April 20, 2019

One Car - One Year On



A little over a year ago we became a one-car couple. The 2003 Hyundai Accent gave up the ghost, at least to the degree we were unwilling to put ever-increasing amounts of money into repairs. After donating it to Goodwill, we began the experiment that continues: compromising in a one vehicle relationship.

It has not been without its rocky moments. Occasionally, my wife has bristled at her feeling of a loss of freedom. The actual number of times when she has missed something, or had to reschedule is not huge. More important is the fact that she can't walk into the garage at any time and go somewhere without consulting with me first that causes some ripples. I understand and empathize with that feeling. 

Because, of course, that reality faces me, too. Now that Betty has Medicare coverage, we have had quite a few doctor appointments and an episode of foot surgery. My schedule has been forced to readjust at times to be sure she has the car. A new volunteer involvement for me has meant lots of meetings and trips around town. Looking at Betty's schedule before I agree is a necessity.

Overall, though, when we step back and look at the impact on our lives, I optimistically believe we are happy ( well, maybe tolerant is a better word) of our situation. A decent late model used car costs more than we paid for our first or second house. It would spend 95% of its life parked in a garage, depreciating as we had our morning coffee. Is that worth an occasional inconvenience?

Besides, isn't compromise part of what we agreed to 42 years ago? Isn't missing a meeting or passing on a shopping trip now and then OK? If we can't do what we want at exactly the moment we want, isn't that a teachable moment?

Well, yes, but it is still a pain. Actually, my biggest fear is the car will break, need to be towed somewhere, and leave us at the mercy of a rental or Uber. Normal maintenance is taken care of at a garage I trust within walking distance of our home. But, if there is a major repair, the lack of alternative transportation would become a problem.

Technically, we are probably a one and a third car family. One of my daughters travels a lot, probably 4 months a year in total. When she is gone for a week or more, her dog and car stay at our home. As long as I put gas in it, her car is available to us. We don't like to drive it much just because it is hers; having an accident would leave her in a pickle during repairs. But, I won't deny, there have been times when having that extra vehicle parked in the driveway has come in very handy. 

So, there we are: a one (and 1/3) car family, making do, arguing at times, and having it work. Frankly, if we went out this weekend and bought another, Betty would be very happy. Don't tell her but I would be, too, to end the conflicts and limitations.

For now, we are resisting the urge. At times the sacrifice feels unnecessary since we can afford one. But, it also feels a little virtuous: one small step we can take to pollute less and cause less harm to the environment.

If we do decide, at some point, to get a second vehicle of our own, we both agree it must be either hybrid or electric. Our 2011 Honda CRV will be our last strictly gas-powered auto.

Maybe we will think of a second car the way we do about our dogs. When one pet (our beloved Bailey) begins to get old in dogie years, we have been known to get an "emergency backup" dog that will move into first position when the older pet must leave our lives. This process has worked well three times for us before. The newer dog and we learn to live with and love each other.

A second car might perform that same function, although without the snuggles and unconditional love. The Honda is 8 years old, with about 85,000 miles. It should remain dependable and not too expensive to maintain for several more years. But, when it starts to take bigger chunks out of our budget, it may be smart to get "an emergency backup" car. When the Honda goes to the big junkyard in the sky, our backup car will be all ready to take over the #1 space in the garage.

What about you? One car, two cars, or none? How does it work for you? Are there conflicts over your present arrangement? We'd all love to know.


75 comments:

  1. Do you boomers realize how universally hated you are? There is not one single demographic that does not hate you- white people, black people, asians, mexicans, indians, chinese, millennials, GenX, GenZ. Something tells me that you boomers are not going to have a very comfortable or easy retirement, especially once you end up in the retirement homes.

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    1. You really need to get a new hobby. This one, you leaving anonymous hate notes on a variety of blogs maintained by happy retirees, is getting sadly redundant. And it reflects far more on you, and who you are, than it does on the bloggers you are attempting to assault.

