Smart Money Podcast: Stock Market Shakiness, and Car Buying in 2022

In dealing with stock market jitters and the need to replace a car this year, patience can really pay.

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.

This week’s episode starts with a discussion about how to manage stock market anxiety.

Then we pivot to this week’s money question from a listener’s email:

"Our car was totaled in an accident recently. And while we were thankfully all safe, we are now forced to look for a car in this incredibly difficult market.

Here's the scenario. We would like to buy a highly rated, midsize, third-row SUV for our growing family that is either back-ordered or highly marked up at every dealer within a hundred mile radius of us. If we really want that particular car, we can order one and wait anywhere from four to 10 months for it to arrive.

Since we are under some time pressure, we are considering buying a smaller, less expensive car that we know tends to hold its value very well. Given that low-mileage used cars under two years old are priced at about the same level as brand new cars right now, would it be a good idea to buy the cheaper car now and get on a wait list for the larger car with the intention of selling the cheaper car in about one year? Assuming that prices stay relatively high for at least another 12 to 18 months, it feels like we could sell the cheaper car for about the same amount we would buy it for and lose little money in the process.

Thank you.

Kevin from Virginia

Check out this episode on any of these platforms:

What's my car worth?
Find out how much money you can get for your car by selling or trading it in.

Our take

If recent volatility in the stock market has you feeling nervous, take a deep breath before making any decisions. The ups and downs of the market that we have seen lately are supposed to happen. You can, however, take some steps to ensure your portfolio is in a good position to weather whatever comes its way. Consider looking into your diversification, to start. Many financial advisors will suggest having a good balance of stocks, bonds and cash. And also focus on the long term. In the grand scheme of your time horizon, the shakiness of recent weeks will likely be just a blip.

On the topic of buying a car in 2022, realize that the car market is still in a wild place. Used cars and new cars are expensive. If you need to buy a car right now, think about what you need from a vehicle and what you can afford. While you might be tempted to go for the three-row SUV, you might be able to get by with a smaller and more affordable car. And prepare yourself for how to buy a car in today’s market.

That said, if you don’t need to buy a car immediately, think about waiting a few months until the market has calmed down a bit. If you can wait six or even nine months, used cars may be less expensive. Also, think about holding onto your cars for longer. Buying a car every three to five years can add up over time.

Our tips

  • Bide your time: If you can wait, ordering a car from the factory may be one good option in this market. But you still need to shop with care to make sure there aren’t a lot of extras and add-ons in the price.

  • Shop smart: In the short term, buying from an online used car retailer such as Carvana, Shift and Vroom can be a good option. Prices are competitive, you can return the car if you don’t like it, and there is more transparency with price and additional fees such as shipping.

  • Don’t give up: Not all the good cars are gone. Use Autotrader or another used car ad aggregator to search a wide area.

More about car buying on NerdWallet:

Have a money question? Text or call us at 901-730-6373. Or you can email us at [email protected]. To hear previous episodes, go to the podcast homepage.

Episode transcript

Sean Pyles: Welcome to the NerdWallet Smart Money Podcast, where we answer your personal finance questions and help you feel a little smarter about what you do with your money. I'm Sean Pyles.

Liz Weston: And I'm Liz Weston. To send the Nerds your money questions, call or text us on the Nerd hotline at 901-730-6373. That's 901-730-NERD or email us at [email protected]. Also, hit that subscribe button to get new episodes delivered to your devices every Monday. And if you like what you hear, please leave us a review and tell a friend.

Sean: This episode, Liz and I answer a listener's question about buying a car right now. First though, in our This Week In Your Money segment, Liz and I are talking about five things to think about when the stock market seems, well, shaky. And one note before we get into the conversation: Liz and I are not financial or investment advisors and will not tell you what to do with your money. This is just food for thought.

Liz: If you don't pay close attention to the stock market, sometimes the headlines can look pretty scary when there's a drop or a correction or a bear market. And just to define terms, a correction is a drop of more than 10%. A bear market is a drop of more than 20%, and both are pretty common.

Sean: And crypto assets can be even more volatile — drops of 50% or more happen all the time. So we wanted to dig into how you can think about volatility in the market. And the first thing to do is to not panic. Drops in the stock market like we've seen lately are actually supposed to happen. It's important to remember that if you sell stocks when the market drops, you are actually locking in losses. Think about the folks that sold when the stock market dropped in March of 2020 in the early days of the pandemic, those folks missed out on major gains from the stock market over the past two years. One thing to also maybe not do right now is check your retirement account, that could I'm sure provoke some anxiety.

