Having A Midlife Crisis Must Be Super Expensive 🏎️ - InvestingChannel

Having A Midlife Crisis Must Be Super Expensive 🏎️

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Having A Midlife Crisis Must Be Super Expensive

When we saw that the average monthly payment on a new vehicle hit a record-high of $725 in Q1, The Juice started thinking about what it would cost to own something above average. Like a sports car

So we ran some numbers. We’ll get to those in a second, but first some color on that – let’s face it – outrageous $725 number. 

  • According to LendingTree, while the typical auto loan costs $725 a month, the average car lease sets you back $586 a month, while used car payments cost, on average, $516. 
  • The year-over-year increases for new, leased and used cars were 11.5%, 11.2%, and 2.2%, respectively. 
  • The average term for auto loans in Q1 was 68.6 months for new cars, 67.4 months for used cars and 35.3 months for leases. 
  • All together, Americans are on the hook for $1.56 trillion in auto loan debt, making it the third largest consumer debt category behind mortgages (by a mile) and student loans (by a little).

So, yeah, what if you want to go above average and get a sports car? 

We dug for some data, then ran our own calculations. 

Experian says there were 286 million total vehicles on the road in Q1 of this year. Of these vehicles, more than 9.8 million are sports cars, accounting for 3.7% of all vehicles out there. 

California leads the way with 15% of the vehicles on the road identifying as sports cars, followed by Texas at 10% and Florida at 8%. 

Sports car owners appear well off: 68% of them have three or more other vehicles in their household. 

Experian breaks the sports car market down into three categories: Non-luxury sports cars comprise just under 81% of this market, followed by luxury sports cars at just over 17% and exotic vehicles at 2%. 

Top examples of non-luxury sports cars alongside their market share include: 

  • Dodge Charger (16.5%)
  • Dodge Challenger (14.7%)
  • Ford Mustang (14.6%)
  • Chevrolet Corvette (12.4%)
  • Subaru WRX (10.3%)

The most popular luxury sports car models are the Porsche 911 (12.3%), Porsche Taycan (7.6%), Polestar 2 (6.7%), BMW M4 (6.6%) and BMW 8 Series (5.6%). 

In terms of exotic vehicles, it looks like this:

  • Mercedes-Benz AMG GT (25.1%)
  • Maserati Ghibli (10.6%)
  • Ferrari F8 (9.3%)
  • Lamborghini Huracan (8.7%)
  • Maserati Quattroporte (4.9%)

Because we see all of these cars on the daily around The Juice’s LA offices – even Ferraris – we wanted to see how much some of them would cost to finance. 

Let’s start with the Dodge Charger, which is all over the road these days. 

We counted seven different Charger models at the Dodge website, ranging in base model MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price) from $34,230 to $91,250. We went with the middle of the road option – a Dodge Charger SCAT PACK, which starts at $50,330. 

We went with all standard options with the exception of a power sunroof for an additional $1,295 (and a must have for any midlife crisis) and the $995 “Navigation and Travel Group,” which includes things like a touchscreen, WiFi hotspot and access to Apple CarPlay and Sirius XM Radio. 

Dodge gave us a finance estimate of $981 a month over 60 months after a $5,421 down payment with a 7.6% interest rate. The lease option had the 10% down payment, a 36-month term, a 12.1% APR and a $911 monthly payment. 


Next we entered the luxury market with the Porsche 911. 

We counted 26 models of the 911 across styles. While the 911 Sports Classic starts at $272,300, a run-of-the-mill 911 Carrera only goes for $114,400 at the baseline. So we decided to price one of Porsche’s most affordable options. 

Here again we added only a basic sunroof and a Bose entertainment system, bringing the cost of the car to $119,210. 

The Porsche website won’t give you a payment estimate. It says to “contact dealer.” So we ended up using a payment estimator we found on the Porsche Irvine (in Orange County, California) website. 

With zero down and a 6.9% interest rate, Porsche Irvine tells us this particular luxury sports car would cost us $2,355 over 60 months. Drop the term to 48 months and your monthly payment rises to $2,849. There wasn’t a readily available option to price a lease. 

Next we stepped up to the top exotic model – the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT.

Going with the same extra options (a nice moonroof and navigation package) Mercedes prices this luxury 4-door coupe at $109,911 after taxes and fees. If you finance it for 72 months with zero down and excellent credit, Mercedes estimates a monthly payment of $1,931. On a 36-month lease, the payment comes out to $2,266 a month. 


The Bottom Line: There might not be a better illustration of the haves and have nots economy The Juice frequently refers to and illustrates. 

The thought of paying $725 a month for a car sits somewhere between freak out and financially impossible territory for large swaths of the population. At the same time, it’s no joke, we see most of the cars mentioned in this newsletter regularly in Los Angeles. Some of them every single day, multiple times a day. We hear likewise from friends and colleagues in other big and medium size cities.  

The midlife (if you’re there) and personal financial nuggets out of all of this? If you must go wild, get a motorcycle. New bikes tend to command monthly payments between $100 and $1,000. A $14,400 2023 Harley Softail will cost you approximately $300 a month over 60 months at 8.9%. 

But if you don’t have big bucks to blow (i.e., you’re not rich), drive a beater and invest your surplus in the stock market. Here’s an idea on how to get started followed by how to take things even further

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