Retirees That Bought BMWs Are Not Happy

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Today we asked "What Is The Best Car For A Retiree?" Certified financial planner, Wes Moss is the author of "You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think." He surveyed over 1300 retirees and found that BMW drivers are not as happy as Lexus drivers.


Moss's theory is that many people are purchasing Bimmers due to some sense of competition and this drive is leaving BMW owners unfulfilled-

"They buy the 'Ultimate Driving Machine' because they're looking for a distraction — a high-end status symbol to make them feel better about themselves," he writes. "But in purchasing a car, they have opted, either knowingly or unknowingly, to add an additional financial burden to their lives."


He goes on to say that Lexus drivers are quite happy because the cost of ownership is 16% lower than a comparable BMW. In the book Moss also discovered among non-luxury car owners, Nissan and Subaru drivers tend to be happier than those who purchased a Chrysler or Dodge. So it would seem that people who purchased cars with a good reputation for reliability are happier than those who purchased cars that are either less reliable and/or have more expensive maintenance.

Clearly the problem is these people are buying the wrong BMWs. Modern BMWs are fine machines, but if you are looking for real "fulfillment" in your Bavarian transport, most of us would agree that an older BMW provide more smiles per mile.


Moss mentions that retirees who are buying new Bimmers are hit with a "financial burden." So instead of spending $100k on a new M5, get an E39 and bank the rest for maintenance. A ridiculously overpriced E39 M5 will set you back about $35k; even if it costs another $15k over the course of several years to keep it in good working order, you are still ahead $50k.


If folks in their golden-years insist on having that new vehicle warranty coverage, they would be wise to avoid the big sedans and crossovers. I recently got a chance to thrash a 2-series coupe on an autocross course (full report coming soon). I can't wait until I'm retired and the kids are grown so I can justify that purchase.

In all seriousness the problem is not that BMWs are making retirees unhappy. It's that retirees are buying BMWs for the wrong reasons. Because those of us who really care about what we drive know the only way to spend retirement right is to get a Porsche, or a Corvette, or any number of awesome cars .


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