Zipping Into Early Retirement


I’ve never claimed to be a member of the frugal-living path to early retirement.  I have a TON of respect for those folks, but I didn’t retire until we were sure we had MORE than enough to maintain (and even improve) our relatively luxurious lifestyle.  As a result, this post may rub some folks the wrong way, but one of the things I have been spending my time researching and buying for early retirement is a new sports car.  An impractical, relatively expensive one.

It was an excessive amount of money for what anyone NEEDS.  It is purely a WANT – but I’ve become more and more of a “car guy” over the last few years and wanted to celebrate with a new BMW z4 35i Roadster. I wrote about luxury cars as my grown-up guilty pleasure last year.

I should note that this car isn’t brand new.  It’s a few years old, but only has 4,465 miles on the odometer as it was a lease-return car from someone who only drove it a few thousand miles in the summer.

This is my favorite approach to buying cars: find a late-model, very low mile, luxury vehicle equipped exactly as you would want it.  Thomas Stanley described this approach in one of my favorite books: The Millionaire Next Door.  You have to be patient or have a good scout who can help you find the right car with the right options.  This convertible has a great look to it, some of the “M Sport” (BMW Motorsports) badging and I upgraded the software mapping (Dinan Stage 2) to boost the horsepower and torque.

You pay pennies on the dollars for options like these when you are buying lease returns.  It is also covered with a bumper-to-bumper full warranty for two more years.  We did the same thing two years ago for my wife’s Mercedes – it had only 9K miles and several years left on warranty.

We are trading in a 2006 BMW Z4 3.0i that we have had for the last 6 summers and actually saw the blue-book price increase in 2015 when compared to the year before.  It will be nice to think about this car as potentially someone’s collectible for tomorrow.

While it is quite a luxury, we did spend WAY LESS than the spending framework suggested by in his awesome post “The Best Mid-Life Crisis Cars To Buy”.  It is an amazing list of suggested ‘super cars’ that one might consider for a mid-life splurge depending on one’s net worth.  It is a fun read and makes a BMW seem affordable compared with the selections from Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McClaren!

Do you have a cool car you are planning to drive into your retirement?  What’s your grown-up guilty pleasure?

Image Credit: BMW

49 thoughts on “Zipping Into Early Retirement

  1. As a fellow car guy (a BMW fan too) and personal finance blogger I’m always trying to resist the temptation of throwing everything out the window and splurging on a luxury sports car I can’t really afford!
    Seems like you’ve got it all worked out though, it’s a very nice Z4 you’ve got yourself there!
    I hope you enjoy making the most of it!


    • It’s sunny and 75 degrees today, so a perfect day to be out & about. Especially now I don’t have a job!


  2. Sweet ride! I’m with you on the cars being a luxury worth splurging on. I also like buying late model used sports cars. Of course I’m still working, so we’ll see how things go once I retire. Enjoy your new whip.


    • Thanks, Luke – I just got it back from the dealer last night. All tuned up for a road rally this weekend. 🙂


  3. They call it personal finance for a reason. Good luck with the new ride. Love the gently used car philosophy from the Millionaire Next Door. The best way to buy a car.


  4. I don’t see why this would rub anyone the wrong way. You get to do what works for you. Anyone who has read this blog knows you’re not going to buy something you can’t afford or live beyond your substantial means.

    Take good care of that spectacular machine. You should have a great time with it 2.5 months of the year! Or more if you start snowbirding. 🙂



  5. Looks nice but the “back seat” seems to be missing. Where would my 3 kids ride? 😉


    Mrs. RoG wants a car like this maybe someday possibly. She fell in love with the Honda S2000 so maybe the new one will be ours in another decade once we get some kids launched.

    I think your strategy on buying high quality used is great. You’re getting 99% of what you get buying brand new at a significant % discount on the price.


    • There is something wonderfully impractical about a roadster built for two. I often call it our ‘date car’. We also have an SUV and sedan, so the basic household needs are covered. I like the Honda S2000 model – you can’t beat a Honda for quality & reliability. (Of course my favorite Honda would be an Acura NSX, but that’s not going to happen!) 🙂


  6. As a member of the above-referenced frugal living group, I say: Hell yeah! I love it! You’ve worked and saved for decades. No shame in having fun with it now. Your late model buying strategy only gives you more early retiree cred. Enjoy!


