Should I save my money to purchase property or should I use my money to get a car?

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Dear Sir, I am in a dilemma. I am 25years old and have been working for 3 years after I graduated from university. I am currently earning $3,700 per month and would like to get a car to move around in. My parents are telling me that the car is not worth it and I should be saving my money to buy property. I feel that maybe they want me to move out of their home, or what? Any advice?

Car Crazy

Dear Car,

To some people, they think that this question is rather frivolous; after all, property is viewed as an appreciating asset but cars are not. So the answer is quite clear. But to me, it never is as straight-forward as this. Having said this, I am in no position to offer advice. Instead, let me share with you my thinking around this and you can then use that to come to your own decision. Maybe you can fill me in ultimately on what you decide to do.

Intent

In order for you to come to the right decision, you need to identify both your intent and your parents’ intent. Not that your parents can ultimately make the decision for you, but so long as you are still living with them, and presumably living rent-free, you need to understand where they stand on this, and what you want to achieve with that too. Hence, it would be what you want vis-à-vis the decision, what your parents want, and what you want vis-à-vis your parents!

Options

Once you know what you want to achieve, you should develop your options. These options should not be “yes”, “no” and “maybe”. Instead look at really diverse ones. For example if your intent is to be able to move around more comfortably, then maybe you can look to renting a car when you need it. That would not tie up your money as much as purchasing one would. Or you could look at car-sharing schemes. Or even signing up for a limousine service. There are many different options apart from purchasing that may be able to meet your intent.

Constraints

Again, constraints are not negative hindrances but necessary conditions for a successful decision; and there are some really interesting constraints that you should look into. Obviously your income level is one of them, as is your lifestyle, but you should also factor in your future plans, and whether you would be settling down or not. The more you map that, the more it would shape your decision.

Reframing

Ask yourself this question, “If I was the world’s expert in solving the car-vs-property question, what would I say to myself to answer this dilemma?” You will be surprised at the answer you get, and you will also be able to come to a decision very quickly, sometimes to a surprising conclusion.

Balancing options with constraints

At this juncture, you would probably be able to identify the best option for yourself. But just to be sure, compare each constraint to each option, picking the one that can meet as many, or all of, the constraints.

Ultimately, Car, the right decision will be driven by your intent. Get that totally clear and you will already be able to answer the question.

I hope this was helpful.

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