Practical car for new advisor

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Aug 6, 2010 6:12 am

I just accepted a position with a wirehouse and will be turning in my company car at my old employer, so I'll need to buy a personal car.  I want to buy a two-seater sports car, but am concerned about the utility of such a car in the event of taking clients/prospects to lunch or other such activities.  I think a four door sedan might be more appropriate.  I will be doing some retirement plan business and don't know if I might be taking more than just the biz owner out to lunch (i.e. other high-ranking employees, HR staff, etc.) from time to time, hence the possible need for a sedan.  

I did a search for cars in previous threads, but I only found discussions on what clients might think about my choice of car.  I don't care what clients/prospects think of my car choice, but seek input on the practicality of a two-seater vs. a sedan for someone new doing a lot of prospecting and possible entertaining.

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Aug 6, 2010 7:09 am

You're better to buy a beater and then get what you want year three.  This is a tough job the first couple of years - keep your baseline exps. low and you'll be better for it.

I honestly don't drive people around often but it happens from time to time.  Old people don't like getting into small cars.

Aug 6, 2010 9:55 am

Buy a nicer used car.  Nobody will know that you bought it used, and you can afford something a little nicer. 

Aug 6, 2010 10:58 am

You could probably pick up a nice BMW or Mercedes for $20K on a used car lot.  I just pulled up and found a 2006 325i sedan with 50k miles in my area for $18,500.  Not a bad deal.  Your clients/prospects will see a nice car, but  if they question you on it you can tell them you paid less for that one than you could have for a new Ford Focus.  Then ask them which one they would prefer to ride to lunch in. 

Aug 6, 2010 3:35 pm

Perception is reality. You should care what your clients/prospects think because their thinking guides their pocketbook.

Show up in a Miata, and unless you're female you're gonna send the message that you are wimp. That, even though the Miata is one fine sports car. Show up in a Porsche and you're going to send the message that you are spoiled rich brat who's daddy bought him/her the car. At least that's what i think when i see twenty somethings tooling in a Porsche. And of course if it's a hot young chick driving the car, well guys ,we all think the same thing, right? Sorry! That car won't go over big with your peers as well. And, the  no Porsche edict presents a problem for sportscar owner wannabes. That is, past Porsche, there are no sports cars worth owning. So you might as well buy a beater KIA and get on with it!

Seriously, you should care what your clients think. A sports car sends the wrong message. It is impractical as well. You may have to carry seminar materials, or ferry clients to lunch. You never know? Your first three years or four years are going to be low income, most likely. Any practical 4 door car will do. The less expensive the better. The better on gas the better. The cheaper to repair the better. My personal favorite, the dowdy Mercury Grand Marquis. Cheap to buy used  because nobody wants them, and comes with you can't kill'em with a stick reliability. Just good cars. And the fact that you just thought to yourself "Grand Marquis! You've got to be effin kidding!" is your first lesson in finding value in the markets.   

 I started out with a new VW Rabbit. It was new and it was cheap. Only option was AC. It was a radio delete car. After I made a few bucks I put a stereo in the car. I kept that car 4 years. It is also the last car I ever financed. Believe me when i say"On the showroom floor, cash is king!"

Take my word for it, there will plenty of time and money for sports cars later on. Some of us car guys have blown more money on cars than we want to talk about. This biz gives us the ability to do that. Just don't tell our wives!!

Aug 6, 2010 3:57 pm

I agree, sports cars are really only practical as 3rd or 4th cars (probably 4th behind the pickup as the 3rd car).  Honestly, something like a Ford Taurus (newer model), Chevy Malibu (newer version), Honda Accord, or Toyota Camry would be perfect.  Practical, nice enough that you are not embarassed of a (no offense BG) Grand Marquis, or look like a schoolgirl in a dinky sports car or econo-box.  If it's in decent condition, and you keep it clean, you'll have nothing to worry about.

If you are into the outdoors, there are lots of SUV options.  Just don't go hogg-wild, cuz they can get pricey.  Skip the Suburbans (too big) or the SUV-wannabees (a wife's car).

Aug 6, 2010 9:34 pm

How about a '76 lime green Pinto?? 

Seriously, just drive something that the clients that you want would think is appropriate.  I agree with what BG and B24 have said concerning this.  I also agree with BG's assessment of the Grand Marquis, but wouldn't really want to have one although I did own a Crown Vic as a second car back in the 90's and it was the smoothest riding car.

Aug 7, 2010 9:22 am

You guys are under valuing the Grand Marquis. The new rookie can pick up a 5 year old Grand Marquis. The car will have, literally, only been driven on Sundays by a little old lady now departed. Her kids, with visions of BMWs dancing in their heads from the proceeds from mom's estate, look at the car with distain. They just want it gone. The rookie comes in, pays cash, and drives off. The rookie takes the car to meeting after meeting with the same result. The prospects take one look at the car and say " My grandfather had a car just like that one. You must be a very trustworthy person to drive one. Here's a check for two million dollars." The rookie keeps the car in primary serice for 5 years and then buys himself an M3. The old Merc, still lookin' good, is kept as bad weather car so the Rookie doesn't have to pony up for all weather tires for the BMW. Wouldn't want to get salt on the Bimmer! The Merc turns in another five years of service, helping the rookie raise his second hundred million in assets. The merc is old and now starting to falter. Our now very successful Rookie takes the Grand Marquis down to the local Demo Derby to give it a first class send off. And because the old Mercury is built like a brick shithouse, it wins the derby.  The old merc, having lived a full life, is bought by Porsche AG and  recycled.  The Rookie, now flush with cash, if a little slower on the base path, finds himself in a Porsche showroom. He touches the latest iteration of the 911 and says to the salesman, "this car just feels right. it's like I've known this car for a long time."  The rookie drives his old friend into the sunset.

