Guidance on decision

Guidance on decision

Hello guys/gals!

I'm a 23 year old, and I'm a huge Elon fan. I'm currently deciding on what I should do with myself. I want to purchase a Model 3, obviously I have a bit of a wait at this point considering the preorders. However, at my age, I make around 3k a month on average. Is buying a Model 3 in my best interest? I drive quite a bit to and from work (about 55 miles round trip, daily), so I absolutely love the idea of never buying gas again. I currently own a 2015 Audi A3, which I purchased used for approximately 19.5k (there was a recall, and the engine was rebuilt, otherwise the car is in fantastic shape). So at this point I would essentially break even on selling the car. I'm definitely not rushing into this, and as stated above, I have a lot of time lol. Thoughts as to what I should do?

Civicrick | 3 april 2017

Thats a pretty broad question and I need a bit more information. First, did you vote for Trump?

Civicrick | 3 april 2017

Jk. Its hard to say not knowing your monthly expenses and such but if you have done a budget and feel that you can afford the car I say... GO GREEN!

KP in NPT | 3 april 2017

It seems like a stretch but I agree more info is needed.

Civicrick | 3 april 2017

Had an afterthought tho. You have a long wait even if you ordered your car today. A good rebuilt engine can go tens of thousands of miles. But if you have the right bolt with the slightly wrong torque value, you could end up with an engine only good 5, 10k, whatever until you end up with fluids in the wrong places, etc. If it was me, I think I would probably sell the Audi before the rebuild warranty was up

SoFlaModel3 | 3 april 2017

As others have said more info is need to help you here.

Let's figure your car payment is going to be somewhere in the $700/month range and you're making (not taking home) $3,000/month.

Assuming you live somewhere that isn't subsidized, eat, pay for insurance, utilities, and have a social life ... well you get where I'm going with this.

Odds are it's not the best idea in the world at this stage of your life. That doesn't mean it can't work and that doesn't mean don't do it. Just look at your finances and only you can determine if it ultimately makes sense.

Are you saving for a home? Do you put money away into a retirement fund? Do you have a buffer for your other expenses should you lose your job? Do you have money for a down payment?

Does buying this car derail any of that?

Civicrick | 3 april 2017

I can simplify that: If youre in your Moms basement like I was at 23... BUY

Bighorn | 3 april 2017

Read this and then consider you're talking about spending more than 100% of your annual salary. And it sounds like it may be an irregular salary, since you said on average?

Frank99 | 3 april 2017

I'd buy a used Leaf - they're cheaper than dirt, and are a reasonable car as long as you can live with the 70 mile range (make sure you have a friend with a road-trip car who's willing to lend it to you). You get a 2 or 3 year old car for a 10 year old Civic price, you've got no or little fuel costs, and you've got all the green cred of owning a Tesla - but not nearly the cool cred. Put $300 / month in a savings account (the equivalent of a car payment), and buy the Model 3+ in 5 years.
Yeah, you don't get the cool car now, but you get a usable car and in 5 years you get a new cool car free-and-clear. That Model 3+ is going to put this Model 3 to shame.

Elon would understand.

4fishtankz | 4 april 2017

DO NOT BUY A USED LEAF, REPEAT, DO NOT BUY A USED LEAF. Been there, done that, at the time it looked like a great deal. Dropped to 9 bars, had only around 45 miles range at that point and about 4-5 months to lose another bar to get the free battery replacement which from looking at forums it would lose after the warranty at about 8-12 months. Ended up taking a huge hit being upside down (only keeps 25% resale value) and trading 2 cars and rolling what I was updside down into a used plug in Prius :(. Really bad choice.

You are young, and hopefully your financial situation will continue to improve. Put the $1000 to reserve a 3. It's refundable, you'll be on the list, and can decide later. You may not get the tax rebate, but at least it gives you time to decide later.

KP in NPT | 4 april 2017

Or you could wait for Bolts to be returned from lease. They might be a great deal then.

Frank99 | 4 april 2017

OK, listen to the voice of experience and not to me. 4fishtankz, are the batteries on the newer Leafs any better? Living in Phoenix, I figure we've got about the worst of all possible environments for Leaf battery life, and I know the first generation batteries died quickly here. I was hoping that newer ones lasted longer...

Antonioc222 | 4 april 2017

Tradeoffs are the foundation of both life and economics. If you want the Model 3, buy it. Just be ready to give up other luxuries you enjoy (eating out, cable TV, Etc). Or, pick up a part time job to make up for the extra monthly payment.

Garyeop | 4 april 2017

Hi Stephen. How many licks to the center of a tootsie pop? Nobody knows. So...

Put down your $1000
Start a savings account and see if you can make the $700 per month payment to yourself for a year. If you can't then you have a great down payment on a car you can afford.