Liz: People think they can time the market, and really you can't. Some people get lucky once in a while, but that's about it. A stopped clock is right twice a day, that kind of a thing.

Sean: Right.

Liz: It might help to get some historical perspective. Look at a long-term chart of, say, the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average — those are two very common stock market benchmarks. And if you look at the day-to-day swings, it can be pretty scary. Stretch that out for 10, 20, 50 years and you'll see the stock market just keeps going up over time.

Sean: Speaking of a long time, speaking of even 30 years, that is what matters anyway. If you don't need the money that you're investing at the moment, don't even pay attention to what's happening in the market right now. It grabs headlines. But if you need this money right now, it shouldn't be in the market to begin with and you can just set this aside for the moment.

Liz: One quote I really love is that following the stock market day by day is like listening to a symphony note by note. It's really hard to understand what's going on. You get confused, forget it. Although, this could be a really good time to check your risk tolerance. Sean, can you talk a little bit about what that is?

Sean: Yeah. Well, basically that is your tolerance for risk, to put it simply. Investing in the stock market is always risky. There is always the risk of loss. The ability to ride out short-term slumps is what allows you to unlock long-term gains. And there are a few things to think about that go into risk tolerance. One is your goals. Think about what you want out of the money that you are investing. Another thing to think about is your timeline. When do you need the money that you're investing? The longer your time horizon for your goal, like retirement or maybe saving it for a down payment on a house, the more risk you might be able to take on. Also when thinking about risk tolerance, factor in your age. The later on you are in life, you might be tolerating less risk than someone who's in their 20s and 30s. It will also come down to personal comfort level. The amount of risk you're willing to take on may vary from someone else.

Liz: The short version of this is that you need to take some risk if you want growth. There's no such thing as a low-risk, high-return investment. Those things just don't go together. So if you want inflation-beating returns, you got to have some of your money in the stock market. And even if you're older, even if you're already in retirement, a chunk of your money should still be in stocks for most people.

Sean: Well, that brings me to my next thing that folks should think about, which is, I think it's important to look into your portfolio and your diversification. If you haven't been able to shake off your anxiety after these past couple things we talked about, dig into your portfolio and look at what you are investing in. Look at your balance of stocks, bonds and cash. Diversification can help lower your risk while increasing your potential for overall gain. And that's because some assets will perform really well one year, while other assets lag behind. And then the fortunes could reverse the following year where the former laggards will become top performers.

Liz: Again, you need to focus on the long term. Sean, you talked about not putting money into the market that you really need. Can you talk about some guidelines about that?

Sean: Yeah. A lot of financial advisors will suggest that you don't invest money that you'll need within five years because that can help you ride out any volatility. And for a lot of investors, they might be investing for retirement, which could be decades away. And so by the time you are ready to retire, you will likely have forgotten about this blip in the stock market if you stayed invested. However, those who pulled out and locked in losses may bitterly remember this moment.

Liz: Yeah. There's a great Warren Buffett quote which is, "The stock market is a device that transfers money from the impatient to the patient."

Sean: Yes. And that can could be helpful because I can sometimes be impatient. But I actually find that the less I think about the money I have invested the more patient I can become because I'm not focused on what's happening day to day. This was something I learned through my rockiness with Dogecoin over the past year. Now I don't even look at it because one day it could maybe make me money. But in the meantime, I would rather not think about it.

Liz: And if you need to get some outside perspective with this, this is a perfectly good reason to go talk to a fee-only financial planner that can take a look at your portfolio, your risk tolerance, and whether you're set up for success over the long term.

Sean: All right. Well, now let's shift gears a little bit and do a check in on our no-spend month. For those who are just tuning in, for the month of February we are doing a no-spend month challenge where we do our best to not spend money on things that we genuinely do not need. And each week we are doing a brief check-in to see how it's going for us.

So Liz and I are going to give an update and if you have one as well, you can send us an email at [email protected]. You could also shoot us a text at 901-730-6373 or even a voicemail if you feel like it. We would love to hear from you.

So Liz, do you want to tell us how it's going for you so far?

Liz: No, I do not because I've had this little burst of shopping knowing that we're not going to be spending on non-essentials in the next month.

