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Financial Plan Assignments

This is an optional assignment for students who are interested in buying a new vehicle. First, review your budget and determine how much you can save each month. Review your bank accounts to determine how much you have saved already. It is generally better to pay cash for a vehicle than to make payments. Use wisdom in your purchases.

Next, identify the types of vehicles that you are interested in. What are the key components that are important to you? What do the different auto reviewers think of the vehicles that interest you? How safe are the vehicles? Pick your vehicle and decide on the options you want. Go to the major automobile websites, such as www.Kbb.com or www.Edmunds.com, and look up the price of the vehicle that has your desired options. In addition, determine the dealer holdback for the vehicle. Once you know the invoice price and holdback, use these amounts as your beginning bargaining point. Work with different dealerships to get the best price for the vehicle.

If you are interested in buying a used vehicle, the assignment is different. Again, review your budget and determine how much you can save each month for a vehicle. Determine how much you have saved so far and try not to go into debt for a vehicle.

Identify the types of vehicles that you are interested in. What are the key features that are important to you? What do the different auto reviewers think of the vehicles you are interested in? How safe are the vehicles? After you have done this research, choose your vehicle.

Visit the major automobile websites, like www.Kbb.com or www.Nada.com, and price the vehicle you are looking at by entering information such as the year of the vehicle, the desired options, and the quality of the vehicle. Find the price range for the vehicle. Once you know the recommended price, use this price as your starting point. Now you are ready to look for potential vehicles. Look in the newspaper, on the Internet, and at local dealerships; remember, friends and neighbors can also be resources for finding used vehicles.

Once you have found a vehicle you are interested in buying, follow the steps for buying a used car that are discussed in this section. I strongly encourage you to use programs such as www.Carfax.com to verify the vehicle’s history. Most used car dealerships will have the information found on this website freely available. It would also be wise for you to have the vehicle checked out by a reputable mechanic. This investment in time and money could help you find a better vehicle that has been well-maintained.

Once you have decided on potential vehicles to purchase, negotiate the price of the vehicles using the research you have done earlier as a tool. Again, I strongly recommend you save for the vehicle, but if you must finance the vehicle, finance it at the lowest interest rate possible.

Saving for a vehicle is generally the best option; however, if you are considering leasing a vehicle, use Learning Tool 22: Lease Versus Buy Analysis to compare the cost of leasing versus buying a vehicle.


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