Think About it, Can you Really Afford a New Car?

By Dr. Glenn Mollette

If you can’t afford a new car now, it’s not going to get easier.

Supposedly the average new car price in America is “about” $30,000 according to

Be wary of the preposition “about.” It gets tougher all the time to walk out of a dealership with a new car that has very many bells and whistles for under $35,000. The average payment for a new car is $700 according to A more reasonable car payment means you have to have a sizable down payment or receive a lot of credit on your trade-in. Many Americans are financing their cars for 72 months and they are often worn out when traded. Often there is still some balance owed that is refinanced in the new deal. This creates an ongoing financial hardship for millions of Americans.

Millions of Americans struggle with bad credit ratings which impacts their car loan deal.
In most parts of America, you have to have a car. There are some locations in our country where you can make it with buses and trains but that is a small section of America. If you live on the East coast between NYC and Washington, D.C. then you might be able to survive without a car. If you live in Tomahawk, Kentucky you must have a car.

The United Auto Workers are striking for better pay and benefits. Many of the plant employees are making over $30 an hour but lower tier employees are making less than $20 an hour for the same kind of work. The UAW is asking to end a tier system which pays employees less for doing the same work. UAW wants their pay increased by 36% over the next four years. They also are tired of working 60-to-80-hour weeks just to survive. They are asking for a four day or 32-hour work week but paid for 40 hours. They also want the defined benefit pension reinstated for all the employees. General Motors ended its defined benefit pension January 1, 2007. They are also asking for better medical insurance for the lower tier employees. The UAW says the big three gave up cost of living adjustments during the 2008 financial crisis when GM and Chrysler went bankrupt. The UAW says that this has resulted in a tremendous pay decrease for the auto workers.

The 401k retirement plan is going to be the best that American companies are going to offer going forward. In the old days many companies offered defined benefit plans. If you worked 30 years then you were promised a certain retirement wage. The big three auto makers once had such benefits but they will never go back to that because they know it’s unsustainable. If a company will match or pay even half of what you pay into your 401K then you are doing well.

We all surely hope for the best for our all concerned. Everybody has to make money. I hope they can get the best deal possible.

In the meantime, most of us will be shopping around to see what we can afford. Paying an extra 36% percent or whatever it might be for a new car will be difficult for most Americans.

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