In most couples, there is a spender and a saver. Because of this, large purchases like buying a car can cause some major disagreements. It’s well known that money problems are the top cause of divorce in America. In fact, according to a Utah State University researcher, couples who argue once a week about money are 30 percent more likely to divorce. So, when it comes to big ticket items like a vehicle, it’s important to be on the same financial page as your spouse.
Here are the four most common reasons couples argue over car purchases and advice on ways to resolve those disagreements.
1. Used Vs. New
Many couples argue over whether to buy a used or a new car. Those who favor new cars like the knowledge that the car they’re buying is in top mechanical condition. They also like the warranties that come with a new car. They don’t have to worry about a car’s history or wonder if something has been left out of a vehicle report.
However, those who want a used car like that they’re getting a better financial deal because the initial owners lost money on the car’s depreciation when they drove it off the lot.
The Solution: Buy a certified used car. When you buy a certified used car, you know the car has been inspected for mechanical issues and is backed by the manufacturer’s warranty. Plus, you still get the benefit of getting the car for much less than you would have if it was new.
2. The Payment Plan
Some people love to have car loan payment plans that spread out for several years so their monthly payments are small and manageable while others prefer to have shorter payment plans so they don’t owe more on their cars than the car is worth.
The Solution: Compromise. If a couple can’t agree on a payment plan, it’s best for them to compromise. For example, if one person wants a three-year plan while another wants a seven-year plan, they can agree to a five-year plan. Another alternative is to come up with ways to pay cash for a car to eliminate the payment plan issue entirely.
3. The Vehicle Type
Many couples disagree over the type of vehicle to get. For example, a mom might want a large SUV so she can drive her kids to their activities while her husband might want her to get a van because it has the same amount of space as an SUV for a lower cost.
The Solution: Leave it to the driver. The person who will be driving the car the most should have the final decision on the type of car they get as long as it’s within the agreed upon amount that the couple can afford.
4. The Necessity
One person in the couple might love to drive cars into the ground while the other might like to get a new car every time a car hits 100,000 miles. Overall, it’s always challenging to determine the best time to replace a vehicle, especially if it requires a significant amount of repairs. It might not seem like a “need” at the time until of course the car completely breaks down and the repairs are far too costly.
The Solution: Have an emergency fund. An emergency fund can help with those unexpected car repairs. Simply save up a $1,000 car emergency fund and each time it needs a big repair, dip into it and then fill it back up. Once the repairs per year start to cost more than car payments for a new car would, it’s time to get a new vehicle.
Overall, all of these arguments can absolutely be resolved as long as a couple is open to compromise and is willing to communicate.
Catherine Alford is the go-to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions, earn more, and take on a more active financial role in their families. Named the Best Contributor for Personal Finance in 2014, she has written for Yahoo Finance, U.S. News and World Report, The Huffington Post, Kiplinger, Investopedia, Business Insider and many more. Catherine is the founder of personal finance blog BudgetBlonde.com and is the innovator of the web course, Get Paid to Write for Blogs.
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