance companies saving money by jumping the queue.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Could be the difference between Canada and U.S., Lou.

            People often criticize the Canadian system, but people get the care they need without having to go bankrupt, which happens here all the time. If, God forbid, something serious befell me or my family, my (crappy) insurance would leave me on the hook for untold tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a travesty, if you ask me.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Maybe someday we’ll all look back and realize Obamacare helped two segments of the population at the expense of everyone else – those with pre-existing conditions and those who couldn’t afford health insurance. On both counts, the law, it’s supporters and those who voted for it without reading it misunderstood many things, but none greater than this: Health insurance isn’t the same as access to affordable healthcare. Ask someone who gets a subsidy for their insurance premium but still can’t afford healthcare.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Good point, but ACA did try to address cost. Unfortunately, it failed to do that. Why? Because the people that got less money for more work – i.e., the providers and insurance companies – have more political clout than poor folks do. Cost containment is not in their business interests; indeed, the opposite is true.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @FreedMike – I find the people who tend to get the raw end of the deal are the working poor, especially rural working poor. They make enough money to disqualify for “extra” assisted benefits but don’t really have the extra cash to cover it. Geographically, those people are screwed because if they have to go to a major centre for specialized care, they can be on the hook for those costs.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Guys, I’ve got a Canadian brother-in-law, married to my sister, and he prefers to get his healthcare under my sister’s policy in the US, even though he has healthcare coverage in Canada for the both of them.

            Talk about over-insured, right? But he prefers the US doctors. Maybe because the wait to be seen is not as long as in Canada. In the US there are same-day appointments and walk-ins.

            My friends, both Democrat and Republican, who are self-employed and/or business owners with employees tell me that they do not like the ACA, that it hurts them, their families, their business and their employees.

            So, something has to be done to rectify this to where people who have to buy their own coverage can enjoy real healthcare that’s affordable, and actually usable.

            Single-payer is not the way to go because too many doctors refuse to take any kind of gov’t-run healthcare like Medicare, Tricare, Medicaid, VA, etc.

            The people who voted Trump into office expect him to do something about healthcare, but Trump won’t be able to because he has to battle the GOP, the ‘crats AND the Fake News Media obstructing his every objective.

            The ACA was never the answer except for the people on Medicaid. If Trump cannot achieve his healthcare goal, the ACA will collapse because it was never sustainable.

            I say, let it collapse. The ‘crats designed it, passed it, and can now watch it implode.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            highdesertcat – “The policy heart of the ACA is the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, which was crafted at a right-wing think tank. A number of its other key provisions had GOP roots too, including the “marketplaces.””

            “It’s true: The Affordable Care Act is having problems. But Republicans who say those problems are caused by “big government” have it exactly backward. Obamacare’s current difficulties are grounded in our country’s political fetishization of the private sector—a fad that began in the Republican Party, but has unfortunately spread to much of the Democratic establishment.

            Government isn’t the problem here. It’s the solution.

            When the ACA is attacked, most Democrats point to the good it has done. They should. Some of its work, particularly in extending coverage to children and economically vulnerable populations, is highly laudable.

            But the flaws are real. One person in five on the exchanges will have no choice of insurers next year. Premiums for “mid-range” plans—which offer fairly paltry coverage—will increase by an average of 25 percent, according to the Administration. States like Arizona are faring even worse, with an average projected increase of 116 percent. Many people have found insurance on the exchanges to be unaffordable and are taking a tax penalty instead.

            And while lower-income people will see their premium costs offset by subsidies, those subsidies represent a shifting of wealth from the general public to for-profit insurance corporation. That, too, is a legitimate policy concern.

            What went wrong, and what can be done to fix it?

            The policy heart of the ACA is the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, which was crafted at a right-wing think tank. A number of its other key provisions had GOP roots too, including the “marketplaces.”

            Sen. John Chafee’s Republican alternative to Hillary Clinton’s 1993 health proposal resembled the future ACA in a number of key ways. Republican Governor Mitt Romney eventually implemented a similar program in Massachusetts.

            The ACA differed from these Republican plans in several key ways, including its expansion of Medicaid and the small additional tax it imposed on high earners. But it has Republican DNA. If President Obama hoped that would bring in some GOP support, he miscalculated. As the president himself said, “Republicans reversed course and rejected their own ideas once they appeared in the text of a bill I supported.”

