The Gift That Keeps On Taking!

07-12-27-lexus-red-bow “Let’s be honest. No one ever wished for a smaller holiday gift.”  So starts a TV commercial that seems to be running in nearly every commercial block throughout the month of December.  Since it’s not my desire to shed a bad light on the company who developed this marketing pitch, I’ll not mention them, but only give you a hint: it rhymes with Schmexus.

They make excellent cars, and many would argue they do so at a reasonable value as compared to other luxury car makers.  The beef I have with them, and nearly every other luxury car maker, is that they ask us to actually make the purchase of one of their vehicles a Christmas present.  What does that do to your gift budget?  Is stacking another $37,975 (to over $50,000 with all the options) on top of your existing holiday gift budget doable?

Cousin-eddie As Cousin Eddie said in Christmas Vacation: “Clark, that’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year!” (Watch that hysterical clip by clicking HERE.)  For most, the purchase of a new car is the gift that keeps on TAKING the whole year… or two, or five or six.  If, for example, you get the top of the line stocking stuffer, even with “attractive financing options at 1.9%,” you’ll be paying over $850 PER MONTH for FIVE YEARS!  

I’m not expecting ad agencies to provide us with an ethical foundation as consumers—it could easily be argued that it’s their objective to melt away our common financial sense this holiday season.  But as I find myself staring longingly at luxury SUVs beset with bows as big as a Christmas tree, I thought it might be valuable to remind myself—and anyone else who might be susceptible to an indulgent moment this time of year—that a $50,000 present that requires an amortized mortgage on a depreciating asset isn’t really a gift…but instead, a burden.

I’m going to take off posting this Friday, so MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

And check out WBAL-TV 11 in Baltimore this Sunday, the 26th at 9:15am, when I’ll be sharing some of these thoughts live.

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2 thoughts on “The Gift That Keeps On Taking!

  1. Tim-
    Everyone needs a vehicle, and what a great way to make a large purchase and make it look like a Xmas gift! Also, with a large enough down payment and attractive finance options, you will be able to stay in a positive equity position for the entire finance term. Car purchases are usually made based on emotion, but you can still make a large purchase, satisfy your wants/needs, and knock out your Xmas gifts all at the same time. I am sure my opinion might have something to do with being in the car business, but you never know…
    Happy Holidays
    Alex Monk

  2. Alex,
    LOL. I appreciate your thoughtful comments, and especially your recognition that your view may–in some small part–be shaded by your economic bias… being in the auto industry.
    I’d have to agree with you that if, in fact, you’ve already saved the money and were planning to buy a car anyway that it may be fun and creative to present the car as a Christmas gift. But I’ll have to disagree with your financing suggestion; certainly being in a “positive equity position” is preferable to a negative, but the ideal of simply NOT having debt on any depreciating asset is optimal. And auto dealer “attractive finance options” are normally an illusion as the dealer will make up for lower interest with a higher price tag.
    One last thought… A decision this significant–with or without financing–should never be a “surprise” for the spouse or joint owner. That’s verging on financial infidelity!
    Thanks again, Alex, and a prosperous New Year to you!

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