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How Many Years of Retirement Are You Wasting With That Purchase???

Looking to buy a brand new car? Did you know it could cost you 7 years of retirement?

Derek Sall - Personal Finance Expert
Written by
Personal Finance Expert
6 min
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“It’s only $250 a month!”

“No money down!”

“0% interest for 36 months!”

Why Trust Us
Advertiser Disclosure

We salivate at the thought of sitting behind the wheel of that brand new, shiny, sleek, smells-like-heaven automobile…ahhhHHHhhrgh (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but drool a moment).

How Many Years of Retirement Are You Wasting?

I’m with you. I absolutely love the feel, the sound, the touch, and absolutely the look of new cars (or boats, quads, snow sleds, wave runners – whatever it is that you fancy), but would I pay $250 a month to satisfy my childish cravings?

Not in a million years.

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The True Act of Payments

Here’s what you’re doing when you decide to make payments on something:

**You look at that shiny car, check your pockets, and realize your only asset is pocket lint**

**You glance sheepishly at the salesman…**

“Ummmm, I’m sorry, I don’t have any money right now, but I really like the car….” (you now start searching for reasons why they should let you have it)

“I have a good job that I never plan to leave…. and….I make payments on other stuff – I’m always on time!….annndd…you don’t even have to bring the price down because I can afford the monthly payment.”

“For this car, I’m willing to give you the next six years of my life.”

Wow, that sounds a little different than, “I got this car for only $250 a month!” doesn’t it?

Borrowing From Your Future Self

The truth is, people that are willing to make payments on something for years into the future are just stealing from their future self. Let me nail this down with one more example.

Let’s say that at the end of each day, you earn a crisp one dollar bill (not much of a salary I know, but it makes this story simpler so just roll with me on this one). Life’s great! You go to work, come home, and there’s that one dollar bill at your doorstep. You smile, put it in your pocket, and go about your work the next day.

You’ve got a cute home, transportation, a wonderful family, and you’re already contributing to your future retirement! Man, life couldn’t be better!

That is, until Richard moved into the house next door….

Richard drives a brand new pickup truck, he entertains all the time, he even put in a brand new pool! You know he can’t earn that much more than you, so why shouldn’t you have all these nice things too?

The very next morning, you drive to the car dealership to negotiate a deal.

“Every day when I get home from work, there’s a crisp one dollar bill waiting for me,” you tell the salesman. “How about we make an agreement? You let me drive that sports car over there, and I’ll send you that dollar for the next six years of my life.”

To your delight, he agrees.

You head to work in your amazing new ride and you couldn’t be happier. That is…until that evening when you pull into your driveway.

On your doorstep waiting for you when you arrive is….nothing. Your crisp dollar has already been spent…for the next 6 years. With slumped shoulders and a pit in your stomach, you lock up your new ride and immediately realize that you’re a slave to it. Work just won’t be the same…now that you’re working for your toy instead of your future.

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Calculate The Years of Retirement You’re Giving Up

Since it seems like everyone has a car payment today (or boat or quad payment, etc etc), it’s hard to convey how seriously damaging it really is to buy brand new stuff that you don’t need.

So I decided to make a calculator (big shocker I know ;)) that would not only show you how much money you were giving up by not investing the funds instead, but also how many years of retirement you were going to miss out on!

After all, ignoring your retirement fund means a lost pile of cash, which means that you’re going to have to work additional years for that same quality of life!

Here’s how it works – take a look at the below example.

Jimmy is 35 years old, earns $60,000 a year, and decides to buy a new car for $20,000. It’s not overly expensive (as far as new cars are concerned) so he doesn’t think much of it, but guess how much that costs him in his retirement? $484,000! Compared to his $60,000 salary, this could have bought him 8.1 years of retirement! I guess instead of retiring at 67, Jimmy’s going to have to wait until he’s 75.

Learn how much your money will make in a savings account:

What About You?

So what about you? What is it that you’re thinking about buying? Is it a new car? A new boat? New living room furniture? How many years of retirement will it cost you??

Download the FREE Wasted Retirement Spreadsheet and find out now. When you click the link, you’ll see the Excel download in the lower-portion of your screen. Enter in your numbers and find out the affect of your spending. Feel free to send the free tool to your friends! Let’s start changing the way people think!

Like this tool? We have more in store—check out our debt snowball spreadsheet to get out of debt fast.

Editorial team

Meet the team
Derek Sall - Personal Finance Expert

Personal Finance Expert

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially—one email, one article, one person at a time.

Kacper Kozicki - Editor


Editor, copywriter, and multilingual translator with expertise in producing tailored content for global online brands. When not editing articles for LifeAndMyFinances.com, he enjoys rummaging through paper dictionaries, walking in nature, and making travel plans.

Deepti Nickam - Finance Writer

Finance Writer

Content writing and marketing professional with 4+ years of experience in the B2B and B2C sectors. Deepti has written about several subjects, including finance, project management, human resources, and more.

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