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    2. Tamara, this hater will always hate. Nothing you can say or do that will change that. His/her mindset is also voiced by many Millennials today, where they somehow think Boomers spending the hard-earned money they saved over a lifetime is somehow stealing from his/her generation. Probably the biggest reason why that generation is so enamored of Socialism where you take from those that can and give to those unwilling or unable to do the same.

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    3. I woke up this morning to the anonymous boomer hater. He or she leaves exactly the same comment about once every two weeks. I usually delete it as soon as I see it. But, since it has generated some responses I am letting it ride this time.

      Most bloggers with any kind of readership gets the same "comment." I don't want to have to go to full comment moderation before anything is posted. So, in the future, simply let this type of comment go.I will delete it as soon as I see it.

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    4. I've had trolls on my blog, too. Unfortunately, I can't get into my own blog now. The administrator, who I've known and worked with for years has disappeared and killed my blog. I'm not sure what to do now.
      b

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    5. Barb,

      Well, that is something I haven't heard of before. What a mess. If you have backed things up you could start a new one, but that is a lot of work.

      Delete
    6. Barb, that's insane! I also got one of these today and left it up. As i said on my blog, I cannot take anyone seriously who doesnt bother to sign their name, lol.

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    7. Well - as a Pre-boomer, I think I can safely say that we are not among the haters. But perhaps, Anonymous thinks we have all passed on.

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    8. I am 59 yrs old. I work 50 to 70 hours a week in the criminal justice system. I have only taken one full week vacation in 32 years. I do not know why Anonymous has a problem with baby boomers but I suggest counseling. Keyboard warriors have pent up anger issues. That is not mentally healthy. Attacking a whole group of folks because they are a certain age is really a sign of serious mental issues. Please Anonymous, get psychiatric help.

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    9. Well, besides this Anonymous comment making little sense, it does amaze me how consistently angry and nasty this person is. As for hating Boomers, meh. A lot of people who claim to hate Boomers have no problem trying to find a way to make money on us.

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  2. We lived one car, twice, both on islands. My husband could walk everywhere or take public transportation. The cars got less then 3,000 miles a year so I could take kids to school and then go to work. Otherwise we could have been carless. The people I read who also comment here are mostly in spaces like we were. They can walk easily. They don't have volunteer gigs outside of their community, or one of the two doesn't go out. Even their entertainment is close by.
    We, currently, have three cars- lol. One sits for sunny days. Mine gets about 25,000 a year- helping to take care of grands and volunteer work. His gets under 5,000 going to Lowes and picking up occasional other supplies. One trip a year someplace....
    Knowing Phoenix and knowing you think before driving, don't you think that the limitations you put on yourselves actually harm your satisfying retirement? Everything is spread out (and with Betty's foot, there probably isn't a whole lot of walking places). Your environmental footprint is pretty small these days- no massive travel, no travel vehicle, smaller house. Your thoughts of the environment are good. Go hybrid, get a new one so you don't have to replace it and just bite the bullet. Limiting the last few years of free movement, is it worth it to go without?

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    1. I tend to agree with Janette, and I am a person who has written regularly about my satisfying one car life. However, all of the times my husband and I had one car, we also lived in a place where one could walk to needs AND had good public transportation. The person who was at home was not required to be at home, and could still do out and do many things (walk to a drug store, library or grocery store). It may be that you need a second "hoopdie" type around the car that uses a few thousand miles a year. And while I appreciate the environmentall friendly thing, it would not be unreasonable before you buy the electric car to simply get a good quality used vehicle that you could resell to see just how many miles you use it when you have it. Also, depending on your suburb....where I live I Lyft is very resonable and we also have a senior citizen bus that takes us where we want to go!

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    2. Where we live is not walker friendly. I can walk to and from the auto repair place I use and the gym. Anything else that is part of our normal routine requires a car.

      I am quite content to go a day or two without leaving the house, bundling errands into one day. The old Accent was driven about 3,000 miles a year, so I just wonder if our money is better spent in something that doesn't sit unused most of the time.

      All that being said, we will seriously consider a second car in the fall. For various financial reasons that would be the earliest we could comfortably do so. Betty's peace of mind is worth making the move when we can.

