Last week, we mentioned that we’re having some trouble deciding on which “fun” car will get. We can either restore the 40+-year-old yellow Mercedes Benz sedan that’s been in and out of the family for decades or we can fulfill Mr PoP’s childhood dreams and buy an early 90’s Honda (or Acura) NSX. Either is going to be an expensive proposition, and we talked about just how expensive in our post last week. But for some background music for today’s post…take it away Janis!
While money does play some role in the decision, after looking at the numbers it’s less of a guiding factor in which car to have than it is a guide to being okay with the fact that it’ll definitely extend the road to our eventual financial independence a bit. So coming to grips with the cost of having a “fun” car was definitely a useful exercise, but it doesn’t really help us get any closer to figuring out which fun car to get.
On that score, we both seem to change our minds quite a lot…
I’m self-aware enough to be kinda fascinated at how my mind goes back and forth on this-it seems to have a lot to do with how close we’re getting to FI. The NSX is a reward for my working career; showing to the whole world that I’m a success at my job, and have enough money left over to buy a Japanese super car. Mrs. PoP says this is vanity, and I totally agree! Because of this, when I have a great day at work, I think it’s time for an NSX.
On the other hand, Sunny would be a better car for FI-she’d be great on long road trips, camping, scuba diving and lots of other adventures we’d love to take on one day. A bright yellow benz is basically showing the world that you’re operating pretty far outside of social norms, and really don’t care much about what anybody thinks…and after a tough day at the office I’m happy to throw my cares to the wind.
So the question for me might boil down to what is more important-showing the world (and myself!) that I’ve made it, or showing the world that I don’t really give a damn what anybody thinks.
Let’s get this out of the way – the fact that we are sitting here questioning this is largely my fault. Although honestly, the word fault feels wrong. Questioning this decision before we pull the trigger and sink any more costs into Sunny has been my IDEA.
To anyone that knows us at all, this fact probably seems a bit laughable. I am not only the less spendy of the two of us, but I’m also definitely NOT someone who likes fast cars. In fact, Mr PoP blames the fact that our current car is a Miata instead of a Honda S2000 on the fact that he was the first behind the wheel of the S2000 during our test drive and drove fast enough out of the parking lot that I disliked it from the get go.
So why does it feel like I’m pushing Mr PoP to a faster (and more expensive!) car?
In the simplest terms, it’s because I want to make sure he’s happy. Mr PoP puts forth a huge amount of effort to make me happy even if he doesn’t really care (for an example, I need to look no further than our entire kitchen renovation). These efforts are definitely effective and I really do appreciate them! And while I also work hard to make him happy, no amount of coffee brownies cooked in said brand-new kitchen can really make up for all the effort he puts in all the time for my enjoyment. Pushing him to get the car HE really wants seems kindof feels like only a small step up from the least I could do. =/
About 3 or 4 years ago (before Sunny was in our lives again), Mr PoP and I made a deal that he would be able to buy an NSX and drive it for a year or two before selling it again to recoup much of the capital. It wasn’t my first choice plan for fulfilling Mr PoP’s “fast car” desires. (That plan would have entailed emulating the father of one of my childhood friends who traveled to Germany a week ahead of his family and spent the seven days prior to his family’s arrival renting a different supercar and spending the day driving without speed limits on the Autobahn.) But Mr PoP said he’d rather own a single fast car for a year on roads with speed limits than do what my friend’s father did. Hence the deal for him to “at some point for a year or two before the end of our formal working careers” own an NSX.
I don’t think I’ll ever REALLY understand these kinds of desires when it comes to cars, but what I do understand is this. Mr PoP doesn’t feel like he has a car of his own right now, which is ironic since he does 90% of the driving in our household. When we sold Mr PoP’s Jeep and dropped down to 1 car, we kept the car that (despite it being registered in his name), was originally intended to be my daily driver. So whenever Mr PoP gets asked about the adorable little Miata he is driving, he responds with, “Yeah. It’s my wife’s car.” I’m reasonably certain that response has more joke in it than serious displeasure since he does admit the Miata can be pretty fun to drive…really the best!
Nonetheless, the more we pondered throwing money into restoring Sunny, the more I wanted to make sure that whatever car we end up with would be one where Mr PoP would gladly claim ownership and not pass it off as “his wife’s car”. And I’m not sure that’s Sunny. In fact, he’s admitted that part of the appeal to restoring Sunny to him would have been how much he thought I would enjoy it when she was all done! (Seriously, did I pick the best husband ever, or what?)
Another pro to going with the NSX would be knowing that it would probably just end up as a temporary ownership. Owning Sunny “forever” means having to figure out what to do with her if we want to make our lives more mobile for an extended period of time. If we (for example) rented our house while we hopped on a boat and tested out sailing extensively (an idea we’ve been pondering for a very long time), we’d need to pay for Sunny storage and worry about her in the meantime. (And knowing me, I would worry…) An NSX, on the other hand, would likely be sold and the proceeds could be used to pay for that mobile sabbatical.
I could also be a bit biased against Sunny at the moment. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to conclude that Sunny’s presence on our back patio (covered in a grey cloth and COMPLETELY spoiling one of my favorite views in the house) has soured me on her a bit over the past 21 months.
But it was just the other morning when the wind had blown Sunny’s cover off her fender overnight and Mr PoP and I woke to sunshine drifting onto the back patio and landing on Sunny’s yellow paint She looked so fun and happy! We could easily imagine strapping kayaks and paddle boards to her top and having a great time. And we both wondered if maybe Sunny was the better choice after all!
If it’s not clear, I don’t think we’re all that close to a conclusion yet. Either way, it’s going to be a fair amount of money and while we don’t believe that spending money is a requirement for happiness, we do want to take our time and deliberately spend our monies to maximize the happiness we derive from them.