            The ACA’s deepest problems stem from assumptions built into its design—assumptions that its backers described at the time as “technical” and “wonkish,” but which were in fact deeply ideological at their core. These assumptions were rooted in a misplaced faith in private-sector market forces”

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I understand that the same facts can be interpreted differently by individuals, depending on their political vantage point.

            My vantage point is such that I can see both sides of the argument but that the money taken out of Medicare and transferred to Medicaid has adversely affected and reduced the coverages I am paying for.

            So I conclude that President Trump should just walk away from repeal&replace and let the ACA collapse. The GOP has no responsibility for it.

            The GOP campaigned for seven years on repeal&replace, yet they have no plan ready, and the infighting among the GOP factions prevents anything substantial from being done.

            I say let the ‘crats worry about it. They passed this without GOP input, now they can watch their legislation implode.

            If Hillary had won, the ‘crats would not be consulting the GOP. Whatever the GOP comes up with now will not be a repeal&replace, it will be a series of amendments to the ACA. Not good!

            Aetna saw the light and protected the shareholder interests.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @HighDesertCat – the USA struggles with ACA or a replacement because government and the populace has an overarching tenancy to worship at the altar of corporate profit (greed).
            You can’t drive down costs and help the populace if you cater to that greed.

            If one looks at per capita health care costs adjusted to USD, the USA’s system past and current is outrageously expensive. Australia has the lowest priced system and arguably one of the best in the world at $4,420 per person. Canada is ranked 4th at $4,608. The USA sits at 35th with $9,451 per person.

          • 0 avatar
            wintermutt

            https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB562

    • 0 avatar
      AoLetsGo

      +1
      Two of my nephews are new ER docs at a major inner city hospital. These boys are true MASH doctors and do more to earn their pay in one hot summer night than other “doctors” do in five years.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    “A $5,000 car is a 7 year old Nissan Sentra or Mazda 6 with 100K miles on it. That car will probably run for another 50-150,000 miles over 5-15 more years while needing a few minor repairs and a major repair.”

    No sale. Time to cut some financial reality checks here.

    Here’s the Big Catch with this plan: the car in question has to actually last long enough to be a financial benefit without becoming a money pit. Most cars at the $5,000 level where I live are 2.7L Dodge Intrepids,used Northstar FWD Cadillac’s, and Mazdas still filled with their factory oil and transmission fluids. Cars that *need* another $1,500 of suspension ,tires and other maintenance work just to be safe enough to drive.

    So that’s $6,500 invested into a high mileage car of dubious maintenance history with 0 additional miles driven. Then there’s the higher likelihood of a major failure of the transmission and/or engine ,and certain likelihood of random small parts failures that drain your wallet. CV boots, wheelbearings, coil packs, water pumps,starters, and so forth aren’t free and tend to fail at random and unexpected times. The articles author glosses over the transmission repair for his $5,000 car – that’s no small amount of money for any vehicle.

    So here’s the realistic math for how much it costs to keep a $5,000 car vs a lease of a middle class new car like a Malibu or mid grade Civic. Because we aren’t rich here,right?

    $5,000 initial cost of used beater with busted rear window + $1500 upfront maintenance costs for necessary parts like new tires,brakes ,tie rods and wheel bearings + trans/oil/coolant fluid changes comes to $6,500 due immediately.

    Let’s assume a conservative maintenance cost of $250 per annum over 2 years.

    Over two years of ownership your transportation costs for that older car will come to $7,000 assuming no engine failures ,high labor cost repairs or transmission failures happen as it did with the author.

    Option B: lease a brand new Malibu LT for $158.00 per month over two years with a $1500 down payment . Your unexpected maintenance costs are zero due to warranty, and your total outlay is $5,292.

    Meaning Dr. Frugal just spent an extra $1,700 to have a crappier driving experience . Don’t buy the Ramseyiite hype folks- it’s totally possible to lease a reasonable vehicle within a working persons budget that’s not extravagant -and might be a better deal then buying new or used.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      I took delivery of a ~$1,000 car about 18 months ago. Granted, it belonged to my parents, but that was its market value – the dealer offered them $250 on trade-in. It’s an ’04 Concorde with 145k miles.

