The perks of keeping your minivan in retirement

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My wife wants a minivan when we retire. Once the kids are out of the house, we will finally have the option to spend time cruising around town all by ourselves in a two-seater. But she wants the seven-passenger toddler favorite. Here is why getting (or keeping) a minivan in retirement can be a good move.

We can get together with a bunch of friends more easily. Some of you may rather catch a ride than haul everybody around town, but we actually don't mind the drive. I'm sure we will be invited to all kinds of gatherings, so we'll never miss out on any fun occasions. Another fun activity that opens up with a minivan is going on a road trip with another couple (or two). Traveling together will be more fun, and not needing to worry about car rentals and the additional hassle of picking up and returning the vehicle makes the trip much more convenient.

Our grandchildren will love us. Let's face it: Kids really do love minivans. My five- and two-year-olds are constantly asking us why we don't have one in the garage. They love the space inside, and the TVs in some models appeal to them too. It will be great to have this kid magnet if we are fortunate enough to have grandchildren. We could pick them up, load them with sugar and send them back home to their parents whenever we feel like it. Hearing them say, "I want to see Grandpa," will be music to my ears.

We can occasionally swap cars with our kids. If our kids start zipping around town in a little coupe in their 20s or 30s,we will be able to swap their dream ride for our minivan whenever they need the extra space, which will be all the time. If we play our cards right, we will be able to have fun driving our kid's two-seater, not pay for the added cost of an impractical car and make them think we are doing them a favor because they will be the one asking us to make the switch because they need the extra car space for various reasons. Swapping cars with a family member can be the ideal way to drive a trendy car without the upkeep.

Owning a minivan is not as expensive as many other cars. Minivans don't come cheap, but it all depends on the options you choose when you buy it. A minivan doesn't cost nearly as much as a Mercedes or BMW. Buying a minivan could even end up saving us money in the long run if we choose it over a luxury car and take care of it. Insurance and maintenance for the seven-passenger vehicle will cost less too. Who wants to pay for an expensive car in retirement without stable income from a job?

We can take advantage of more hobbies. The extra space in a minivan gives you plenty of room to fit your golf clubs or equipment for any other retirement hobby you want to participate in, as well as seating to pick up friends on the way there. The larger size of the car gives you more options for attaching a bike rack, camping gear or any other equipment you want to take on the road. Helping someone move or transporting a large item is always less of an issue when you have a larger vehicle.

While we often associate minivans with families with multiple children and carpooling parents, a minivan can also make life easier during your retirement years. There's plenty of room for friends and grandchildren and to transport stuff for your hobbies and road trips.

David Ning is the founder of MoneyNing.com.

Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report

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