Why Your Expensive Luxury Car Doesn’t Impress Smart People. (Or Me.)

A few days ago Jennifer commented on a post I had written entitled 8 Big Reasons Why You’re Getting an F in Personal Finance 101. She was lamenting the sense of entitlement she saw in many people. Here is an excerpt:

“I know a woman who is a single mother and hit up her friends for money to replace the engine in her SUV. I declined to participate because even though I have a lot more money than her, I have a 9-year-old car that’s worth maybe $2000, and hers is worth about $30K. Her engine costs more than my whole car… I will admit that peer pressure is real though. I’ve had many people mock my car, and if I cared, I would run out and get a fancier one.”

Ah, Jennifer. Let them mock you all they want because those people clearly have a misguided view of how the world really works.

Yes, it’s true a large segment of society still believes that the car a person drives is a status symbol that accurately reflects the level of financial success he or she has achieved.

The truth is smart people know nothing could be further from the, er, truth. (Dang, I hate when I do that.)

As far as smart people are concerned – and even dummies like me — the sticker price of somebody’s car can never be considered a reliable indicator of their financial success.

If you don’t believe me, just look around; the proof is everywhere.

For example, here in Southern California I see teenagers driving BMWs, and Lexuseseses (or is it Lexi?) all the time. I don’t think most of them hit it big blogging, or own wildly successful businesses at that tender age.

I also see people working in jobs that pay $30,000 per year driving Infinities. Is that supposed to be impressive?

More like stupid.

Heck, Jennifer’s friend owns a relatively-modest priced SUV and she couldn’t even afford to get the engine fixed.

So clearly, one cannot determine the size of a person’s bank account merely by the type of car they drive.

I know a couple that used to live in my little neighborhood community who drove brand new his and hers BMWs. Guess what? The bank foreclosed on their house a while back and they had to move away. Although I do not know the exact circumstances that led to the foreclosure, perhaps if they drove more modest cars that didn’t require monstrous monthly payments — or better yet, no payments at all – they might still be living in their home today.

Although we can truly afford to drive almost any car we desire, The Honeybee and I choose to drive a 2001 Honda Odyssey and 1997 Honda Civic, respectively. Our cars are not glamorous, obviously, but they are well-maintained and, best of all, they are paid for.

Although she didn’t say so, I bet Jennifer’s car is paid off. I’ll also wager the vast majority of newer luxury cars on the road aren’t.

And while those over-extended luxury car owners will continue to be saddled with some hefty car payments over the next several years for the privilege of traveling to their jobs in style, the rest of us will continue driving our Honda Civics, Toyota Corrolas, and Ford Focuseses-es (or is it Foci?) and use the money we save for our relentless drive toward financial freedom.

And guess what?   Most of us won’t give a damn what the others think either.

If I had to give any advice to Jennifer on this subject, I would tell her that she should never fear peer pressure for owning a “beater” for a car.

Financially savvy people actually consider it a badge of honor.


  1. 1


    My husband once looked around our modest neighborhood and asked, “How these guys affording these cars?” I pointed out that most of them probably had 6 or 7 year loans for their cars, and were living paycheck to paycheck. The same is true for almost any fancy purchase. Big TVs can be financed, as can almost anything that you buy that tries to say, “Look at me; I’m awesome and living large.”

    • 2

      Weldon Gebhard says

      Just love this subject. More people get in financial difficulty here than any other place.
      I have never bought a new car
      I only pay cash for a car
      I bought my first car for $50 and started working on it MYSELF. Learn to do most work.
      I believe that the BEST car is a company car. You know the company provides it.
      I keep most cars for short periods and let others take the big depreciation hit
      I now drive an 07 cadilac, my most ever luxury car $16,000 and will sell it the end of this year
      I am 74. My wiife and I enjoy life vacationing with my large family. I can afford it.

      • 4

        brandy8652 says

        I love this article..I think like most of you car notes is what keeps people down financially..I knew I had really turned a corner when they pricey cars and flashey name brands did nothing for me anymore..I have more invested,feel more secure and never have arguments over money in my marriage..Not saying having Money solves all problems but it does give you one less thing to worry about when you figure it out and get spending under control… : )

    • 5

      Mark says

      this is not always the case, i own an audi tt and paid for my car in full in cash no loans i dont live pay-check to pay-check hun, I work really hard to get the things i want in life and dont really watch what other people are doing.
      In my humble opinione you and your husband should have put a little bit more effort into your schooling and then you wouldn’t have to pass judgments on your nabours you to could also buy the things you want :)

      • 6

        Fishdad says

        She said “most”. You are obviously an exception to the rule. I agree with her that they are probably overextended. I don’t see that as a judgement on her part. She is just stating fact. “Hun”!

        • 7

          Daniel Guzamn says

          I came across this page googling “people that buy expensive cars that have never moved out of parents house”. My dad has so many neighbors that have kids in their 30s that have never moved out and drive luxury cars. I think it’s pretty pathetic. I went to college and got through with no debt. I struggled to find a job so I feel a little financially behind but I still managed to move out and buy a car. I really wanted the most expensive Audi A6 which I can afford to finance but I ended up financing a Scion. I’m glad I did, because I have been through some financial disasters that didn’t allow me to save much money. Financing the Audi could have made me dip into my savings. I really want my Audi but I’ll wait until I make more money and maybe aim higher. One thing that I don’t get is people that live at home and make as much money as me but don’t have anything to show and are completely broke.

      • 9

        ToMarkLearntoWrite says

        Mark, that is not believable. Your statement about putting more effort into schooling is laughable. You begin your sentence in lower case. Your grammar is so poor. “i” is “I”. Audi is capitalized. Opinione?

        Mark you should have put more effort into school.

      • 10

        Nabours? says

        Don’t forget he spelled neighbors as “nabours”. That was the worst one! He really thinks people believe he went to school. Not! Go back to school Mark.

    • 11

      Bob says

      An overwhelming majority of americans are poor and living in pathetic places, earn minimum wages and happy with what they got. As Romney said they are insignificant, junk population, they don’t matter. People who buy nice cars, myself included, have different life attitude. First of all, I pay for a great car because I appreciate its qualities. And because I am well educated and hardworking engineer who wants the best. You drive a piece of junk and take a pot shot on me, someone who worth ten times you do and creates value ? Use to be aristocracy dressed differently and rode differently. Today we are crop of society and differenciate ouself from junk population. It not for you to admire, it is for us to recognize one another in midst of rest of you. And I started in this contry as H1B and many smart and awesomely educated and determined people did. Young americans who went to college for political science or history today serve my coffee. Get it?

