herewego

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PGY3 here. I've never owned a car. I made it through thus far by taking the bus, train, and ocassionally borrowing a family members car for months where I have to commute.

~$230k in student loans. My residency salary is ~$56k. I pay low rent, put some money away in savings, live frugally, not married no children, and pay for life, health and disability insurance, and pay monthly student loans. I contribute what I can to a Roth IRA, but haven't really maxed it out yet. When alls said and done, end of the month I probably have ~$1000 in my debit account, and have about ~$14k in savings. Hoping to pick up some moonlighting shifts starting 2nd half of PGY3.

I'm sure I could afford and old beater, and the sensible part of me recommends it. But theres definitely a devil on my shoulder telling me to treat myself to a nice sports car...like$40k+, pay what I can now with salary+ moonlighting shifts then ramp up payments as I become an attending.

Talk some sense into me please.
 

irJanus

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Sort of depends on your location, climate, etc.
You're not going to have a ton of time to joy ride. Its A to B. That said... I LOVE cars, and prefer A to B to be as fun as possible lol.
Don't saddle yourself with a lot of negative equity If you can help it. If you do buy one, LOTS of fun options for not that much money
 

mw18

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I'm not an attending or a financial expert, but I've had nice sports cars before. Expensive cars means expensive maintenance. Don't go into your savings having to fix an expensive car. I would just get something old, ugly and reliable. Live like a resident for a few years as an attending and then buy whatever you want with no worries.
 

gutonc

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If you "need" a car, there are a ton of cars you can score for $10K or so that fit the fun requirement and won't break the bank on the maintenance side of things.

Get a 5-10yo Japanese "sports" car (Miata, S2000, MR2, ZWhatever, WRX). Avoid anything German that's not an 80s/90s BMW 3 series. Nothing made in North America.

I bought a "fun" car my 2nd year as an attending. But it came with a bumper to bumper warranty that is 12 months longer than the loan I have on it (and 2+ years longer than it will take me to pay it off). It's needed about 2 grand work of work in 3 years and it's cost me $25 in labor so far.

That's your other option...spend more up front on a new car with a good iron(or at least brass)-clad warranty.

Or drop $3K on a sweet bike. I just did.
 
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filhodeinferno

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PGY3 here. I've never owned a car. I made it through thus far by taking the bus, train, and ocassionally borrowing a family members car for months where I have to commute.

~$230k in student loans. My residency salary is ~$56k. I pay low rent, put some money away in savings, live frugally, not married no children, and pay for life, health and disability insurance, and pay monthly student loans. I contribute what I can to a Roth IRA, but haven't really maxed it out yet. When alls said and done, end of the month I probably have ~$1000 in my debit account, and have about ~$14k in savings. Hoping to pick up some moonlighting shifts starting 2nd half of PGY3.

I'm sure I could afford and old beater, and the sensible part of me recommends it. But theres definitely a devil on my shoulder telling me to treat myself to a nice sports car...like$40k+, pay what I can now with salary+ moonlighting shifts then ramp up payments as I become an attending.

Talk some sense into me please.
YOLO. You're less than a year away from attending money. You're busting you ass every day, you deserve whatever car you want. Sounds like you can afford it. Follow your dreams!
 
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zero0

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Do it. You could die tomorrow and never know what it feels like to sit behind the wheel of a beemer. On a related note, I recommend a 2 series.
 
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I drove a 99 miata for almost a decade. Bought in 06 for 9k. Best investment ever. Felt luxurious without breaking the bank. Stick shift ftw.

Sent from my SM-G920T using SDN mobile
 

eteshoe

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If you want to spend a little bank - go w/ a 2014-2015 corolla s. Should run you something in the $15-$20K range. Great MPG, sporty, will last forever w/ proper maintenance
 
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eteshoe

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filhodeinferno

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If you want to spend a little bank - go w/ a 2014-2015 corolla s. Should run you something in the $15-$20K range. Great MPG, sporty, will last forever w/ proper maintenance
Lol. Corolla sporty? I mean, it's a fine automobile, but I don't think it's ever been called sporty.
 