Sean: OK, I did the same thing but I viewed it as kind of a good thing in a way. We talked last week about setting ourselves up for success, and this is how we're doing it, right? We knew that we had these things we wanted to spend money on. I had some certain expenses that I had to get out of the way, like I was overdue for new running shoes for example. Not anything that's particularly cheap, but I needed to buy it. I knew I didn't want to buy it in February, so I got that out of the way. And the only thing that's kind of lingering out there in terms of purchases is I do have one final eBay bid that is ending early in February. And I know that I'm probably going to end up winning, for better or worse. It's nice to have that, but it means I have to spend money on it. So that is the, I guess, ghost of my purchases past catching up with me and kind of throwing a minor wrench into my no-spend month challenge. We did what we needed to do to get those purchases out of the way so we don't have to do them in February, which I think is totally fine.

And another thing I did is I deleted the shopping apps off of my phone, even eBay, which was especially hard for me to delete. I love scrolling through random vintage. So that was a little sad to lose, but I did it and I feel like it'll be less tempting to shop in the future.

Liz: And then I've unsubscribed from all the newsletters that tempt me to buy. So I think we're in good shape.

Sean: Yeah. Another thing I did was I gave myself a dollar-amount guideline for what I want to spend during my upcoming vacation. And this is things like meals out and souvenirs, even meals that I want to get on the airport on my way to Florida where I'm going to visit my mom. I have a tendency when I'm traveling like this to just throw all frugality to the wind and be like, "I'm on vacation. I can spend $50 at this random Chili's-to-go at an airport because there is no time and space when you're traveling. So it doesn't matter." But this time around, I'm going to try to stick to a budget and not spend a bunch of money at a random restaurant.

Liz: You know, my husband asked me, is it really any point to this because you spend more at the beginning and then probably will be taking care of all these expenses you put off at the end? And actually it does work out because even though I did this little burst of shopping, it also pointed out to me what I tend to buy when I think I'm flush. So it's like maybe I don't need all of these hobby supplies or maybe I don't need a 25-year supply of food in the pantry. I can cut back a little bit. But by the time it's over, a lot of the things that I thought I wanted during the monthlong no-spend challenge I find I don't care about anymore.

Sean: Right.

Liz: So just having that built-in pause really does help.

Sean: It forces you to have a conversation with yourself, which can be really beneficial. It breaks that habit of you automatically going to purchase whatever you typically would purchase. One thing I'm also planning on doing this month is having a log of all the things that I wanted to spend money but don't, so I can add up at the very end and see how much money I “saved” by not buying these random things. I'm just going to have a page on my notes app on my phone dedicated to this. So I think that might be a nice way to stay accountable and see what you've actually been saving.

Liz: Oh, I'm going to do that too. That's a great idea.

Sean: Well, listeners, we would love to hear from you. Please let us know how this is going for you as well. OK. And one last thing before we get into this episode's money question segment, we are running a sweepstakes ahead of our new Nerdy Book Club series launching in a couple weeks. In our first book club episode, personal finance Nerd, Kim Palmer interviews Bola Sokunbi, author of the book "Clever Girl Finance." And [you] can enter for a chance to win a free copy of Bola Sokunbi's book.

Liz: To enter for a chance to win, all you have to do is email [email protected] with the subject line, book sweepstakes, during the sweepstakes period. Include the following information, your first name and last name, your email address, your ZIP code and your phone number. And here's a brief disclosure about the sweepstakes courtesy of the great minds on NerdWallet's legal team. The Smart Money Podcast Book Sweepstakes is sponsored by Nerd Wallet. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Must be a legal U.S. resident, 18 or older. Entries must be received by Feb. 9. Visit www.nerdwallet.com/bookclub for details.

Sean: All right, now we can get on to this episode's money question.

Liz: Finally.

Sean: This episode's money question comes from Kevin in Virginia. Here it is.

Our car was totaled in an accident recently. And while we were thankfully all safe, we are now forced to look for a car in this incredibly difficult market.

Here's the scenario. We would like to buy a highly rated, midsize, third-row SUV for our growing family that is either back-ordered or highly marked up at every dealer within a hundred mile radius of us. If we really want that particular car, we can order one and wait anywhere from four to 10 months for it to arrive.

Since we are under some time pressure, we are considering buying a smaller, less expensive car that we know tends to hold its value very well. Given that low-mileage used cars under two years old are priced at about the same level as brand new cars right now, would it be a good idea to buy the cheaper car now and get on a wait list for the larger car with the intention of selling the cheaper car in about one year? Assuming that prices stay relatively high for at least another 12 to 18 months, it feels like we could sell the cheaper car for about the same amount we would buy it for and lose little money in the process.

Thank you.