      • 12

        BobIsIgnorant says

        Don’t listen to this guy. I have no idea how old this webpage is, this comment may be years late, but all I have to say is Bob is ignorant. If he was as educated as he says he is, then obviously he somehow never took a sociology class. If you understand the structure of capitalism, it’s that not EVERYONE can succeed and make big money. You’re basically offending those who the system purposely defeats and makes unsuccessful. Just because you work hard, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed success. There are only a limited number of high paying jobs, just look at the economy, it’s 2014! What I think the author is trying to say is that some people are arrogant and think having more $ makes them a more prestigious person. So I’m guessing that makes you junk compared to celebrities who make millions? The same celebrities who make millions beign stupid AND uneducated? Face it, there’s thousands of celebrities who make 10 times what you make, yet their IQ is below 100 (just watch Jershey Short). What the author is trying to state is that people care too much about image, and invest money THE DON’T REALLY HAVE into a nice luxury car. They could spend money more wisely, buy used, then save up for more important things…then maybe a time will come where they actually have spare money to buy the car they want. She’s referring more to finiancial management. And how dare you call people with low incomes “junk”. You should admire these people for making the best of what they have. They’re unlike you, you’re a man who is vain. Your happiness comes from your belongings and trying to “be above others” with nicer things. Some people can have nice things and still be humble, but you’re obviously not such a person. I’d rather make friends from someone from the “junk” population – someone who works hard given what they have, has close family ties, and has the will to endure a difficult life, rather than a person like you – thinking material objects decide how great of a person you are. You probably have no one’s respect and everone thinks your a douche behind your back…yet you hold your head up high thinking you’re so great because of your nice “things”. Heck, I’m sure you’d say Jesus himself was part of the junk population!

      • 14

        Sam to ignorant Bob says

        My family also came to America with less than a dollar and a dream. Both my parents earned their PhD’s in this country and made excellent money over the years. They drove VOLKSWAGONS!! I myself was working for one of the biggest software companies in the world and was making the big bucks, I drove a Toyota Echo. My fellow employees all joked me calling it an “Eco” as in economic… I took that as a compliment. When the Tech boom busted, they were all worried about impending, and much to their dismay…layoffs, I had a huge savings account, stocks/bonds, 401K etc…and Toyota Echo that was paid for. I still laugh real hard when I see you “aristrocats” pulled over on the side of the road with your broke down Jaguars, Beamers (BMW=Bought My Wife) etc.

      • 15

        Cru says

        Your poor deluded fool. Enjoy the “best” you “crop” of society.

        “You drive a piece of junk and take a pot shot on me, someone who worth ten times you do and creates value ?”

        Two undefined references to subjective value. Seriously, GFY, you’re no better than anyone else you chump.

    • 16

      Scott says

      Well, this article reeks of sour grapes and is rather generalized. I’m 26, own a 335is and went for engineering on a full-ride to a top school.

      If I want a BMW, while meeting all my other financial goals, I can have a BMW. Sure, there is a lot of money behind me from my parents, but I can easily afford 45,000 on the car and put 25000$ down while meeting all of my obligations.

      Not everyone is ‘trying to impress’. I’d never drive anything less. Sorry you’re poor and run a blog. Your husband sounds like a penny pincher.

      Oh, and I requested an M5 from my father-in-law when I get married, since he owns 2 companies.

      Also, house payments are a middle-class problem. Get a job, hunny.

      • 17

        Len Penzo says

        “…this article reeks of sour grapes.”

        If advocating personal responsibility is sour grapes, Scott, so be it.

        “I’m 26, own a 335is and went for engineering on a full-ride to a top school. Oh, and I requested an M5 from my father-in-law when I get married, since he owns 2 companies.”

        Wow. Bully for you. And we needed to know all that information because????

        I know. You aren’t one of those folks who likes trying to impress others. (From one engineer to another.)

        • 18

          Vernon says

          bah, bmws!? I drrive a toatally alpha 2002 MALIBU!!! jokes aside, is a new impala really not classy enough? their $30,000! and their as nice as a bimmer. 2008 impalas, while archaic should be fine enough. sorry in advance for any word issues, PSPs suck for typing.

      • 19

        Cru says

        “I’d never drive anything less.”

        Hahaha, your world is going to be so sad if even a hiccup disturbs your lifestyle.

      • 20

        MC says

        Wow, you are a top-notch d-bag. Must be nice to have Daddy funding your BMW. Hopefully someday he will donate your inheritance to charity and you will find out what engineers who don’t have trust finds drive. I’ll give you a hint, it’s probably beige and made in the Midwest by a Japanese company.

    • 21

      Terry Indebted says

      Sometimes I think people don’t understand what they are doing. How can they take loans for the passive consumption? If you take, it is only for the business.

  2. 22


    I get mocked all the time for being a young girl, driving a 11 year old minivan.

    Seriously, I couldn’t care less.

    I just smile and if I really get pushed, I say: I bought it in cash and it works beautifully.

    (And it does!)

    I won’t lose any sleep over people thinking I’m cheap.

  3. 24


    There aren’t a lot of things people can do to save money that REALLY save a lot of money. Turning out lights when you leave the room, eating out a little less, etc, are good, but they don’t add up all that fast.

    Choosing a cheap car ranks right up there as the biggest.

    Mine: 1999 Saturn SL2, 150K miles, no car payments for last 7 years.

  4. 25


    @Miranda – too funny. My wife and I used to laugh at the fancy luxury cars at our APARTMENTS too, hah.

    @gn – Excellent point! Once I started driving paid for cars I could save and invest w/out breaking a sweat. So fun! It’s too bad most people will go on thinking that a car payment is a fact of life (I know I used to believe that).

    I knew I’d turned the financial-success corner and headed the right way when I started looking at BMWs and thinking, “man, glad I didn’t pay for that!” Awesome post!

  5. 26


    Thanks Len for the shout out! I agree with you that an expensive car does not equal a fat wallet. I see college age folks driving new sports cars all the time. While it may be their parents bought it for them, that says a lot about the smarts of their parents!

    My 2001 Mazda Protege is paid off, since my husband and I paid cash for it at the dealer (it was used then). Well, we sort of paid cash. They wouldn’t accept actual cash and it was too late to get a bank wire on a Saturday, so they insisted we take it home without paying a dime! We did wire the money on Monday of course :)

  6. 27


    I’ve never owned a new car and the peer-pressure is very real, especially because I’m in management. I work at a medical device company and the lot is full of BMWs, Mercedes and Lexuses. I drive a 1996 Chevy Cavalier that I bought off the receptionist, when she upgraded to an SUV.

