Friday, August 21, 2009

First Week of College

My sons started their classes at community college this week. I drive them to school before work, during my lunch break and after work. They have different schedules and in different campus locations so I have no choice but to drive like mad to insure they get to their classrooms on time while going to back to my office at the appropriate time. Hopefully my wife and kids would eventually get their driving license to ease the burden. I am glad to have bought my car, a 2005 Saturn ION because of its fuel efficiency. Most of the car reviews are terrible for this particular model, but its fuel efficiency is hard to beat considering the price I bought it.

So I guess its value for money but I am afraid the maintenance costs would increase as I spend more time on the road. Recently I started thinking about replacing the Saturn because of its manual transmission. My kids have difficulty using a manual transmission and may distract them from their actual driving once they get their license. But I like the car and the fuel efficiency is more significant with manual cars. After driving my kids to and from school I could actually see the fuel indicator decreasing. I guess I a travel and average of 30-40 miles per day bring them to school, going to work and going to the gym.

I guess the fuel consumption will be much greater if I had a gas guzzling model. The cars that I like such as the popular SUVs have a 20-22 mpg while the Saturn has a very good 25-26 mpg. The other car I bought is much better with about 28mpg. But the best cars in this situation are the hybrid cars like the Toyota Hybrids which can achieve about 40mpgs. So if ever I replace my Saturn, I hope to get a car with automatic transmission with at least 25mpg and cost less than 12K. Car deals are very good these days with all these programs from the stimulus plans like cash for clunkers. Or maybe I don’t need to buy a new car if my kids are able to learn to drive the Saturn with its manual gears.

I always have second thoughts with the recent purchase like the house and cars. I guess when I start comparing with others I think I got the wrong end of the deal. I sometimes think that I made these recent decisions very fast which may have benefited from a more slow and reflective analysis. But I guess I am following a philosophy which I sometimes I do not consciously recognize. It’s more like an instinctive reaction following guides from Warren Buffet and Robert Kiyosaki. I guess I am a value investor, preferring to get good value at the lowest price possible. The key as some books mentions is to insure cash flow and capital protection.

Last week, my flat in Singapore was finally sold. I was able to earn some money with the increase in property prices. The profit I intend to use to fund my kids college education in the coming years. I will also use the money for capital expenses like improvement of my home and car. I am glad I made that investment 2 years ago because it has protected my capital with proceeds going back to replenish my retirement fund. So I was able to get back my money including the investment to improve the flat. So I am at the good end of the game and it will help my family achieve a soft landing here in my new home. The key is not to splurge it on unnecessary things. My motto is to spend on items where more than one person will benefit from the investment. So basically I avoid spending on large items where I am the only one to benefit. My family should also be able to benefit from this investment.

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