Theoretically we become wiser with age, a benefit from a broader field of references, which leads to better decision making.

Then why don’t I ever feel good after buying a new or newer car? Never have I purchased a car with any prolonged euphoria. Like many others, I’m initially excited about driving another vehicle, especially when the outgoing one became problematic, i.e. more costly, or for the hankering of something different. Any good feeling, however, soon sours with “buyer’s remorse.”

I’m suffering from a case of it now.

After buying 18 vehicles over the course of 58 years, nearly twice the lifetime average (9.4) of vehicle ownership, I should have benefited from the extra buying experience. Apparently not because I still feel sick to my stomach. I’ve concluded, again, that I paid too much, abandoned common sense or at least any practicality, and prematurely surrendered an existing vehicle serving me well.

Yes, I recently bought another car. This was not an impulsive purchase, since I had been looking at cars, trucks and SUVs for more than a year. Whenever I found vehicles that struck my fancy, I researched the cars, comparing reviews, costs, maintenance, performance, options, etc. In other words, I did my homework and then some.

Nevertheless, I still managed to fall victim to a poor negotiation. In the end, I paid too much and received too little for my trade-in. There needs to be a seminar on how to buy a car and come out ahead. Maybe Isothermal Community College could offer such a course.

Ironically, it’s only car buying where I seem to struggle in the pursuit of a good deal.

In my defense, the pandemic contributed to me paying too much. Because of the shortage of new cars, the price of used cars soared. I literally found the price of cars I was monitoring climbing by thousands of dollars. Reports indicate a jump of 17% on used car prices, leaving little room to haggle.

No one should buy on the high end. Why not wait? I had already shown discipline by researching for a year. Multiple salesmen suggested the used car price surge could last significantly longer,

but what are they

going to say to justify their position?

Over the years I had gotten better at buying vehicles, not to mention choosing those that served me well. My last one was no exception. It was a good car with seemingly plenty of life left, though the mileage had climbed to a level of concern. As any gambler knows, you got to know when to fold ‘em. Besides, it requires foresight to know when to trade a vehicle before problems arise.

Only the pandemic’s used car price spike was supposed to increase the value of mine, too. That did not happen and I didn’t do enough to argue the point.

If I had it to do over again, I would have waited a little longer before buying a vehicle. I should have walked away, a move or threat that often benefits the buyer. Perhaps I jumped the gun this time because I earlier took too long on pulling the trigger on a car that screamed bargain, quality car and sensibility.

As I’ve matured so have my attitudes about cars. Instead of pursuing something sporty or succumbing to something I want, I’ve leaned toward looking at vehicles with a utilitarian approach. Vehicles are intended to provide transportation with the available options meant to fill one’s needs with the occasional extras.

However, during my search I spotted one car that I kept coming back to. It appealed to a fleeting desire that I need to put fun back into driving. At 58 years old, how many more opportunities do I have at owning a cool car? It’s just a matter of time before I’ll be driving a Buick, below the speed limit.

Call it a mid-life crisis of sorts, but I contracted the fever. Once you get the fever for a specific car all reason is abandoned.

So I bought a Ford Mustang, a convertible to boot. Just the other day I decided to purge any self-loathing, it’s too late anyway — the deal is done, and enjoy the wind in my hair in my topless ‘Stang, but not before snatching my AARP magazine from blowing away from the passenger seat.