    I just can’t see dumping a huge amount of money into tranportation. Cars cost too much and depreciate too quickly. Although, I may break down and buy my first new car, when electric cars are finally available. I would love to drive something with lower maintenance and fuel costs.

  7. 28


    What is impressive is when you can afford to buy your BMW cash ;-)

    I love nice cars but they are clearly a huge source of expense. I just bought a RX-8 but instead of paying a brand new one at 30-35K, I bought a 2004 for 12K… I then have the pleasure to drive a nice car without having huge car payments attached to it :-)

    When buying a car, you also have to consider if you make enough money to pay for its maintenance. Tires, oil changes, gas, insurance, etc. they add up in no times!

    • 29

      A K says

      absolutely reasonable way of thinking , i do the same thing , why should i pay for a brand new car when i can buy it 3 or 4 years older with half the price ? :) .. but i have another thing here to mention .. am living in a country where where we buy cars with 10x of its original price , n am not exagerating ! we pay 200% customs on european cars , anyway … i own a bmw which believe ladies and gentleman i regret that i bought this car …. doesnt worth even half what i paid for it … go figure that the car didnt hit 100 k miles n i had a faulty gearbox that gonna cost me around the 10 thousand dollars to get it replaced !!! anyway what i am tryin to say here that expensive cars doesnt mean that it got the reliability the people thinks … its just u will get the looks you want n have some prestige while u cruising with yr fancy ride but on the other hand if u smart enuf u will think that this shit is worth the money u are spending :)

  8. 30


    Funny how one of the worst investments possible is one of the most popular! The other day I saw a nurse in my neighborhood get into here new corvette and shook my head as a rode my bike past.

    Too bad there aren’t more smart people out there cause I see a ton of high end cars where I live.

    • 31

      Mr America says

      I find all of you to be extremely rude and perhaps jealous is the better word just because some of us drive nice expensive luxury cars . Your answer to living on the edge of poverty is to ridicule others by insinuating that those of us fortunate enough to earn high 6 digit incomes because in most cases we finished college or maybe took over successful family business. Did you ever stop to think that not everyone lives beyond their means ? Do you really feel that by stating ” Too bad there aren’t more smart people out there ” forgives you for earning less or spending less than you really wish you could ? I have friends who change their new cars ( yes cars – not car ) every three months because to them spending $ 25000 is like you spending $ 250 . Now, before you begin blogging that their money would be better off spent curing the ill or perhaps giving to charities , please be advised they already do that .

      • 33

        SteveTheHawk says

        The article doesn’t state that every single person driving an expensive vehicle is living beyond their means. It states that many of them are, and that is absolutely true. People spend money they don’t need to spend simply because they want the world to know how important they are in their fancy car. I drive a small economical car though I could definitely afford a nicer one. I chose my car because it gets me where I’m going dependably and allows me to keep a lot of money where it belongs…. in my pocket. I guess if you don’t like it when people express their opinions of conspicuous consumption, I don’t know what to tell you. I guess you can believe that I’m jealous of you. The truth is, I grin when I think about how much money you spent that I didn’t.

        • 34

          youarehilarious. says

          america is so complex.
          In east asia is much more simple.
          either you buy a sls amg using a single day income or you can’t afford one forever

      • 35

        MIZ says

        “Mr. America”,

        because you are so offended by the article, it is obvious you are not truly wealthy, and are probably struggling with your finances and being able to afford your fancy car. You are so quick to call it “jealousy”, which is what all the pompous wanna-be rich people say. Like the 20-something-year-old, who *leased* his first BMW and is still taking money from mom and dad to help him out.

        Truly wealthy people know the difference, and understand what it takes to make money and hold on to it. No truly “rich” person would be offended by this article. You mention your wealthy friends who buy new cars every three months – there is a reason they aren’t posting here, and you are. I bet you are trying everything you can to “keep up” with your rich friends. trying to show them that you can appear to be wealthy too, and be in their elite circle. Yet I have a feeling you are like the little dog that follows them around all the time, wishing he was one of them. so sad. I think it is you who is jealous of someone who is happy with what they have, and is financially free.

        • 36

          Kelly says

          Miz got it in one. Mr. America is a wannabe richie who *imagines* himself rich and, as such, is offended by this article. If he had a 6 figure income, he wouldn’t give a damn. It’s that simple.

          Sorry we called your bluff, Mr. America.

      • 38

        Rob Lewis says

        Nice try. Nobody with the smarts to earn a high 6 figure income would get a new car every 3 months, too much hassle.

      • 41

        William says

        I think you missed the entire point Mr. America. I believe the author of the article is stating that if people were happy with what they owned, they would not worry about what the Jones’ drove.

      • 42

        Brian says

        I make high 6 figures after graduating from university. I work long hours and through long weekends. By 25, I’ve owned numerous cars that people would call high-end. But just two weeks ago, I’ve sold my beloved German performance luxury vehicle and now I rely on my beater 9 yr old motorcycle. Cars are a financial black hole all together and as a status symbol? HA. Only for those who need to stand a little closer to the urinal than others.

        • 43

          DiDi says

          when i was 24, i bought a 100k car. the car stayed in the garage most of the time and while it was awesome to drive, it wasn’t worth the $50k i spent in 2 years before i finally sold it. i also went on ridiculous vacations, staying at 5 star hotels, buying one way tickets to random places around the world just because i could afford it and came back when i was ready to go back to work.

          i did stupid stuff like this for 4 years while earning an avg of 450k/year (i got lucky – tech). i totally regret doing it because i literally have saved only 300k. i should have had 1 MILLION in the bank by now and bought a condo in cash (well, that would be stupid at today’s rates, but you get it). it’s not every day you land in a company that goes public. i squandered that money like it was nothing. i had fun, but those memories have faded. i spent 200k/year just to have ‘memories’; when i die it won’t mean anything.

          in retrospect, i would gladly be driving around in a beater and a more modest lifestyle for just a few more years. and when i stop working 20 years before everyone else, they won’t be talking about the beater i drove!!

          i respect those of you who make < 100k and can manage to save 20k a year.

          • 44

            Len Penzo says

            I don’t know many adults who didn’t wish could reallocate some of the money they spent as teenagers and/or twentysomethings. I blew upwards of $25,000 on stuff related to a rock band I was in when I was younger. I often wonder if I should have just invested that money instead. It’s all part of growing up and learning via the school of hard knocks!

          • 45

            Andy H says

            If I made $450K a year I would save up a million and disappear off the face of the earth. I’d go buy me a little cabin somewhere and just live off my savings. Who cares about a condo? The most precious thing in the world isn’t a thing, it’s your TIME. But then I guess most people wouldn’t know what to do with that much free time if they had it.