Don't worry either way. You will have a Tesla. Just a matter of when. :)

Frank99 | 4 april 2017

Great counsel, Gary. Probably the best answer so far - let's you determine whether or not you'll be able to afford the car without ending up upside-down on the loan.

4fishtankz | 4 april 2017

They are supposed to be, but I've been reading about problems with the 2015 still. They are still air cooled. The range is still guess-a-meter. I had bought a 2012 last June (really crappy battery chemistry). When it lost it's 10th bar in December I got the LeafSpy and was monitoring the capacity and health trying to estimate if I'd get my battery replacement before it's warranty was up in May. Research said no, looking at other people reporting of when they lost the 9th bar it wasn't going to happen before the warranty was up. Ended up trading it for half what I owed. We had a second car that we used towards the other purchase, but I could have gotten a Prius Prime instead for the price :(. Also, I was totally unimpressed with the service I received from Nissan, a lot of the service people are COMPLETE IDIOTS! It was supposed to be a certified Leaf, after I bought it I complained to the service people of the dealership I bought it from. It was having a very bad acrid odor that was starting to make me sick. You won't believe what the service manager told me was wrong. He changed the air filter and offered to spray air freshener in it! What was wrong was another major part that regulates the charge and it was off gassing toxic fumes. I had to take it to another dealer to have it repaired. They charge you for everything, even the battery checks.

I wouldn't get a leaf for a hot climate and if then, only lease it so you can walk away at the end. (other than the crappy battery technology, it was a pretty good car, the rear view camera was great, LOL).

4fishtankz | 4 april 2017

LOL, the tirade above was supposed to be an answer for the Nissan Leaf, but a few other posts were put in between

4fishtankz | 4 april 2017

Frank99, I've got to clarify what lead up to the purchase and why I'd trust a Tesla. Prior to getting the Leaf, I had a RAV4 EV, which has the Tesla power train and batteries. It was spot on with the range and the battery was great but it's lease was just about up. I wanted a bridge car before the Model 3 and since a used Leaf was so cheap, thought it would be a great filler car that I could give to one of the kids when the 3 arrived. WORST MISTAKE I'VE EVER MADE ON A VEHICLE (and I've made a few others, lol). I'm so glad that wasn't my first electric to base my decision on, LOL. The Tesla half of my RAV EV was a good endorsement, it even had it's own sort of ludicrous mode. Will be watching the Model Y as well :).

Carl Thompson | 4 april 2017

"Put down your $1000
Start a savings account and see if you can make the $700 per month payment to yourself for a year. If you can't then you have a great down payment on a car you can afford."

Perfect answer. I'd only modify that to say you have to be able to make the payment to yourself _on time_.


Frank99 | 4 april 2017

4fishtankz -
I really appreciate the insight. A used Leaf was in the back of my head as a possibility for one of the kids when I send them off to an institution of higher learning in a year or two. I think I'll just take the whole series off the list.

Frank99 | 4 april 2017

Interesting - Mollum rejected that post until I replaced "coll*ge" with "institution of higher learning". I'll never figure out what it dislikes.
(Hmm, rejected this one too. Maybe I'll bowdlerize the 7-letter name)

Frank99 | 4 april 2017

That worked, obviously.

csmith476 | 4 april 2017

I have yet to figure out what Mollum will accept. If you are seeing this post, it is my first successful one after trying almost daily for weeks to post.

csmith476 | 4 april 2017

And apparently, it took mentioning Mollum.

Frank99 | 4 april 2017

Another reason to be anxiously awaiting delivery of my Model 3 - apparently Owners get a more lenient Mollum.

dyefrog | 4 april 2017

I disagree with caveats. A 2013 or newer Leaf, production after 5/13, either SV or SL are a fantastic value. They have the improved lizard battery, heat pump, telemetrics, nav, heated seats front and rear, heated steering wheel, lots of space, SL's have leather, solar panel, DCFC,....etc. Dirt cheap. $6k-$7k probably by now. And you never have to worry about it being stolen. And when you're done with it, Hang it on the wall and you got a Nissan Powerwall.

stephenvarner0112 | 4 april 2017

Thank you all for your responses. I currently live at home and plan on moving out at some point. My income is 3k avg. after tax, and along with that I have a savings set up, where I deposit $500 a month, and a 401k. A Tesla is my dream car! Although it may not be the best option right now, that does not rule it out for the future. I'll continue to save and see where I'm at in a year or two.

4fishtankz | 4 april 2017

dyefrog, OK with possibly one more caveat, have one of those OBD with you and leaf spy on your phone to check the battery health of a potential used Leaf. I still say that with stephenvarner0112 comute distance, a used leaf would be a poor choice.

dyefrog | 4 april 2017

"I still say that with stephenvarner0112 commute distance, a used leaf would be a poor choice."
I completely missed that part and with that, I concur. I still have all 12 bars and close to 50k but my SOH is right on the bubble to lose one (bar) soon. I would not try 60 miles even in good weather.