After almost two months of waiting, my new car finally arrived last Friday. I was pretty excited because it is my family’s first new car. Previously, I had owned two pre-owned Japanese cars – my first car was Toyota Vios and subsequently, Nissan Latio. So after driving for 5 years, naturally my next car is another Japanese brand, this time its Honda City.
As a wealth builder, I am fully aware that car is a form of liability, this is especially so in Singapore, a city state that discourages car ownership. Given that the cost of a Certificate of Entitlement (COE) is so high, it would seem like an unwise decision to purchase a new car at this moment. As a matter of fact, I bought my car at $105,000 and took a three year loan. Forking out so much money is not matter to be taken lightly and for sure it was not an impulse buy. My wife and I had been planning to buy a car for the past one year because my pre-owned car’s COE was about to end in 1.5 year time.
There were a few factors that prompted me to buy our new car. Firstly, my pre-owned Nissan Latio had been giving me a lot of problems lately. The ignition coils and radiator were down, costing me a lot of maintenance fees. Also, due to wear and tear, the engine was not as powerful as before. So we thought that it was better to trade in now for a good price. Secondly, we don’t know if COE prices would be higher or lower one year later. There were a lot of uncertainties and for a wealth builder, uncertainty was definitely not a good thing when it comes to planning. So after some budgeting, we felt that $53,000 was a reasonable COE level for us and so we made the purchase.
Above all, my key reason for buying this car was due to needs, and not wants. I am not someone who is very much into car and I am definitely not a hands-on person who knows how to change tires. So therefore, I don’t aspire to buy sports, luxury or continental car. As a family man with two young kids, my priority is to select a “bread and butter” sedan car which is affordable and reliable. This is because everyday, I need to send my daughter to child-care centre and then go to work. Having a car would help to save time because her child care centre is half an hour walk from my home. Furthermore, having a car allows me to reach home earlier and have dinner with my family. During weekends, I can also drive my family for outings, enrichment classes and gatherings.
Indeed, time is money. As I always mention in my previous posts, there are many trade-offs in life. If you want more money, you have to put in more time in your career and less time with your loved ones. If you want more time with your family, you have to sacrifice work time and make less money. Finding the right balance is never easy but for the sake of my family, I would rather have lesser savings.
From another perspective, you may argue that Singapore has a world-class public transport system and so there is really no need for a car. Well, if I am a bachelor with no dependents, I would fully agreed. But as a family man with established career, I would beg to differ. A car would enhance the quality of your life if your finances are well managed. Just imagine you have an important meeting but the MRT train breaks down again. Imagine your heavily pregnant wife taking the MRT train to work but no one gave up their seat to her. Imagine that you are taking your elderly parents to the hospital for medical check ups but could not get a taxi during the peak hours.
At the end of the day, don’t take chances and don’t waste your time with buses, trains and taxis. You have a choice and who said you can’t buy time? You can always earn back the money but can you turn back the clock? The answer is pretty obvious.
SG Wealth Builder