      • 47

        Free of debt! says

        Luxury car owners are saying to the rest of the world:
        I need a lot of attention for total strangers
        I want to appear to have more money than you
        I don’t have to answer to any one else for anything I do
        I don’t care about filling the air with pollution
        I don’t care about the rest of the world
        if my car is too big for the parking spot, that’s just too bad for everyone else.

        You are not envied, I could buy one too, but as a responsible and mature adult, I don’t want one. I don’t need the attention, or envy of others to make my day.

        • 48

          Qflux says

          Why do people who choose to drive an older average car want an award for it? And do you, and those like you, really believe that the moral superiority complex you’re displaying is any less ugly and obnoxious than what you’re attempting to critique?

          A cheap old car is certainly less efficient than any newer one, so leave you BS strawman “Eco” argument out of it

          Shocking as it may be to many of the self righteous commenters here, many folks have different priorities. People are entitled to find something in life they enjoy. For some its a car that they find pleasurable. For others maybe its a hobby or travel.

          People that obsess over the thoughts and actions of others, and spend all day rationalizing this behavior, are the *truly* repugnant ones and the real blight to humanity. And yes, this is you “fee of debt”

          The vast majority of humanities WORST problems stem from people rationalizing aggressively projecting their own value system and choices onto others and marginalizing their target by making broad and ignorant assumptions and twisting “data” to “prove” their subjective belief.

          Focus more on worrying about YOURSELF

          Very few of the commenters here proudly patting themselves on the back and rewarding those who agree with them while collectively stereotyping their chosen target are coming off as anything other than nasty and hateful. Good job!

          • 50

            IfinallyHaveaNiceCar says

            Well, said.

            People are acting like they are curing cancer by driving an older vehicle. Bravo for saving some money! Don’t worry about what other people are doing and keep focusing on your goals.

            It is so irritating to read so many smug comments.

          • 51

            DriedSquid says

            Excellent post, Qflux. I cannot believe I was sucked into reading so many of these posts, but I was just shocked at how passionate and even angry people are about, well, something that just doesn’t matter that much. And now I am actually writing something, instead of just shaking my head in disbelief and moving on to what I was originally searching for.

            There are, of course, very rational arguments for not buying higher-end vehicles. However, the title of the article is intentionally caustic, and attracts those who believe a particular way. We certainly do live in a prosperous and care-free society when time and energy is spent on getting worked up over the guy who drives a better car than you. Seriously. It’s just a car. Just a method of transportation. If some people foolishly spend more than they can afford to buy a luxury car — or even a very modest vehicle for that matter — what is it to you? I was equally surprised at people who claim they drive expensive vehicles, and attack those who do not.

            Some of the comments remind me of an episode of South Park where the new status symbol for the town became hybrid vehicles. They would pat themselves on the back for being smarter and caring for the environment more than everyone else. The town was eventually destroyed by a smug storm that drifted in from California. Silly. Absurd. But sadly, pretty damn accurate apparently. I drove a Prius (which was a Pious in the episode) at the time and thought it was funny as hell.

            It is fascinating that in my experience, I was picked at for driving a Prius for all the years I had it. I just jabbed right back. It did not make me lose sleep at night worrying what others thought. I like what I like, and that is all that matters. I loved the car. I only parted with it after my mother had a wreck and totaled her van. She wasn’t going to be able to buy anything decent with the money the insurance company could give her, so now she has the Prius. I know that car inside and out and it will run for many more miles without an issue. I ended up buying the incredibly evil BMW to replace the Prius. I know it’s evil, because I’ve seen it try to swerve at poor, defenseless puppies and little old ladies on the side of the road. I can’t prove it, but I think it smokes unfiltered cigarettes at night and farts repeatedly in a determined effort to further damage the ever-weakening ozone layer. But it is so pretty. So I try to overlook those wicked, unsavory personality traits. I bought her used, so maybe she is just psychologically damaged from her previous evil, arrogant owners. Perhaps I can help her change her wicked ways. Perhaps. But maybe… just maybe… she will turn even me into another reprehensible douche that you all love to hate.

      • 53

        BRAD says


    • 54

      ccm6543 says

      You’d be surprised how much “just a nurse” makes. I have been out of university for just 3 years and could easily afford a corvette and the associated costs no problem, be careful about the assumptions you make about people. On another note, I see the point of your post, and agree with you — too many people who own expensive vehicles can’t afford them.

      • 55

        William says

        Nurse, Assumption are people’s realities and assumptions predicated by experiences. One another note besides the current subject of the author’s article, as you might know, we live in a volatile economical times. With every bill you have including that really spiffy car, take all of your bills and multiply by 6 months. If you lost your job today, which possession would go first?

    • 57

      Captain Awesome says

      Let’s say the world ended tomorrow, that nurse got to drive a Corvette. You rode a bike. I don’t blame you for being jealous.

      • 58

        Stratman3 says

        Precisely! I’ve always encouraged people to do the things they want to today because there may not be a tomorrow for them or any of us.

  9. 62

    Mark says

    I hear you. Just after college I paid $400 for a 1991 Geo Prizm with 97k miles. While it is definitely one of the most humble cars I’ve ever seen, it is also mechanically sound and (with proper care) should last many years to come. In the meantime my wife and I have been able to achieve most of our financial goals (working on Baby Step 6 now, paying off the house), and I am putting $200 a month aside as a car replacement fund. Any guess on what I’ll be able to pay CASH for when my little Geo dies?

    • 63


      Man, those are great cars. At one point my dad, my mom and I all had Prizms. I sold mine after 10 years because I started working from home, so we no longer needed a second car. Then my dad finally got rid of his 20-year-old one because, though mechanically sound, it was rusting to bits. My mom still has her 2002 Prizm, and considering her record with cars, she’ll probably have it for as long as she’s able to drive.

      Anyway, I think at $400 for a Prizm with only 97k on it, you got a great deal.

    • 64

      Gus says

      LOL. If you have to drive a Geo I don’t know how you can afford a wife. Unless you can’t support her and she actually supports you. I can’t help but to laugh at everybody’s comments. I choose to drive whatever I feel like any day out of my 11 cars. Yes insurance is expensive but I am a car guy. I enjoy paying for my cars (all in cash of course) but I hate that I have to pay insurance. Bottom line, some people like cars some don’t. Nothing wrong with that, for example I think it’s stupid to pay crazy amounts of money on education actually. Basically we have libraries and google. To me it’s easier to figure out stuff I need to know than to learn what somebody else thinks I should know. Basically you can provide any good or service without a middle man (boss). For some people it’s very important to go to an ivy league school and pay a lot of money for it. Me on the other hand I like to use ive school graduates to make me money with their training and talents. In conclusion, we all have different visions and priorities. Some people will rather enjoy life now some later, some love cars some don’t. Some like the idea of a Prius and some of us would rather have a car with a nice roaring V12.

