One of the things to consider in retirement is transportation as in, “How much do you want to drive?” The answer might prompt you to take some action like moving from the suburbs to a more walkable community. Or maybe downsize vehicles to something smaller and/or more fuel efficient. Or you might do what we did and simply become a one-car household.
I must admit that Keith and I didn’t reach this decision quickly. We were very concerned because we had always been a two-car household. But once we were both working from home, we realized that we were really only using one car. In fact, we had to jump the battery our second car twice because we simply weren’t using it. That’s when we realized that we needed to make a decision about cars.
We’ve been a one-car household for about eight years now. Honestly, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages we’ve encountered.
Cost. This is an obvious one. Depending on how you buy cars, having one car payment is nice. Having zero car payments is even nicer once you pay it off. There’s also not having auto insurance for two cars, maintenance for two cars, and putting gas into two cars.
Space. What I mean here is space in the garage, carport, or parking spaces outside your residence. It’s very nice having the extra space. And depending on your taste in automobiles, trying to get two vehicles side-by-side in a garage can be challenging.
Upgrade. Downgrading to one car could mean an upgrade in the type of car you own. Or the same type of car, but you splurge on a few features that you might not normally get. Another option is to save those dollars for something else.
Coordination. One vehicle does mean having to occasionally coordinate schedules when it comes to doctor’s appointments, meetings, etc. It’s not a huge deal for us because we simply make notes on our Outlook calendars so the other person knows they can’t have the car. The rest of the time, it’s first come first serve.
Rentals. That being said about coordination, we’ve run into a couple situations where we both absolutely needed wheels. And we rented a car. The cost of a rental is significantly less than buying and maintaining a second car. I’d say we rent a car 1-2 times a year (max).
Personalization. Keith and I are fortunate that we’re roughly the same height, so our car seat and mirror settings are the same. But I could see where this might be an issue for others. Every time you get in the car, having to adjust seats and mirrors can be a PITA.
As we age, transportation is something we need to think about. It can be helpful to have these conversations early so no one is caught off guard. If you’ve been used to driving your own car and having that type of freedom, being able to control your future transportation needs will be important.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of New Delhi, India