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Ask Dave

Negotiate An Advance

Adam is considering a position making $90,000 to $100,000 a year. However, if he takes the new job, he'd receive $600 a month as a car allowance. He can't afford to buy a car outright. What's the solution?

QUESTION: Adam in Chicago is saving up his emergency fund. He’s a sales representative in Chicago making about $35,000 a year. He’s considering a position making $90,000 to $100,000 a year. However, if he takes the new job, he’d receive $600 a month as a car allowance. Since he’s barely into Baby Step 3, he can’t afford to buy one outright. What’s the solution?

ANSWER: I would negotiate with this company that you are allowed to drive a paid-for car except when you’re going to need to meet with someone, and then you go rent a car that day. You can rent a Cadillac Escalade for nothing for the day. It’s two times a month. This is nothing compared to a car payment. Other than that, you need something that’s reliable, and let’s negotiate six months of car allowance in advance, and write a check for a road warrior car. Do not go into debt to do this. Ask them for an advance on the car allowance so you can pay cash for a car because you don’t believe in car payments. If that car isn’t nice enough to carry the CEOs of these companies in twice a month—whenever you need to—you, out of your pocket, rent an Escalade or something nice to take them around in. You can rent super high-end stuff if you want to. It’s not needed, really. It’s kind of ridiculous.

Just park your car at the rental car company, and head out for the day with that and bring it back. People do that stuff all the time. Then later on, if you want to work your way up to a nicer car, that’s fine. But for two times a month, you still don’t want to be driving a $50,000 car that is going to be destroyed by the miles you’re putting on it. Whatever you drive, you are very quickly destroying its value. Miles destroy a car’s value almost faster than anything else. Get a basic car that will always get the job done when you’re a road warrior that you pay cash for.