1st Year Analyst - First Car Ever

I'm starting as a first-year analyst at a boutique in June. However, it's in a location where I'll need a car. Mind you, I never drove before (didn't drive in the motherland, was too broke to get one at school/didn't really need it). Any advice on how to pick one? How much should I spend on a first car? Any advice is appreciated.

Comments (82)

Feb 16, 2014

Spend as little as possible. It's hard to say how much without knowing your budget.

Honestly, the VW Jetta (used) is a great car to start with. You can usually find them pretty cheap and they'll last for several years.

Feb 16, 2014
D M:

Spend as little as possible. It's hard to say how much without knowing your budget.

Honestly, the VW Jetta (used) is a great car to start with. You can usually find them pretty cheap and they'll last for several years.

I agree with @"D M", regarding frugality. However, a German cars, even VWs, are usually not the best value, and many of them have had surprisingly poor reliability in recent years. If you want a used car, a Civic or something similar is probably a better bet in terms of bang for your buck.

Feb 16, 2014
D M:

Spend as little as possible. It's hard to say how much without knowing your budget.

Honestly, the VW Jetta (used) is a great car to start with. You can usually find them pretty cheap and they'll last for several years.

You can't go wrong with a Jetta. This VW saved my life in a 70 MPH highway wreck.

Feb 16, 2014

Combining frugality and reliability is great advice. Honda civic is a good option. A Hyundai from the last 4 or so years also a great choice. Reliable, economical and 10yr/100,000 mile warranty.

VWs and other German cars are hit and miss. I've had two German cars and they can be very expensive to fix.

Feb 16, 2014

As a first car...get something cheap, but efficient. Given that you have NEVER driven, there is a good chance you will hit something in your first year (even if it is just a pole when parking).

Feb 17, 2014

Get a 3 series or a Jetta. Can't go wrong with either. A nice 328i xDrive will do pretty much everything you could want and be a great car for years. A budget would be helpful...will you be making comparable money to what 1st years usually make? Or less? Either way, I'm sure either of these cars would fit in your budget. German reliability is just fine...and since you're buying new, it doesn't matter. That's why warranties exist. BMW also has free maintenance for quite a few years. So you literally will have nothing to worry about other than insurance and gas for quite a while.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Feb 17, 2014

Had a 5 speed 1996 Civic for about three years and never had any problems. Can definitely pick up a civic for dirt cheap that will be reliable and last a few years.

"I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's." William Blake

Feb 17, 2014

^^ I don't know what this guy is talking about. Don't buy a brand new car yet. Those things depreciate thousands of dollars immediately after driving it off the lot. Terrible idea for a first car. Also, I wouldn't recommend a German (or European for that matter) car at this point...as others have said, their reliability is hit or miss, and maintenance can be expensive.

You want to focus on cars that will be easy and cheap to maintain. Cars like honda, toyota, ford, hyundai, etc. If you get a European car you will have to either use the dealer or find a specialty shop for maintenance. Your everyday mechanic will claim they know how to work on European cars, but in all likelihood they don't. At best, they won't mess anything up, but they will take a lot longer to do the work (and labor is expensive).

If you have a friend/parent who knows a lot about cars, try craigslist. There are some great deals there, but you have to know how to sort through the bad ones. Otherwise, I would try getting a used/refurbished car from a dealer. You could probably find a 4-5 year old car for under $8k and it would include a warranty of some sort.

Feb 17, 2014

Get a cheap old (but still reliable) car.

Feb 17, 2014

Can't go wrong with Hyundais. They got great warranties and last long. Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are pretty good first cars as well. Good gas mileage and relatively safe.

Feb 17, 2014

The question is whether to get a semi-decent car for 10k (2007-8 Corolla, Lancer, Civic etc.) or a complete piece of shit for 2-3k (probably 2002-3 or something of that sort).
No idea about how much maintenance the car will need, but generally Japanese cars are cheaper to maintain than their German counterparts, no?
Salary is 60k + bonus. What's a reasonable price range for a car given that income? Non-NYC area.