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  3. I wonder, Bob. Very similar to Janette above, I sense more stress in this change of lifestyle, based on what you wrote, than serenity. Hopefully, writing this blog post will turn out to be helpful to you both in determining next steps. No judgements either way!

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    1. As I noted in the comment above, I am fine with things the way they are. My wife is not. Depending on my daughter's car situation, Fall will likely see another auto parked in the garage.

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  4. We have had one car for 2 years now and find it is working well if we coordinate/check each other's calendar at least once a week. It did take quite some time to not feel constrained by the loss of spontaneity though. I have at time asked friends for a ride to an event and DH uses the bus system occasionally. Rentals, Lyftt/Uber, or public transportation plus the help of friends - so far it works. When we move again though we anticipate we may need an second car but the savings in the meantime have been substantial.

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    1. Betty will start receiving Social Security next year when she hits her full retirement age. That extra check each month will provide plenty of cushion in the budget for another car.

      THere is a bus pickup a few blocks from our house but it doesn't go to places we use. Spending lots of time on transfers and such isn't in the cards, particularly as we approach 100 degrees!

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  5. We've thought about going to one car, because we live in town and can walk a lot of places. Plus, a lot of things, we do together, and can ride together. Maybe when the lease runs out on my Volvo in two years ... Meantime, I applaud your regard for the environment. I can't believe all these people who lumber around in big SUVs burning up gas and polluting the air like there's no tomorrow.

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    1. I shake my head at the mindset that made some car manufacturers abandon sedans in favor of SUVs and trucks...because gas prices were low (as if that was going to last!) and that is what people wanted. Well, we are back to $3.00/gallon, so I wonder if anyone has stopped to think about such decisions.

      I have toyed with getting a Prius, but the cost of replacing the battery pack after a few years is off-putting. There needs to be a better option.

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  6. We should probably go to one car but living in the suburbs I worry about what you voiced, being down to no car for unscheduled repairs. We do have a couple of motorcycles but they are not a long-term option for many obvious reasons (not sure I could manage a sheet of plywood on the Harley, regardless of the pictures we see from India and elsewhere showing people transporting just about anything on scooters). Both vehicles, a 2012 and a 2007, were bought new for cash so just routine maintenance on both, but insurance is a cost as well. Deb enjoys the flexibility of driving her H3 and not the large F-150 into town so I understand her reluctance. The idea of a hybrid is always interesting but the upfront cost would still be greater than just running with our existing vehicles. First world problems once again.

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    1. We have paid cash for our last four vehicles. I am philosophically opposed to monthly car payments ever again!

      We have one daughter who lives 5 minutes away and another who is 20 minutes from us, so I guess we have breakdown/pickup options. But, that would inconvenience several people.

      I won't replace the 2011 CRV until it costs too much to operate. But, a second vehicle to keep Betty happy? Very possible.

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  7. I got hit by the same anonymous bully last night. Second time. I published the first but haven't decided yet whether to moderate this version through. I love your reply.

    I am a widow with only one car but before my husband died we had two vehicles even though he could no longer drive. That classic car had been his dream car for most of his life and he worked hard to get it. He was never without two jobs---worked from 14 on--and I worked full time,too, my entire adult life. If the anonymous bully thinks he/she can make me feel guilty for having two nickels to rub together, the joke is on him/her.

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    1. That is that person's second posting try within the past 10 days. As I noted, I usually just delete it. Responding is useless because I don't think the person behind those words cares about the facts or he/she is only interested in provoking anger.

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  8. We live in what I suppose you would call a "train suburb" that was originally a small town, our house was built in 1958 but there are houses in town that are over a century old. Now our town is generally thought of as a suburb of the nearby large city. That said, we have been a one car couple for the last 4 years.

    We decided after one year in retirement that it wasn't worth the expense of 2 cars, plus one car or the other was always just sitting in the driveway. We gave our low mileage 9 year old second car to our daughter when their old clunker gave up on them so it was win-win.

