The Middle-Aged Genius’s Guide to Almost Everything 2 – Buying a Car (1)

In-Sight Publishing

The Middle-Aged Genius’s Guide to Almost Everything 2 – Buying a Car (1)

February 8, 2018

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How do you buy a car?

Rick Rosner: First off, buying a car is an increasingly an old-school thing, the first thing to do is to figure out whether you need to buy a car or if you can get by more cheaply with Uber and public transportation.

Cars have all sorts of hidden expenses. Even without having the car insured, having the car will cost you money, beyond that, every type of thing in the world is a slave to its history of being a thing.

That includes how cars are and how they are priced. If we had to do everything over again, and same for planes, we would probably do a lot differently. But, for some reason, cars are sold and manufactured so you have to buy one every 4 or 5 years.

Cars last longer now; they last 7 or 8 years. After 8 or 10 years, you have this useless hunk of metal. Except in Cuba, where they have old cars rebuilt and repaired that just go, it is crazily wasteful in either case and super expensive.

One more legacy property of cars is that they are sold in a super scammy way. That the model for selling them is for the dealers to trick you into handing over as much money as they possibly can.

There are slightly better and more fair ways to buy cars now if you go online and you price things. But it is still a model that makes you feel ripped off. It is a model that throws so many different numbers at you along with pressure from the salespeople in order to confuse you and get you to agree to a deal that is to their advantage.

Being an old guy, I have participated in the purchase and negotiations for the purchase of several cars with my wife. You may have seen where it works a little bit in movies, where it feels super scammy.

That is often how it feels in real life. Even if that is not how it feels in real life, then you have not realized you are being scammed probably; when you go in to buy a car, you have to do research into what cars are acceptable to you and what is their price without and with options.

Also, unless there is some weird reason such as that you have so much money to throw away and are so status conscious and into fancy stuff, that you have to have a new car – do not get a new car.

This is one of the basic things you can see in a million places is the depreciation of cars. If you buy a car worth $20,000, that car will be worth no more than $17,000 a year later. Whereas if you buy a 2-year-old car, that same car that was $20,000.

You might be able to get that same car for $15,000. A year later, that car is worth 13.5. You cut the depreciation in half and saved yourself $5,000. You have to decide between leasing and buying.

Unfortunately, leasing means that you are borrowing a new car for a couple three or four years, that means in a sneaky way you are paying for the car depreciation. But there are tricks to be played with leasing if you understand the numbers, which are hard to understand.

Leasing involves even more confusing numbers than borrowing to us. There are ways to play a lease that can save you thousands of bucks, which we will get to probably in another session.

You need to go into the dealer and be prepared to spend hours there. They are going to start off with a bad deal for you. You will nee to wear them down as they try to wear them down.

The last time my wife and I thought about buying a car. We spent three hours talking with them and talking numbers. They will rotate people on you. You will start with a sales guy who will make an offer.

You counter-offer; you should be way far apart. That guy will come down a bit. You will counter-offer again. Then he will go and get his boss. Then they both work on you. Then a third person comes in after an hour if you don’t agree to a deal.

This goes on for often an hour or more if you stick to your guns and do not agree to a deal. You should not agree to a deal in the first hour. My wife and I talked the price off this car on that started at 27 grand.

We talked then down to 23 grand. We still negotiated. My wife thought that we would have been better with the current car after all. Then they sit you in an office with yet another person, who works to sell you on warranty stuff, undercoating to prevent salt damage, and all sorts of other stuff that sounds good, and a car alarm system.

A bunch of stuff is worthless like living in Southern California. The salt protection protects from salt they use to give traction in snow. The last time it snowed in LA was like the 1940s.

The car alarm may be nice. But when was the last time that something was done over a car alarm system going off?

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Citation Guide: APA. Retrieved from
  2. Humble, A. (n.d.). Guide to Transcribing. Retrieved from

License and Copyright

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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