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If your plan on buying a Model S, how much do you earn?

Im on 80k a year, its going to be hard for me to afford a Model S but im going to get one as you only live once, so, what do you get paid?

It really depends. Are you married or single, how many kids you have, you have a house payment... all matters. However I remember the first new car I bought cost about half of my annual salary and I have never paid more than that portion for any other cars I bought after that. It's probably is a little too high for your situation.

This one is a little different than usual because of long term fuel cost savings. Normally it would be a no go because you're not in that magical 2:1 or 4:1 mark. It's not the normal case because in certain situations it can go a considerable ways in paying for itself.

However, that being said there are so many things in life outside of a car. Financial obligations have a way of feeling like a prison so one has to be careful. Even with the fuel savings I'm not sure if one really wants to violate the 2:1 rule when we're really honestly only 3-4 years away from something just as sweet at half the cost. So why not just invest in Tesla, and let the money build for 3-4 years and then use that money to buy a Tesla.

Life is short, but timing is everything.

and let me also add that I do speak from experience. When I was younger I was making about $50K to $60K I bought an Audi S4 (around the mid 40's).

Was it a brilliant decision? Hell no.
Did I have a lot of fun with it? Hell yes

But, then the market crashed in 2001-2001 and I wasn't getting bonuses and pay raises and my debt went up. Eventually I got out of it it by trading it in on a WRX.

I was young and single so it wasn't necessarily a bad decision. It's just something a financial advisor would hand plant upon hearing.

You might try making a monthly payment into a savings account of as much as you'd plan to pay for your Tesla, probably about $1k a month. If you're still thinking you can afford it after doing that for 12 payments, then you're ready to buy, and have a good part of the down (or an emergency fund) set aside.

Dcp9142 +1

My earnings are ZERO. I am however collecting a nice social security check, just reach the point where I have to take a minimum required distribution from my IRA, have other investments paying sufficient interest and dividends to live comfortably. Townhouse is also paid for 40' RV also paid for.

I looked at the MS said yes I can afford it, but I actually like a smaller car, have no need for a car that big (also tight fit in townhouse garage) I drive less than 5000 miles a year, current car is paid for. Conclusion it is a luxury I don't need, rather spend the money travelling.

That being said, you need to consider the following:
- What are your other expenses and how will they change before your car is paid for? Marriage, kids, bigger house.
- How secure is your income? Can you be sure of it until the car is paid off?
- How good is your insurance, both health and long term disability? If you are unable to work can you still make the car payments?
- Are you funding a savings/retirement account? If not you are much better off using your money for that.

Just my humble thoughts!

I should also say I plan on being a day one reservation holder for the GenIII!

Yeah, two kids, mortgauge, married, i might have to wait for gen 3, or purchase a second hand model s in a few years time, just wondered what other prospective buyers were earning, and im prolly looking at a sticker price of over 150k buy the time it lands here in australia with taxes, wonder if it would be possible to purchase a right hand drive dash and then wait a few years to buy a second hand american MS and have it shipped over and converted

+1 Dcp9142

I have been making less than 80K for a while... probably since 2001. Never stopped me from getting whatever I want. I have my S but started saving for a car somewhere around 2001 because I knew sooner or later I'd need a car when my existing one stopped working.

One of my friends was all excited they finally paid off their car. I told them to just keep making that car payment into at least a saving account if not a modest investment account. They just laughed. Do you know how many extra packs of cigarettes and/or beers they can buy now! Yet they just can't figure out how I could afford my Model S. Kids or no kids. If you have ever had a loan for a car and could afford the loan payment then you can afford to save once you pay that car off.

On the other hand there are some people who just can't get a break and as soon as they get one thing paid off, another thing breaks.

If you make $80k and are going to finance most or all of the car cost, that's a bad decision. If you make $80K and have the cash set aside for most or all of the car, there's nothing wrong with that decision.

An $80-$100 auto loan on a $80K salary with no offsetting assets is very risky.

