Notwithstanding images and predictions of a better future, we live in a time where things aren't all that bad. Sure, we have heavy traffic, taxes, and governments snooping around our private lives, but for those who imagine living in the medieval times to be some kind of walk in the park, that will only be the case if you're a landed noble or some high clergyman. The average Joe and Jane probably didn't own the land they break their backs on, are illiterate, and infested with all sorts of diseases.
You have a roof over your head, electricity, an education, a reasonable variety of food to eat and clothes to wear, and of course, (most of) your health. Despite your first-world tribulations, life is good.
So, what's a relatively young (because 30 is the new 20) first-world middle-classed person authorized to worry about? Well, let me suggest the issue of what you should consider for your personal transport. Yes, your steed, wheels, ride, lovemobile, etc. It's something to seriously consider, especially in this day and age. Whether it be just a self-pat-on-the-back gift to yourself or something to surprise the girlfriend/wife/kids, a new (or newly-acquired) motor vehicle always brings a level of joy and wonder to the recipient/s.
Where are You?
Your location in the world probably matters the most when thinking of what you should have as a personal transport vehicle. Don't let the auto dealers lead you to believe that a certain make and model of bike, car, or truck will do for everyone in the world (or even the whole state).
You live in a big city with heavy traffic and lots of public transportation? It's definitely not a good idea to get yourself a huge truck, as parking will be quite expensive and the road congestion won't do you any favors. You might want to go totally green on this, and work on pedal-power, especially if you do not live too far from where you work or shop.
How Much do You Make?
Being young, it would be fair to assume that you are still starting out, and do not have much in the way to spend, apart from your essentials. Still, you could also be on either end of the spectrum, from trust fund baby to ascetic social worker, and in either case, you still need to get around a bit.
The good rule of thumb here is to never borrow money to acquire your vehicle (or if you're using a credit card, pay the balance immediately). There might be good reasons to take out a loan on a house or something equally important, but your wheels shouldn't be one of them. This might sound a little killjoy, but consider the many things you purchase on credit. A car is a huge chunk of change by middle-classed standards, and the interest on that thing will definitely make it harder for you to be able to pay your other bills.
Save yourself the headache (and impending bankruptcy) by saving up for a vehicle you can afford; this means you shouldn't be buying a BMW if you work in a fast food joint. It's not a bad thing to consider pre-owned vehicles either. There are many online auction and sales sites for various kinds of vehicles such as NextTruck if you're considering a pickup or something way beefier and livelihood-connected. Google is your friend, so search.
What do You Do?
This should also figure into what kind of vehicle you are buying. It's not just about one's official occupation, but the lifestyle in which you would like to live as well. Your line of work will have a huge impact if driving a vehicle is involved in the kind of work or livelihood you have (being a trucker comes to mind), but if you are the kind to just get to work and leave the car in the garage, it wouldn't be such a good idea to spend too much on your first few vehicles.
Got a large family, or planning to have one? You will definitely have to kick the idea of a two-seater sports car into the curb, or at least wait until all your kids move out. Do you live far from civilization? Better consider reliability over looks, then. Look at the way you live and determine what kind of wheels suit you.
That's it. May you find the vehicle you have been looking for!
Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and maintains a website with her closest friends, Word Baristas.