    Occasionally we need to do some scheduling but that isn't very often. Once in a while one drops off or picks up the other and sometimes one of us is on the bus for all or part of our journey but it's no great hardship. We thought we'd use a taxi or Uber if it ever came to the crunch but so far we've never had to do that. Honestly, we don't feel the need to go back to 2 cars at all.

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    1. Some people have mentioned "What about when the car needs service?" I don't know about other places but around here car dealer service departments and most independent garages will give you a ride home and pick you up when your car is done. It's not a problem at all.

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    2. The dealerships around here will also rent you a car if your service will be longer than a day and have the car brought right to the dealership. Very convenient.

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    3. I am within walking distance of the repair place I trust, but, you are correct: virtually all dealers and large shops do offer shuttle service.

      David: I am in your camp, my wife is not. Since this is a 42 year long partnership, obviously her "vote" is important.

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  9. My wife and I downsized to one car just over a year ago. Similar to your story, our 2004 Toyota required too much work after 200,000+ miles. We had retired about 6 months previous and were relocating out of state. We wanted to see how we did, before committing to a second car. We don't live near public transportation so would have to depend on taxis, UBER, rental cars if our one good car needed to be in the shop for an extended period. To date, there have been compromises, and my wife and I probably make sure our calendars are up to date more often than we did. I don't see us getting a second car in the near future.

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    1. That is where we are now, Mack. We have not had to use any service to fill in the gaps, just coordinated our needs.

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  10. Ken agreed we were going to do this and then HE backed out.We have one great SUV that both of us drive, and he is still keeping his 2003 Acura.Low miles, but it HAS needed some repairs I am not happy about in the past 2 years, plus we pay insurance on it. We agreed to let the Acura SIT STILL in the garage for 6 months and do not use it, and see how that went. I thought we did great. I am not one to need to run out unexpectedly hardly ever.I am also very patient and if there is a conflict in schedule (rare) it's easy to rearrange or get a ride with a friend or whatever.

    I tend to group my errands and do them all on one morning or two. I LIKE being home a lot.

    Well, at last minute Ken could not let go of his car. We STILL don't hardly use it but he seems to need that sense of freedom.

    Worrying about what to do if one car needs a repair and you're down to one car? That happens SO RARELY.. and it DID happen to us. So Ken got a ride home from the repair shop down the street and we did not use a car for 2 days.It was not hard.But we could have used Uber if necessary.ANd it only happened ONCE in a year's time.

    Ken has meetings and activities and so do I.. but somehow we were able to easily share one car.

    It ended up being a "psychological" thing for Ken.. that "freedom" plus he really loves that car, bought it brand new years ago,etc etc. Me, I don't worry if there is not a car in the driveway.Emergencies?WEll, yu don't DRIVE yourself to a hospital.. you call 911. SO if home alone without a car, who cares????????

    Ken even took a camping trip and took the SUV away for 3 days and I was just fine. It's really a psychological thing in this country!!!

    ME: I want ONE CAR!!!! I may not agree to any more repairs on the old Acura..we'll see.

    But if your lifestyle really requires 2 cars and it's causing a lot of weekly friction, you have to do the right thing for your family esp. if you can afford it.

    Cars,however, suck up a lotta money.

    A tough call,totally dependent on your situation.you don't want an OLD "beater" car (too many repairs,unreliable..) and a NEW car.. yikes.. the price tags freak me out. We had to sell my 2004 Highlander and get the new car, last year.. then we keep our cards for 12-15 years!! So this is my last car,LOL!!

    Good luck with decision!!!

    MADELINE

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    1. You are in my camp, Madeline, Ken and Betty are on the same page. Strangely, I feel more freedom if the car is gone. I know I can't get bored and run out for something; I make use of the quiet time well.

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  11. Wow sorry that was a loooong post. A hot topic in my house!

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    1. I can tell! No problem with the length. Lots of couples have this flashpoint.

