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BlogHer asks Jody DeVere Ten Money Questions

Published Sep 8th 2007, 7:16pm by Jody DeVere in Pressroom Articles

Ten Money Questions for Jody DeVere

In this week’s Ten Money Questions , we speak with Jody DeVere of The Ask, Inc. website, blog and Second Life venue is a safe place for women to get advice on car purchases, maintenance and other automotive related topics. Jody is the current President of and a Contributing Editor at BlogHer for our new “Cars” category. I asked Jody to get personal about transportation and money. Enjoy her advice!

1. I drive a used Volvo that’s almost 8 years old. At what point will the expense of repairs outweigh the cost of buying a newer vehicle. Is there any magic formula?

It really depends on the make, model, driving habits and if you have performed all the service intervals and needed maintenance and repairs as required. Volvo’s are a brand that holds up well if maintained properly in general. The decision to buy new needs to be based around the budgetary needs of the buyer. If the engine needs to be replaced at some point or the transmission system I would consider buying new myself rather than repair as these two repairs can be very costly and equal to a nice down-payment on a new car.

2. What is your most significant memory about money?
A check I received for $253,000 from a customer order in my first business when I was 28 years old.

3. What is your worst habit around finances?
Up until this year I loaned or gave my children, who by the way are all married for sometime, money to help. I cut them all off and they are doing fine without me now.

4. In a post called Through the Rear View Mirror, you write, “The car you drive plays a very visible part in your unique personal branding image, like it or not.” There’s so much pressure in society to drive a new, expensive car and many people who can’t afford this luxury will do anything to keep up with the Joneses. What are your thoughts about this?
I live in a rather affluent area near Los Angeles and here your car is a status symbol of sorts. Of course I drive a modest but newer car, a 2005 Dodge Magnum that is perfect for my needs.

I do tend to buy a new car about every three years as I can afford to do that but my purchases revolve around usability rather than status, otherwise I would be driving a Mercedes 500 SL! Totally impractical as I have six grandchildren to haul around. I also own an older Motorhome, Harley and a small Toyota pick up truck to haul stuff that has 200,000 miles on it and runs like a top. But I think for me these vehicles all have their purpose for lifestyle needs or wants rather than status symbols. I am over 50 so I don’t care so much anymore what people think. Take me as I am baby!

5. Is “lease” a bad word?
I have leased and owned and both have advantages and disadvantages. If you are a business owner leasing is a big tax deduction and works nicely to save there. Vehicles depreciate so quickly once they are driven off the lot, the question you need to ask is how long will I want to drive this vehicle and how much will I need at the end of the lease/purchase to get into another vehicle. Insurance costs are also higher with a leased vehicle, overall purchasing is always more cost effective than leasing. Many lessee’s are people who have trouble saving for a large enough down payment to afford the car payments to own. It costs less to get into a lease upfront so the temptation is to lease and once in the leasing cycle it is harder to save and purchase one outright for many.

6. What tips do you have for women who want to buy a car for under $12,000?
Be sure you buy the safest vehicle at that price. Many vehicles prices at around $12,000 do not include the latest and greatest safety features like side air bags and traction control. Be sure to go to and do some side by side comparisons.

7. I understand that you have a disabled son. As a working parent, how has this experience impacted your view about finances?
I am actually a single working parent. The impact of his growing disabilities, due to MS and spinal cord injury, has caused me to be much more conservative in my spending habits more mindful of my spending habits. I am always mindful that the next crisis may need additional funding so I have learned to say no to many temptations to buy things I want but really don’t need. That is the rule now, I ask myself, “Do I really need that?” Mostly it is no!

8. You live in Southern California. How can we get people off the road and buying tickets for public transportation?
Well another earthquake that destroys the entire freeway system here might do it! Seriously, I lived in Montreal for three years and used public transportation almost exclusively. I enjoyed it, less stress not dealing with traffic jams and I could read a book or be on my laptop. Californians are a weird bunch and I can say it I am a native. We are a rather green state politically compared to many other states yet we do not practice much of what we preach.

The problem is that there are more car dealers in California than any other state in the US and about half the car makers have large facilities here. Making changes that will affect this very wealthy and big economy gets much pushback when legislators put bills on the ballot to help cure the problems. It's all about the money and very hard to out vote all that financially gained political clout.

9. What did your parents teach you about money? Did they help you buy your first car?
My parents were raised during the depression era, they were ultra conservative about money and still are. They lived in the same home 43 years, my Dad worked at the same job 43 years and my Mother worked for the same firm for 20 years. They saved, invested conservatively and retired well and do not have a care in the world about money at 84 and 81. They taught me it is possible to be a blue collar worker and retire well with good planning. I use the same financial planner they do!

They did not help me buy my first car. I bought it myself with my own money. They raised me to be self sufficient and I am glad now, although when I was young I thought they were very stingy about money. When I became a single Mother and had only me to depend to raise three small children with no other income, that self reliance they taught me really paid off.

10. sponsors a female NASCAR race car driver. This is one of the few sports where women compete alongside men. How do their endorsement dollars stack up? Is there still a gap between what a women driver earns next to her ranking male counterpart?
Getting race sponsorship dollars is the biggest challenge for women race car drivers and there is a lack of parity in the willingness of major sponsors to step up and stick with a woman driver vs. a man. The earnings from racing are based on how they place and are not gender based, racers are equal on the track. How sponsors provide contingency sponsorships, contingency meaning something like, “If you win we will pay $500.00 because our logo was on your race car that won.” sort of thing, can increase the overall earnings of any race car driver. Again, obtaining and maintaining sponsorship for women drivers especially in NASCAR series is a big challenge and very skewed in favor of the male drivers.

More about Jody DeVere
Jody DeVere has more than twenty-five years of achievement as a successful entrepreneur focused on sales and marketing leadership including ten years developing web based business solutions across diverse industries. DeVere is currently the President of the Woman’s Automotive Association International, the premier women’s organization for women automotive professionals, a member of the Car Care Council Women’s Board, a member of the California State Advisory Board for SkillsUSA, Chairperson of the United Spinal Motor Sports Committee, and a member of the SEMA Businesswomen’s Networking Association.

Read other interviews in Nina’s Ten Money Questions series at Queercents.

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