Aug 8, 2010 12:08 am

Okay, so no two-seater sports car.  How about a two door convertible?  Would that be practical enough?  I'm leaning toward no (once again, driving prospects/clients around, so I might need a foor door) but I really want a convertible.  Thoughts?

Aug 8, 2010 11:13 am

Are you joking...what kind of car should you buy. If you are new in the business keep this in mind. There is an entire generation on younger investors that do not believe in the mkts as their parents and grandparents did. There is entire group of people 72-90 that will never ever ever buy any where close to the $ amount of equites that they used to, and there is entire middle class that is crumbling. Unless you have a substantial book it's going to be next to impossible to make a living selling fixed income products. If you are planning on creating an income stream off of managed accounts good luck. Clients patients are wearing thin paying fees for a flat mkt. So I would say ...what kind of car you buy should be your least worry.

Aug 8, 2010 12:37 pm

Okay... What was your old car that you just turned in to your old employer? Did you do the same type of work there?

If you are on the hook for maintenance and expenses (unlike your previous job) you won't want the sportscar. Compare the costs of tires. Anything V rated or higher for the sportscar is gonna set you back big. Sportscars are fun, but not for doing a lot of miles. The ride quality is not there. Then there is the issue of parking lot dings. Its a fact.

This is an image business. If I'm a potential client I dont want Vinny the bull showin up in a sportscar trying to impress me. Conversely, I don't want you showin up in a 15 year old car from the back row at CarMax. You'll look broke! Remember, clients want stability. If you look like you cant make ends meet, how are they gonna trust you to help them?

Its your choice. Personally, I would look at sedans with good appearance, low maintenance costs, good mpg's, and room for passengers.

Aug 8, 2010 2:26 pm

Meletio, I've been in the industry twelve years now.  I've worked in the retirement industry for much of that time.  Most of my tenure in the industry has been in the two worst bear markets since the depression, yet I've been very successful in all my endeavors.  I am finally getting around to building my own book.  Everything you say is correct, however, what we get paid to do is sell regardless of market conditions, which I know I can do.  People will always need products and advice, regardless of market conditions.  In fact, I've actually found people to be more receptive to advice when the markets are tanking 'cos the SDB firms convinced them they could do it themselves and they're seeing that they really can't.

Northwestern, my company car is a four door sedan.  You're right, I did not pay for maintenance or gas.  In my gut I know I should buy a four door sedan, I'm just wishful thinking.  I'll probably break down and buy the sedan.  Right now I'm looking at 2 or 3 yr old compact sedans.  I just wanted input from people who've been there and done that.  It's like when your parents tell you something and you hate that you know they're right.  

Thanks for all your input.

Aug 9, 2010 11:18 am

 Buy a reasonable car you can afford, but one you want... then get on the phone.... I've been in this business for over a decade and never worried about clients and my car...

If you are so concerned w/ the off event that a client may get into your car, go to Enterprise and for 40$ rent a midsize on the off chance they need a ride.

Trust me, you will have enough shiate to worry about, this shouldn't even come into the hopper.


Aug 9, 2010 11:19 am

hahahaha they block out the word s-h-iat-e.... what if I am a shiate muslim..!?!?!

Aug 9, 2010 12:19 pm

Jack, you're right.  I don't need to worry about this, that's why I'm getting a sedan, so that this won't be an issue and I can focus on other more important stuff.  

Aug 9, 2010 12:51 pm

Exactly, the last thing you need to worry about is a car. BTW, a convertible, like a Mustang, probably be OK, though not cheap.

Meletio, thx for the drop of sunshine dude!!!

Aug 9, 2010 3:51 pm

Buy the car of your dreams. How often does a client see you IN your car? They may see it in the parking lot, but there's no reason they'll think it's yours. Also, all this talk about taking clients/prospects out... that never happens. You make the money when you're by yourself in your office and on the phone. Don't be a puss. Once you make it, never forget who was the one who put in countless hours of cold calling, rejection, being poor for your first three years to be in the position you're in now. How I spend my money is personal, and I'd be very offended by a client who brought up the subject. The care I drive, the dinners I buy, or the suits I wear. That's up to me.

Aug 10, 2010 10:40 am

I would consider an Infinity G35 or G37 certified factory preowned.   My wifes G35 was a dealership loaner car with low miles.   We bought it for 23K.    It drives great, has fun power, looks nice, and Infiniti has rock solid reliability (they have ALWAYS been 5 star for reliability in Consumer Reports).   In my area the dealerships are absolutely top notch.  They treat us great, and they have a loaner car waiting for us for any service we decide to do with them.   I've driven a couple of G37 loaners and they are VERY fun to drive.   I'm sure there are other cars out there that have more power, but it will definitely peg you to your seat.   I personally just can't see any practical need for more power than that unless you plan on actually racing it.  Couple in the fact that the Factory preowned Infiniti's have a longer warrantee than the new ones and to me its just a no-brainer.

Aug 10, 2010 3:56 pm

Just found  a 96 Deville for $1500... 125K rust..

Aug 10, 2010 6:32 pm

You should immediately buy it and put some 21" rims on that thing.  That would be sweet!