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  12. We were with one car for a few years but, the VW EOS was getting a little old and touchy so I got a 2018 Hyundai Elantra. I used to sell them, in another life, and this one was a demo with a few miles on it. Plus, they delivered it to me! So, I'm happy with that. Now Dave's going to put the EOS on the market and then get a Miata or a TR6, some kind of sports car convertible just for running around. We're in a great area for walking to places we like for shopping or dining, etc. so two cars isn't a necessity but, it would be nice to know we had a back-up.
    b

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    1. I have owned a 240Z and a Mazda RX-7 in my day. Sports cars were fun, but both caused me lots of trouble. Of course, that was 40+ years ago, so newer versions are better built.

      I think of Cape May as a small town that is entirely walkable. That may be wrong, but it's my image! Of course, in the winter, there are times walking would be very nasty.

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  13. For health reasons, I had to give up driving a year ago. I was becoming an unsafe driver and although nobody got hurt (except me), I couldn’t bear the thought of what might happen. It’s HARD to live without a car. We are such a car culture and I sympathize with your and Betty’s feeling of a loss of spontaneity. I get around through the kindness of friends, taxis, walking, trains and a free ride service to medical appointments. Everything has to be planned. It is a great exercise in patience! At least I am reducing my carbon footprint and expenses.....

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    1. When we finally move into a retirement village, sometime in the next 8-10 years, one car will be just fine. The options we have discussed all have on-property transportation, as well as trips for shopping and appointments. At some point, both of us will have to go through what you did: no car.

      A few years before his death, at 91, my dad gave up the keys. He wasn't happy for awhile but realized how risky it was for him to continue. The car went to his granddaughter, I drove him to necessary places, and all was well.

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  14. I live in nyc and don't have a car. Very good public transportation. People complain about it all the time, but where I live it's great. Less than a block to 3 buses with good service. About a half a mile to the subway. I can walk to a mall,parks,library,post office,doctors etc. You would think that with everything nearby people wouldn't have cars,but you would be wrong. There is a wait list in my building for parking and not enough street parking. I'm sure that some people need a car for work but a lot of people just love their cars. If you have a car in nyc you will spend a lot of time driving around just looking for parking .
    I think that a lot of your readers live in an area where a car is a necessity. I can understand how 2 people would need 2 cars. Your wife has always had her own car. Seems like it would be a hard thing to give up.

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    1. Having a car in NYC seems unnecessary. I have seen enough street scenes to know cars and taxis barely move anyway. The expense of a vehicle really can't be worth it.

      Yes, two cars has been a point of many discussions. We have compromised well to this point, but now that Betty has read some of these responses, I think another car in the garage at some point is more likely than not.

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  15. Hi Bob! Good for you for giving the one car thing a trial. Because we are both still technically working, we have two cars. But I've wondered about it for if or when we fully retire. When we travel we manage quite well with one or no cars so I think we could do it. However, we have been purchasing our cars free and clear for decades and always have a #1 car and a #2 car. We usually keep our cars for decades until they simply must be replaced and we find that to be the most sustainable of all. We also (thanks to my husband) keep our cars in tip-top shape so they do last. We go for quality and reliability, not flash. And although we bought a hybrid over 6 years ago from Ford, it turns out that they misrepresented all the gas we would save. So although we paid a premium for a hybrid our gas milage wasn't really any better than other low cost cars. Then Ford decided to discontinue them altogether and the price plunged. We are not currently FORD fans. We eventually want to get a full electric but in the meantime we take cars to Mexico and do a lot of traveling so we are waiting until we can just use one for local...and will be SURE and research the brand before buying again. Thanks for the provocative post! ~Kathy

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    1. Ford was the most prominent manufacturer that decided to abandon smaller cars in favor of bigger vehicles. Shame on them.

      Your do raise an important point about electric cars: availability of charging stations. With mileage limits of a few hundred miles, that is not a small consideration, though that situation will change over time.

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  16. Why the reluctance to rely on Uber or Lyft for the occasional need? Where I live, I can have a pickup within five or ten minutes, and I also have the option of renting Car2Go or Zipcar by the hour.