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Perrotfish

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PGY3 here. I've never owned a car. I made it through thus far by taking the bus, train, and ocassionally borrowing a family members car for months where I have to commute.

~$230k in student loans. My residency salary is ~$56k. I pay low rent, put some money away in savings, live frugally, not married no children, and pay for life, health and disability insurance, and pay monthly student loans. I contribute what I can to a Roth IRA, but haven't really maxed it out yet. When alls said and done, end of the month I probably have ~$1000 in my debit account, and have about ~$14k in savings. Hoping to pick up some moonlighting shifts starting 2nd half of PGY3.

I'm sure I could afford and old beater, and the sensible part of me recommends it. But theres definitely a devil on my shoulder telling me to treat myself to a nice sports car...like$40k+, pay what I can now with salary+ moonlighting shifts then ramp up payments as I become an attending.

Talk some sense into me please.
Three reasons not to do this:

1) The cost: This is the least important reason, but not unimportant. Until you pay off your student loans every purchase you make is effectively made with money borrowed at the rate of your student loans. That means you will likely need to earn more than $2 for every $1 you spend on a luxury item. Is a nice sports care worth 80K?

2) The psychology of debt: This is the medium important reason. Your lower class lifestyle is the fire under your feet that gets you to pay down your debt. Once you begin to get the luxuries without paying off the debt you remove the incentive to pay it off. Prolonged payment plans can cost you years of your working life in interest.

3) Your freedom: This is the big reason. There are good studies showing that people who are debt free both earn more, and are happier, than people who are buried in debt. Why? Because they have MOBILITY. They feel free to walk away from bad situations and to seek out better ones. You want that freedom, more than you want a sports car. Wait three years. Pay down the debt and build up an F/U fund. Then go car shopping, if you really want to.
 

WilcoWorld

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PGY3 here. I've never owned a car. I made it through thus far by taking the bus, train, and ocassionally borrowing a family members car for months where I have to commute.

~$230k in student loans. My residency salary is ~$56k. I pay low rent, put some money away in savings, live frugally, not married no children, and pay for life, health and disability insurance, and pay monthly student loans. I contribute what I can to a Roth IRA, but haven't really maxed it out yet. When alls said and done, end of the month I probably have ~$1000 in my debit account, and have about ~$14k in savings. Hoping to pick up some moonlighting shifts starting 2nd half of PGY3.

I'm sure I could afford and old beater, and the sensible part of me recommends it. But theres definitely a devil on my shoulder telling me to treat myself to a nice sports car...like$40k+, pay what I can now with salary+ moonlighting shifts then ramp up payments as I become an attending.

Talk some sense into me please.
If you're going to be driving 30+ minutes each way to work once you are an attending, you should do it in a comfortable, reliable car. Maybe that's an Audi, maybe it's a Toyota, but you don't get to buy it until you are working that job.
 
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jjbodean

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as a 4th year med student and former car dealer for 14 years, i say dont do it. i personally drive a nearly 10 year old toyota SUV that is paid for with 115k miles. vehicles are horrible investments, sure to lose money. buy something decent, but used. pay cash if possible.
 

TimesNewRoman

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Dude. Stop.

You are broke. Heck, you'd be lucky to be broke, but you're not, you'd be broke if someone wrote you a check for a quarter million dollars.

You can't afford a nice care. You can barely afford a bike. This is why you see 50 year old doctors working 80 hours a week.

If you need a car, put 5-10K into an old civic (or something similar) and drive that until your loans are paid off. You're an adult, act like one.
 

EctopicFetus

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lease for 250/mo no money diwn.. remember with the car comes auto insurance etc. really think if u need it
 

Apollyon

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Dude. Stop.

You are broke. Heck, you'd be lucky to be broke, but you're not, you'd be broke if someone wrote you a check for a quarter million dollars.

You can't afford a nice care. You can barely afford a bike. This is why you see 50 year old doctors working 80 hours a week.

If you need a car, put 5-10K into an old civic (or something similar) and drive that until your loans are paid off. You're an adult, act like one.
Dude, chill out your harsh. Seriously. The guy asks a straightforward question. He is not not acting like an adult.
 

gman33

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Everyone knows the surest way to happiness is to never spend any of your money.