Kevin, from Virginia.

Liz: To help answer Kevin's question, on this episode of the podcast we're joined by our go-to auto Nerd, Philip Reed. Welcome back to the podcast, Phil.

Phil: Always good to be with you guys.

Sean: Phil, as you just heard, there's a lot to unpack in our listener's question. I'm wondering how you think Kevin should approach buying a car right now.

Phil: There's a number of different pieces to this question. The third-row seat option puts you in a market where there's very few cars to choose from. The first thing is to make sure do you really need that third-row seat? That constricts things quite a bit. The other thing is ordering a car from the dealer has become a really popular option recently. There's a number of benefits to it and I've written an article about this, but you get exactly what you want. In a lot of cases, it helps to control the pricing a lot more. You can negotiate a price, but these days you may have to pay more. The fact that you're ordering the car is a good step, but you still are going to need to shop for the right dealer to order the car through. That seems like a good long-term fix, but they need a short-term fix too. That's where it gets kind of interesting.

Sean: So, do you think they should go and get that less-expensive, smaller car now and hold out 12 to 18 months?

Phil: By buying a smaller car, they may find that the smaller car does what they want and they could then cancel the order. So they could put in the order, put down a deposit. If they decide that this smaller car that they buy is enough for them, then they could cancel the order because the dealers are happy to have an extra car to sell. But then that still leaves them buying a car now in a difficult market.

Liz: Can we talk a little bit about that difficult market? Why is it so hard to buy a car? Why are prices so expensive and how long is this going to last?

Phil: The last thing that I heard was that it was going to last into the summer. It was caused by a couple of things. A shortage of microchips, some cars are actually being built with fewer microchips and fewer options as a result just to keep things flowing. The other thing is just that with the pandemic, the supply chain issues have been a problem. And then we've seen the surge in demand. It's amazing to drive by dealerships and to see very few cars parked outside.

Liz: Yes. Well, and you live near the beach so you can just look out and see all the container ships that are still waiting, right?

Phil: Well, you can see them over the horizon, so who knows how many there are? In terms of the pricing, the pricing has been crazy.

Sean: Well, I saw that the average price of a used car in November of 2021 was over $29,000. That's up 39% from a year before, that's according to edmunds.com. And then also in November of 2021, the average price for a new car was over $46,000, which is wild.

Liz: Oh my gosh.

Sean: So how are people expected to buy an affordable car?

Phil: Because we have such powerful search tools, it's worth taking a couple of days and seeing what pops up on the market. But then if you do find something, you probably can't really negotiate and you should really jump on it and take possession of it. Don't just say, "Yes, I want to buy it." Make sure you show up, bring the money and get the deal done so it doesn't get sold out from under you. We talk about the market, we speculate about the market, but the market is what is happening in your area at this time. And that's only something that you can learn about by shopping yourself.

Liz: That's a good point. And Kevin is in a position where they have to replace this car. I mean, they’ve got a family, they obviously need a car. But a lot of us are not in that position and one of the things I kind of like about this situation is maybe it will disrupt the idea that we have to constantly replace our cars because that's extremely expensive to do.

Phil: I'm glad that you brought that up. These folks are in Virginia and I believe that there is sales tax there. If you're buying a car that's $20,000 and the sales tax is 10%, that's $2,000 up in smoke. And that's just the sales tax. You have registration fees. Every time you move from one car to another car, you incur basically startup costs for that vehicle. Also, this is assuming that we have this situation in a year from now, used car prices are very high right now, but it's a little hard to know what's going to be happening a year from now. Hope that they buy this smaller car and find out that it suits their needs and they like it and they stick with it for a few more years.

Sean: I think if possible it would be a smart idea for people to try to buy less-expensive vehicles right now. Because what worries me about the expensive used cars right now is that if the market does begin to sort itself out and return to some kind of normalcy that might leave a lot of people underwater on their cars, meaning that their value is less than what they owe on the car itself.

Phil: You know, that's one of the reasons it's not a bad idea to look up the value or your vehicle every once in a while. And if you are underwater, you really should get gap insurance, which would cover the gap in between what your car is worth and how much money that you owe. Gap insurance is not particularly expensive and it can really bail you out if the car is suddenly totaled in an accident.

Liz: If people are forced to buy a car in this market, at least the good news is today's cars are so much better built. You can generally expect to get, what, 200,000 miles out of them?

Phil: My nephew, he had 350,000 miles on it, on his car.

Liz: Woohoo.