    Have you estimated the daily cost of owning a second car? Add up the annual depreciation, insurance, gas, and opportunity cost of tying up your money (i.e., what $15,000 or whatever would earn in interest or an index fund). Divide by 365. Now figure how many Uber rides (or Car2Go rentals) you'd need. Once or twice a week? When you do the math, you might find it's dramatically less costly to buy car access "by the drink" rather than owning something that sits idle most of the time.

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    1. You are absolutely correct that a second car makes little economic sense. On the other hand, maybe I am wrong but I don't think an Uber driver would want to be hired to drive 3 miles and back to the nearest Home improvement store, or wait while I shop for something. For a one-way trip of some distance, sure. I have used Uber for airport pickups when we fly to different cities rather than pay for a rental car.

      In our case, a second car would not make economic sense. It would be to make one partner happy with its availability.

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  17. You have dealt with the car number dilemma that we keep discussing from time to time. However, as we live in a small village eight miles from the nearest facilities and with only a rudimentary public bus service, at present we persist in maintaining our separate cars, although one is larger and more suited for long distance trips whilst the other is very much a "run around". If we ever take the plunge to move into town, the decision will be much easier but until then we shall no doubt continue to muse about the prospect of a car sharing rota.

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    1. We live in the busy suburbs, but public transportation is just as poor for us as it is for you. It is not an option.

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  18. My husband and I have been sharing one car since 2006. It helped that we worked together until 2014, then we retired. At first I didn't like it because of the lack of autonomy, but we decided we could live with the small inconveniences as opposed to the expenses of another car. People definitely think we're crazy, but... I retired at 49 by living small!!

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    1. You have hit on the word that covers Betty's concern: autonomy. It isn't that she goes many places, it is that she has to check the schedule first. She admits it is not a serious problem for us but would rather both of us still had complete freedom at our ages.

      I disagree but I am trying to be sensitive to her feelings.

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    2. My father once suggested going down to one car. I remember my mother's response. She would keep her car and he could ask to borrow it if he felt he didn't really need one. I just remember my father's face (they owned a car dealership).

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  19. The only other thing I would say, is that while I dont love Uber, I do love Lyft (long story, separate issue) and in my area, a lift comes in about three minutes and is very cost effective. If one ofyou were willing to use that option..........

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    1. Lyft is available, but I have never tried them. I will take a look.

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  20. Good post, thank you. My husband and I downsized to one car 4 years ago, right after we both retired. I was hesitant at first, because except for the post office, nothing is within walking distance. We have managed very well, plus the savings to us makes any inconvenience more than worthwhile. For many reasons I would encourage downsizing to one vehicle, and if it doesn't work for your lifestyle you can always get another one.

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    1. So far, I haven't felt deprived. There are only a few times a month when the timing of a commitment requires me to take the car. Virtually everything else I can adjust to Betty's needs.

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  21. My wife and I (no kids) have had one car for almost 23 years, essentially 4 months into our relationship. Occasionally this creates an issue, but rarely. For the first period of time we lived 3 blocks from the university where we both taught. For a period we lived further away (definitely not walking distance), but she worked there and I didn't. Since moving to Texas, I was teaching, but she wasn't. 10 years later, I'm retiring and we're moving back to the Olympic Peninsula in WA State--we bought a place that's within walking distance (a bit over a mile) from any restaurant we'd want to go to in our small town (Sequim), within two blocks of a Safeway, etc. We've been lucky, but it's been a good decision!

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    1. I do envy your location. If we could walk to more places this discussion wouldn't even be necessary. There is a new wrinkle that makes everything a bit more complicated. Betty has had foot surgery. While it should heal well, that foot will probably always be weaker. Even if we were close to many needs, I don't know if her foot and knees would be able to handle that.

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    2. Betty should test out an electric bike. They've come a long way and are very easy to operate. No strain on ankles and knees! They go about 15-18 mph and you can use the bike lanes.For seniors, it's a great way to manage trips under three or four miles. A front basket or rear panniers carries your purchases.

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    3. We have discussed the electric bike option, but decided there is too much traffic on the streets to various stores. Good idea for others to consider, though. Thanks, Lydgate.