I'd suggest living in the hospital call room.
That way you don't need a car.
You can wear scrubs and hospital socks.
There are usually some crackers and juice around as well and that should keep you from wasting money on food.

If you do that for the next 20-30 years you should have enough saved up to finally be truly happy.
 
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Don't let the guys telling you to not buy a car fool you, every one of them has a car. The fact you've saved 14k while contributing to your retirement and paying all your insurances tells me you've got your head on straight. My advice would be to buy a used car in the low 20k range or lease something for 250-300/mo. That plus insurance still leaves you around $500/mo in your checking account each month (minus gas etc). You can walk into a dealership and throw 5k of your savings at a 25k vehicle and be set, still have 4 months of net salary in savings.

I actually think doing it now is smart, that way you'll have a car for 3-5 years (depending on lease or buying) at the beginning of your life as an attending so you don't have this decision to make with 20k/month showing up in your checking account where you're more prone to make the financially suspect decision.
 
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gro2001

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Don't buy an old car. Definitely don't buy an old (>5 years old) sports car. It may seem like a sweet deal, but the maintenance is going to make it not worth it. We bought an oldish (6 years old at the time, I think) Ford Mustang once, and it was a superb deal. At first. Two years later the maintenance costs were so high that it was cheaper to buy a brand new semi luxurious sedan than to keep paying to keep the pony running.

Basically, as a resident, your savings notwithstanding, you don't have too much of a cushion. That makes leasing a new car, under warranty, the most sense. At least then your monthly payments are (almost) completely predictable and there likely won't be any catastrophic payouts that will swallow your savings and send you further into debt.
 
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nlax30

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My 9 year old, paid off little sedan kicked the bucket earlier this year so instead of throwing a few thousand into it we decided to lease something new. Did a bunch of research and got a decent deal on a new top trim Civic so I at least have a nice, reliable, comfortable ride for the next 3 years I don't need to worry about. Have another year left though potentially looking at another 2 year fellowship so figured either way I'll be working when this one is up and can decide what to do at that time.
 

e30ftw

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Don't spend $40k on a car as a resident especially if you've never owned a car before... if you need transport buy a '97 generation 5-speed Honda Civic. If you need an SUV/truck get a ~2000 era 4-runner or Tacoma. If you want to love your car get a miata, E30, S2K, 911/M3, or almost any manual transmission RWD car w/o any traction control BS.

if you spend $40k at least get an E92 M3 or 997 not some autotragic CLK or brand new optioned out accord...

I have never financed a car and have never owned a car less than 20 years old. My current car cost $3k, has 330k miles, no A/C, was built before the fall of the Berlin wall, sees redline every day, is dead sexy, has the chassis of the most successful touring car of all time, has never left me stranded, and is more fun to drive than any other car at the hospital other than an orthopods 997 Turbo S..
 

Promethean

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You want to drive some amazing luxury/sports cars? Rent one. For less than the cost of a payment on a new $15k car, you can drive the car of your daydreams, all you like for a day. Go through priceline, buy the insurance (just an extra $11/day) and go driving.

Meanwhile, make your everyday daily driver a $5k or less workhorse.

My car is 25 years old this year, and looks like she rolled off the lot not more than 3 years ago. You can get good quality used cars if you look for them, and pay less for one than your monthly student loan payment. I recommend older Volvos. They just don't quit.

If you have just a little discipline now, you'll soon be able to buy what you want for cash. Not having payments is a wonderful, freeing way to live.
 
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dotcb

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You are $230K in debt and you're looking for advice to go 30-40K more in debt?

Definitely not. You can't afford it.

You should look to pay cash for a reliable used car with low mileage (<50K). Get a Honda or Toyota.
 

DeadCactus

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I think everyone is allowed one splurge when they finish residency if they've been financially prudent. If you love cars and having a nice one is your vision of "f*** yea, I made it" then it's not an insane choice. It's obviously not the right financial decision but you'll survive as long as it's not accompanied by a giant house you can't afford, extravagant vacations, etc.

