Photo Information

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Roy Ells, the financial specialist for the Health Promotions Office of Marine Corps Community Services, explains how to get a fair deal on a car here Aug. 10 at one of his classes. Ells has been serving the Marine Corps for 36 years. After his retirement in 1996, Ells has helped Marines to keep control of their finances and make wise decisions. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brandon R. Holgersen)(released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Brandon R. Holgersen

Car buying class teaches Marines to get a fair deal

10 Aug 2006 | Lance Cpl. Brandon R. Holgersen

Jacksonville is filled with car dealerships, and for a Marine coming here for his first duty station buying a car can be a daunting and confusing task, but the Health Promotions Office with Marine Corps Community Services can help.

The Car Buying and Getting a Fair Deal class is presented by Roy Ells, the financial specialist for the Health Promotions Office, is held once a month and is available for all service members and their families.

“We need to maximize our consumer skills, and this is just one of them because we all need reliable transportation,” said Ells.

Car buying is about making an agreement with the dealer so he is making some money and the Marine is getting the best price he can, according to Ells.

“I think a class like this would be good for anyone once a year to keep them fresh,” said Cpl. Everette Bryant, the consolidated memorandum report for 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division.

The class covers how to get a good deal on a car, but also teaches the students how to find out how much they can afford for a car payment, insurance, maintenance and even gas.

Ells then went on to the three deals a consumer will have to make when they decide to buy the car: Purchasing the car, where the car is going to be financed and the deal made with the trade-in. The class also covers consumers legal rights when buying a car.

When purchasing a car, it is important to figure out whether to buy or lease a vehicle, according to Ells.

“Leases are usually bad ideas unless you own your own business,” said Ells. “If you own your own business you can use your lease as a tax write-off.”

The class also weighs the pros and cons of buying used and new vehicles, according to Ells. A new vehicle will have less mechanical problems but it will depreciate dramatically once it is driven off the lot. The average new car will depreciate 21 percent when it is driven off the lot. A pre-owned car does not depreciate as much when it is bought but it has a higher risk of having mechanical problems.

The class offers a wide variety of information and resources that anyone can use to help them get a fair deal on a car and make their money go as long as it can, according to Ells.

“I learned a lot at the class,” said Bryant. “I think the class would be good for junior Marines who don’t know how to spend their money yet.”