Three Things My Lexus Taught Me

I made a mistake in my early 30’s and bought a Lexus.

I LOVED that car, it was like driving a couch it was so comfortable.  I admit it, I also loved what that car said about me–I was successful, I had arrived.

We paid cash for that car–but I say we because Mr. Ms. Liz loaned me the money for it, interest free (we keep our money separate).

The Lexus taught me that my things should enable me to live the life I want.

Sometimes fancy things get in the way of life.

There were certain places I wouldn’t drive it–downtown?  Nope might get a door ding.

The Lexus was in my life to teach me that I shouldn’t place so much value on things.

A remnant from my childhood is that I value things too much. I think that happens when you’re the kid that didn’t have what other kids had.  This is a good lesson to my frugal readers. As Mr. 1500 days discovered, it is important that your lifestyle be somewhat consistent with your neighbors when you are raising children.

I was raised in a frugal home in a neighborhood of doctors. Dad won the frugal/spendy war with Mom and I wasn’t given the things I thought I needed. They were really wants but what kid knows the difference?  When other girls were wearing Levi’s, I was wearing my brother’s hand me down Toughskins (even spellcheck doesn’t know what they are!). This turned me into an insecure kid who felt I was lacking. It also turned me into a kick a$$ teen and adult who worked hard so I could have the things I wanted.

It seemed to be an unlucky car in that random damaging things happened to it.  Concrete falling from a parking structure at work?  Yep.  Scratchy cardboard blowing into door?  Yep.  You can only control so much.

The Lexus taught me it is hard to go backwards.

I loved my Lexus for 10 years.  Having learned the first two lessons, I decided to go un-luxury but still fancy when I replaced the Lexus.  I bought a Volkswagen Passat.  A nice car, it had the features I wanted so it was fancy but not luxurious.  I liked it but never loved it.

I drove the Passat for close to 10 years until my boss offered me a company car.  I think he offered me the car because my Passat was becoming an eyesore and he was embarrassed of it!

Can we have a hallelujah?  Having a company car was amazing–all costs were covered including XM.  I researched cars for months and ended up leasing a Nissan Murano.  A nice car, it had the features I wanted so fancy but not luxurious.  I liked it but never loved it.  Every three years, I got a new one and I bought the last one out of the lease when I retired.

I don’t think I’ll ever love a car again–isn’t that a song? The Lexus ruined me.

Once I have something really nice, I get used to it. It becomes my new normal.

When I started planning for retirement, I knew I would need to save enough to maintain my lifestyle. I knew going backward wouldn’t work for me.

But then I thought about all of the time I would have to fill—with fun, but not free, activities. I suspect I won’t need all of it, but I didn’t retire until I could fund a budget of close to twice what I spent when I was working.  Keep in mind, much of this is transportation costs and health insurance (which I have to pay myself now-darn it!) but it also includes large increases for vacations and general spending.

Have you thought about your retirement budget? How does it compare to your current budget?  Do you think you could downgrade your lifestyle in order to retire?


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Author: Ms. Liz

A CPA, I retired at 51 and I am helping people create their fantastic futures!

3 thoughts on “Three Things My Lexus Taught Me”

  1. I grew up in the Detroit area during the 60’s, when muscle cars and cruising Woodward avenue were as much part of the local scene as the Beach Boys and surfing were on the West coast. I was a car nut for the first 30 years of my adult life. I bought used, and drove them 4-5 years, but still liked having a nice car (even a Lexus once). About the time I REALLY became serious about kicking retirement investing into high gear (early fifties), I read an interesting comment in a financial planning book. “The reason you aren’t getting ahead (financially) is sitting in your driveway.” Powerful stuff! My wife is retired and I am semi-retired. We downsized to a smaller home, in a walk and bike friendly small town. We sold our second car. Those two changes have been huge in our financial situation.

    1. Oooh Bruce, I love that quote. I might have to write an article about that!

      Good for you for making the necessary lifestyle changes to achieve your goals. I’m a bit jealous of your walk and bike friendly small town.

      I’m afraid I still spend more than I should on vehicles though sadly there are no Lexuses in our driveway anymore. All these years later and that is still the best car I’ve owned. A neighbor has a similar model and I get to drive it periodically–it’s like driving a couch.

      I’m glad you’re still working your way through my archives and I thank you for your nice comments.

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