    • Thanks, Matt – I do have to acknowledge that cars are such a hedonic treadmill! Hopefully I’ll keep this one for a while.


  7. Buying something like this that is aligned with your happiness values is all that matters.
    You know that fun splurges like this can’t extend to many other things and certainly not at the same time.

    Anything from McLaren will require assets beyond the realm of imagination…..


    • There is a car show this weekend in the Twin Cities that features the REALLY high-end sports cars: Ferrari, Lamborghini, and a few McLarens. The McLarens are insane. 🙂


    • Jeeps are great fun – a 4×4 and a convertible all at the same time. My Dad had one when I was in college and I was known to borrow it (even when I wasn’t allowed to!)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. My husband bought a Porsche Boxster soon after he retired. I’m not a big car person but I do enjoy riding around on a lovely day with the top down and I like attending the Porsche Club functions. Good for you for indulging smartly.


  9. I went to the BMW museum in Germany and have wanted one ever since! Plus my cousin just got a green BWM convertible and admittedly, she looks super cool driving it around and I’m jealous! I think early retirement is the perfect time to drive a luxurious car. You won’t be stuck in the rush hour traffic with everyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would love to see that museum. We drove by it in Munich once, but didn’t have time on our trip. You are right – no rush hour to be stuck in!


  10. Hey MrFireStation, congrats on buying exactly the car that you want, for a great deal. Sounds value-tastic. 🙂

    It’s your money, you can do whatever you want with it. You’ve made it this far and now you can enjoy the speedy fruits of your labour. I hope you have a lot of fun in it 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tristan – it has certainly been good fun so far! I’m entered in a timed road rally this Saturday with a friend. Should be a blast.


  11. As far as I’m concerned, MrFireStation, THIS is why we work so hard during the accumulation phase of our life – so we can enjoy these things after we quit work. So long as you can truly afford it (which it definitely sounds like you CAN), retirement is exactly when you should buy these kinds of niceties. And buying a used late-model car is spot on, too. Let some of the depreciation of the car takes place before you own it, then pay significantly less than the “brand new” price and enjoy some amazing automotive technology.

    My dad recently bought a Mercedes SLK 350 hardtop convertible using this very same technique.


    • Thanks, Steve – your comments mean a lot. When I was writing this, I was thinking of your line “when I see a BMW driver, I think to myself, “Delayed retirement, how sad”. We’ve pretty much always paid cash for cars although the salesman for this one told me the more expensive the car they sell the more likely people are to finance them – especially through leases.


  12. Thanks for this one- I never could manage all the bending to get in and out of sports cars, but you just rationalized my dream pickup truck for me… 40 days to go! Perhaps you could start building justification for a place in St John next!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does require some contortion to get into with the top up, but not as easy as a pick’em up truck. If I got an island place, I’d have to figure out how to ferry this car to it! 🙂


  13. Oh my…That is ONE SWEET RIDE! This from someone who slowly, over 35 years has been converted into somewhat of a “car girl!” And I so agree…THIS is what you spent a lifetime working for!!! BTW we buy our cars exactly the same way – Paid $10,000 below book for our current Cadillac! Congratulations – She’s beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. Hmmmmm….I think I detected some guilt in your opening paragraph. Seeing as how my favorite Yogi Raj is in town for a seminar this weekend, I asked him for a witty reply. The master yogi says if you are feeling guilty about the nice car, it would help you out if you gave me the car because, while he does not want a new car, he would like a ride in it. If you give it to me, I can give him a ride, your guilt will be gone and we will all be happy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That would just pass any alleged guilt onto you. Besides, how could you dare pull up to one of your “99% Matters” protests in a car like this? They would drum you out quicker than you can say “Trump” at a Bernie Sanders rally! 🙂


  16. No need to justify it. You see certain folks in our pf community that are self-righteous about their frugality. One person’s frugal is another person’s affordable luxury that they worked hard for. I don’t care as long as you can afford it and it seems that you can. =)


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