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Choosing Your Retirement Car: Essential Factors to Consider

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As people approach their retirement, they aim to accomplish a lot of tasks. Some have started to draft up your estate plan and manage their finances, while others consider whether to move to a beautiful retirement home.

For other soon-to-be retirees, buying a retirement car is one of the major decisions they have to make. Having a car represents freedom and independence, and you might want to continue working after retirement.

What to Look for in Your Retirement Car

Like other major purchases, buying a retirement car involves multiple factors. Here are aspects to consider before deciding on a final purchase:

Downsizing

Consider downsizing to a medium-sized or small car. Chances are, all your children have left home and now have their own families.

Having a small retirement car gives you cost savings and fuel efficiency. You won’t have to spend much on fuel and maintenance.

Comfort

Face it—you’re not moving quite as smoothly as you were before. Make comfort a priority in choosing your retirement car. Consider a roomy space, comfortable seats, and adjustable support.

Look into accessibility features as well. Do you anticipate needing help when you get in and out of your vehicle in the future? Look into features like smart systems and wheelchair lifts.

Safety

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 700 older adults are injured in motor vehicle accidents.

Luckily, various manufacturers develop some of their vehicles with retiree drivers in mind. When searching for a retirement car, look for safety features like:

  • Blind-Spot Collision Warning, which senses vehicles in your blind spot
  • Driver Attention Warning, which detects speeding drivers and suggests you pause from driving
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, which applies breaks when it senses an incoming collision

Assessing Your Driving Capabilities

You might want to consider your driving skills before deciding to buy a retirement vehicle. Your purchase might not make sense if you’ll have a hard time steering the wheel or parking.

The American Automobile Association offers a self-rating tool that lets you examine your driving performance. Make sure to go to an occupational therapist for the test to determine if there will be changes in how you drive.

Eventually, you might need driving aids like:

  • Car caddies
  • Extenders for brakes and gas pedals
  • Pulls for accessing the seatbelt
  • Swiveling seat cushions

Financing Your Car

You can choose to either buy or lease your retirement car. If you have enough from your retirement funds, purchasing a vehicle is an excellent option.

However, leasing a car has its benefits, and it might be your best bet. It may be cost-effective even though it means paying a monthly cost. While you may not actually own the car, leasing provides you with a reliable vehicle (sometimes the latest model of the manufacturer) at a price lower than the car’s depreciation.

For many retirees, driving means freedom and independence. Retirement doesn’t mean giving up the things you usually do, like running errands and heading to a friend’s house for dinner. It comes down to choosing the right vehicle and regularly assessing your driving skills to stay safe behind the wheel of your car.

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