      • 65

        Charlie says

        Finally, someone who makes sense. Spend your money to make yourself happy. If it’s vacations, hobbies, running, working out, or racing cars it just depends on what you want to do with the money. Whats the point of making money? To live a fulfilling life.

    • 66

      Dave says

      So you’re going to take those hard-saved dollars, that nice chunk of capital that decently vested could be earning you 5-7% a year and turn it into a …. depreciating asset?
      With excellent credit a used car loan will hit you 2.1-3%, you can borrow money and still potentially be better off. Just because you don’t like the idea of a payment don’t let it blind you to opportunity cost. Evaluate carefully.

  10. 67


    Yeah, I live in an apartment complex: Nicer than some but not luxury living by any stretch of the imagination.

    And yet…

    There are an awful lot of nice cars. Granted, I consider a nice car to be anything above $30,000-$35,000. I don’t know how people measure cars in the real world. I just know that I’m perfectly happy if our next car is a Hyundai or something similar.

    This whole car:living quarters ratio kind of blows my mind. Until I remember that there’s probably a reason these people are renting, and it’s sitting in their parking space.

    • 68


      @Miranda: Great point about other large purchases. You know, I look around my neighborhood and think the same thing sometimes. Especially when the homes have not one, but TWO fancy cars.
      @FB: Hi, Me! :-) Ha! What are YOU doing driving a minivan? (Just kidding.) Seriously, minivans are very practical. We love ours. It can be used to haul large items or lots of people in real comfort. It ain’t sexy, true. But it’s a great way to travel – especially over long distances! :-)
      @gn: You are right. It is a real luxury not having to make a car payment every month for five hundred dollars or more. That is a VERY significant amount of money that can be used to quickly build emergency or your retirement savings accounts.
      @Deacon: LOL I assumed I was the only one who thought that way when I see those luxury cars.
      @Jennifer: Thanks for sharing your story – for once I didn’t have to think too hard for an idea! LOL That car dealer took a bit of a risk, yes? If you had crashed the car over the weekend before you actually wired the money wouldn’t they have been on the hook to pay?
      @Bret: There are a lot of high-end cars where I work too. The upside for me is when we have to travel locally, most of the time nobody wants to ride with me in my Civic so I get to ride with the engineers who bought the luxury vehicles! :-) I value a car by its ability to get me from point A to point B safely, reliably, comfortably and efficiently. Fortunately, there are lots of cars on the market (both used and new) that can meet those requirements for a relatively small amount of money.
      @Mike: I know you didn’t ask me, but right now I spend between $1500 and $2000 per year on maintenance – that ensures my car continues to run like new. Yes, being able to pay cash for a BMW is impressive! On another note, my next car will probably be almost new. Maybe a year or two old, tops. That should result in some significant savings since, as Bret alluded to, cars depreciate a good chunk of their initial value when they are driven off the lot.
      @Ryan: My old boss owns a Corvette and that thing seemed to always be in the shop. They are expensive to maintain – even for mundane things like tires.
      @Mark: It all depends on how much cash you have! If your Prizm goes another 7 or 10 years, you should be able to buy something very very nice!
      @Abigail: It’s all about priorities, I guess. There are folks out there who consider their car more important than their living arrangements – or being able to build a bigger nest egg, for example! To me, a car is near the bottom of my “priorities totem pole.”

      • 69

        Qflux says

        Right… The last point s the ONLY one for you and your self righteous commenters.

        So let’s make a nice list.

        Everyone here of like mind, plus you, list what you DO spend money on.

        Then everyone who feels its “low priority” can attack you for it, criticize you, make ignorant assumptions about you based on it, and lord it over you.

        Oh let me guess…

        All of you ONLY spend on food, shelter and bare necessities and hoarding cash for the apocalypse right?

        Well congratulations! You win the superhuman award! When you die your kids will thank you when they blow through it, or if you have none, the govt will thank you when they do.

        Not everyone you see doing something YOU judge as “a waste” is irresponsible.

        What am immature and ridiculous attitude

        • 70

          Len Penzo says

          The ONLY point of this piece was that those who drive luxury cars they can’t afford, shouldn’t do so.

          So why are you being so emotional, Qflux?

  11. 72


    @Len: Absolutely the dealer took a big risk! The funny thing is they INSISTED we take it home. They figured the bigger risk was me changing my mind and not returning. I might have been a deadbeat and never paid, and then they would have had to repo it. This was back in 2005 when US lenders threw money around like candy.

    Glad I can help you out with an idea. You let me know when you need another ;)

  12. 76


    i live in LA also and it is hard not to see some of the most expensive cars in the world here.

    it is one of those things where you hope you don’t fall into the my car is nicer than yours trap.

    • 77


      @Jennifer: LOL! Don’t give up all your good ideas!
      @James: Unfortunately that’s how a lot of people think out here, James – even if they can’t afford to try and impress the impressionable.

  13. 78


    I like to relate peer pressure, or keeping up with the fictional “Joneses” as being part of the lemmings. Why jump off that cliff with your lemming friends when you know better. Now if only I could get my husband on board with the whole “you don’t need a luxury vehicle” point of view!

  14. 79

    Spedie says

    I am happily driving my 2007 Toyota Corolla CE, 5 speed manual transmission, around! It is paid for! It is reliable! It gets great gas mileage! If the battery dies or the alternator goes out, I simply start it rolling, jump in the car, put it in second gear and pop the clutch!

    It is very low maintenance. It even has a timing CHAIN, not a BELT.

    I love my car. At my income level (well over $100K), I could be driving a BMW or Lexus….especially since I am on Baby Step 6 and have been debt free, except the house, for quite some time.

    Love my Toyota…it probably won’t die on me for at least 10 more years….maybe 15. Heck, at 40K miles, I just got the engine broken in….

  15. 80

    Kevin M says

    Love this post. I drive a 1998 Jeep Cherokee that’s been paid off for years and laugh at all the people driving BMWs, Lexus, or whatever, knowing probably 2/3 can’t REALLY afford them.

    Plus, I see them so often, it makes them less appealing…why pay $40k for a car a bunch of people drive when you could spend $20k for an Accord or Camry (which are basically the same cars anyway)?

    • 81


      @Spedie: My Civic hasn’t crossed 120k miles, even though it is on its 14th year – but that is going to change since my commute doubled about six months ago. Still, I don’t see why I can’t squeeze another 130k miles out of it assuming I keep it well maintained (or maybe even longer).
      @Kevin: I’m with you, brother!