Feb 17, 2014

Japanese cars are good for younger people. They hold their value. They have better MPG. Lower maintenance and insurance rates are much cheaper on them. I suggest Civic or Corolla.

Feb 17, 2014

I would recommend taking a look at a some of the 3-6 year old small and midsize American sedans (Chevy Malibu, Ford Fusion or Focus ect.) The reliability of US cars has improved substantially over the last decade yet these models often depreciate faster than their foreign counterparts. For this reason you'd be able to get one of these models with fairly low mileage and a few bells and whistles for well under 10k. These cars are good on gas and parts are cheap incase something goes wrong. I'm all for being frugal but I wouldn't get a complete POS. The small amount you'll save isn't worth the headaches of frequent/expensive repairs and looking like a slob.

"This is the business we've chosen"!

Feb 17, 2014

You will need to factor in insurance. Someone who has never driven will have high rates.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Feb 17, 2014

Best used cars on the road IMO and that of numerous websites (ie edmunds, kbb), is a ford mustang. You can pick up a early 2000's model for a few grand and not have to worry about much besides gas and oil. Only downside is your gonna be looking at 18-22 mpg.

Feb 17, 2014

Thanks for the feedback, I'll look into those.
I have a soft spot for the Lancer, wonder if I can get a 2008-9 one for under 10 grand. Also, given my budget, what's a reasonable price range for my first car?

Feb 18, 2014

Not sure why so many here are scared of German cars...it's quite a myth that they're complex and unreliable. I should know...I own one, and many of my friends do.

But OP, if your budget is around 10k, then I would start looking at Civics, Corollas, or any Kia/Hyundai made in the last few years. All excellent picks that won't give you any trouble and will be cheap to fix. Obviously buying used vs. new means you miss out on warranty/maintenance plans, but if you're looking to avoid the depreciation, you can't do much better than a 2 or 3 year old Civic. Fun to drive too.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Feb 18, 2014

Before the OP's late response to how much his budget was, why does the entire board suggest being as frugal as possible. I know that most of the people on this forum bust their ass during college in order to attain commanding salaries given their age. Why not purchase a nicer car (20k+) while you're young, attractive and don't have the responsibilities that will inevitably cost you cash when you settle down (house, kids, etc...)? I get that it's not necessarily the fiscally responsible move but come on, live a little during your youth?

Feb 18, 2014

Coming from someone who is on his 3rd car since turning 16 five years ago, received tons of shitty advice, and has bought nothing but beaters off of Craigslist for

Feb 18, 2014

I have a Jetta and I live in the midwest. I can tell you this much, it absolutely sucks in the snow!

I'd recommend an AWD car or SUV if you live anywhere where it snows nearly half the year.

If not, yes, the Jetta is a pretty solid car when the roads are nice.

Feb 19, 2014

My philosophy is thinking of a Porsche as my reward for when I'm ~40-45 yrs old and have busted my ass in the workforce for many years and have saved a good amount of $$$. With that said, just get something simple in the beginning that's reliable, won't break down and is gas-efficient.

Feb 19, 2014

You should consider cost of ownership when figuring out what vehicle to purchase. A Japanese car such as a Corolla or Civic will have low costs of service and insurance. Be sure to look at what programs are being offered that fit your exact needs. For example if you get a new Corolla, Toyota will give you a $750 rebate if you are a recent college grad. If you want the style and attractiveness of a European vehicle but dont want to buy new look at Certified Pre-owned vehicles specific to each manufacturer like BMW, Benz and VW. They come with special warranty products you couldn't get from a random used car lot. I have experience working for a major German automobile manufacturer and I can vouch for the success and dependability of CPO vehicles if you want to look at that as an option.

Feb 19, 2014

Lease a Lambo, enjoy your youth.

