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Avoidable Contact #65: In defense of premarital, even teenaged, SX
They say that when you adjust for inflation, $4200 in 1988 is something like $9200 now. But it's more than that. My father was a patient and conservative investor. Putting $4200 in the S&P back in 1988 would yield 50 grand today. He was also smart enough to hop in on some tech stocks before it was too late.
My best friend in high school's first car was a hand-me-down Impala wagon. He hated it, and apparently took some ribbing from strangers when he was alone in it. The rest of us loved it, since he would end up driving any number of people while liberating the rest of us from any sense of consequence for our inebriation. I don't know how we avoided arrest in that seven-year-old, low mileage clunker. It had special features like exterior lights that shut off without provocation. We'd be driving along at night, looking like the most harmless car on the road, and suddenly all the lights would go out. When the second engine failed in a total of a hundred thousand miles, his parents helped him buy a used Mazda GLC four-door with a stick. It was a highly-suspect used car from a Volvo specialist, painted in a Pontiac color of blue after only four years on the road. It was also so reliable that his parents soon replaced all their other GM cars with new Hondas. My friend's car enthusiasm meant that he kept something fun to drive with a stick in his stable until a BMW E46 he purchased new turned into a pumpkin in spite of loving care about a dozen years ago.
I get it that you don't like SUVs or CUVs, but are you sure that young kids don't think they're cool? I have a friend in the business, and he always has a small waiting list of families whose teenagers want any CR-V or 4Runner he can get his hands on, provided it is an automatic. They're driven by pretty much every thirtyish single woman I know who has options too.