Phil: Yeah. It was a Toyota Land Cruiser. And he sold it not because it wasn't running, it was because he had been in an accident and they offered him a pretty good payoff. So yeah, I mean, it's almost unknown if you take care of your car, the repairs begin to pile up toward the end. But if you stay on top of maintenance while the car is still running well, you should be able to extend that for a really long time. I'm just amazed at how well cars hold up, given the fact that we don't really treat them all that well.

Sean: Yeah.

Liz: Good point.

Phil: I'm writing an article right now about this new trend in online car buying. We have Carvana, Shift and Vroom. They're all making really big pushes so there's an awful lot of television advertising for these companies. But I think that this is maybe a good alternative to car buying at this time. Americans seem to be so fixated on the idea of "I'm going to go buy a car, so I'm going to drive to a car lot and walk around looking at cars." Because that's where the cars are so that's where you go, right? But you're putting yourself in danger of being pulled into a deal that's not the right car for you and not the right price. So online car shopping allows you to do it on your own time, with a lot more transparency.

There are other problems with online car buying, namely that it's more difficult for the test-drive. So a lot of people think I've got all this information, I know everything about this car so I'm going to buy it. And then it comes and they don't fit in it or they don't feel comfortable or they just don't like it. So the touch and feel of car selection is super-important, but I think it is worth checking out these new avenues, Carvana, Shift, Vroom. Also CarMax is a pretty good company to deal with — they have car lots. This avoids the problem of locating a car dealership, getting there and finding out it's already been sold. Or you get there and all of a sudden there's a lot of extras they didn't tell you about, those kinds of things that can happen.

Sean: I thought that buying a car from one of these online services was more expensive than buying from a dealer in person. Is that still true?

Phil: I asked a company called iSeeCars to do an analysis and they said that it wasn't more expensive. My feeling is that it is, but you get more. So when you buy a car from a dealership, there's no cooling-off period. When you sign the documents, the car is yours. Now, if you don't like it, you could go back to the dealer and ask them to take it back but it's their discretion. They're not legally obligated to do that. I was just looking at Carvana, they have a seven-day window. So the car arrives, you can test-drive it, you can take it to a mechanic if you feel that's necessary and you can return it and get your money back.

Sean: It might be a good idea for folks to maybe, if they do buy a car through one of these online services, before they pull the trigger, maybe go find a local dealer that has that same vehicle and give it a test drive. But before you go into the dealership, be sure to fortify yourself so you don't get roped into a deal given that the car is right there.

Phil: I would definitely recommend that. In many cases, renting a car, even if it's not the exact car, even for a week. I did this once and at the end of the week, I said, "Nah. I don't want this car. I'm not going to buy it." There's also rental car companies that allow you to rent and then buy it if you like it. You've got the car and then you just do the paperwork online and finance it and then the car yours. So, that's another avenue.

Back to your point, Sean, about are they more expensive? I would say, yes they are but you get more. They do an inspection before they sell the car to you. And then they have this option where you can return it if you want. So those things, in a sense, add value and cover that extra expense.

Sean: You're paying for the convenience basically.

Phil: You're paying for convenience. You're also taking yourself out of danger. Because when you go and make a deal at a dealership, I think, and I hate to be alarmist, but you're in danger. You can be talked into things on the spur of the moment; extended warranties are a very popular option. There's a lot of game-playing with the price. It's very hard to tell what you're actually going to have to pay. If you have a trade-in, you may not get the full value for your trade-in. So there's a lot of ways for you to lose money or overpay if you go to a dealership. The online car route is more transparent. It's something to be aware of and to explore. As I said, they do have pretty good inventories. They've been stocking up their inventories over the last couple of years and now it's really paying off.

Sean: OK. A number of these online services, they also will offer their own financing. I'm wondering if you think it would be a good idea for folks to still get pre-approved for a loan before even talking with one of these services?

Phil: Absolutely. My son actually applied for a loan. This is his first time around. And so they called him up and they said, "Congratulations, you've been approved." And he was like, "Oh, I got approved." And I said, "Well at what rate?" And he said, "Oh, I didn't ask them." He had already been pre-approved luckily at one place, he got approved at 10% for a used car. But when he called back this company, they said, "Oh, well we could probably finance you at 22 or 23%." Say what?

Sean: Yeah. So you might as well put it on a credit card at that point.

Liz: Yeah.

Sean: I mean, don't do that. That's a bad idea. But still interest rates are comparable.