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Feb 19, 2014

if it snows where you live, regardless of if you get something with 4WD, buy an extra set of rims (cheap steel ones) and a set of Bridgestone Blizzaks. Everyone overlooks snow tires but if you drive is shitty conditions they make a huge difference.

As for a car, BMW, Jeep or nothing but that is my extreme personal bias.

Feb 19, 2014

Honda Civic or Toyota Carrola. Those things are durable as hell

Feb 19, 2014

Any thoughts on Lancer? As of now I'm leaning to the Corolla.

Feb 21, 2014

Lexus CT 200h

Feb 21, 2014

Civic or Corolla have great gas mileage. And cheap maintenance. If you're only going to keep the car for a few years, you can probably sell it and not lose that much at all.

Feb 21, 2014

Don't buy a car - get a lease on a brand new car, pay your couple hundred a month and don't think about anything car related until your lease is up. You don't have time to deal w the bullshit of buying a used car and it looks 100x better to be driving a somewhat modern looking car.

Feb 21, 2014

I'm in the same position...probably going to lease something sporty but with all-wheel drive. I wouldn't show up in a fuckin' SL, but I don't see why you need to drive a Civic just because you're on the bottom of the totem pole.

Feb 21, 2014
TheKing:

I'm in the same position...probably going to lease something sporty but with all-wheel drive. I wouldn't show up in a fuckin' SL, but I don't see why you need to drive a Civic just because you're on the bottom of the totem pole.

So like a 3-series or 5-series?

Feb 21, 2014

I had an intership soph year and one of my fellow interns rolled to work in a canary yellow Porsche (and this was an unpaid internship, mind you). Needless to say he was thought of as a douche across the board.

Feb 21, 2014
PoolSideBanker:

I had an intership soph year and one of my fellow interns rolled to work in a canary yellow Porsche (and this was an unpaid internship, mind you). Needless to say he was thought of as a douche across the board.

why would he be thought of as a douche? for choice of colour, for driving the car or for making an issue out of it?

please clarify as i don't see a problem with having a nice car (i'm assuming that it is his and he wasn't just renting it for his internship for appearances, but that's another storey).

Feb 21, 2014

did he get a full time offer? (assuming he was a junior)

Feb 21, 2014

If you're in Chicago, AWD is a plus because it snows. In SF, why bother?

Either way, I'd probably get a new G35. Upgraded interior, 306 hp, lots of upgrade potential with 350Z parts, looks cool, etc....

I'd much rather have the RWD one than the AWD one though, given the fun factor. I'd probably go for the AWD in someplace like Chicago.

Well, ok, nevermind, I think you should get a G35.

I'd probably get a Lancer Evolution IX MR in Chicago or 2007 Z51 Corvette 6-speed in SF.

Feb 21, 2014
WanganRunner:

I'd probably get a Lancer Evolution IX MR in Chicago or 2007 Z51 Corvette 6-speed in SF.

Lancer Evolution? Try explaining that to the MD.

Feb 21, 2014

vw/lower-end audi..with 4-motion or quattro respectively.

Feb 21, 2014

Evolution would be easily explainable to the MD, if he ever cared. Just tell him that it is balls to the wall and as fast as most Porsches.

Feb 21, 2014

what about an M3 or a Z4 M?

Feb 21, 2014

Haha, if you can afford an M3, you clearly already have money. I'm thinking of a 3 series myself...reasonable price and a very fun car for someone our age (or any age, really).

I dunno what environment you'll be in also, but all-wheel drive should be a concern. BMW now makes a 328xi coupe (sporty coupe with all-wheel drive). The M3 and M Roadster (Z4 M) are rear wheel drive. Also, both of those really shouldn't be used as everyday cars, they are performance machines to be taken care of properly.

Feb 21, 2014
TheKing:

Haha, if you can afford an M3, you clearly already have money. I'm thinking of a 3 series myself...reasonable price and a very fun car for someone our age (or any age, really).

