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Current Economic Crisis - Spotlight

Debt Management

Mar 12, 2010

Rodrez
rodrezspotlight@gmail.com

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How many times have you heard someone complain about the current economic crisis? I hear it at least a dozen times a day and interestingly enough, half of those complaints come from my own mouth. Times are tough as can be, and the short-term future doesn't look so good. Anyone old enough to understand basic financial terms has no doubt lived through a financial crisis in our nation at one time or another. The trickle-down effect has no mercy, and the list of victims has no problem including the often spared import automotive world. Just check out the coverage from SEMA 2009, and compare it to just four or five years ago. At that time, there was plenty of Honda activity and more than enough to drool over for a few days. More recently, you'd have better luck finding a SEMA model without chest bolt-ons than locating a Honda-dedicated booth. What about you? I'm sure wherever you work you're probably feeling the money crunch as well.

Regardless of the economic woes that we're all experiencing, project cars must go on. If you're in the midst of building something, you're probably doing anything you can to scrape together the funds needed to keep the momentum going. And if you've been driving around in your finished masterpiece, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you don't end up having to sell it just to keep your head above water.

Here's a few things to think about before you make any snap decisions:

Avoid the plastic quicksand...
Credit cards can be a necessary evil. In a sense, many of us "need" them in order to help build a respectable credit level, which is good. Even if you're very young and not thinking about that credit score now, you will be once you get older and start working on major purchases. But in the wrong hands, these pesky little slices of plastic can turn someone's world upside down. Getting caught up in a build and throwing caution to the wind can leave you at a lifelong disadvantage. Be careful when it comes to buying parts with your card, especially if you know for a fact that you won't be able to pay it off anytime soon. Interest charges and the weight of a monthly payment can wreak havoc on your financial situation. Trust me; getting props for your sick project car doesn't amount to much if you can't afford to fill up the tank.

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Playing the market...
The buying and selling of Honda parts is something that's managed to pick up steam in the last couple of years. Using web-based message boards, those looking for hard-to-find items have struck gold, while others looking to make a few bucks may have found their calling. At this point, with so many people out of work, the classifieds are filled with great deals on everything from wheels to OEM interior parts. If you're in a good financial position, this might be the perfect time for you to pick up a few bargains to hang onto until things start to pick up again. At that point, you'd be able to sell parts for more than what you paid for them. Of course, this is a bit of a gamble. There's really no guarantee things are going to get much better, and you want to make sure you know your market well since the internet Honda masses seem to move on to new trends at breakneck speeds.

Don't jump the gun...
So you just lost your job, and the creditors aren't accepting the whole "my dog ate the bill" excuse, so you're thinking about getting rid of your car. Am I close? Panic is usually the first emotion that takes over in a situation like this, and before you know it, your pride and joy is driven away by its new owner.

Listen, if you're in dire need of some quick cash, and you're anything like me, you probably have a nice dusty collection of stock and aftermarket parts taking up a good portion of your precious garage space. Letting go of some old parts is an excellent way of bringing in some additional funds. Again, this is where the Honda forums can really benefit you, especially if you've been pretty level headed since joining and people don't refer to you as "that guy." Even the items that you think nobody will ever want might get picked up and help get those bills paid. With so many people wanting to do restoration builds, OEM bits and pieces can be big money makers. Or, if your project car is your only mode of transportation, you might consider putting it all back to stock and selling your aftermarket upgrades for the time being. Once you get back on your feet, you can always pick right back up where you left off. Next time around you might even avoid throwing money away on that useless, shiny do-dad that you were sure would add 20whp like your buddy said it would.

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