Empty Nester? Seven Considerations When Buying A New Car

If you're an empty nester in search of a new vehicle, you may feel like the world is suddenly your oyster. Without being chained to a soccer mom van or dad-mobile, you have your pick of many fantastic makes and models. But shopping for a new car as an empty nester has its own set of concerns. Here are seven things you should take into consideration when looking at cars for sale.

Are you an almost-empty nester?

You might feel like an empty nester when the kids aren't at home, but if you have children in college, technically you're an almost-empty nester. While you might want to downsize your vehicle or get something more suited to your personal needs, don't forget to think about transporting gear to and from school and how many people will still need to ride in your vehicle over holidays and school breaks. A small SUV might be fun for you but commodious enough for the entire family when you're together.

Are grandkids imminent?

On the other end of the spectrum, your kids may have long fledged the nest, but their own little ones may soon make an appearance. If you're expecting grandchildren or there's talk about them coming soon, think about whether or not you'll wind up driving them. If so, you'll need room for car seats, strollers, portable cribs, and the like.

This is another situation where a small SUV may suit the bill. It will drive more like a car, but it will hold all your precious cargo, too.

Have you downsized your home?

Many empty nesters wind up selling their homes and moving to a condo with only one parking space. If you have gone from a huge garage and two cars to one tight stall, you may need to make one car meet all your needs. In that case, you need to find a vehicle that both you and your partner can drive with equal ease, so look for features like memory in seats and mirror adjustment.

Is your income reduced?

If you are retired and now living on a fixed income, this will likely affect your ability to purchase a car with an expensive monthly payment and premium insurance. Also, think about lowering your fuel costs by purchasing a hybrid or economy vehicle and opting for a domestic or non-luxury model that will usually take less money to repair.

Are you thinking about taking up new activities?

The freedom of empty nester status may allow you to pursue hobbies you've never had time for before, like skiing, bicycling, or kayaking. You may even want to upsize your vehicle in this instance. Make sure you purchase a car or truck that can accommodate all your gear. Look for features like easy attachment of roof racks or the ability to tow heavy loads for activities like boating or camping.

Do you need to accommodate aging bodies?

It's not wonderful to think about, but your vehicle will probably need to accommodate more limited range of motion and infirmities at this stage of life than in the past. If you're entertaining the purchase of an SUV, for example, make sure it's not too high off the ground for easy in-and-out, or add running boards. If a sports car suits your fancy, think about how feasible it will be to enter and exit the vehicle as you age or if you have to, say, have a knee replacement. Other features to consider include

  • a backup camera if you can't turn to completely face the rear of the vehicle
  • four doors or extra swing room to handle easy access
  • parking assistance
  • heated seats for winter
  • remote starter

What about the fun factor?

Just because there are a lot of practicalities to consider doesn't mean you have to ignore the fun factor in buying a new car. With all the great and diverse vehicles on the market today, you can find a purchase that handles like a sports car, looks like a luxury car, and offers amazing bells and whistles, like leather interiors and concert hall sound systems. Make a checklist to take to your dealer, and you're sure to find the empty nester vehicle of your dreams. Click here to learn more about cars for sale.