I dunno what environment you'll be in also, but all-wheel drive should be a concern. BMW now makes a 328xi coupe (sporty coupe with all-wheel drive). The M3 and M Roadster (Z4 M) are rear wheel drive. Also, both of those really shouldn't be used as everyday cars, they are performance machines to be taken care of properly.

My parents will be buying the car... I just don't really want all my coworkers to know about it and I don't want it to affect me come review time. I don't plan to talk about it to anyone but nonetheless I'm sure my coworkers will see me around in it.

Feb 21, 2014
TheKing:

Haha, if you can afford an M3, you clearly already have money. I'm thinking of a 3 series myself...reasonable price and a very fun car for someone our age (or any age, really).

I dunno what environment you'll be in also, but all-wheel drive should be a concern. BMW now makes a 328xi coupe (sporty coupe with all-wheel drive). The M3 and M Roadster (Z4 M) are rear wheel drive. Also, both of those really shouldn't be used as everyday cars, they are performance machines to be taken care of properly.

I bought a very lightly used M3 with my third year analyst bonus. Salaries are up significantly since that time, so today most first year analysts make significantly more than I did that year. M3 prices are up, but not that much. Plus the current M3 is quite a bit more muscular than my first M3 (an E36).

Feb 21, 2014

Lol, the bankers where I will work are crazy about their cars. They were telling stories of how they raced through downtown in their audis and porsches.

Feb 21, 2014

go with the bmw 328xi coupe, i got it in october, such a fun ride and you can drive it in the snow unlike the 335i

Feb 21, 2014

acura tl nice and good value, but not flashy

Feb 21, 2014

I can't really roll in small cars on a daily basis, so I'd have to say an RR, X5 or a GMC, no hummers and Escalades though, too many misperceptions regarding drivers of those vehicles.

Feb 21, 2014

3 series. pretty subtle and awesome to drive. I have a 328 sedan.

Feb 21, 2014

if you have the money, the m3 coupe is very fun to drive

Feb 21, 2014

yea if you have the money, def get the 2008 m3, its like my 328xi but on steroids, very manly

Feb 21, 2014
kynnad316:

yea if you have the money, def get the 2008 m3, its like my 328xi but on steroids, very manly

How do you like the 328xi? I'm thinking of getting that for when I start work this summer. I'll need a car and I am a big BMW fan, and want a coupe with all-wheel drive. I've driven the M3 (2003 model) extensively and love it. I'm thinking of the 328xi with a manual transmission. Just looking to get someone's thoughts.

Feb 21, 2014

just get a prius and save some money on gas. oh yeah and you get to use carpool lanes in the morning too. helps when you're late to work...i guess. not to mention a prius will last you FOREVER.

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

Feb 21, 2014

And remember, dude, your base salary's only $65k a year at most. Not to mention you'll likely almost never drive it or be too tired to care what you're driving....and remember you are NOT what you drive.

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

Feb 21, 2014

priuses are for hippies and hollywood celebrities trying to make a political statement.

if i really wanted to save money, i'd just go get a used beater, not a prius. but clearly that is not the intent.

i'm leaning towards a 335i, z4m, or a 530xi. 530xi may be too much for an analyst, the other 2 i think are fine.

Feb 21, 2014

Look at the Lotus Elise. It is in your price range, and apparently is a blast to drive.

Feb 21, 2014

I'd hate to rain on your parade but think of what you can afford on a $65k base salary.

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

Feb 21, 2014

BMW 328xi is definitely affordable. Past that, I don't need to look good or some dumb shit, I just love driving a nice car, it's fun and something I care about.

Feb 21, 2014

Hard to tell if you don't state any range of budget.

SUV: X5, ML 350
Berline : Bmw 3 series with Xdrive

Feb 21, 2014
bruda:

Can you guys help me out with insight into budgeting for a car in Los Angeles? I'm starting as a first year full time IBD analyst in LA and am wondering what car to get.

