Once we realized that I was getting serious about working towards retirement, we started preparing in some ways other than our decision to sell our home. We started thinking about vehicle(s). We thought it was a good idea to buy a brand new vehicle before I actually retired so it would be all paid for and new. So we began to ask ourselves some questions about what our needs in a vehicle actually would be. Would we need 2 vehicles? We decided that we did not. Why pay for the upkeep and insurance for 2 cars? So we sold one of our cars. What kind of vehicle would we like to have to take us into retirement? Did we want to buy an RV? We did want to travel which would definitely include some road trips. When our children were at home we used to camp a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it. Did we want to do that again? What kind of road trips would we do? We knew we had a long trip planned to go across Canada down to the East Coast. We also can see ourselves driving down the west coast and over to Arizona to spend time in the winters. After much thought we decided we would not buy an RV. At this stage the thought of driving a large motorhome through the big cities and on the freeways did not appeal. We did the math and figured out that for the money that such a purchase would cost and the cost of gas and camp sites that we could pay for a lot of hotel nights. Yes you can save money by cooking your own meals in an RV but we somehow manage to either book accommodation with cooking facilities or just picnic anyway so we don’t always eat out. So that wasn’t a big consideration. We came to the conclusion that a smallish SUV would be the right vehicle. So we traded our other car in on a brand new crossover SUV. It is smaller, so gets good gas mileage which is important but still has lots of room for luggage and husbands rock hounding equipment, metal detector etc. The back seats fold down, so plenty of space. We even bought one of those coolers that plug into the outlets in the car and a little coffee maker that plugs in to the car and makes coffee in a travel mug. So we are all set to go!
My husband is one of these guys that really takes care of his vehicles. So we hope it will last a good long time and we will enjoy it on our trips. We did end up financing a small portion of the cost of this. Of course it cost more in the end then we originally had hoped. But we felt it was important to get the car we wanted all decked out with a nav system. But we did this over a year before I actually retired, so we had it paid for by the time my paycheques stopped.
It is important to put a lot of thought into a decision like this one. For us we didn’t want to buy a major ticket item on a spur of the moment decision and then regret it later. Once you are retired and on your fixed income, there may not be room in the budget to easily change your mind and get something else.
Once the vehicle purchase was accomplished, we moved on to purging “stuff”. Now that is another story for another day!