I wouldn't personally go $40k into debt for a car. I'd rather spend $10k on a car, $10k on a vacation, and avoid the other $20k that puts off my potential retirement.
 

JustPlainBill

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So, FWIW --- in my 20s during another career, I was told to stash $2k/year in a 401k until I was 30, then keep it there until I was 65. if I did that, someone who started when they were 30 and kept it going at that rate until 65 would never be able to catch up with what I had due to compound interest. I didn't listen and lived the typical US life --- saved very little, spent money on toys and BS -- then got married and HAD to have all the new furniture and BS -- then came the children -- then came the layoff and transition into medicine -- now the children are going to college, my student loans come due in December, my 20 year old house needs major repairs and I've got about a months worth of bills in savings --- don't do what I did ---

Looking back over it, my advice to a young person would be: Save -- as much as you can --- get and stay out of debt as quickly as you can -- pay cash for whatever you can, even the house and certainly any car you buy -- if you can't afford it cash, you really don't need it just then -- that means start out with a small gently used car for a few years and save the payment for about 3 years -- trade the car and cash to buy the next one cash -- keep trading up until you get your dream car --

if you haven't already -- check Dave Ramsey -- guys got some solid advice.

Seriously, nothing feels better than turning around and going,"Needs new tires? here's the check" --- "Washer's giving up the ghost -- here's the check" -- or knowing that if you have to change jobs, you can float for 6 months to year -- why? Cuz the house is paid off.....

Check the book,"The Millionaire Next Door" --- and plan to retire at 40....
 

The White Coat Investor

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PGY3 here. I've never owned a car. I made it through thus far by taking the bus, train, and ocassionally borrowing a family members car for months where I have to commute.

~$230k in student loans. My residency salary is ~$56k. I pay low rent, put some money away in savings, live frugally, not married no children, and pay for life, health and disability insurance, and pay monthly student loans. I contribute what I can to a Roth IRA, but haven't really maxed it out yet. When alls said and done, end of the month I probably have ~$1000 in my debit account, and have about ~$14k in savings. Hoping to pick up some moonlighting shifts starting 2nd half of PGY3.

I'm sure I could afford and old beater, and the sensible part of me recommends it. But theres definitely a devil on my shoulder telling me to treat myself to a nice sports car...like$40k+, pay what I can now with salary+ moonlighting shifts then ramp up payments as I become an attending.

Talk some sense into me please.
$56K is a great salary! When I interviewed at my top choice the salary was $34K. But even on that salary, we owned a car. I think it cost $6K when we bought it. Then it was wrecked and we bought another one. I think it was $8K. When I got out of residency and started working for the military, I was making $120K. We splurged and got A SECOND CAR...AND a second phone! Whoohooo! We felt like we had money coming out of our ears. Granted, that second car cost $1850 and I sold it four years later for $1500, but now we each had a car we could use without checking with the other person. 3 years later, we wrecked that $8K car and bought a used SUV, I think it was $19K. We still own that car. After selling the beater and moving, I bought another one, $4K. This was 4 years out of residency. It just died a couple of months ago so we walked into a dealership and bought a brand new one with cash, $60K. That was 10 years out of residency as a multimillionaire.

I tell you this so you know where I'm coming from. You're obviously very responsible with money. You have appropriate insurance, you actually know what you owe and it is reasonable, and you are already saving for retirement. You're doing great. So you'll probably do okay no matter what you do because you've already learned how to manage money. So do what you want.

But here's my advice. Don't spend more than $14K on a car. The change from no car to a $14K car is HUGE, far bigger than the change from a $14K car to a $40K car. Give it a few years before buying the "fancy car." When you can afford to buy it with cash while maxing out your available retirement accounts, then you'll know it is time to splurge. But just having a car, and you can get a nice, reliable car for $14K, should feel like quite a splurge to you. Personally, I'd buy a $5K car and drive it until it dies, looking forward to that day, and when it does buying your desired sports car brand new. But I'm an extremist on this subject.
 

