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I am 18 years old and a freshman in college living at home. I have 0 expenses except $3,000 a year for college and gas for my current car. I am currently looking into purchasing a brand new honda civic type R for around $38,000. I work full time making around $3,000 a month and have $15,000 saved up. I plan to put the $15,000 as down payment, finance for 3 years, and put aside $1000 a month for all the cars expenses (payment, insurance, gas, repairs). What would your opinion on this be and whether its a good idea?

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    I have a feeling you are aware that it is not a financially solid plan, your question would be improved by putting a few sentences in the "reasons against" column, at least those you already have considered. – Stian Yttervik Jan 13 at 7:18
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    You can buy it outright in 9 months, or to be conservative, say a year due to other expenses. Why finance it for 3 years? – Lawrence Jan 13 at 9:12
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    Does this answer your question? By 18 years of age, I want a brand new car that's $43,668 – Dmitry Grigoryev Jan 13 at 9:39
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    Have you considered what your parents will think of this? Maybe they expect you to be saving for a house down payment. Maybe they will start charging you rent if you buy an unnecessary expensive luxury item. – Mattman944 Jan 13 at 13:07
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    I do not think that By 18 years of age, I want a brand new car that's $43,668 is a duplicate of this question. OP in the "dupe" question was utterly delusional for thinking he could buy that car, but this OP can afford the car. It's just not wise. – RonJohn Jan 14 at 18:09
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Remember who you're asking: Personal Finance and Money. Many of us are older (meaning "parents"), and financially conservative (meaning "live below your means" and "don't spend a lot on a car until you have a healthy net worth".)

What would your opinion on this be

Were I your age, making your amount of money, I'd also want something shiny, fast and new.

So, I completely sympathize with your desire (my son at your age wanted to buy a motorbike, and I wanted an Olds Cutlass, which were cool at the time), but ... it's a foolish idea (not least because it's fast, and you're an inexperienced driver who wants to go fast, and that leads to car wrecks, injury, property destruction and death).

and whether its a good idea?

No, it's not.

$15,000 + 3 years * $1000/month = $51,000

That is an L-O-T LOT of money. The insurance will be ear-bleedingly expensive.

Better to buy a $15,000 car, hop it up (watch out for insurance, though!) and save the rest for your future (not just retirement, since there's a lot to buy between 18 and 65).

Bottom line: tamp down the urge to go top-end at age 18. Get something fast, used and that could be shiny if you polished it up a bit.

Really bottom line: money in the bank gives you freedom; freedom from living paycheck to paycheck (you'll appreciate that in five years), and freedom to do things.

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    Personal recommendation? Buy a decent used Miata. (They can be had for under $5K, plus you can put the top down :-)) Then put another few $K into attending a performance driving school. And learn to do your own maintenance. (And for RonJon, a Civic Type R is quite a ways from top-end. For that money, he could pick up a decent used Lotus Elise, which at least wouldn't depreciate much - unless he wrecks it.) – jamesqf Jan 13 at 1:14
  • @jamesqf Maintenance on a Lotus could get pricey though, especially since the Elise has been out of production for a while. A Miata could work out pretty nicely though, if the OP finds the right one. RonJohn has the right idea in any case-- spend a third of the money and build wealth. If the OP really wants a higher-end driving experience, they can rent a Civic Type R (or an Elise or Esprit!) for a long weekend road trip or something. – Upper_Case Jan 14 at 2:39
  • @Upper_Case do they even rent cars to 18 year olds?? Age 25 used to be the minimum. – RonJohn Jan 14 at 3:08
  • @Upper_Case: But if they're on anything but straight roads, the Miata is arguably going to be at least as good as the Civic, maybe better. And that's not even counting the top-down factor :-) – jamesqf Jan 14 at 17:51
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    @jamesqf Zero question on my end, the Miata would be much more fun to drive, especially if it's got a manual transmission. – Upper_Case Jan 14 at 18:05
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Even though this is the personal finance site, I'm going to skip over all the reasons why this is a really bad idea financially**(other people & answers will cover that), and get right to the driving.

Face it, if you are a typical 18 year old (that is, your parents didn't send you to a performance driving school before handing over their car keys), you do not know how to properly drive a car with that level of performance*. Either you will be driving far below what the car could do, or you will get yourself in deep trouble.

My personal recommendation, if you seriously want to get into driving (I'm assuming you're not buying it just in hopes of attracting potential sexual partners :-)), is to buy a decent used Miata. They can be had for under $5K, insurance and other costs will be much cheaper, plus you can put the top down. Then put another few $K into attending a performance driving school, and learn how to drive that Miata to its limits. (And learn to do your own maintenance.) Once you've done that, you'll be able to move up to something else, and you'll have a better idea of what you want.

*Not that you can legally drive it that way on US highways, anyway. Has your cost estimate factored in speeding tickets? And possibly hefty legal fees?

**Except to say that I'm borderline wealthy, yet am perfectly happy driving my 17 year old Miata :-)

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  • I second this answer, go used. Make it a Miata, a used Civic Type R or whatever model you prefer, but go used for the first car. It will give you time to get experience, recognize what you like and what you need and make a better decision for your next car, in maybe 8-10 years. Also, if you're not too needy, you can probably buy it all cash with still something left considering what you already have. – bracco23 Jan 13 at 10:27
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The Civic performance-model with a lot of options is very expensive. There's good profit margin for the manufacturer. The car does have a turbocharged engine but the small car weighs over 3000 pounds. The phrase "you get what you pay for" should be re-written as "you pay for what you get".

Compare to a base 370Z at about $30000 and that must be the best car-buy on the planet.

Compare to a base MX-5 at about $25000 but that car needs some owner mods. FM lowering springs at 300/175 spring-rates are popular. Then the lowered car can tuck wider wheels and tires such that 17 x 8 45mm wheels are popular with 235/40-17 tires. Put on H&R swaybars and have actual works-of-art.

Did that help? Well, both cars that I mentioned only have two seats.

If the plan goes ahead with the Civic performance model, then try to get a good discount.

Another car that I mention is the Toyota 86. It is rear-wheel-drive, has about 200 HP, weighs about 2800 pounds, and costs about $28000.

The used car that I mention is often the Pontiac Solstice. It has a strong frame similar to a Corvette and is very unique. But with a four-cylinder engine it is less expensive than a Corvette. The Solstice is only available on the used car market.

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    While your answer may be true, it's completely off-topic for PFM. – RonJohn Jan 13 at 4:00
  • I mentioned manufacturer-profit-margin as an effect on the consumer. I mentioned asking for a discount on the car purchase. The subject mentioned one specific car as an explanation of the car cost and car purpose. Other cars are then likely to be mentioned. – S Spring Jan 13 at 4:04
  • I gave an example of an owner-modded car potentially being less expensive than a manufacturer's special model. – S Spring Jan 13 at 5:36
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    Since the question is "Is buying this particular car for $38K a good idea", the answer of "that's too expensive for that specific vehicle" seems valid. Perhaps including the part about the specific vehicle is off-topic in the first place, I'm not sure. – GS - Apologise to Monica Jan 13 at 6:33
  • @GS-ApologisetoMonica I don't know if mentioning a specific car is inherently off topic but it does seem like easy bait for opinions to come out of the woodwork. On the other hand, "is this a good idea" definitely seems off topic to me, unless it's clearly qualified with a definition of criteria to decide on what counts as "good:" one person's perfectly acceptable good idea might be someone else's stupid waste of money. I'm going to post a meta question since this does seem to come up from time to time. – dwizum Jan 13 at 15:14

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