It’s a natural human impulse: We always want the biggest, the best, the most beautiful. Most of the time, being a little envious of others for their new toys is perfectly normal, as long as you don’t let it get out of hand. But if the brightest and the best you’re envious over is a new car, you might want to check yourself before you wreck your credit.
Upgrade My Ride
Cars, like any other form of technology, are constantly improving and as cars improve, consumers upgrade. This has, to some degree, always been the case. And in the last few years, there have been some enormous jumps in both the technology that comes standard in new cars and in the options that are coming available. Touchscreens built into dashboards, improved sound systems, rear view cameras, and other features are popular with consumers and causing car envy across the country. But this has come into special focus in the last year or so, as Apple and Google have both introduced advanced systems that connect both to phones and to the Internet, and have begun working with automakers to market these systems.
So why is there more and more technology arriving across more and more makes and models, and it’s arriving more and more quickly? The automotive industry has, after years of stagnation, finally found the budgets and money to upgrade their vehicles and their options and they’re taking full advantage. As a result, even late-model used cars can seem lacking in features. Some in the auto industry also speculate that an “iPhone mentality” also pervades consumers, who are used to turning in their smartphones every few years for the newest and shiniest and in some cases may be approaching their cars with the same mentality.
And, of course, human beings always want the newer, shinier thing. But some analysts and consumer advocates are concerned that this impulse might be less than healthy for wallets and, long-term, for the industry. So, if you’re experiencing auto envy … what should you do?
The Green-Eyed Monster
First of all, take a step back and take a breath. Yes, the newest features and the best designs are appealing, but remember that they’re designed, from the ground up, to be that way. After all, features and options are included to get you interested in and ultimately to buy a new car. They’re selling points, but you don’t have to buy them.
Also remember that buying a new car can be an expensive proposition, and if you’ve currently got a car, it makes no sense from a credit perspective. Borrowing for a new car is a costly process, and if you’re still paying off your current vehicle, you’ll have to borrow more to pay off that loan. You can wind up far deeper in debt than you should be.
Keep in mind as well that every year brings new technologies and new models of cars; what seems new and luxurious today is going to be a standard feature next year, and possibly replaced with another technology the year after that. Really, if you want the newest and best every few years? Consider leasing.