Hoping to avoid having to buy a new car in my 80s.
I enjoy your column very much. To my amazement, so does my wonderful mother-in-law, who is 75. Recently, she and I were talking about her car. It's a one owner, 10 year old Chevy Citation with about 30,000 miles on it. It has no serious problems, and is in good shape. She wasn't thinking about getting a new car until recently, when a relative who is in her 80's suddenly had to get a new car because her old one was failing. Now my mother-in-law is worried about being an 85 year old mother-in-law with a 20 year old Citation! She would rather buy a new car now than have to get a new one at that age. Her question to me was "do you think I should follow Tom and Ray's advice and keep up the old Citation, or should I buy a new car now and avoid the problem my friend had?" What do you say?
TOM: Well, John, let's consider the important stuff first. If she's eventually going to leave her car to you, you should convince her that what she really needs is a 300ZX! Wouldn't you rather inherit that than an '83 Citation?
RAY: Don't listen to him, John. He's an ingrate. Ask our mother. Of course your mother-in-law should keep the Citation if she likes it. It has only 30,000 miles on it. If she takes good care of it, and does the regular maintenance, there's no reason why it won't last as long as she wants it to.
TOM: Probably longer.
RAY: On the other hand, you should read between the lines, John. If what she's really saying is that she WANTS a new car, by all means, tell her to get one. She's at the age where she should do whatever she wants.