HunterGatherer

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My $3500 sports sedan that I purchased at 7 years old started dying on me in intern year. Caused major headaches when I was late for shifts cause car stalled or would not start. I rebuilt cars in the past and know how to fix a car, get a good mechanic, identify a reliable used car but I just did not have the time any more to take a used car to a shop or fix it my self every few months. working 60-100 hours a week and having to deal with car issues? nah. So I got a year end model 7 passenger "sport" SUV for $30k because the family was expanding. I'm an attending now for 2 years and still driving that vehicle. One of the best decisions I ever made and I used to be in the hardcore camp of "Only suckers buy new cars". My dad used to buy a car brand new, take care of it, pay off the car, and drive it for a few years more then trade it in for new. I may go that route as it is a decent compromise.
 

Apollyon

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$56K is a great salary! When I interviewed at my top choice the salary was $34K. But even on that salary, we owned a car. I think it cost $6K when we bought it. Then it was wrecked and we bought another one. I think it was $8K. When I got out of residency and started working for the military, I was making $120K. We splurged and got A SECOND CAR...AND a second phone! Whoohooo! We felt like we had money coming out of our ears. Granted, that second car cost $1850 and I sold it four years later for $1500, but now we each had a car we could use without checking with the other person. 3 years later, we wrecked that $8K car and bought a used SUV, I think it was $19K. We still own that car. After selling the beater and moving, I bought another one, $4K. This was 4 years out of residency. It just died a couple of months ago so we walked into a dealership and bought a brand new one with cash, $60K. That was 10 years out of residency as a multimillionaire.

I tell you this so you know where I'm coming from. You're obviously very responsible with money. You have appropriate insurance, you actually know what you owe and it is reasonable, and you are already saving for retirement. You're doing great. So you'll probably do okay no matter what you do because you've already learned how to manage money. So do what you want.

But here's my advice. Don't spend more than $14K on a car. The change from no car to a $14K car is HUGE, far bigger than the change from a $14K car to a $40K car. Give it a few years before buying the "fancy car." When you can afford to buy it with cash while maxing out your available retirement accounts, then you'll know it is time to splurge. But just having a car, and you can get a nice, reliable car for $14K, should feel like quite a splurge to you. Personally, I'd buy a $5K car and drive it until it dies, looking forward to that day, and when it does buying your desired sports car brand new. But I'm an extremist on this subject.
It sounds like someone (don't know if it is you or the wife) didn't take driver's ed, or maybe needs to again, if you wreck that much.

Then again, I'm 10 years out of residency, no accidents, and NOT a millionaire, much less multi.

I need to do something differently.
 
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Tenk

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It sounds like someone (don't know if it is you or the wife) didn't take driver's ed, or maybe needs to again, if you wreck that much.

Then again, I'm 10 years out of residency, no accidents, and NOT a millionaire, much less multi.

I need to do something differently.
Just cause you wreck a car doesn't mean it's your fault.

Just think of all your ER patients. It's never their fault!
 

Dr.McNinja

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Another person who owns a truck and knows the only real solution for this thread. I think a raptor or tundra are overkill though unless you are hauling the freaking titanic.
Those trucks are ****ty for hauling boats.
They're good for "jumping" things and crawling malls. They're the truck equivalent of trucknutz.
 
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Tenk

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Those trucks are ****ty for hauling boats.
They're good for "jumping" things and crawling malls. They're the truck equivalent of trucknutz.
Tundra has near the same towing capacity as a Silverado, f-150 or Ram. Raptor slightly less but it can still haul ass.
 

engineeredout

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I'm driving the same jeep I started out with in high school (now 11 years old). All I'm doing is praying it lasts until after residency, and then some. I don't want to have to get a new car in the next few years and then have to settle for something that I'm not happy with.



0-60 2.8s anyone?
 

Dr.McNinja

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Tundra has near the same towing capacity as a Silverado, f-150 or Ram. Raptor slightly less but it can still haul ass.
Fast=/= towing capacity. Half ton trucks aren't for "towing". They can tow, but so can an Astro van.
Neither the TRD nor the Raptor are diesels, which is what you need to actually tow the titanic. Start looking at real boats and you'll need triple axle trailers and duallys.
 
