Should You Sell Your Car and Ride a Bike
As I was riding in to work this morning I was checking out the skyline of Chicago, the beautiful sunrise, and cars. I actually think about cars on my bike ride to work quite often, I would love to say it’s all positive as I watch a BMW 7 series or Range Rover go by, but that’s not the case very often. Most of my immediate thoughts involve making sure the driver is paying attention and actually sees that I’m a person on a bike and it’s bad to hit people on bikes or people in general at that. This morning a few thoughts came through my head as a black Range Rover Sport passed me, I know I should have pedaled faster to show who’s boss, but instead my mind went elsewhere.
What would it be like to own a Range Rover? What monthly payments are? Can I afford this car? Would I really need a Range Rover? Do you think the guy driving looks at my bike and thinks “I wish I was riding my bike today?” Are his financial goals like mine? Does this guy make a ton of money and this is the equivalent to me buying a new bike? Is this guy drowning in debt? Finally, I wonder if this guy should sell his car and buy a bike?
Of course we can’t answer all of those questions and I don’t intend on taking down his license plate and hiring a private detective to dig up this man’s financial details, although could be an idea for a documentary or reality show, feel free to bring me in for consulting work if you do. Let’s answer a couple of the easy questions first. A simple search shows that the base model for this model is $64,950, the typical car loan is 60 months and let’s use 0% rate for financing, this gives a monthly payment of $1,083. Some may look at that number and be horrified, others quite reasonable, myself I’m leaning towards the horrified column.
Can I afford this car? The answer for me personally is Yes, however I would need to cancel my 401K contributions entirely, which is $1,500 per month. That’s using the definition of afford that many Americans use today: I can make the payments. However, the cold harsh reality is I cannot afford this vehicle unless I use the limited definition that is set forth today. I would be choosing a Range Rover over wealth and financial security. That for me is not a choice I would like to make. On top of that I wouldn’t even need this vehicle. I live in Chicago which has one of the best transportation systems in America, a growing bike lanes, and less and less space as each new high rise, grocery store, and parking lot are developed.
While my personal affordability may have been answered I don’t think that Mr. Range Rover owner has many thoughts of riding a bike, he is more likely to look at my Trek bike as just another hipster who’s broke and can’t afford a car. More funny to me is being classified as a hipster or broke, I’m not sure which one I’m further away from. A hipster is a person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream. I guess I have my hipster moments then, but mostly I’m just lean towards staying away from the mainstream. I have dreams of wearing a pair of cargo shorts and a white t-shirt for the rest of my life and occasionally getting fancy with jeans and a polo shirt.
Something that’s interesting to me is 7-10 years ago I would have never envisioned myself riding a bike to work, I had more dreams of “owning”, having a car loan and payment, a Range Rover than a Trek. I saw big dollars, big spending, and big debt. I didn’t see riding my bike to work for fun, owning rental real estate to create wealth, or using Personal Capital to track all of my income, spending, and net worth. My mindset has changed, my thoughts on expensive cars has moved to high saving rates and reducing unnecessary costs. If you ever want to do something whether it be lose weight, exercise, make more money, get promoted, learn a new language, it’s all about the mindset. Once you decide to do something that’s when it all happens.
The article is titled “Should You Sell Your Car and Ride a Bike” and I purposely danced around the question. There is so much more to the answer than a yes or no, everyone is different. Cost, payments, where you live, stuff vs wealth, spending, income, budget, and finally mindset. Should you sell your car and ride a bike? Sounds fun, adventurous, crazy, ludicrous, health conscious, impossible, and many more adjectives that a thesaurus would school me on. I didn’t write this to answer a question, I wrote this because I looked at a $64,000 car and started to day dream, I had questions and thoughts. I know that some day some time in the future we are all going to look at a nice car or get sick of riding down the bike lane and have to consider what’s important to you.
I sold my car years ago and now I ride a bike a couple times a week. So I guess in the end my answer is Yes, but it’s more than a question and an answer it’s an entire mindset.