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'He's not good at this'

Despite having already paid off his car, Ashley revealed that her husband then decided to upgrade to an SUV for $32,000. However, the dealership convinced him to trade in that new set of wheels for an electric vehicle he wanted — a Kia EV6.

“We’re not in a financial place to be able to afford that car,” she said. “He’s currently the only one working.”

Ashley also said they still owed $62,000 on the auto loan and the dealership only offered $40,000 to buy the car back. In other words, the car has negative equity.

Meanwhile, the couple’s monthly car payments are $1,200, which is nearly as much as their rent of $1,500.

Auto loans and sinking car values are prominent trends. American consumers have raked up $1.61 trillion in auto loan debt as of the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Meanwhile, electric vehicles have lost value faster than traditional used cars, according to analysis from iSeeCars.com. Used EVs lost 33.7% of their value, on average, between October 2022 and October 2023.

These trends imply that Ashely’s husband faces a real challenge. However, Ramsey believes other bad decisions have exacerbated the issue.

“He’s not good at this,” Ramsey said. “I think your husband called the same dealer that screwed him the first time and asked them what they can give him for it and they thought, ‘Oh, we're going to get this guy again.’”

Ramsey suggested Ashely and her husband sell the car privately. A glance at listing sites by co-host George Kamel at the time revealed the car could sell for around $50,000.

'Stupid tax'

Ramsey recommended Ashely and her husband try to sell the car for $50,000. This would leave $12,000 in negative equity on the auto loan that they must cover. He also suggested taking out a personal loan to cover the rest.

Fortunately, the couple doesn’t have much debt besides the car loan. Ashley claimed their credit card debt is less than $2,000. Meanwhile, they have $4,000 to $5,000 in savings and her husband earns $90,000 a year.

Ramsey thinks this financial situation offers enough flexibility for them to take out a personal loan and buy a cheaper car to get rid of the expensive Kia.

“We'll call that debt ‘stupid tax,’” he said. “Which is what I have to pay when I do something stupid, [too].”

Vishesh Raisinghani Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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