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  22. Thanks for letting us know how it's been with one car. When I retire, we plan to downsize as well (and have our fingers crossed the old car lasts until 2-3 more years). However, I would use Uber or Lyft to go to a meeting I was interested in versus skipping when there's a scheduling conflict. It's still much cheaper than the expense of a second car.

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    1. The keys are checking each other's schedules, compromise, and keeping a bigger goal in mind (not spending $20,000!).

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  23. Bob, I think you've already made the decision (or should I say Betty has?) even if you don't know it yet.

    You've mentioned it before but you should seriously look at an all electric vehicle for your second car. The green aspect is nice and electric vehicles are almost maintenance free (when is the last time you needed to service your refrigerator motor) plus a range of 150 miles or so should be more than enough for trips to Home Depot or wherever. The car will also sit in your garage for extended periods so charging time shouldn't be an issue either.

    Although we find getting along with one car is not a problem, if we decided to get a second car an all electric vehicle would be our first choice.

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    1. But, what about the $2-3,000 to replace the battery pack when it goes? I guess one could argue that over the life of the battery, the amount to replace it would be the same as the cost of gas and repairs with a combustion engine vehicle, but with much less damage to the environment.

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    2. Bob, I googled around and found an interview with the Chevy Volt's product manager, who uses Phoenix as an example:

      The Drive: In terms of years and cycles (charging and depleting the battery), how long is the Volt’s battery designed to last, on average?

      Bill Wallace: "In extreme hot climates such as Phoenix, the Chevy Volt will last at least 10 years, 150,000 miles, and 6,000 cycles. This requirement has held quite steadily for both generations of the Chevy Volt. We use OnStar to track the performance of our vehicles and this benchmark of durability has remained consistent for all General Motors vehicles that will use the Volt powertrain."

      What are the forecasted financial savings of the Volt versus the average non-EV vehicle?

      "The EPA estimates the Volt's fuel economy at 106 mpg in electric mode, and 42 mpg combined for the gas engine. Over 10 years and 150,000 miles, you should save about $11,000 versus the average vehicle with an internal combustion engine that now gets about 25 miles per gallon.

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    3. I saw the same 10 year expected life for the Nissan Leaf battery pack as Lydgate reports for the Chevy Volt. I heard the Nissan even comes with an 8 year warranty on the battery so you'd have at least that long.

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    4. And for the newer Toyota Prius as well.

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    5. Thank you...good to know since the battery pack on the older Prius was a concern.

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  24. The idea of going to one vehicle has crossed my mind, but only so fleetingly that I haven't even mentioned it to my wife. We are relatively young and able to be active at the moment. While we do lots of stuff together, we also have pursuits that take us away from each other for hours at a time - I golf, she visits her very elderly uncle in another town, among other things. We live on the edge of a relatively small town and deal with Canadian winters, so walking to do errands is not really an option. I can't see either of us wanting to be "stranded" at home for most of a day.

    Maybe someday we'll make the leap, but not for a while.

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    1. We were not in a position to even consider it until last year. Now, at 69 & 65 we tend to do more things together than apart, but there are still conflicts. Being younger and in such a harsh climate it wouldn't be a good fit at this time of your life.

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  25. So, it seems like we're way on the opposite end of the spectrum from most of the other commenters on this issue. When we got married, Alan and I chose to build a home near the top of a mountain in a rural area that we love. With the exception of my father-in-law's 1988 Lincoln Town Car which passed to Alan when his Dad died and comes off the road in the winter, our vehicles are four wheel drive. (They have to be or we'd never make it home in the winter.) Alan drives a 2017 pick up truck; I drive a large 2007 SUV. Both were purchased as tow vehicles for a boat, a camper and a utility trailer that Alan uses to haul his tractor/loader/backhoe to our rental properties. When my Tahoe goes, I think we'll end replacing it with a more fuel efficient type of vehicle (perhaps a small crossover SUV) and when the truck goes, it will definitely be replaced with another truck. We typically keep our vehicles until they reach at least 100,000 miles, and I recall driving our 1993 Cavalier to the junkyard at 212,000 miles. Buy and hold, that's us.