      My maintenance costs in a year and a half, although admittedly having done only about 5,000 miles (because that’s all I need the car for): $17. Call it $60 if you count the filter and gallon of synthetic that were in the trunk when I got it. I drove it 300 miles away last month and it didn’t skip a beat.

      Are you playing Russian roulette to some extent with a very cheap car? Absolutely, and you most likely wouldn’t want to do it if your lifestyle requires that you regularly drive long distances. But on balance, it’s cheaper. In my case, MUCH cheaper.

      I also notice that you claim a leased car has zero maintenance costs, and that’s false. Are you going to go 40k+ miles without changing the oil? Do you think you can return the car with bald tires and no brake pads?

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      I forgot to mention: you’re pretending that a $5,000 car, which has $1,500 in repairs made to it as soon as it’s purchased, as well as having regular maintenance performed on it, will depreciate to zero within two years.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The Ramsey Club overstates the savings of the $5000 car, but you are overstating things the other direction.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    The tension between living for now and planning for future living that fate may deny you is a first world problem. Social Security initially started with a retirement age equal to American life expectancy. It wasn’t a pension program; it was a plan to prevent destitution to the minority who reached old age. Today, under the same design, we’d have to wait until 80 to collect. I maxed out SS contributions enough times to collect more than 80% of maximum allowed. Using, or misusing, actuarial tables, I figure my payout looks like a $500K annuity. This does not provide for a magnificent lifestyle to my 66 year old self and wife. But it would be adequate absent any other resources.
    Whats more important is family planning – are you going to have any kids and when, both also being first world problems. Family used to just happen, early and often. Your kids are the only thing you really leave behind – no one really cares or is affected by your extravagant lifestyle. Kids can be expensive if you only look at them as an investment. Yet the satisfaction in seeing who my two kids have become has been much, much greater than driving any of the cars I’ve owned.
    Put me down for only having regrets the wife and I didn’t get started sooner and didn’t have more.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @chuckrs – excellent points. “We” have the luxury of deciding when to start a family or to chose not to. In many parts of the world, a huge family is your workforce and your retirement plan all in one.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    My sister’s husband does *very* well (he’s a pulmonologist), and my sister (an RN) has mostly stayed home. The only fancy car he ever owned was a M-B W124, and he was so embarrassed to drive it (he grew up middle class and his dad was a veterinarian) that he told everyone that he drove a “green four-door sedan”. He’s driven a succession of pickup trucks since then (Tundra, Avalanche, Silverado). They had four boys, all grown now (one is a Johns-Hopkins-educated neuroscientist).

  • avatar
    carguy67

    “Doctors are notorious for being poor stewards of their money due to simple overconfidence in their own instincts and innate superiority.”

    I’ve known a few flight instructors who refused to train doctors for just this reason. But, I’ve known a couple doctor pilots who were conscientious and skilled aviators.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      I know of a gastrointestinal specialist whose “side job” is captaining an Airbus 330. It wasn’t until I talked about running my Miata at the local track that he let it slip that he’s run his wife’s car there – a Ferrari F430. He had one of the special edition Porsche 911s on order, too. All paid cash – his wife is a doctor, too. And they have four kids.

      One of the busiest, and most down-to-earth guys – despite the usual reputation of doctors and airline pilots – I’ve ever met.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        As a CFI, most doctors, hedge fund managers,etc. tended to be challenging students. Any strong type A personality is. It’s the competitiveness, the strive to be the best and the competition to be the best that pushes them. But it also can blind them to the big picture some time or taking instruction from someone of a lesser age or perceived knowledge base.

        So focused on following the pink line on the GPS map that they can’t see the airport right in front of them ( metaphorically and in practice). And if they made their money young (or grew up with it) it was worse.

        And some people are just @rseholes. Period. And trying to teach those folks anything is nigh impossible. Give them a “God Complex” type of career and it makes them worse.

  • avatar
    carguy67

    Live for today, plan for tomorrow is my mantra. Although, if the nuclear arms race keeps heating up I may go back to being a complete hedonist, like I was during Cold War I.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    A little deceptive to say American men die at 73, and that a leading cause of that death is suicide.

    If you’ve got enough money for the discussion featured in this story, you’re far less likely to be among those suicides. Most of them are triggered by economic hopelessness, destitution and often an accompanying opioid addiction.