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e30ftw

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Fast=/= towing capacity. Half ton trucks aren't for "towing". They can tow, but so can an Astro van.
Neither the TRD nor the Raptor are diesels, which is what you need to actually tow the titanic. Start looking at real boats and you'll need triple axle trailers and duallys.
Then again, who has time to tow their boat? Keep your boat at the lake house or marina; hop in your sports car, drive down to the marina and take it out whenever you want. :)
 

Tenk

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Fast=/= towing capacity. Half ton trucks aren't for "towing". They can tow, but so can an Astro van.
Neither the TRD nor the Raptor are diesels, which is what you need to actually tow the titanic. Start looking at real boats and you'll need triple axle trailers and duallys.
It was a hyperbole. Sorry if that was lost on you. Have a good one.
 
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herewego

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$56K is a great salary! When I interviewed at my top choice the salary was $34K. But even on that salary, we owned a car. I think it cost $6K when we bought it. Then it was wrecked and we bought another one. I think it was $8K. When I got out of residency and started working for the military, I was making $120K. We splurged and got A SECOND CAR...AND a second phone! Whoohooo! We felt like we had money coming out of our ears. Granted, that second car cost $1850 and I sold it four years later for $1500, but now we each had a car we could use without checking with the other person. 3 years later, we wrecked that $8K car and bought a used SUV, I think it was $19K. We still own that car. After selling the beater and moving, I bought another one, $4K. This was 4 years out of residency. It just died a couple of months ago so we walked into a dealership and bought a brand new one with cash, $60K. That was 10 years out of residency as a multimillionaire.

I tell you this so you know where I'm coming from. You're obviously very responsible with money. You have appropriate insurance, you actually know what you owe and it is reasonable, and you are already saving for retirement. You're doing great. So you'll probably do okay no matter what you do because you've already learned how to manage money. So do what you want.

But here's my advice. Don't spend more than $14K on a car. The change from no car to a $14K car is HUGE, far bigger than the change from a $14K car to a $40K car. Give it a few years before buying the "fancy car." When you can afford to buy it with cash while maxing out your available retirement accounts, then you'll know it is time to splurge. But just having a car, and you can get a nice, reliable car for $14K, should feel like quite a splurge to you. Personally, I'd buy a $5K car and drive it until it dies, looking forward to that day, and when it does buying your desired sports car brand new. But I'm an extremist on this subject.
I'm honored the White Coat Investor thinks I know what I'm doing. (The White Coat Investor book didn't hurt)
 

Dane07MD

10+ Year Member
Sep 6, 2006
356
28
California
Status
Attending Physician
Here's my take. If you need a car, buy one. Take whitecoat website advice and don't finance or pay interest if you don't have to. Don't buy something if you don't have enough money. There is a feeling around the medical world that we "deserve" all these lavish things once we're attendings. Maybe once loans are paid off should you splurge, but that's me.

I'm an attending now making decent money (in academia though). I still drive a hand me down Cadillac Catera from when my grandmother died. Had since 3rd year in med school. It's literally one of the worst cars ever made from a maintenance stand point, but it's hard to argue against a free car with only 50k miles and no monthly payment. Everyone says to buy a nice new car, but I can't see the point. I even have option of reclaiming my beloved 1998 BMW M3 back at my parents house, but I'm hesitant knowing maintenance costs will be high.

I did buy a second car at the end of residency. A low mileage 1992 Toyota pickup truck. Known to be on the other (good) end of the spectrum as far as maintenance. Paid cash, and had planned to dump the Cadillac. Ended up holding Cadillac though for back up or until an over-the-top repair. Perhaps this could be viewed as bad money management, but like you, I have low rent and no dependents and saved a bunch of money as a resident.

If you buy a car/truck, do the research, spend as little as possible on the most reliable vehicle, likely a Honda or Toyota.
 
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Hercules

Son of Zeus
15+ Year Member
Jul 25, 2000
1,295
284
40
Mobile, AL
Status
Attending Physician
I'll echo the general sentiment of buying the car you can pay cash for easily. In our group of 8 docs, 3 of us have had security try to tow our cars because they didn't look like doctor cars and were parked in physician parking. I was one of those three with my 10 year old 4runner with dents and 150k+ miles.


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