A bunch of questions



Great! Yep, all one has to do is postpone the purchase of that first car and make every payment to themselves faithfully thereafter. It's not that easy with a house, of course, but I only borrowed money against the first one, invested some energy, made a nice profit and paid cash for every one after that.
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I understand the wisdom & workings of this - but.... how does one postpone the purchase of a first car? If living in a metropolitan area that has good public transport, yes, possible. But otherwise... ?
When I read the first post, re: having had no car loans & saving faithfully for each car, I thought: "Okay, but how about the very first one - there's a huge sticking point." Starting out w/job & making small salary, maybe paying off student loans.... an accomplishment to pay the rent, groceries, & utilities - no available lump sum big enough to purchase a car sans a loan.
Cathy

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We went through a long period when the tax man thought we were rich but we could barely afford to feed our family - $65 for a month's groceries for a family of 4 is tough. There is no way to go through a period like that with the "pay yourself" plan - we couldn't afford to operate a car, much less make payments. We had been married ten years before we made car payments at all.
Mike
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For me it was a combination of life choices. Enlisting in the military made a car unnecessary while saving money. The subsequent college years were the toughest financially but postponing marriage and children got me through that.
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I don't think there was ever a time we would have been ready for our first child. He had a constellation of medical problems, but the asthma was the most troublesome. The out-of-pocket expenses consumed a quarter of our gross income (more than our house payment and food budget combined; only taxes were a bigger part of our expenses) until I got a second job and changed my first to a better paying job. When he was 12 he spent 5 months in a hospital in Denver, and seeing the bill with my name at the top and $200K at the bottom was an unpleasant experience. Paul Harvey quotes somebody whose name I didn't recognize: "Having children makes us all hostages to Fate."
Mike
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Too bad we didn't follow the lead of every other modern nation on the planet. National health care would have spread those costs across our society. Yes, some of us would have paid a little more, but in a great society the poorest should have food, clothing, housing and health care.
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Bill wrote:

Looking to win a vacation in Azerbaijan courtesy of CIA Rendition Travel, Inc. are you, Mr. Enemy of the State and friend of Bin Laden?
Davoud
--
usenet *at* davidillig dawt com

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They used to deduct the cost of these vacations from our pay but now China pays for them and puts it on our tab.
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If he had been under national health care he would not have been approved for the hospital stay and would have died a few years later when the effects caught up with him - 100% certainty, according to the doctor, who convinced us we had to do what we had to do. He who pays the piper calls the tune. That is why my insurance company (BCBS) only preapproved 3 days and approved day by day, then cut off coverage after 8 days. He wasn't critically ill but was on no fewer than 17 medications, managed by the best allergy practice in Phoenix. The doctor knew most of the medications weren't helping and some were probably hurting but couldn't back off in an outpatient setting. Within the first month in the hospital he was down to about a half dozen meds and was off prednisone for the first time in 6 years. At the end of is stay he was down to something like 4 or 5 meds and only inhaled steroids. More important, his asthma could be considered managed for the first time in his life. That is what managed health care, either HMOs or socialized medicine, do worst of all.
About ten years ago he moved to Washington state with his fiancee. While there the back pain he had been fighting for a couple years became disabling, so he turned to Medicaid. So few options were approved for his treatment that he deteriorated, was put on morphine and switched to methadone. When he returned here 3 years ago he was in pain, addicted to methadone and had been unemployed for 5 years. We spent $2K from our own pockets in the first few months to pursue effective treatment - something Medicaid never did. Finally a single appointment with a physical therapist got him the first accurate diagnosis and the first effective treatment he had ever had: a pinched nerve in his middle back caused by the effects of prednisone while he was growing. A couple chiropractor sessions and some prescribed exercises worked the miracle he was hoping for. He has been working in an eyeglass lab for two years now and has not yet missed a day of work because of back pain. It took two years to wean from methadone, but he has completely recovered now from the mess Medicaid made. God only knows how much money the state of Washington wasted doing nothing good at all. Now he is a taxpayer instead of a dependent of the state.
I know this whole subject is completely off-topic, but the hoax of public health care hits too close to home for me.
Mike
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Michael Pardee wrote:

That's the point. What you described is not the American national health care system. It's America without a national health care system.
Davoud
--
usenet *at* davidillig dawt com

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No - the public health care system in Washington state (as mandated by federal Medicaid regulations) did serious damage to my son. To think it would be better when the orders come from the other side of the continent defies credulity. In contrast, when I could choose what treatment he would have because I was paying, the underlying problem was corrected quickly. Why anybody would choose to throw away all control of their health care is beyond me.
When I had to pay for his treatment myself I was poor. So I did what I had to - I got a second job that I worked for 11 years and left my job that had topped out at $10/hr for one that started at $14/hr and increased rapidly with experience. The tradeoff is that I sell more hours of my life - I am on call even when on vacation and worked until midnight one night when I was supposed to be on bereavement leave following the death of my mother. It hasn't been easy and there were no guarantees except for harder work and more responsibilities. Such was my lot in life and I rose to the challenge, and I am a better man for it.
I used to work with a man who is still a Swedish citizen. We were talking about the health care system in Sweden, and he said it was adequate for most people if you weren't in a hurry or misdiagnosed. It seems initial diagnoses are carved in stone - if you have "an allergic reaction" and it is really leukemia, you aren't likely to live long enough to get a second opinion. In addition, emergency room waits for conditions that aren't getting worse - like fractures - are often 12 hours or more.
Mike
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Mike,
Please don't get me wrong, Mike, because I don't question your son's experience nor your friends comments. I have a Canadian friend who loves their healthcare system. Individual experiences don't provide the overall picture, however. Remember the old saying "analysis without synthesis reduces all to the chaos of multiplicity"?
At the link below you will find the conclusion of a comprehensive and uncontested study of health care in the U.S. as compared to the national health care systems in every other modern nation. The U.S. stands with South Africa as the only modern nations that don't have a system for national health care. You will discover that we pay about twice what these nations pay for better care.
http://dll.umaine.edu/ble/U.S.%20HCweb.pdf
My primary health care provider is the U.S. Veteran's Administration. I can afford private care but the V.A. is so much better than private providers I've used as to make the V.A. an easy choice. In fact, they ranked ahead of private U.S. providers in a recent, well publicized study. I wasn't the least bit surprised by the results of that study.
Bill
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Bill:

Cathy F:

Maybe he meant postpone the purchase of the second car?

No sticking point. Follow my lead: I borrowed for my first new car, paid it off as quickly as I could, then began saving for my next car (what we have referred to as making car payments to oneself.) I kept the first car until I had enough money to pay cash for its replacement; in fact I had more than enough by the time I was ready to change cars, so I was able to buy something a little better than I might otherwise have gotten. The thing about this technique is that you don't need to have started with your first car. You can start now.
As soon as the second one is bought for cash it gets easier because /all/ of the "payments" go to savings and nothing is lost to interest. If one is not wealthy this means keeping your cars longer than your neighbours do. So what? Many of mine are a bit smug about getting a new car every two-three years, but who's the smart one!? What they don't realize is that I'm spending less on cars + interest than they are /and/ I'm driving nicer cars -- cars that don't /need/ to be replaced every two years. The most laughable of all is the guy who drives nothing but Cadillacs. (No chance he'll see this!) He changes them like I change socks. He'll drive his two-year-old Caddy down the street and it'll be making all kinds of expensive noises. Pretty soon he's got a new one and is proud of himself for being smart enough to drive a Caddy. Doesn't understand what's happened to GM or why it has happened.
Davoud
--
usenet *at* davidillig dawt com

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Nope, from another post he meant the first car, but turns out what he was doing at that point in his life allowed for him to save & he didn't need a car right then.

No, I meant it'd be a sticking point if one paid cash for *all* cars, incl. the first one.

Ha! Right now I'm making extra payments on my mortgage's principal, plus dumping as much as I can into my TDA, since retirement's on the horizon. I *could* save even a little more, but am not willing to go back & live on the super-strict budget I lived on for umpteen years in the past. As it is, I'm going to up my TDA contributions even more next year, but as of now will be making the same salary as this year & last (lack of overdue contract settlement at this point).