1) What do other analysts in LA drive? Would getting a new luxury car (Acura, Lexis, Mercedes, BMW) be weird? Would having an old crummy car be worse?

2) From a practical perspective, how much is too much $ to spend? Assuming a lease, how much per month?

Any and all help appreciated but again, this is for LA so if any of you live there and know what its like to be an analyst. thanks!

LA is all about the car culture. I'm in LA every year for vacation.

As a general rule, if you're moving to a new area and you don't have a good handle on your actual monthly expenditure, it may be tough taking on a substantial car payment.

Feb 21, 2014

The analysts I've known in LA all drove either an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes

Feb 21, 2014
KMoelis:

The analysts I've known in LA all drove either an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes

Appearances are everything. Unfortunately, it also contributes to high expenses in the field.

Feb 21, 2014

Most analysts lease a new 3 series or a4/a5

Feb 21, 2014

I would not advise that. As even an analyst, in these turbulent times, it pays to keep costs down.
If you do want to spend $, spend it on taking out your co-workers and bosses for drinks on Friday.
And spend it getting golf lessons so that you can play golf with boss and clients.
Lease, not buy.
And get a Camry or Honda. That's good enough.

Feb 21, 2014

Let's say spending the money on a Mercedes or BMW is totally feasible (I'm not saying that's the case, but hypothetically). Does the appearance of getting a high end car right away look bad?
I feel like in other fields people would look down on a recent college grad splurging on a car.

To earthwalker7, I dont think a first year analyst will have time to play golf or anything like that but I see your point

Feb 21, 2014

When I lived in LA I had the same challenge... - cars are more "visible" in your area because you drive almost all the time and management, colleagues, clients, friends will see you in your vehicle. (This is less so in finance places like London or Zurich because either nobody drives or you (have to) park somewhere far from the office or venue).

I decided to get a used BMW 3 series in a very good condition, low mileage and nice options. It saved the shock of paying full price and was good enough for all social events.

Feb 21, 2014

Was in a similar situation a couple months ago, did research. Here's the thing: if you get a used BMW or Audi or whatever, it's gonna have like 40k miles on it if you're trying to go under $30k. There's no way you're getting anything for trade-in when you're getting a new car a few years from now. (Which you will. Don't bullshit yourself about this. You're not going to drive an 8 year old car after you finish your analyst years. And with luxury sedans, it's really really obvious if your car is old. They change the styling.) Also, used BMWs are utter shit. I know at least 5 people who've had issues with them, especially the electronics.

In comparison, you can get a 2013 Civic for 10k trade in towards something actually really fucking nice to treat yourself.

I went with option B.

Feb 21, 2014

What about the option of leasing?

Feb 21, 2014
bruda:

What about the option of leasing?

Personally, I think it's stupid unless you're in sales and change cars every year because you need new ones all the time. And those guys get money from the company to pay for car expenses. Why wouldn't you want to get ownership of the vehicle? That's like throwing away cash every month. Different than a house (where you pay taxes if you own it, etc).

Feb 21, 2014

Just because it seems like every 3-5 years you're going to want a newer car anyways, so why not just treat it as an expense rather than have to buy and sell every time.

Feb 21, 2014

What part of LA? I drive a Camry and someone still keyed my car. I don't know why either. Happened either at LA Live or Hollywood while street parked. For those reasons I wouldn't really get a luxury car, and also for the reason that LA has some psycho drivers that will give you a nice ramjob from any direction. Sucks even more when they're illegals and have no license and/or insurance. Unless you will be affording premiums to have your car properly valeted. As for "how much is too much" is a bit subjective. I see people who blow everything on their because they think it picks up chicks. Break down the expense and compare it against your pay and see if the percentage makes sense to you.

Feb 21, 2014
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Feb 21, 2014