  16. 82


    I am in Cairo and a lot of people here dress in Western style, a lot of people wear arab style gowns and some just mix it up. The thing about the gowns is that they are comfy, protect from the sun and are cheap as hell…. A pair of Levi’s costs the same (or maybe slightly more) than a pair of Levi’s in USA, that is a LOT of cash in Egyptian pounds but people still save the money to buy them so they can look impressive. I know it’s extreme but I have almost considered wearing traditional Arab wear out of protest against the consumerism that takes over everything!

  17. 83


    Completely agree with the sentiments of this post. Since most cars are financed anyway, when I see a new car, I often think to myself “Yuck, I wonder what the payments are like on that thing!”

  18. 86


    It’s a bizarre sort of world we live in if people consider it better to impress strangers with an expensive car than to suck money off their friends just to keep it on the road.

    Sometimes I think I’m from an alien planet. :(

  19. 87


    We all love to look at that beautiful Ferrari or BMW that zips down the freeway at breakneck speeds. It is usually an indication of wealth but people who spend 6 figures on a vehicle probably aren’t especially wise with their money.

    Thanks for the post. It has been nominated as the top five posts of the week on my website! Congratulations!

  20. 88


    The obsession people have with cars in the US is interesting to say the least.

    I’m not saying I wouldn’t ever drive a luxury car, but it’s simply not going to happen until it can be paid for in cash.

    I currently drive a 1996 Ford Explorer with 196,000 miles and I’m hoping it’ll last me through the next 4 years of school. The engine was replaced at 176,000 and it’s been running great since then.

    What I don’t get is that people will pay so much more for basically the exact same vehicle. Yes, I think you are much more successful because you drive a Lincoln Navigator instead of a Ford Expedition.

    I won’t lie though, sometimes I give in to consumerism and think about how sweet it would be to drive an Escalade or Telsa Roadster (payment free of course!)

    • 89


      @LittleHouse: Some folks simply value nice cars more than others. If your hubby values them more than say a very nice vacation every year, then you’re going to have a lot of work ahead of you!
      @Monevator: That story really was amazing, wasn’t it? I would never have the stones to ever make a request like Jennifer’s friend did.
      @Conrad: Thanks for the nomination! I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Conrad!
      @Ryan: I’ve been a passenger in a lot of luxury cars, and they ARE really nice. But when I sit back and try to determine value for the money, I can never justify buying one. That’s just my opinion. And if some people think that makes me cheap, so be it. :-)

  21. 90

    Macs says

    I don’t particularly like cars, and certainly wouldn’t measure my ‘worth’ against my vehicle. I think mine is the ‘top beater’ of the page, a 1989 (yes, that’s twenty years old!) VW Golf, solid as rock and still running smooth at just over the 100k miles. It cost me a whopping £300. I like that it’s old – it’s purely mechanical, no computer bits and bobs, no irritating voices if you don’t belt up etc. But most problems I can fix myself… well, some problems, I’m no mechanic … but I can manage my own oil changes and filters etc. It’s well battered (let’s say the previous owner wasn’t too good at cornering!) so all my work colleagues are constantly nagging at when I’m going to buy something newer. Simple – I’m not! It’s not broken, nothing to fix. But I do enjoy the occasional dig when they have to ‘pop out’ to buy a £300 sensor, or spend £100 on an oil change, or need a lift home because their computer won’t let them drive. “So, when you going to get rid of this expensive white elephant and get a car that works, then?” I ask.. Ah, schadenfreude.

    • 91


      You definitely win the prize among the readers for oldest car, Macs. Congratulations! The joys of a purely mechanical car are many, to be sure. When I was a teenager a lot of girls I knew drove VW bugs and they were so simple to work on that they often took care of their own repairs too.

      But, Macs, 100 pounds for an oil change? That’s like, what, $160 right now? Are oil changes really that expensive across the pond?

    • 92

      Gus says

      Wow. It’s nice to be able to charge that much for an oil change. I need to look into setting up some oil change stations in Europe if this is true. Also worth looking into producing aftermarket sensors for cars or importing them if you guys don’t have access to them.

  22. 93

    Macs says

    “But, Macs, 100 pounds for an oil change? That’s like, what, $160 right now? Are oil changes really that expensive across the pond?”

    If they see you coming… lol

    To be honest I don’t know the actual cost, as I never do it. But I’m sure £50 would be a lower limit, plus the hassle factor of being without your vehicle for the morning. Compared to maybe £5 for new oil, £10 for filters, and a few minutes of getting greasy by doing it yourself, I think the DIY has to win out.

    BTW I’m going to trawl the rest of your blog soon, I just arrived on a link from Monevator. Cheers!

  23. 94

    CH says

    In my line of work, 90+% of the people I speak with each day are millionaires. They typically drive nice cars, but very few of them purchase new cars every 1-2 years (I don’t know any who lease). I see a lot of them driving nice cars (occasionally I’ll see someone roll up in a ’80s honda with the muffler hanging on with coat hanger, who is a multi-millionaire, but that is the exception), and they are almost always paid for (if not, they could all be paid off in a heartbeat). What many people don’t realize is that these people have not always lived the lifestyles they are currently living.

    The millionaire next door was a great book, but what has made an even better impact on me to is to see the it in real life. I once helped someone send money to a dealership to pay for a new car. I knew that the dealer sold Audi’s, so I asked if he was getting a new Audi. His response was awesome ‘I wish I could afford an Audi!’. Many people who are actually driving these cars are limiting themselves from being able to keep up their same lifestyle down the road, and meanwhile the guy who could pay cash for 50+ Audi’s doesn’t feel like he can afford one.

    • 95


      @Macs: Welcome aboard! I’ll have to thank my friend the Investor (again) for sending you here. Monevator fans (of which I am one of the biggest!) tend to be among my “stickiest” readers, so I hope that trend continues with you, Macs! :-)
      @CH: Very interesting! Can I ask what line of work you are in, CH? If I was a multi-millionaire, I would probably would buy a luxury car. Great insight on the fact that many folk driving these cars today are going to be unable to maintain that lifestyle down the road. I’m curious if they will be able to handle driving a more modest car down the road after years of driving a luxury car…

      • 96

        CH says

        @Len – can’t really say much more than I work with people and their money/investments, and all my clients are millionaires. Most of them do drive luxury cars, but we’re talking Lexus, BMW, Cadillac, etc., not Bentley, Rolls, etc.