I am amazed when I read on the TMC and this site how people are getting 100% financing and taking out 6 year loans. Thank you for supporting the EV/Tesla revolution. I would not have the 'kahunas'
to have done that.

To the OP....Invest your money wisely...Tesla stock?....and you may have a nice down payment or be able to purchase the S, X or Gen III sooner than you think.

An aside: I doubt anyone is going to (or should) share the answer to 'how much do you make/get paid' question.


I assume you are an Australian and that is AUD 80K.

The price of Tesla S is anywhere from USD 70K to USD 100K depending on the options. That is about AUD 75K to AUD 108K.

When this car comes to Australia, there is a customs duty you have to pay. Do you know what is the percentage? Add that to that amount.

I am assuming that you may end up paying ~AUD 150K, including customs duty and transportation.

So, I am quoting the gentleman, “S4WRXTTCS”, who has posted above.

“Financial obligations have a way of feeling like a prison so one has to be careful.”

Short version? 82-88k/yr. I made it manageable by habitually saving and a decent trade-in.

ADVICE: Budget. Include the insurance for a Tesla S, the annual service if you depend on the car, *project* $3.5K for tires every ~10k miiles if you have the 21-inchers, and your initial accessories and sales tax.

It is AWESOME to have a Tesla now, but don't wreck your life to make it happen. You can enjoy it instead of living with constant guilt stress. Save up enough to make the above commitments and you'll be able to enjoy your Tesla to the fullest, without the baggage of bad decision-making.

We make $80k a year. I have no debt but a mortgage. I plan to put to pay 25% down and finance the rest. After gas savings, it will be about $500 a month. I've crunched the numbers and if I hold onto the car for 10 years, it will save me money. I'm not counting on saving money, however. Over that 10 years, I estimate that it will save me about $35,000. That money normally would have burnt up in my gas tank. Instead, I re-directed that money into something tangible that I can enjoy.

Check out for some thoughts and comparisons.

If you can't afford one immediately, you can always plan ahead and budget for one later. Like some others here (I would guess), I'm not just buying a Tesla because it's a really cool car; I also consider it to be investing in the future of humanity. I'm therefore willing to stretch my budget waaaay beyond what I normally would for an automobile (about 2.5x what I would normally consider). With my current budgeting, I will be ready to buy in mid-2016 (yes, I plan that far ahead).

While it would be awesome to have one sooner, it will probably work out rather nicely, as by then the superchargers should be fully rolled out and there will likely be enough information to expand my choices to Model S, Model X, or Gen3, rather than being limited to only getting a Model S. In the meantime, I will continue to piddle around in my Volt; at least it's electric some of the time.


What, you can afford a Volt, but not a Model S? Do not take this the wrong way. I love my Volt and have driven it 6,000 miles on 11.5 gallons of gas....but the shit-eating grins are all in the Tesla!!! You are really missing out. I could not wait until mid-2016.

It does not sound like you have driven a Tesla Model S.

+1 Dcp9142. If you're making 80K, then the current model might be a tight squeeze, and you might consider waiting for Gen III. If you truly set aside $1000 per month between now and then, you will easily be able to afford it, and feel good about your discipline!

In my case I had the cash to pay for the 40kW model, but Alliant Credit Union was offering 1.49% financing for 6 years. That is such cheap money, and I know I can make more than 1.49% on dividend stocks, so I opted for the loan and put the cash into some good stocks that will actually make more money in the long run.


I just found another of your posts.
You live in Kansas City and have never seen a Tesla Model S in person.

If you ever get to Denver (600 miles), I have 2 Tesla's you can check out and drive.

If your salary is not very high, I would just wait for the Gen III. It will be an awesome car at a reasonable price, with or without Tax Rebates available.

I agree with the above MS owners.

