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Why Pay for a Tune Up? The Car Is Running Fine!

Last week I took my car into the local car dealership for preventive maintenance. It runs great but it’s the first time I’ve arranged for any preventive maintenance beyond a few oil changes since 2019.

I know...I know! Preventive maintenance costs a little time and money up front but it usually pays off in the long run. Which is why I even bothered scheduling the service appointment.

I could have done it myself…

I’m an independent woman. I have two college degrees and I’ve completed a successful military career. Heck - one of my additional duties (many moons ago) was Battalion Maintenance Officer. I certainly could do my own car maintenance if I wanted to. But I DON'T want to. I just want to get in my car, push the start button, and be on my merry way.

Besides, as capable as I am, my lack of experience could yield a less positive outcome. A maintenance tech at a local car dealership probably sees at least 5-10 cars every work day, with an array of conditions. If I maintained my own car, I’d see ONE car however often I committed to conducting maintenance (and, based on my track record…).

In the event I encountered, say, a rodent’s nest behind my cabin air filter, I’d spend hours trying to figure out what to do about it (and probably significant time and money with a therapist to recover from the close encounter with a rodent nest). Since the technicians have seen, probably, hundreds of vehicles, they were able to take care of it quickly and at a cost I was all too happy to pay (Truthfully, I’d pay almost anything to not touch rodent nests).

What does car maintenance have to do with financial advice?

You might choose to hire a financial advisor for similar reasons I chose to pay for car maintenance. Although many Americans successfully plan, save, and invest for retirement and other financial goals without paying for financial advice, not everyone cares to routinely track their finances and keep up-to-date on the latest changes that could impact their financial plan.

Even those who DIY their financial plans might benefit from the input of a trusted financial advisor with the breadth of experience that comes from working with many individuals across a variety of financial situations and considerations. The financial equivalent of finding a rodent’s nest behind your cabin air filter might be something like having a spouse pass away unexpectedly. Or inheriting a sizable IRA (individual retirement account) from a long lost aunt. These are unique situations.

Sometimes it’s just worth paying an expert for either input or to outright handle things - like vehicle maintenance or financial plans.

I didn’t just hire anyone…

Everyone knows dealerships are usually the most expensive place for preventive maintenance. But I used a dealership because I needed reasonable assurance that the person or company in which I placed my (nearly blind) trust, is trustworthy, reliable, and has a good reason to act in my best interest.

The dealership I used is a well respected name with a reputation for quality. They also have a customer feedback survey process that directly links to the paycheck of my service advisor. To quote my service advisor “anything less than 5’s and Excellent ratings results in a mortgage payment size reduction to my paycheck”. I’m sure he’s exaggerating but no doubt there is a financial consequence for poor customer feedback survey results. This man had an incentive to work in my best interest.

Likewise, you should select a financial advisor who is committed to working in your best interest. Fee-only financial advisors are compensated only by their clients. Financial advisors who have earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation are bound by The CFP Board’s Code of Ethics which requires CFPⓇ professionals to practice as a fiduciary. Fiduciaries are legally bound to put their client’s best interests ahead of their own.

Have you put off a tune up too?

I put off preventive vehicle maintenance for too long. Luckily, the only apparent consequence was that a family of mice took up residence behind my cabin air filter. I have no way of knowing what trouble I may see down the road (pun intended) because I put off routine maintenance. But I do know that the car is in good working order now (and free from rodent’s nests) and there’s some comfort in that.

If you think a financial check up might be a good idea for you, click here to schedule a short call. It's just a chat - there's no pressure.

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