    On the whole, though, typical well-written JB fare.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      In 2017 the average life expectancy for a USA Male is 76.73 years. That can vary as much as 20 years based upon where you live. race and wealth also play a role.
      Suicide is #10.

      “Nearly 75 percent of all deaths in the United States are attributed to just 10 causes, with the top three of these accounting for over 50 percent of all deaths. Over the last 5 years, the main causes of death in the U.S. have remained fairly consistent.”

      1. Heart disease
      2. Cancer (malignant neoplasms)
      3. Chronic lower respiratory disease
      4. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
      5. Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases)
      6. Alzheimer’s disease
      7. Diabetes
      8. Influenza and pneumonia
      9. Kidney disease (nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis)
      10. Suicide

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Rich, successful folks can get depressed (and therefore suicidal) too. And, yes, they can afford to get help for it, but you have to want help. That’s the challenge, more often than not.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Look for ways to have affordable fun. Instead of buying an RV like everyone else in my neighborhood, I rent out a friends for the realistic 2-3 times a year we use it.

    I take a lot of road trips. Sticking to one or 2 hotel chains yields a lot of free nights. Also Air Bnb offers some great cheaper alternatives to hotels.

    I do a lot of grassroots motorsports that can be done with inexpensive cars rather than buying really expensive high end cars. It would be great to feel like a pro in the Porsche Cup, but there will always be someone faster with more money. Doing Lemons, Chumpcar, TSD rallys, rallycross, autocross, bracket racing, are a thrill without the bankruptcy. Sometimes just burning gas in a Jeep exploring the wilderness with friends is a great way to spend the weekend.

    Spend money on things that are valuable to you, but obviously think about your obligations. This is where most people fail to do the math.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      So true, this. The annual cost of running my local Lemons races is, when you add up tow vehicle expenses, garage space, gas, and everything else, enough to lease a new 911. But the 12-20 hours a year I spend racing shitboxes is way more fun than driving a current 911 on the street, and I’ve made friends doing it. And after 20 years of fixing cars that have broken at competition events, I can daily-drive a complicated luxury car and not be worried about buying my mechanic a boat someday.

      If I got back all the money I’d ever spent on girls and cars, I’d just spend it on more girls and more cars. Everyone I know who is rich got there by working a lot and being good at something, not by hair-shirting it with a Toyota Corolla.

      Back to work…

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I think a big problem a lot of people have is they don’t have hobbies, so they just buy stuff to fill that void. I know a lot of people like this. Between weightlifting, photography, ICE related projects, karting, music, cooking… I’m tapped for time. My hobbies can get pretty expensive though. But the peace I get from being financially stable easily overrides that.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        So true. My in laws are the most boring people I know with no real hobbies or activities they partake in. Yet they’re perpetually broke in spite of making decent money because of one bad financial decision to “fill the void” after another. Paying too much, too frequently for new (lame) cars, new furniture every few years (financed of course) etc. Knickknacks and crap add up big time. This is where I skimp. I have decent furniture, appliances and average for my area home, but all were obtained by waiting for extremely good deals or giveaways from people going bankrupt buying the latest and greatest. Impulsiveness is a budget breaker.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          My wife antiques and is very crafty, so we save a lot on furniture too. Haven’t had to buy much and what we have bought we’ve been able to make look a lot nicer. She reupholstered a couch!

          Impulsiveness is indeed a budget breaker, even when you have hobbies. Admittedly it’s a problem I have. I keep it in check somewhat though.

  • avatar
    Peter Voyd

    Isn’t this a bit of a false dilemma – living within one’s means (well above median means, in Mr. Baruth’s case) vs. driving a seven-year-old Sentra?

  • avatar
    Peter Voyd

    “Where do you take your $30K car for maintenance? To the dealership.”

    Only if the manufacturer offers a “free” (actually, pre-paid maintenance.)

    “Where do you take a $5K car for maintenance? To Wal-mart, where it is much cheaper.”

    Bad advice, IMHO. While Walmart is likely to be cheaper than an auto dealer, maintaining a vehicle one plans to keep for a while at Walmart is risky, due to the technicians’ qualifications (or lack of those).

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Moderation on most things, spend on what matters (or when quality matters) is what I’ve come to learn lately.