Single/~$100,000 salary

Upgraded from a Jetta TDI I sold for ~$3000

Would have never thought twice about an ICE >$25000

The Model S is so much more Great Car / Efficient Car / Social Investment / Living by example

I don't make much as I am on a disability pension. I have the cash. I love the car but I am still reluctant on spending that much money on a car. I still have some time to think about it as I have a reservation for a Model X. By the time I have to finalise there, hopefully, will be more known on the Gen III and the long term reliability of this new technology making my choice (Model X or wait for Gen III) easier.

Thanks everyone for the input! Really apreciate it, i hope the gen 3 is a sexy looking as the MS but, im so in love with the s i just cant see how they can top it, to me the exterior is perfect, the interior, well i thought the prototype dash looked way better to be honest, anyway after reading the above posts im going to wait for gen 3 and if it doesnt do it for me, a second hand s it is.

I agree with others that you shouldn't buy a new MS - too much risk. However, I don't think you have to wait for a GIII. I think in a year or so, there will be plenty of used MS for sale as the thrill will wear off for some (I can't imagie how) and others will decide they want to upgrade, etc. I love mine and hope to keep it for a long time.

Given all the talk of people fiancing 100%, I think banks may be the biggest owners of Teslas in a year, so that may increase the used supply. Better to be safe ad sound now than stretch youself and end up sorry.


I actually will be out to Denver at some point. I have family out there. There is a Tesla store in/near Denver that I was going to visit while there. I know Tesla had issues in Colorado -- not being able to open new stores I think? -- in the store that's there, do you know if they can do test drives?

It is not the price of the car that matters, but how much of it you need to finance (which as @Xerogas pointed out, is different from what you actually finance).

If you woke up with $100K under your pillow, by all means, buy it even if you make $60K

If you are single and don't support anyone, 2:1 is a reasonable ratio (make twice the amount you need to finance).
If you support 1 person (for example unemployed spouse, or a parent), then you need 2.5:1.
If you support 2 (perhaps married with a kid), then 3:1.

However, if you own your place (no rent, no mortgage), that gives you wiggle room. If your spouse earns a stable income, or you are done with school and paid all those student loans and 0% intro credit-cards, you can reduce the ratio above a bit, in favor of making a purchase.

Regard cost saving, realistically you still have an electricity bill to pay, even if it is 1/4 your normal gas cost. Your insurance will be expensive compared to a cheap car (by less than $100 a month), and 10 years down the road, you could have to put in over $10K for a new car battery (that is shy of $100 a month)

Yes, I did my test drive at the store here. Someone told me that they will not let you test drive until your production date is getting close. I bought my P85+ specifically to rent it out. (This might have been a big mistake) I will let you test drive one of my cars for free. you can contact me at or Jim

OOOPS @Skotty Test drives in Denver!

@skotty In Denver the tesla store is in the Park Meadow mall, southern end of Denver just off I25. On Sat, it would be best to call to reserve a time. On weekdays, you could do a walk-in, but you MIGHT need to wait an hour for availability .

In my case, the Model S is the following all rolled into one:

  • Mid-life crisis vehicle - I turned 40-something this year and am thinking about death more than usual.
  • Business investment - as a Realtor, this vehicle will add to my business and help me grow it. I will surely promote the hell out of it and some of the vehicle costs are deductible.
  • Rental income pays for car - I have two rentals generating about $1,000 total in positive cash flow each month (25% return on cash) which essentially makes my car payment at 1.75% interest without spending a dime of my regular income.

I'm sure a financial advisor would probably still tell me not to buy this car, instead advising me to invest that much money each month into an appreciating asset. But that kind of advice is true of any vehicle purchase. My Prius is now six years old and just broke 120,000 miles. No problems with the car, but given the mileage and consumer perception of battery lifespan, I need to sell it now. There is no other car out there except the Model S that excites me. The thought of ever stopping at another gas station depresses me. So I'm taking the leap. I'm getting older, this car has me by the balls, I qualified for the loan, my rental property income makes the payment, and some of my vehicle expenses will be tax deductible for the business. At 1.75% interest the loan is basically free money, so why not?

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