        • 97


          @CH: I really don’t find it surprising that most of your millionaire clients drive the mid-level premiums like Beemers, as opposed to Bentley’s. If I was a millionaire, I’d “settle” for the BMW (or similar lower-priced luxury marque) too. As a millionaire, I would ask myself the same question I ask when I choose between a Civic and a BMW as a “thousandaire:” for the extra $50,000 or $100,000+ I’d pay for a Rolls or Maybach, what am I really getting? Whatever it is, from a utility perspective, I can’t believe it would be worth the price premium.

          • 98

            L says

            What counts as a millionaire, for you? Investable assets? Net worth (including home equity)?

            What about if most of a person’s wealth is in non-accessible tax-advantaged retirement savings?

            Just curious. I keep tabs on our personal balance sheet, but I’d have a hard time self-identifying as a millionaire if that million was composed of retirement savings and home equity.

          • 99

            Len Penzo says

            Hard to say, L, but for me it’s not so cut and dried as my net worth. I definitely wouldn’t include the money in my 401(k). I’d base it more on annual income: Without thinking about this too deeply right now, I’s say I would consider myself a millionaire if I could pull in $500,000 per year.

      • 100


        @CH You just reminded me that there was a brand new Maserati GranTurismo parked close to my house today. I guess the people with the premium vehicles above Mercedes and BMW tend to have many other cars as well. I know of this Maserati owner and hear that he has at least 5 others. I’ve also read that the average Bentley owner has 6 or 7 other cars.

      • 101

        CH says

        For clarification – I’m in the Midwest, so people are a bit different with how they spend than some other places. However, I never said that there is anything wrong with buying expensive cars, I think it all just comes down to what people want to spend their money on. What is worth noting though is something that has been mentioned in other comments, that there is a difference between luxury vehicles and ‘ultra-luxury’ vehicles. BMW, Benz, etc. are not even in the same league as Maserati, and really shouldn’t even be compared IMO.

        Bentley says that the average owner of a Bentley has a net worth of $30M. Should the person worth $1.5M buy one? That’s their call. There is a big difference between the person who has worked hard for average pay and saved a million bucks and the person who earns that or more in a year.

        I guess all I’m really trying to point out is that a million bucks isn’t as much money as it once was (still a lot of money…but less so), and that just because someone accumulates $1M+, they can’t automatically afford anything in the world.

  24. 102


    Great article! I generally agree with your views on this. However, I look at things a little differently. I basically consider every car under $70,000 to be non-luxury. I don’t believe there is any such thing as a prestigious Infiniti. The fact is that when you see an Audi R8, Aston Martin or other vehicle like that, they usually say quite a bit about the owner’s net worth. This $70,000 line simplifies things for me. People with a weak net worth have trouble buying cars over $70,000. In fact, moving my line up to $100,000 might not be a bad idea either.

    • 103


      Hey, Jon, that is an interesting observation that makes a lot of sense. My ex-neighbors with the his and her BMWs probably would never have qualified for his and hers Maybachs – let alone even one. Maybe I need to create a new category of auto – like pseudo-luxury, sub-luxury, or poor-man’s luxury car.

  25. 104

    LJ says

    Interesting to read the disdain of “luxury car drivers” from some of those who have commented here. I guess I could be mildly offended because I’m one of THOSE people. Being the previous owner of a BMW 525 and the current owner of a 2008 Audi A6 quattro. Yes..I’m a major car enthusiast and love to drive a well tuned automobile. It’s not necessarily a “symbol of my success”, I merely enjoy sweet cars..what can I say?? Trust me, I’ve driven my share of beaters! In college and after I drove a 1979 Toyota Celica..with ripped seats and a primered hood. I reached several milestones in my life before purchasing a “luxury car”. I bought my 2nd home, maintain a signifcant investment account.. married my beautiful wife (who drives a paid for ’00 Maxima..her choice) we travel when we want and live a comfortable life. I guess my point is..don’t judge. If your neighbor wants to buy a Benz or whatever, if he can afford it or not, if hr planned for it or not..it’s his life. You do with your life what you want to do. Like drive a Focus! I’m sure he’s not judging you for that.

    • 105


      Don’t be offended. I understand there are many people who CAN afford nice cars – and bully for them (and you)! But many people buy expensive luxury cars they can’t afford precisely because they WANT to be judged. That is, they want to try and impress others with their supposed “wealth.” This was simply meant to be a public service notice to those folks that buying a car to impress others is a fool’s game because smart people (and me) rarely equate the type of car one drives with their financial success anyway.

      • 106


        Yep I totally agree but let’s bare something in mind. Not all people who drive luxury cars are those who are so called pushing their $$$$ to buy one cos some really can afford easily. To be fair, we should not judge them just by what they are driving. Who knows what jobs they are holding? Btw I’m a car fanatic who admires hyper cars of all sorts. :D However we should definitely know how far our budgets are and do more research on a car we’re eying on first. For your info I live somewhere in SEA where cars are highly sought after. But, the prices have been sky rocketing due to the blooming economy. Even a Toyota corolla cost like, near to 80k. The standard of living is sky high and like what is mentioned in the article, 40 % of the cars are BMWs, Mercs, Audis and getting popular…………Porsches. Yet the not so well to do community own cars like………..WTH????? A BMW X6 and a Lambo Countach to name a few…….. Btw a X6 here costs as much as a Lambo in America and not the M-Division version X6. Unbelievable right? o.O

    • 107

      Kelly says

      Once again, the post isn’t pissing on luxury car owners as a whole. If you went back and actually read it instead of reacting on reflex, you’d understand that.

    • 108

      J.G. says

      @LJ- You are the only one that has made sense thus far IMHO. Kelly…YOU should actually read the posts above to get his point!

  26. 109

    Samamoh sac says

    Hey guys! I drive a new Toyota . Certainly it is not a luxury car. It is a reliable car. I hate it when people look at me. I don’t want any attentions from other people at all. I am going to tint the windows so they can’t see me. At the same time I hate to drive the car with tinted windows cuz it is hard to see at night and all seasons here are really dark except summer. You guys have any ideas why they like to look? Cuz they are jealous? Cuz I live in a bad neighborhood? I hope I have an old reliable car so they won’t pay attention to me. I am seriously hate it. If I like a luxury car I won’t drive a Toyota! Stop being a fool by judging what car they drive. Some rich people drive a 92 chevy that you will never know!

    • 110


      If you “don’t want any attentions from other people,” maybe you should just close your eyes! It’s a lot cheaper than getting the windows tinted. ;-)

    • 111

      Mr America says

      They look at you because you are the reason why our country is in the shape it is today . You chose to give your American dollars to a country that operates in America almost tax free. You chose to give your hard earned dollars to the same country that may have killed your grandfather or grandmother or maybe even one of your closest friends relatives at Pearl Harbor . They even have a couple of words for others like you . One is stupid and the other is traitor .
      Yeah , I know -your going to tell us the same stupid nonsense that when America builds a good car you wouldn’t be driving a Toyota . Isn’t that interesting because the last time I looked your dealer had a huge building behind the showroom called the SERVICE dept and its filled with broken Toyotas . Imagine that !