    Went to a funeral yesterday for the mother of my wife’s best friend. She was 63 and killed in a car accident. She was, by multiple accounts, an avid shopper. My wife’s friend was concerned for her mothers spending on shopping, but it had happened for years. She just wanted her mother to retire.

    She shopped because she loved to give. From the eulogies I heard yesterday, she gave a lot in life and didn’t ask for much in return for anything she did. If it makes you happy to spend more now, than do it. I’m sure she had her regrets, we all do, but I doubt any of them were related to her shopping.

    I can’t totally abide by retail therapy, neither can my wife. But I just hope that my last drive isn’t in the ’16 Cruze I leased because it was inexpensive. I’d almost rather have 3x the car payment and a smile as I drive than the agony of waiting the end of this lease out because I’ve grown to dislike the car so much.

  • avatar
    stevejac

    I’m a Pediatrician, retired. My specialty is at the bottom of the doctor income scale although still pretty good compared to the general public.

    I’d like to make one comment here… an older car means more visits to the mechanic, and since doctors sell their time, having to miss work due to taking your car into the shop is a real problem. It also introduces another source of stress in an already demanding job.

    A new car is a better deal, just for these reasons. Of course a new Accord or Camry would be the best bet.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    by the way I found the tags for this article amusing.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    I always found as an inherrantly lazy person that my love/lust for cars was great motivator. 500k for a house sounded outrageous, but 500k for a 288Gto my brain was spinning with how to acomplish this.

    I had a ferrari BBi from age 28 but lived with wife and young kids at parents house for 10 years. The car cost far less and appreciated far more than a house, so financialy the car made better sense, and years later of low expenses we could afford our own house. Plus somehow evrytime I had a great drive it just seemed so worth it, still does.

    More to the point, to this day no matter how shit the day or week is, if i spend an hour or two winding it out on good road it all feels good and the mind is clear and worry free. Thats apparently way cheaper than therapy.

    many car people are different to the norm, but when around car people its an easy conversation and friendship, hey we are into the same thing right there.

    Since the early days got a few other keeper cars. You know what different tools for different purposes and different cars for different moods, its all good. To this day I can feel despondant at work, worry about how to earn, read about some car I would love to have and the wheels in the brain start turning.

    The key in my book is not to keep buying a series of the latest and greatest plastic wonder but to buy really good cool cars, ones you really like and then keep them,. If you liked it a lot 10 years ago youll still like it now, and instead of depreciating and trading just keep it for years and then add another.

    If you had an e46 m3 from new youd still love driving it the same now or more and you wlll have missed selling and trading 3 new cars in the interim which would have cost you far more in depreciation..

    Persopnally a great morning driven nowhere in particular at reasnoanble pace hearing the engine sing over some great tunes, what going to bother you after that, except the occasional speeding ticket, but then thats why they have the track.

    I get that doctors and dentists mostly cant drive for shit, and that neither can most ferrari owners, they buy for status or as personal self agrandisement reward. But for the rest of us the auto hobby pays multiple dividends and as a life experience is well worth it. Choose well and keep the cars and youll financialy do fine sellign a collectable later.

    In my book a lotus elise while lacking in comforts or status is probably the best driving street legal car you can own, its also great on track too. Think of a faster more exotic mid engined miata. At 25-30k for a good one you cant go wrong financialy and can have a lifetime of enjoyment.

    Of course if your status in mind requires you to have new porche then depreciate away, but if youre into driving get the car and start enjoyiogn life before youre too old fat and brain dead.

    Want to keep your brain and senses sharp, drive well and drive on track. Get a great drivign car and enjoy. Life is too short to miss out.

  • avatar
    awagliar

    Pardon me while I fixate on one phrase in particular:

    > “I’ve sold two of my three Porsches”

    Wait .. what? I must’ve somehow missed the news that the Boxster had been sold.