I keep my cars approx. 6 years each.
Many of mine are a bit smug about getting a new

I've been driving Japanese cars since '76. Had a Plymouth Duster as my first car & it had a great engine, but the body really rusted... By that point the American car makers were paying no attention to the writing on the wall, & I said forget it - I'm going to go for best quality for the least outlay. Which led me away from American made cars...
Cathy

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Davoud wrote:

No criticism. That wouldn't make sense for me, though. Recent cars: 1991 Toyota pickup: 13 years, still good, got bored, gave it to a friend. Honda Accord: 10 years, donated to needy person. 1992 Mazda Miata: 14 years/low mileage (still have it) and will give it to my niece four years from now when she turns 16, providing her parents approve. 2004 Nissan Titan: Two years, traded for Prius <http://www.davidillig.com/starcar.shtml .
Davoud
--
usenet *at* davidillig dawt com

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I explained why I keep them for ~6 years in another post. 1) I can drive them for 2 - 3 years loan-free, and 2) at 6 years they've hit the point where I need to either sell them & get a decent price to put toward my the down-payment of my next car, or else keep it & run it into the ground. It's the point before the resale/trade-in price is going to really start to drop off.
Plus - I don't know where you live, but I'm in the NE, & body rust and its upkeep tends to become a problem after that. The car may run well, but the body starts to need constant attention.
Cathy
Recent cars:

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Good luck. Bye.
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wow, either you are zero emisions or you arn't, the back up beep can be turned off, I have an 06, the 07 will have an updated nav software package, distronic parking, height adjustment for the front seats, 16 " wheels but no one knows when, it's already in circulation in the eu, australia, etc. it's more fun to drive than my A4 avant with sport package, get's twice the mpg, has understeer, which means on a dirt road when you turn for a corner the front end turns in, it's great, most cars have oversteer, you turn and they don't, handels very well, has lots of pep and is going up in value every day.
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MFH wrote:

the 2006 already has an updated display and nav software, there'll be another update?
the 2004-current Prius has always had 16" wheels outside of North America, while the North American version has had 15" wheels. The Prius outside of North America have always had 4 wheel disc brakes, but that's never made it to the North American model either. Then again, outside of North America they've never gotten our bladder fuel tank or the CHHS from the current Prius (thermos for coolant)...
The only guess I could make is that perhaps the IPA (Integrated Parking Assist) may eventually make it to North America. It was an option on the 2004 Prius in Japan, and has just been made available as an option on the 2006 Prius in Europe/UK...
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Cathy F. wrote:

Note that the Prius tends to hold its value much better than a conventional car... (For a while used Prius were selling for more than new!)

2005 was about the same as the 2004.
2006 had several changed since 2005. Besides what's below, some colors were removed, and there is now some "hybrid" badges on the side of the car. Quoting from a Toyota USA dealer memo dated Nov. 4, 2005:
<quote> EXTERIOR IMPROVEMENTS The Prius receives updated front headlamps and rear taillamps, and a new front spoiler. A chrome finish is applied to the front grille�~@~Ys center bar, and freshened rear combination lamp is added to enhance its appearance.
In addition, four new exterior colors update the color palette: �~@� Classic Silver Metallic �~@� Barcelona Red Metallic �~@� Silver Pine Mica �~@� Magnetic Gray (available May 2006)
INTERIOR IMPROVEMENTS On the inside, the instrument panel receives a new black organic textured grain in place of the burgundy or brown colors available last year. The rear seat bottom cushion has been lowered slightly for better head clearance and enhanced riding comfort. Also new for 2006 are the luxurious options of Leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel, available in both Gray and Bisque, and a Rear Backup Camera to help the driver see objects behind the vehicle when in reverse.
The standard audio system is AM/FM CD with 6 speakers. An optional mid-grade audio also includes MP3/WMA playback capability and an auxiliary audio input miniplug. The optional JBL audio features several updates for 2006: �~@� JBL AM/FM 6-disc CD changer with 9 speakers in 7 locations (cassette deck is no longer available) �~@� MP3/WMA playback capability and an auxiliary audio input miniplug in the center console �~@� Hands-free phone capability via Bluetooth wireless connectivity
The optional voice-activated DVD GPS (Global Positioning System) Navigation system is the most sophisticated yet. It offers increased map quality, over 32,000 colors, an ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) display, a route tracer function, voice recognition street address search functions that allow you to enter a destination while driving, and can now be set to operate in English, French, or Spanish languages.
SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS In addition to standard ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Traction Control (TRAC), several safety features are now standard equipment: �~@� A Tire Pressure Monitoring System directly measures the pressure of each tire with a sensor and signals the driver in the event of a drop in tire pressure �~@� Standard Driver and Front Passenger Advanced Airbags (SRS) now feature a passenger occupant classification sensor that determines not only whether the seat is occupied, but also whether an occupant meets the weight requirement for airbag deployment. The passenger front airbags are deployed only when the sensor detects an adult passenger in the front seat.
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE The complimentary roadside assistance program has been discontinued for the 2006 Prius. </quote>