    There are no other transportation options in our area so, although having two vehicles is not a necessity, it does provide an added layer of security and convenience. The dealer who services our vehicles is 45 minutes away through the mountains and a courtesy shuttle just isn't an option. Using the truck and utility trailer, Alan has, on at least a half dozen occasions, transported another car to a service station for us, our kids or another family member. Plus, having a second car allows us to lend the Tahoe to our kids at times when their vehicles have been in the shop.

    One of the main reasons I prefer having a second vehicle is that Alan travels to one of our rental properties that's 3 hours from home much more often than I do. My concern is that our son or daughter (or other family member or friend for that matter) has an emergency when Alan is away and there would be no way I could get down off the mountain. So, with us, it's more of a security issue than an autonomy issue, as well as a necessity due to where we live and the type of work Alan does.

    In case this would be of help to anyone . . . Our insurance company allows us to place a vehicle on "withdrawn from use" status. If a car is still registered but not being used, we can withdraw it from use for a period of at least 30 days and reinstate it to full coverage any time after that. This works well for us because we can put the Lincoln on the road in the summer and then withdraw it from use for the winter. If it were needed in an emergency situation, a quick email to our insurance agent asking that it be reinstated to full coverage that day makes it possible for us to have another backup vehicle.

    I didn't realize this would be such a hot topic - I'm amazed at the number of comments!

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    1. I am amazed, too! Sometimes it is the simplest topic or one that everyone can relate to that generates so many comments.

      You and Alan are in the "two vehicles are a must" camp. There is no way you could even consider putting yourself or loved ones in a potentially life-threatening situation by maintaining only one car.

      We bought the CRV to tow behind our RV. Now, without an RV it is a bit bigger and less fuel efficient than we are comfortable with. But, the trade-in value isn't enough to get a more fuel-efficient car at this time. So, we will keep it until it croaks.

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  26. We gave away our 2003 Accord in December. It runs very well but looks like it was a reject from a charity car bashing. I've been extremely happy with just our '14 Pilot, and I was ready to write a glowing response from both of us. But.... as we took our dog walk this morning, I told my wife about your wife's reaction- feeling a bit constrained, and my wife kept nodding her head and saying, yes! Wow! She agreed it's good most of the time; since we're both retired, it's easy to juggle our uses, but she said it's difficult leaving the house without me! So, we might be in the market for another one, but I'm holding out for as long as I can!
    Jeff in OK

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    1. You have learned what I have: your partner goes along with a decision but isn't 100% committed. I keep coming back to the old cliche, "a happy wife makes for a happy life." If she feels a loss of freedom and autonomy those are real to her and must be acknowledged.

      Betty hasn't read all these comments yet, but wants to. I will be very interested in her takeaway.

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    2. It's your decision of course, but if I was voting on this I'm going with "happy wife,happy life". Sounds like she really wants it. Maybe when you're older you can have one car. It isn't the best financial decision, but if it's not a financial hardship it may be the best decision.

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  27. What a great discussion! We discussed one car when I retired (DH was retired for a few years prior), but it was MY car that would go away. I wasn't ready for that. Of all the words in this discussion, autonomy strikes me as the best description of my feelings on it. We do some things together, but I'm not ready to be joined at the hip. And we're 6-15 miles from our activities, grocery store, volunteer activities, etc., with no public transportation option close by. It's pricey to keep up two cars, but at this point, I'm just not willing to share a car. I can see it happening in the future at some point but not while we're both active. (And it's GOLF season in the Midwest...if I wanted the car, I'd either be picking up and dropping off or sitting home. HA!)

    I must also add that we are both kinda car people in our own way. DH has to have a station wagon or a small SUV for hauling, although we rarely haul anything. And I like a small sportier car. So there is that.

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    1. Yes, autonomy, or freedom, seem to fit the core of the issue. Betty has used the "not joined at the hip" a few times, vtoo.

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