Sunday, March 22, 2009

Do As I Say---

I read Trent's "A Simple Dollar" regularly but unlike his legions of admirers, I don't necessarily assume that he all the answers all the time. I also susupect that, from time to time, he is driven by financial hubris, as are most of us.

But Saturday's columm regarding his family purchase of a new 2009 Toyota Prius via financing is a revelation--partly of the lengths Trent will go to deny that he hasn't made the most financially sound decision and partly the reprobation of his fans who seem unwilling to cut any slack for a less-than-stellar but hardly devastating purchase.

I worry about bloggers like Trent and JD at Get Rich Slowly who have been set up the role models. I continue to read them because I have so much to learn before I even get where they are. Yet, learning from people who have to be perfect takes a toll from all of us.

Can I just fess up now that I have learned at least as much from MP Dunleavey and the Women in Red? I shake my head at some of her financial machinations because I see my younger self in her actions. But I do rejoice when I see her learn her financial lessons so much sooner than I did.

Give it up, Trent! You WANTED the Prius! You did NOT want to put all of your savings toward the car, so you financed it. Revisit that decision occasionally and tell us how it's working for you. And do it honestly. If it's a mistake but one you're glad you made, so be it. If it is something you have to pay off sooner just to get back to financial peace, admit it and move on. It it turns out to be a disaster, well, let us in on that one, too.

We're all big kids here--we can handle it.


Shevy said...

I just commented on Trent's post because I don't care that he bought a new car or financed it (both can be reasonable choices depending on circumstances) but I was pretty shocked that he paid such a high interest rate when I, with my not-so-nifty credit, got 0.9% a few years ago. Those rates are still around, possibly not on the Prius although I haven't checked (but then that would have impacted on the overall cost of the car compared to others).

I also went to another commenter's blog and wrote about the concept of PF bloggers having to be perfect (or their readers all freak out). I'm not looking for somebody who is perfect, and particularly not for someone who has never had a problem with debt. I want someone I can learn from, commiserate with, cheer on. It doesn't matter to me if they make a mistake (or what I consider to be a mistake). Seeing how they deal with it is valuable.

DogAteMyFinances said...

With his preachy high horse about making your own laundry detergent and never eating out, financing a new car is insane.

He tells everyone else to save up for a car, but he (effectively) used his EMERGENCY FUND for a NEW CAR. Just ugh.

Anonymous said...

Do you also remember the post where he bought 2 expensive appliances, front loading washer & matching dryer? There value was $2000 BUT he got such a good deal @$1000?

What a joke!

See, this is the problem with regular lay people who set themselves up as financial advisers? He really isn't qualified to give out advice. Trent, to me, is nothing more than a yuppie gone modern. Remember those yuppies? Trent is probably making up for lost time.

Here is my truth: back in 2001, when the economy was taking a dive due to the dot com disaster, the bank that financed my car, which I owned for 3 years, put down $5000 deposit, was having a difficult time. My payment got delayed, due to me moving and within days, that bank had the repo man in my new driveway! No matter what I said to the bank, they wouldn't budge. The bank man actually said to me "We gotta have that car and sell it by Dec 31st!) It was Dec 10th. It was then that I realized the car never was mine AND the bank was in more trouble than I was!!! The repo man took my car away! Just like that. I realized that I never really owned that car. The bank did!!!!
To get to the end of the story, the bank couldn't sell the car. So, I got sued for $300 worth of storage fees! It was a nightmare.
I drove a bomb for a few years afterthat (a friend gave me his old one). Eventually, I saved enough money to buy a brand new car. Twice: once in '05 and again in '08. I would stick needles through my eyes before I would ever finance a car nor have anything to do with a loan or a bank ever again!

This is my truth. This is my experience. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. The repo man told me he was doing this to more and more middle class people each and every day. He told me it was 'heartbreaking'. It was all very civilized but nonetheless, a wake up call to me and to anyone else who will hear my story.

Trent obviously couldn't afford the Prius and he is just trying to explain it away. I bought a new washer & dryer when I moved into my new home. They only cost $325 each. They weren't the new fangled ones. Just basic. What more do you need to wash & dry clothes, for pete's sake?


Mr. GoTo said...

Great post. Trent is caught in no-man's land. He is making so much money telling his readers how to be frugal and responsible, he is reluctant to concede that his need for those same traits has diminished. I agree with you - he should just admit that "I wanted that new Prius and I thought I could afford it so I bought it." It doesn't make it right or wrong, it just makes it being you.

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Anonymous said...

So well said Grace. I too was disappointed in reading his choice of vehicle and method of payment. It does get frustrating reading these 30 somethings blogs when you, I and others have BTDT twenty/thirty years ago - just about at the time these kids were born!! Kids!!

How I wish JW was back posting. Now that's real life:)


Brian Jefferies said...

This is a GREAT blog. I've been reading it for awhile now and I can really appreciate all of the advice and information.


Sharon said...

Yikes~ Glad no one goes to my blog for advice...I don't think I could take the pressure~ :)

Sharon said...

Yikes~ Glad no one goes to my blog for advice...I don't think I could take the pressure~ :)

Linda said...

This isn't about Trent but instead is a hope that your recovery continues to go well.

Fabulously Broke said...

That's a good point Grace.

I don't read JD or Trent any longer just because they aren't real to me.

Real in the sense that I don't feel them coming out of their posts the way I feel other bloggers like you, Dog, LAL and a whole host of others do.

Everything seems to white and black, and bleached of all personality when they write.

Don't get me wrong, they have really GREAT articles sometimes with handy tips but I feel like it's a Ho Hum, been there, done that feeling .. and they're just re-preaching and re-hashing what has already been said a million times over.