Phil: Yeah. Only if you're going to pay it off immediately. The whole thing about applying for a loan and getting pre-approved for a loan is it's kind of a dry run. You find out if there's any problems with your credit. I mean, this is Liz's territory. But yes, I think it's a really good idea. And if you do get pre-approved, you don't have to take that loan if somebody can beat it. It becomes a really good bargaining chip, kind of provide that ceiling for the most that you would have to pay.

Sean: I have a kind of adjacent question to this conversation for you. I have a friend who has been in the market for a car for six months and she's getting a little bit impatient and I keep telling her to wait and I've been telling her to wait for a while now. I'm wondering when you think it might be a more normal time to buy a car? Will it be the summer? Will it be a year from now? What are your thoughts?

Phil: When the cars really start flowing into the lots, I think that there's going to be a pent-up demand. So it's going to be a little crazy, but I think that there's going to be more inventory available during the summer. In terms of pricing, I think that toward the end of the summer it should start to come down. Incentives have been extremely important in the car market for the last 20 years or so. And those incentives, because the market has tightened so much, have largely gone away. And when they start to come back and low- or sometimes zero-interest financing, customer cash-back, there's the number of ways. Also leasing — lease specials might be good, maybe the end of the summer. But if she's getting impatient, begin shopping beginning of the summer I would say.

Sean: I'll relay that and hopefully she'll be satisfied with that answer.

Phil: The most important thing is to get the car that works for you. The one that fulfills your needs. And a lot of people become so fixated on price. You don't want to save money and then wind up with a car that doesn't suit your needs or you don't like.

Sean: Going back to our listener’s question, they had a pretty complicated scheme for how they were trying to kind of time the market around their car purchasing. And it seems like maybe the best answer is the simplest answer — is get a car that's affordable, fits your needs and isn't too complicated to maneuver.

Phil: I would completely agree with that. I mean, there's a tendency these days for people to try to buy the perfect car. They want a car that does everything, even though they may not be using it for those things. All-wheel drive is a very expensive option and so many people are opting for it, and they don't really need it. And I did an article about, do you really need all-wheel drive or are good snow tires good enough? Because when you add that extra feature, you've added extra weight to the car, the fuel economy declines somewhat. And in this particular case, I also wanted to point out that these folks are looking at a third-row SUV.

Time and time again, people will point out that minivans are actually — I know that they're not popular for your image — but they are way more practical. And if you've got a family, you're taking stuff in and out, they have really wide doors opening up. Most of them do have third-row seats. They get a better fuel economy. There's a lot of reasons to go for that. I mean the SUV has become popular because it's a high-riding height. It is fashionable right now. It sort of feeds our images, adventurous, outdoors-type people. When you narrow your things that you want — third-row seat, SUV — you've really cut down on available options for you.

Liz: I'm so glad you mentioned the minivan option because they're not cool. OK. But they're really, really practical for a lot of people. We have a smaller family and what we did when we needed a larger car is we just rented it. And that's a heck of a lot cheaper than paying for, as you said, a feature you're only going to use once or twice a year.

Phil: I think that most Americans tend to overbuy. My hope is that they find a good, smaller, less-expensive car and they find this actually suits them pretty well.

Sean: Well Phil, thank you so much for talking with us.

Phil: It's been a pleasure. Thanks.

Sean: With that, let's get onto our takeaway tips. I can kick us off. First step, bide your time. If you can wait, ordering a car from the factory may be one good option in this market. But you still need to shop with care to make sure that there aren't a lot of extras and add-ons in the price.

Liz: Next, shop smart. In the short term, buying from an online used-car retailer, such as Carvana, Shift and Vroom, is a good option. Prices are competitive. You can return the car if you don't like it. And there's more transparency with price and additional fees such as shipping.

Sean: Lastly, don't give up. Not all the good cars are gone. Use Autotrader or another used car ad aggregator to search a wide area.

Liz: And that's all we have for this episode. Do you have a money question of your own? Turn to the Nerds and call or text us your questions at 901-730-6373. That's 901-730-N-E-R-D. You can also email us at [email protected]. Visit nerdwallet.com/podcast for more information on this episode. And remember to subscribe, rate and review us wherever you're getting this podcast.

Sean: And here is our brief disclaimer, thoughtfully crafted by Nerd Wallet's legal team. Your questions are answered by knowledgeable and talented finance writers, but we are not financial or investment advisors. This nerdy info is provided for general educational and entertainment purposes, and may not apply to your specific circumstances.

Liz: And with that said, until next time, turn to the Nerds.