  • avatar
    jonnyguitar

    I would love to see the analytics that jack and others get regarding the backgrounds and habits of their readers. To the point, the commentator above who says he feels the comment is directed at him is probably correct. I bet jack has a lot of Dr readers. Why? Because a lot of them sacrificed their youth to become physicians so jacks style appeals to them for vicarious reasons.
    I’m a physician myself. A radiologist so a bit of an outsider and from my perspective you’re right a lot of doctors are asses, unmitigated.
    I’m 10 years out and 45. I made a few irresponsible choices early on but now I drive a 13 year old truck. The purchase of a 80000$ just wouldn’t make me excited in the way it did 10 or 15 years ago, so I’m glad I did it then. What makes me excited? Sleeping in, lol
    The key for doctors in my opinion is trying to find a way to maintain balance. You’re forced to put work first and when you do that you’ll find you don’t have much else. Diversify in life as in investments.

  • avatar
    anthroguy

    For real, the three blogs I read most are 1. Whitecoatinvestor.com. 2. Ttac.com and 3. Jackbaruth.com.

  • avatar

    My orthopaedic surgeon is not a terrible person and he drives a very cool restomodded Porsche 968. Eegarding Jack’s post, he and his wife live well within their means, I’m sure he could afford a 918.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/unloved-porsche-purists-1993-porsche-968-well-loved-nonetheless/

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I really enjoyed this piece, thanks for writing it.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Getting to this column late because I’m on a business trip, and surprised by the lack of hairshirt types moralizing in these comments. Usually TTAC is good for a few of them.

    I’m a lawyer, which financially is like a less extreme version of being a doctor. School is shorter, debt is less (but still very high), salaries are high if you make it into a big firm but not as high as those of your typical doctor. And lawyers, in general, have the same level of conceit.

    I have less in the brokerage account than I should at my age. But cars are a pretty trivial reason for it, if you do the math. It’s more about those loans (which started out at around the price of a 911 Turbo, but are now down to sparsely optioned 718 level) and the crazy cost of housing in the big West Coast city where I live. Driving a 2006 Corolla with torn seats and loose suspension isn’t worth the difference in what I’d have today, had I done so.

  • avatar
    j-wad-esq

    An engineering school roommate, wise beyond his years it turns out, decided to buy a new Corvette upon graduation in 1971. After listening to his father go apoplectic about the stupidity of this plan, mate Steve calmly asked his dad: “Dad, wouldn’t you like to come to the dealer with me and get a Corvette for yourself?”. His dad gave him a profanity laced retort about how he was much too smart to waste his money on a sports car. Says Steve, “dad, when I’m your age I probably won’t want a Corvette either, so I’m going to get one now when I can still enjoy it!”

  • avatar
    vvk

    >$6,000 annual contributions at a 4% rate of return and a 2.5% annual inflation rate

    How the ^%&* does one get 4% rate of return?!

    My bank pays less than 1%. And I have to pay taxes on that.

  • avatar
    dartman

    “You know what Dad should have told me instead? He should have told me to be a doctor. I have all the required characteristics: arrogance, blind confidence, a lack of empathy, and a willingness to forget about people as soon as I walk out of a room. By and large, doctors are terrible people. I should know. I’ve spent more time in the hospital than your average late-stage cancer patient”

    …meh..

    The truth is you have neither the intelligence or discipline to be a M.D.

    Your jealousy and disdain for the professionals that have repeatedly saved and repaired you, only highlights your feelings of inadequacy compared to your father.

    Keep on convincing yourself how “Yeah man, I stayed true to myself, rather than dedicating my life to helping and healing and improving the lives of others”

    Doctors are human with all the foibles that entails, and they are at the top of the scale for earning power; but that only comes after proving themselves to have the highest levels of intelligence and education and after 10+ years of undergrad, med school, internship, residency and hundreds of thousands in education costs, No, they are not always the most astute “businessmen” or “financial experts”, but that is understandable since most have little exposure to the “real world” until they are in their mid 30’s

    You, and I imagine many of your loved ones are alive and healthy today because medical professionals gave you the best care available…they have neither the time nor inclination for kissing your over-inflated ego (and ass).

  • avatar
    Chan

    Hey look! Jack wrote something! About moderation!

    On a serious note, life is all about goals, compromises, and how to play the hand you’ve been dealt.

    I know people who have lived their lives pinching pennies, never graduating from that mindset even at impending retirement. It’s not for me to judge, but at this moment I am content that I know where to splurge and where to save.

    At the same time, we always read about people who are hell-bent on one-upping each other in displaying right-now wealth that they don’t have.

    Sports cars…if you can swing it, you don’t want to hold off until you have a bad back!


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