Daily WTF: Criticizing a College Grad for Buying a Car

My carHere’s the whole reason I don’t listen to talk radio: dumb, entitled white men. And every time I have the misfortune to turn on my radio and hear them talk, I am always instantly regretful and angry that I did.

This morning I got to hear some 50-something good ole boy try to tell recent college graduates what they shouldn’t do. His suggestion? Don’t spur-of-the-moment buy a new car and always pay for your car in cash.

What the fuck is this man on about? First off, he said, “I see so many college graduates go off and immediately buy a new car to celebrate, you know, their student loans.” How insulting. If you get a car after college, it’s not to “celebrate your student loans” – it’s to get a job because suddenly you can’t use college transport anymore and your job is outside of the bus system or, most commonly, you’re moving back home or to a new city to get a job. The American public transportation system is shit. We have very few buses in our cities and even less trains and metros, and when they do run, they are chronically late, which is not conducive to making job interviews or keeping your new job.

Secondly, I know one person out of the three hundred or so recent graduates I’m friends with who spur-of-the-moment bought a car – and that was because hers suddenly and dramatically died and she travels for work. Even then, she shopped around, priced vehicles, and created a budget so that she could afford the vehicle – while paying her student loans and living expenses. That doesn’t sound irresponsible to me.

Third, how the hell am I or any recent graduate going to pay for a car in cash? The other radio hosts had no idea what that man was talking about. Even my own father, who insists on paying down payments in cash, couldn’t afford to pay for a car in cash. The host’s suggestion? Budget a $400 — $500 car payment (which is not accurate, by the way), save up the money, and after about 10 months take that saved up money and buy yourself a little $3000 car – or, if possible, save up for a few years and get an even better one.

Okay, in theory, that sounds like a perfectly good idea and was, in fact, what I was raised to believe you should do – in high school. But as an adult trying to get a job, it’s not feasible. If I don’t have a job, how can I save money? If I just got a job or, more likely, am working minimum wage, how can I wait to get a car when I need it now? How can I possibly put away $400 or $500 a month when a full-time minimum wage job only makes $1160 – before taxes? Should I also just resign myself to waiting to get a new car when I’m an entitled 50-something? Should I feel bad about wanting a quality vehicle that I don’t have to worry about breaking down when I’m running everywhere trying to get a job or working several jobs or moving to follow around my career field? Or should well-established men who have had a steady job telling people what’s wrong with them for 30 years just realize they have no dog in this fight and shut the hell up?

That’s my vote. Now excuse me while I drive off in the car my dad’s paying for because dealerships won’t give me a loan because of my student loans. Oh, did you not know about that either, Mr. Good Ole Boy? Just another reason for you to shut your mouth, I guess.

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