Sunday, February 16, 2014

Watershed Moments - A Farmers Best Friend

If diamonds are "a girls best friend" according to the DeBeers marketing campaign, and a dog is man's best friend according to legend, then a pickup is the farmers best friend. I bought my first pickup when I was 17 it was a 1973 model, which was the year before
catalytic converters were required. Because it didn't have a catalytic converter it got several miles per gallon better mileage than the ones did the following year. My first truck was a beautiful candy apple red. No it wasn't new, it was four years old. I paid the lofty sum of $2300.

I learned a lot from that first truck:
  1. A good used vehicle depreciates significantly less than a new one. I paid $2300 for the truck that had 20,000 miles on the odometer (about 1/3 of a new one), I drove it 100,000 miles and sold it for $1500 ten years later. I had a friend that paid $12,000 for a new Camaro that same year, ten years later it was worth about $1500.
  2. I saved up and paid cash. I had the money to buy a vehicle when I was 16 but I couldn't find a good deal so I waited.
  3. I learned repair and maintenance. There was some rust starting to show, so I fixed it. There was a small dent in the hood, so I learned to pull a dent and use some body putty.
  4. I put my asset to work. I bought a livestock rack and hauled pigs and cattle for sale or to the fair. I delivered fertilizer at $15 per load. That was a big deal 35 years ago. I hauled my own goods to college and later to a summer job in Michigan.
  5. It was basic transportation to and from school, work and later college. 
  6. When that first truck needed to be replaced I got another good used truck. I have owned 4 trucks in my driving career. The most recent was my first four wheel drive. I love that truck, I will never go back to two wheel drive.
So let's review:
  1. buy a good used vehicle,
  2. take good care of it,
  3. minimize depreciation,
  4. put it to good use.

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