Safety First: Finally Bought A Family Car And It’s Not A Minivan


My new mid-life crisis car: a Range Rover Sport HSEAfter deep deliberation, I decided to pass on buying the $550,000 Mercedes G650 Maybach. It just felt like too much to spend on a car when I could invest the money and earn $20,000 a year in passive income forever!

I ended up buying a late model 2015 Range Rover Sport V6 HSE with 11,200 miles in Santorini black with black leather interior. It’s in perfect condition with a warranty until July 2019. The original sticker was $76,000 before tax or roughly $83,000 out the door. Such good value compared to the G650 Maybach right?

Small cars like my Honda Fit are absolutely wonderful in the city. Parking is a breeze. Gas mileage is awesome. And they’re inexpensive. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed a surge of big cars dominating the roads, bullying smaller cars like mine. I’ve never been cut off, tailgated, and snaked at a four-way intersection so much as I have with my Fit.

I’ve been eyeing this all-wheel drive vehicle for three years ever since Land Rover finally updated its previous Range Rover Sport model that lasted from 2005 – 2013. I used to drive Moose, a Land Rover Discover II from 2005 – 2012 before finally giving him up after not wanting to fix the six warning lights on his dashboard. He never would have passed the smog check.

Waiting until the second or third year of a new model is always a good idea so the manufacturer can get as many of the kinks out as possible. Further, buying a two or three-year-old vehicle skips the largest part of the depreciation hit while still having a warranty.

Car Depreciation Chart For Cars Average

How The Transaction Went Down

I was searching on Craigslist one evening when I stumbled upon an ad by Audi Marin for $64,770. I bookmarked the ad and continued scrolling when I found another ad five spots down for the same vehicle by a private party for $61,000!

When I contacted the private party to ask if it was still available, he said he sold it while I was away on business. I asked him whether his car was the one on Audi Marin’s listing, and he said yes. Then he told me he hadn’t yet got a check from Audi Marin and was headed over there to get his car back due to so much demand from his Craigslist ad.

He told me the next person who gives him $60,000 gets the car.

Sensing an opportunity, I told him I’d meet him the very next day near his house. I took the car for a test drive and inspected everything even though it already went through a 200-point inspection by Audi Marin before they could purchase it. Audi Marin also changed the oil and oil filter as well. Double score.

When it came time to seal the deal I told the seller I’d pay $58,000 cash if he wanted to sell the car to me that moment. We could go over to my bank and I’d cut him a cashier’s check.

He hesitated for a little before I told him, “Seize the moment. I’ll be the smoothest private party transaction you’ll ever encounter. Your wife already bought her new Audi Q7, so it’s time to simplify life with only three cars!

He agreed, and we wrapped up the transaction in 35 minutes at a Citibank branch. I then dropped him off at a steakhouse along the way to SF where he was meeting his wife for dinner. It feels great to pay $6,770 (10.5%) less than the dealer’s asking price and $18,000 (24%) less than new with so few miles and two more years left on the warranty.

Although I had been eyeing the new Range Rover Sport for over two years, I’m never one to buy anything on the spot. But because the seller showed up on time, was a fellow entrepreneur, and was friendly to talk to, I felt I could trust him. He wasn’t hurting for money either since he had the title in hand. All he wanted was a smooth transaction, which is exactly what I wanted too.

In case you’re wondering, the seller’s other two cars are a $120,000 Tesla Model X and a $40,000 Ford F150 he uses for his business. He’s in the food production business.

Moose II, a 2015 Range Rover Sport overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Didn’t Buy The Car For Me

Do you know how you sometimes buy a gift for your significant other, but it’s really a gift for you too? Well I’ve decided that Moose II is really a gift for my son via my business. He just doesn’t know it yet! It’s a great way to feel better about spending so much money, despite being $492,000 cheaper than the G650 Maybach,

I would never forgive myself if something were to happen to my family in an accident just because I wanted to save money. The Honda Fit’s doors are too thin and the crumple zones are too shallow for me to feel safe with a baby on board after researching the safest cars to survive a crash. It doesn’t matter if I’m the best driver on the planet. All it takes is one reckless driver to ruin our lives.

It’s funny how everything changes once you have children. The idea of getting a sports car has gone completely out the window. If you want one, get one before having kids. Safety is now my #1 priority, followed by comfort, and then performance.

There’s a chance I might hold onto Moose II for 16 years and pass it onto my son. By 2033, Moose II will only have ~75,000 miles since I only average about 4,000 miles a year. But I’m hoping by then, there won’t be a need for any of us to drive ever again thanks to self-driving cars and better public transportation. The last thing I want is a teenager driving behind the wheel!

If you can afford a nicer car based on my 1/10th rule for car buying or my net worth rule for car buying if you’re older, it’s worth ponying up for a safer vehicle. Why risk it? Our goal as parents is to live as long as possible to ensure our kids become independent adults.


The Best Mid-Life Crisis Cars to Buy (a list of fun cars at various price points)

Car Insurance Basics For Everyone (good refresher of all the options)

Your Car Insurance Might Not Be Good Enough (after getting into a small fender bender, I couldn’t believe the cost)

Readers, how much do you think about safety when it comes to purchasing or driving a vehicle? If money were no object, which vehicle would you buy? Why pay full price and maximum tax at the dealer when you can save purchasing from a private party?