Toyota's not saying. (The last time they did that (announce the 2004 redesigned Prius in spring of 2003), people stopped buying the older 2003 Prius and just waited for the new one to come out... People who bought 2003s were treated to bargain prices as they were sitting on lots!)

Prius in North America have auto-off headlights. Turn on your headlights. as long as you shut your car off AND open the driver's door, the headlights automatically go out. Start the car again and the headlights come back on.

http://www.toyota.com/prius/tax.html http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toyota-prius/links/Financial_000963256550
The US Federal hybrid vehicle income tax deduction is beginning to phase out for purchases of hybrid Toyota/Lexus/Scion vehicles. Q1-Q3 2006 sales (through Sept. 30, 2006) get $3150, Q4 2006 and Q1 2007 get $15.75, Q2-Q3 2007 get $787.50, and sales from Oct. 1, 2007 (start of Q4 2007) get $0 credit.

The Prius has been in monthly allotments since late 2002. That doesn't mean that there dealer trades haven't been done, even with the long wait times - you just need to find a dealer (or more specifically a salesperson) that is willing to do the work to get you the car that you want. (My dealer would trade with another dealership based on the allotment off of the boat, before it was loaded onto the truck.)
Depending on your flexibility and the color/option package that you want, and the dealer you choose, you could walk off the lot with a car, or you could be waiting a few months.
Check the archives for the monthly sales figures. Prius sales are still down compared to last year, since production is down thanks to parts being diverted for the hybrid Camry production (and not because of waning interest!). Prius is now being built in 2 plants in Japan.

Well, I haven't heard as many people complaining about the "market availability" premium/markup of $1000 - $5000 that some dealers were putting on the Prius because it's in such demand. I do still hear of dealers forcing accessory packages and dealer profit items (like "fabric treatment/paint protection" or "upgraded wheels") onto buyers. There's little wiggle room down from MSRP.

Currently in the US the Prius comes with: Goodyear Integrity (Standard Load) P185/65 R15 86S Treadwear 460 Traction A Temperature B 44psi max. cold pressure
My husband thought that they were fine for their first MA winter, but the 2nd winter was brutal. 3rd winter we switched to Nokian A.W.P.2 WR tires (the only all-season tire that is also rated as a snow tire (snowflake on mountain symbol on it)). We'll be switching to them full-time shortly, as the Integritys are about worn.
Some people hate the Integrity model so badly that they don't leave the dealership without new tires put on it...

The reverse beeper is only heard on the INSIDE. Even with windows open, you pretty much have to be right at the car window to hear it. It is there to remind the driver that you are in reverse (gear shift joystick returns to a central position), along with the blinking box around the "R" on the PRNDB display. Yes, it'd be far too noisy, and ineffective (small children may go towards the beep, animals and objects and often most inattentive people will just ignore it), if the beep was on the outside. On North American Prius there is a procedure that you can do to disable the reverse beep if you don't like it. Outside of North America the procedure doesn't work (a wire to cut has been identified to get rid of the beep, but no one has been daring enough to try it).
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