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Old 02-15-2016, 07:56 AM
 
Location: Vermont
371 posts, read 396,785 times
Reputation: 754

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I live in subsidized senior housing in Vermont, out in the country somewhat. The nearest grocery is 10 miles away, and the medical services are about 15 miles away. The only public transportation is a bus once a day to Burlington that comes early in the AM and returns after 5:00 PM.

My Social Security is $1500 a month after Medicare premium. My rent is 30% of my income and I love my apartment. I have literally no savings....none. The only other costs are car insurance, renter's insurance, and my Part C premium. Obviously I have to be frugal with what money I do have left over.

I have a paid-for car that is worth around $10k. It's a VW with over 70k miles on it (gas engine) and although I love the car, when the CPO warranty expires at 83k, I could easily be hit with some huge repair bill down the road. There is no way to predict mechanical failure, but the maintenance alone is not cheap.

There is a bus that takes seniors to doctor appointments, etc. that costs very little, whatever you can afford to donate for the ride. My vet is within walking distance. A new good-sized grocery is opening this summer also within walking distance. I could take the bus to Burlington if I want to rent a car for an outing.

My dilemma: keep the car to keep my freedom, or sell it and bank that little bit of money for expenses down the road, such as dentures, which I will surely need at some point. My only hobby besides hiking is riding (horses) so I would no longer be able to get to the barn. Other than that, I don't know that I would miss the car all that much. It's a hard decision.

On the plus side, no more digging the car out from under the snow and moving it when the plow comes. That is the only non-financial advantage to not owning a vehicle.

What would you do?
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Old 02-15-2016, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Idaho
1,452 posts, read 1,153,939 times
Reputation: 5482
I would sell the car. Yes, you can be hit with a big car repair bill any time and the maintenance is not cheap either. The minimum shop rate is close to $100/hr. Unless you are handy and can do the work yourself, a trip to the shop usually cost at least $300.

Regarding not being to go riding, could you check around to see if you can get a ride with someone. Are there any taxi service in the area? If the place is not too far, it may be reasonable to take a cab to the barn every so often and the monthly cost may come out to be less than owning a car.
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Old 02-15-2016, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,732,288 times
Reputation: 32304
Wait at least until the new grocery opens and until the warrenty expires on your car, whichever comes last. Personally, I would be extremely reluctant to surrender my freedom. However, given the totality of your circumstances, a strong case can be made for selling your car.
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Old 02-15-2016, 08:36 AM
 
662 posts, read 477,547 times
Reputation: 1690
If you do decide to sell, perhaps zipcar is near you? It has only 3 cities in Vermont: Middlebury, Poultney and South Royalton. I'm surprised they're not in Burlington.

Anyway, I hate to see someone have to give up something they love (horseback riding). Is there a way to speak to someone at the barn? Maybe they'd be willing to come pick you up and drop you off? If you've been a long time customer? Been good to the staff? If you haven't ingratiated yourself there, maybe you could make an effort while holding onto your car, and perhaps offer to pay for a ride? The money won't mean much to them, but they might extend themselves for a regular customer.
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:14 AM
 
Location: middle tennessee
1,924 posts, read 988,551 times
Reputation: 6931
I am in a similar situation except that my vehicle is not worth $10,000. If it was worth that much and I could get that much, I think I would sell it. As it stands, it is my biggest expense (tags, insurance, maintenance) even though I don't spend much on it. I use to rent a car when I needed something reliable for a trip. Now I don't travel much and I am glad that I don't have a big asset sitting in the drive.

Why not try using some of the alternate means of transportation before you decide to sell. Summer is not far away. Plan on selling the car when the grocery opens and you feel secure getting around without it.
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:49 AM
 
Location: Vermont
371 posts, read 396,785 times
Reputation: 754
All good suggestions. I am definitely going to wait until the warranty expires, which gives me until March of 2016 or 83k, and I am sure the date will come first. I put all new tires and a battery into it this year, so I may as well get as much use with the coming good weather as I can. Of course, I will get less for the car next year.

Good idea to try the bus first and see how it is. I don't have many doctor appointments and I can walk to the dentist. I do hate to give up the freedom to just get out and go somewhere, even if just to a movie.

There is also a bus that comes here every week to take anyone shopping at the large grocery stores. The new grocery will be smaller, but at least will have the necessities.

I can probably get a ride to the barn. I am just starting again this year as I had a horrible injury a few years ago and haven't ridden since. Unfortunately, there are no taxis in town, so calling one to go somewhere would be very expensive. I wish the bus to Burlington ran more often, and I still don't know why UVM doesn't have Zipcar yet.

I lived most of my life in NYC, and never needed a car. They are such money-sucking beasts!

Thanks for all the input.
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:53 AM
 
2,443 posts, read 2,070,283 times
Reputation: 5690
I am not going to give up my vehicles until I am physically not able to drive. I guess the loss of freedom and being dependent on others scares me.
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:55 AM
 
4,480 posts, read 4,741,265 times
Reputation: 9940
Why are you in Vermont? It's not the most retiree friendly state. I know this as my mother who was determined to move back to Vermont after retiring now realizes she should have stayed in Va.
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Old 02-15-2016, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Vermont
371 posts, read 396,785 times
Reputation: 754
Quote:
Originally Posted by brava4 View Post
Why are you in Vermont? It's not the most retiree friendly state. I know this as my mother who was determined to move back to Vermont after retiring now realizes she should have stayed in Va.
Because this is where I have lived for the past 20 something years, with the exception of a year in Massachusetts and six months in Oregon. I like it here. I only have SS income and that isn't taxed. What Medicare doesn't cover, the hospital at UVM pays for. I get help with my Part C premium and a discount on prescriptions, which can be significant if ever I need expensive medication. There are lots of social services for seniors. I have an apartment in the country that I love, with a beautiful view of the mountains and a private entrance and rear deck, for a whopping $418 a month, which includes heat and electricity. I can't see how living anywhere else would be cheaper. I waited five years for this apartment.

I can visit NYC and Boston easily, where I have friends and family.

That said, I have a friend in Tampa who can't wait to get back here when she retires. However, since she has a large 401k and an annuity, she will be taxed to death in Vermont. I keep trying to push her to the New Hampshire side of the Connecticut River, as the Upper Valley is where she wants to go. No state income tax or sales tax, and no tax on SS income.
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Old 02-15-2016, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
7,241 posts, read 4,132,331 times
Reputation: 15642
I would never willingly give up my car. The loss of freedom and independence is too great for me to bear. The cost factor is never a consideration.
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