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Archive for June, 2008

Free Cars from Chevrolet

June 24th, 2008 1 comment

OK, well not really a free car, but free financing.  GM has announced a new sales event where they are offering 0% interest for 72 months on any 2008 model.  Sweet!

This got me pumped up and thinking about trading in the old gas guzzler, so I went and visited their website.  Unfortunately after I read the “fine print”, I discovered it’s only valid for a few of the models:

  • Chevy Tahoe (non-hybrid) – This is definitely a nice ride.  Unfortunately, I have neither the down payment to allow me to afford payments on a $45,000 loan, nor the desire to prolong spending $100 on a tank of gas.
  • Equinox – Hmmm… a minivan that’s supposed to look tough… Next!
  • HHR – This thing looks too much like a PT Cruiser, and I have an almost dangerous contempt for PT Cruisers… Next!
  • Suburban – If I had 8 kids and 4 horses to tow around, this might make sense… Next!
  • Trailblazer – ??? If someone like me who has an unhealthy love of cars can’t picture what a model looks like in my head, it’s not being marketed very well.  I think it lines up between the Equinox and the Tahoe.  Neither the gas mileage of a poser minivan nor the brawny good looks of a big SUV… Next!
  • Impala – When I think of Impala, I think of a big hooptie that Cheech Marin should be driving.   What are those little cloth ball thingies that line the tops of the windows anyways?   Hmmm, a boring sedan I would want to get rid of in less than a year… Next!
  • Uplander – I’m not ready to be a soccer Mom/Dad kind of family quite yet.
  • CK4500  – I have no idea what this is… I seriously tried to google it and everything.  It’s not even on the Chevy vehicle list!
  • Colorado – This is the only vehicle that I would think of getting.  The only problem is that it’s old and ugly.  The same styling has been around since 2004 when I bought my current truck.  The interior is plasticky (a new word) and I would rather have my old S-10 from the college days.

And we’re wondering why GM can’t get rid of these cars?  I realize that these cars are targeted at different demographics than me, but I really don’t see any GM vehicles I would go out and buy today if I had to.

The one thing that worries me even more though, is that if times get too tough for them, they’re going to cut R&D from the Volt (electric car) and the next generation Camaro (just badass).  These are both cars that I am looking forward to test driving.  I’ll just have to figure out a tactic to convince the wife we need both if they ever come out.

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The Future of Retirement

June 16th, 2008 1 comment

Just this morning I read an article in Fortune Magazine explaining how Social Security is about to start costing more than it takes in. According to the article, by 2014-2017 it will probably run a deficit. The kicker of the whole thing is that the government will start borrowing money from other countries in order to pay for it. Who would have thought… The Chinese will be sending checks to Grandma?

On the flip side, Obama and McCain are both pushing for automated enrollment in retirement plans. This means that if you get a new job, you will automatically be enrolled in the company’s 401k program with 3% of your salary being directed towards this account. Amazingly, this simple act of not making you fill out the paperwork boosts enrollment like crazy. I’m guessing all those people who weren’t saving were doing a “I’ll get around to it someday…”.

For people earning less than $20,000, this automatic enrollment boosts participation from 13% to %80. That’s huge!

Obama wants to take this a step further and give a tax rebate to low income people that would directly be deposited into their retirement account… This is one thing I’m not sure I’m really ready to do. Do I really want to fund other people’s retirement accounts? But in reality, I guess we already are through Social Security. And if that gets cut, people need to start saving now. So let’s bring on the subsidizing.

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Goodbye

June 8th, 2008 1 comment

This week the wife and I have been dealing with saying goodbye to my biggest fan.  If fact, last time I talked on the phone, he called me “FrugalJim” when I said hello.  

FIL

He was one of the most generous people I have ever known, and he leaves behind a huge crowd of people that wish they could only be more like him.  And of course, his sense of humor will sure be missed…just look at his pic :)

Goodbye FILWLHSIL.

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