Buying a brand new car isn’t always a good idea, with depreciation being the major issue. Unless money is no object, of course, in which case you don’t really care about it.
Since very few people are in that category, the rest of us should be careful not to blow much of our savings on a new car or, even worse, borrow lots of money just to get a new set of wheels. Unfortunately, car loans are the most popular way for U.S. buyers to get in a brand new vehicle. We say “unfortunately” because very few people check the terms and conditions before applying for a car loan.
According to a report from NPR, Americans are spending on average $37,782 these days on new cars and many of them are doing so via seven-year car loans offered by dealers. The lower monthly payments made possible by a seven-year loan are what makes this type more popular than three- or five-year contracts.
Apparently, a third of all new car loans now have terms longer than six years, with their market share now being more than three times as big as a decade ago. Getting into debt for so many years for a car is obviously not the best personal financial decision one could make.
The problem is that most buyers often overlook the fact that seven-year or eight-year loans mean the customer will pay an enormous amount of money in interest. Higher interest rates over a longer period of time is definitely not a good combination. For example, for a $37,000 seven-year car loan, people can pay around $2,000 more in interest compared to a five-year contract.
The thing is, people have grown accustomed to buying more expensive cars than they can actually afford, and seven-year loans are “helping” them do just that.
So what could buyers do to avoid getting into a difficult financial situation? Living within their means is the first thing that comes to mind, but who will keep up with the Joneses then?