I'm a career services director at a tech college. My job is to help students and grads get jobs. I also do advising on things like writing resumes and interviewing for jobs. Sometimes my job involves trying to give general life advice. Today was one of those days.
I had a student in my office today who's a veteran, not working, and collecting worker's comp from an on-the-job injury a couple of years ago. He mentioned he was waiting to hear from a Chevy dealer's finance department about a Cruze he wants to buy. I was a little suspicious—how did he plan to pay for a brand new car with just worker's comp money?
The guy lives with his mom, pays her a few hundred bucks a month rent which also covers his food & utilities. His only other expenses are gas for his car, car insurance, and child support. He gets VA assistance for school. His credit score is in the 500s, supposedly because of some financial shenanigans that his ex-wife pulled before they split up. He wants to take out a car loan to rebuild his credit.
He arrived at the Cruze because he wanted good gas mileage, a manual transmission, and refuses to buy a foreign car, even a used one, because MURRICA. He had difficulty locating a cheap, used, MURRICAN small car with a manual transmission, so decided he needed a brand new MURRICAN small car with a manual transmission
He thinks he's being responsible because, "a $15k Chevy Cruze is way more affordable than a $40k pickup." Even if his shitty credit rating means he'd pay like $350/month for 5 years on a damn Chevy Cruze.
I tried to talk to him into getting a cheap, $5-7k used car and a shorter-term loan, pre-approved through a credit union. I went through some budgeting with him to show, hey if you move out from mom's place, here's all the other expenses you'll have and how they'll eat up that fixed income. Not to mention, dude you're on a fixed income.
So I went on Auto Trader and showed him some 4-cylinder manual transmission sedans (I tried to do hatchbacks as well but he said "I don't want a wagon and a hatchback is just a shorter wagon") and predictably most were not MURRICAN.
I told him about a friend of mine who bought a Ford Fusion because he didn't want a foreign car, and insisted on Ford because they didn't take a bailout. But the Fusion is built in Hermosillo Mexico, and the Toyota Camry is built in Kentucky and Indiana. Not to mention the manufacturer isn't seeing any of your money if you buy a used car.
His response: "Toyotas aren't actually built here, they just ship them over here and screw the body panels on, and they only started doing that so they could be in NASCAR."
Which is, well, that's just idiotic.
I figured that I wasn't going to win on his MURRICA obsession, so I'd better find a cheap MURRICAN car for him just to show that it was possible. I found a few Fusions and Focuses that he wrinkled his nose at, but he sorta kinda listened to me when I basically said that if you're not working, have a credit score under 600, are paying child support, and live with your mom, perhaps now is not the time to be overly picky when choosing a damned vehicle.
I bet he shows up with that damn Cruze next week.