Last year my wife, Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, bought a new car. There was nothing wrong with the Rav 4 she’d been driving since 1999. There were only 287,000 miles on it, but she had arrived at the point in life where she needed a car that was built closer to the ground and was easier to climb in and out of.

Having made the decision, we planned to get a year-old car like our clever friends always did. They’d boast that the dealer knocked $20,000 off the new car price.

We quickly discovered that you only get that kind of discount when the original sticker price is $40,000 or $50,000. My friend Nick pointed out that if you buy a car that costs $15,000 new, there can be no $15,000 depreciation after two years. Because the price between new and almost new is about the same on economy cars, you might as well buy a new one.

We had no ready cash, but we found a dealer who was more than willing to finance about 90 percent of a new car at about .009 percent interest.

There was no penalty for prepayment and after paying it off as quickly as we could, the total interest for dealer financing was about $34.

We were happy campers.


But there came a day when glossy letters arrived in the mail saying that because we had only 23 more car payments to make, for only $400 or so a month we could trade in our 2018 car on a 2019 model. And after three or four years it would be all ours.

I called the dealer and explained that we owed nothing on the good little car and it would be nice if they would please stop sending us letters because we planned to drive it until 2038. But the letters kept coming.

While I was whining about this to my neighbor Peter, he said that it was an aftermarket company not associated with the dealer. This company lacks the ability to reason and has no heart or soul. In some countries, it could be elected president.

Peter said that for years he got calls asking him to extend the warranty on his truck. He complained to his dealer, who said he knew nothing about it.

Peter says that now, after 250,000 miles, he would like to extend his warranty, but nobody calls.

We can learn these things only through experience. What some people don’t know is that if you don’t owe money, you can live very well on practically nothing. This 401(k) business is a hoax and a fraud. Buy your food and health insurance, pay your dentist twice a year and that’s about it. If you don’t spend, you don’t have to earn. If you were born over 80 years ago you never learned how to spend anyway.


Many young people buy things they don’t need. Cellphones with the internet on it. Clothes with factory-made holes so they can look as shabby as everyone else. A bigger television screen. The list is as endless as new storage sheds in rural Maine.

I was brought up in a home where there was enough food and that was it. Today I see people spending money as if it were falling from the sky. They figure that there will always be enough to make the payments.

And then, because they get sick, or their job making Edsel radios suddenly vanishes along with their lush projected retirement income, they lose the whole business simply because they borrowed money.

Some of us could never afford to have children. If you can’t provide for yourself, how can you expect to take care of others?

One morning last week I woke up and realized that I could finally take care of myself and could finally afford to have one small child.

Because I’m 83, I wasted no time in discussing the issue of issue with my wife, Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman.


We quickly realized that we have no idea of what college tuition will be in 18 years. When I was in school in 1958 it was about $100 a semester. Because it probably costs more now, educating a child in 2037 might be a problem for us if the cost continues to go up instead of down and if my Social Security continues to go down as the cost of my supplemental health insurance continues to go up.

In the end, we realized it would make more sense to put a new roof on the henhouse.

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at:

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