Roger Schlesinger

Every year at this time, I see the ads on T.V. and in magazines suggesting that you buy your loved one an automobile for their holiday gift. I have spent a lot of time thinking about those adds, and in all my life, I do not believe I have ever seen someone buy a car for somebody else for the holidays. Someone must be buying them as gifts, or they wouldn't be constantly running the adds each year. Now realize I am speaking as a "non car gene person" (See What's up with the Cars, Oct. 7) when I say "are you kidding me''? Have people completely lost their minds? A car as a gift for Christmas or Hanukkah? It was bad enough when a few years past people were giving the gift of having a a star named after you. One that no one could see or find in a planetarium. But that was a quick loss and you were over it. And best of all, it didn't get recycled!

Back to the cars. Generally speaking cars depreciate rather quickly. I have been told that when you leave the dealer's lot in your new, shinny, midnight blue or aqua green chariot that you just lost $5000. I know for a fact that 1.5 years ago I was hit and had the car totaled eight days after my wife bought it, and I still have not recovered the down payment. Fortunately, it was only $5000 which, come to think of, might be the same money that disappeared when I left the private property of the car dealer and entered the public highway. New cars aren't a great deal from my perspective, but they really do not cost more than used cars because of the maintenance factor. No, I do not maintain my own car, but I do the necessary things to keep it going: oil changes, rotating of the tires and all the warranty stuff.

We only buy new cars, one sensible one for me and the opposite for the lady with the car gene, my wife. We generally keep the car(s) until major work is needed or new tires are required, whichever comes first and then trade them in for another new car. Mine is now two years old with 48,000 miles and still neither major work nor new tires are required so I will continue with the same car. I know there are cars that have become classics or will become classics and make sense to hold on but I haven't a clue which they are and save my investments for real estate. I wouldn't mind finding a deal on a 55 Chevy 2 door sedan convertible but I have been told that the last deal was probably a decade ago. (I was told that several times at Hot August NIghts in Reno, Nevada) There is still the hope that they may go out of vogue--but I digress.

Roger Schlesinger

Roger Schlesinger's Mortgage Minute is heard on hundreds of radio stations and daily on the Hugh Hewitt radio show and Michael Medved shows. Roger interacts with his hosts and explores the complicated financial markets in order to enlighten his listeners and direct them along their own unique road to financial freedom.