The following seven reasons convinced Dan* and I to spend the big bucks to buy a Tesla:
- We hate the toxic and expensive petroleum products and what it’s doing to our environment
- We embrace American ingenuity to address both our energy and transportation problems
- We support American jobs, workers, and their families
- We love the 21-century technology and the beautiful Model S style
- We cannot wait for anybody else to combat climate change
- We already installed home solar panels. We wanted to finish the job and go 100% clean sustainable energy production and consumption for both our home and cars (We had already purchased a 2011 Nissan Leaf, a 100% electric car too).
- Getting a return on our investment. Unlike Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars, we anticipated saving a ton of money on expensive filthy gas and oil (see our Huffington Post article for a detailed list of what we paid and what we saved in power, gasoline and oil, so far)
What makes Vanguard and Tesla so appealing? They offer different products and services, but their philosophies about the treatment of customers are identical.
Most of us know that Vanguard legendary ethical status is to take care of their clients’ best financial interests. Guess what? Tesla has the same philosophy. Here’s what I found out just the other day.
I was chatting with Hector, my local Tesla service manager. He said that he used to work for Mercedes-Benz dealership service center. Apparently, he was always under the gun to sell, whether parts or services whether needed or not, it didn’t matter. The pressure for sales and commissions for both him and his boss always crossed Hector’s personal high ethical code. He didn’t like it one bit! Some of the services were not in the best interests of their Mercedes-Benz owners. Changing spark plugs cost $1,000!
Identical to Vanguard, Tesla has no commissions either! Not paying commissions is great for us costumers, and the sales force too. Hector is under no pressure to sell unnecessary parts to Tesla costumers. Selling parts would be hard to do anyway. Tesla cars have less moving parts and no expensive tune-ups. Tesla electric motors will last indefinitely, so there is a significant less need for parts. Tesla is a simple car. With no pressure for commissions, Hector’s job is a lot more fulfilling and happy.
Good for Hector, and good for us costumers too, to have a manufacturing company that sells its cars and parts with no commissions and the associated pressure on their service crew.
Oh, I almost forgot, but you probably guessed, electric motors never need $1,000 spark plugs!
Stephen A. Schullo, Ph.D. (UCLA ’96) taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for 24 years and UCLA Extension teaching educational technology to student teachers. Steve wrote investment articles for the United Teacher-Los Angeles (UTLA) newspaper for 13 years. Thrice featured retirement plan advocate in the Los Angeles Times and U.S. News and World Report. He co-founded an investor self-help group (403bAware with a colleague, Sandy Keaton) for teacher colleagues and wrote 6,500 posts in three investment forums since 1997. Frequently quoted by the media, testified at California State legislative hearings and honored with the “Unsung Hero” award by UTLA for his retirement planning advocacy. For the last ten years, he serves on LAUSD’s Investment Advisory Committee as a “Member-at-Large” and former co-chair. The committee monitors the district’s 457b/403b/PARS of 55,000 former and current LAUSD employees, worth $2.2 billion in total assets. Lastly, Steve and his late husband, Dan, were featured participants for the award-winning documentary, PBS Frontline: The Retirement Gamble, aired April 23, 2013.
Steve is the author of an additional new book, released last year, “Fighting Powerful Interests: Educators Challenge Tax-sheltered Annuities and WIN!” A story of how a handful of LAUSD educators struggled for years to improve the 403(b) to no avail. But we never quit! We were instrumental in LAUSD’s implementation of the new 457(b) plan, and ended up with a “Plan Design” award.
*Dan died suddenly three months after the picture was taken in 2015.