      • 112

        Ihatethe405 says

        Mr. America, Toyotas are built right here in Illinois. While Ford and GM ship more and more production to Mexico and Ford just invested $600M in CHINA. Know your facts before you post.

  27. 115

    mermaids614 says

    I can understand your point of view, however, while all the assumptions and judgement? Not everyone who drives a luxury car is living paycheck to paycheck. It’s almost as if you are insecure about your clunker, therefore it makes you and the other clunker drivers who commented feel better or smarter. People buy and pay for what they want. It’s not your place to judge. That’s what people work for. Some people actually like to pay for things that make them happy after they have worked hard to obtain them.

    As for the person who said they laugh at people in apartments who drive luxury cars………not everyone wants to own a home. Home ownership is a lot of work. My aunt is single and makes over 100k a year. She owned a home when she was younger. She has great credit, is debt free, but she chooses to rent her home. She likes to drive decent cars as well. That is her right.

    • 116

      CR says

      I’m not quite sure how old this post is, so I don’t know whether this comment will be read. Len’s article is not slating people for buying luxury cars. It is questioning why people who are, realistically, unable to afford them get themselves in a significant amount of debt.

      I live on a small cul-de-sac in the north of England and I can tell you now, there a lots of people living beyond their means here. The cost of running a car here has risen substantially over the past 6/7 years to the point that filling the tank of a 1.6 Honda Civic will cost you £60+ ($100+). People should just live within their means :(

      • 117

        Len Penzo says

        Bless you, CR. Thank you for proving there are folks out there who have excellent reading comprehension skills.

        I was beginning to get worried. :-)

        Wow, I can’t imagine spending over $100 to fill the tank of a Honda Civic.

  28. 118


    To the contrary, Mermaid. I am very proud of my 1997 Honda Civic! Stop on by and I’ll even give you a ride in it sometime. Don’t worry. I keep it very clean. ;-)

    If you want to drive a $60,000 car and can comfortably afford the payments, bully for you.

    This post is clearly directed at people who purchase fancy cars – even though they can’t reasonably afford to – because they are under the mistaken impression that they are impressing people. The truth is, there is nothing impressive about driving a fancy car if you are struggling to make ends meet.

  29. 120

    jeanette butler says

    Mr. America,
    I don’t think anyone is finding fault with someone that has the resources to purchase whatever they please. I think that the point being made is that there are so many people that are not financially savy making poor consumer choices. I too could afford to purchase more expensive cars. I choose to put my money into non-depreciating assets. To each his own. Generally speaking, most people are clueless about how money works.

  30. 122


    Mermaids614, I completely understand your point. However, at the same time, there seem to be far too many people nowadays who don’t have much money yet buy mid range luxury like the E-Class and 5-Series.

    Simply put, because of this, you now have to spend even more if you want to stand out. It makes having an amazing car even more expensive for those of us who *can* afford it. I’m becoming more and more unsatisfied with my sub-100k luxury car because all this overspending allows these people to get cars that are only ten or fifteen thousand dollars less than mine.

    I figure you’ll soon need a 100k+ car in order to stand out. If people bought what they could afford, this wouldn’t be the case.

    • 124

      Number1Guest says

      It’s the same story with houses. The difference is I’m not forced to bail-out luxury car buyers that default on payments. All the while I could have bought that house/car/item for less if people had to use their own money (cash) instead of begging for a loan (which are the savings in my account) from a bank. Thanks a lot greedy, pretentious scum. I work, sacrifice, and save and bide my time until I save up enough to *afford* something. You’ve made everything exponentially more expensive by constantly using money that you don’t have.

  31. 125

    Tigerjolt says

    I drive a 2001 Dodge Caravan and it so rocks my socks! It can get me from Memphis, TN to Chicago, IL on ONE tank of gas! Seriously! We went last year and got a little worried on the way and stopped at Edinburgh to gas up at half a tank. But on the way home, we filled up and made it to our driveway just as the gas light came on! How sweet is that?!

    Oh and at over 133K miles, I see many more road trips ahead!

  32. 126

    Christopher says

    While I understand the fact that not everyone cares about what they drive and I agree that a car doesn’t always accurately represent what a person is worth, don’t look at me funny for driving a nice car. I was the kid that grew up poor and had the Ferrari posters on my bedroom wall. We had old hand-me-down cars. I always dreamed about owning cool cars. Now that I’m old enough and have a decent job, I spend more than is necessary on cars. I’m not trying to impress you. I don’t care what you think about what I drive. I buy and drive nice cars because I want to. It’s something I’m passionate about. Something that I have fun with. I buy cars that are a few years old, that have lost half there value but are still very fun to drive. I drive them for a year or so and then get a new one. I can sell them for a loss of a few thousand, which is basically just a car payment. It works for me…
    So to all the financially smart people posting here that have-paid off 2002 Subaru’s, we’re not all trying to impress you and remember, you can’t take it with you! ;-)

    • 127

      Wiseguy says

      I totally agree. I struggle with the balance between only what I need (minimum $$$) and what I would like/enjoy more (extra $$$). How much is the extra fun worth to me?

      While some people will unfortunately take it to the extreme and negatively judge people because they have nice cars, I think the important criticism here is about the people who drive cars that they can’t safely afford. If you have sufficient funds, you’re certainly welcome to drive whatever you wish. But if you can’t afford it, you’re a fool if you overextend yourself just to impress people.

    • 128

      Stratman3 says

      Christopher, I came from similar circumstances and worked hard to get through college and become gainfully employed. The difference is that I used to buy British sports cars and 4×4 trucks that needed mechanical work, did the work myself and drove them for a few years then would sell them. Now I own a 2012 Lexus IS F because I wanted a new performance car for once. I don’t look down on anyone and I don’t think I’m “cool” driving this either. I have an older 4×4 to go surfing in though.

  33. 129

    Tom R. says

    I was in that vehicle rat race, but for different reasons. I used to drive a F250 Super Duty Crew Cab diesel, but unless you saw it pulling the trailer we had for our store you would have thought it was overkill (then again, we live in Austin TX, so big trucks are normal around here). Our first mini-van was high-end fully loaded model I bought from a credit-union repossession auction. Paid $20k for a $36k 1-1/2yr old vehicle.

    Got rid of my last truck (Dodge Ram, terrible gas mileage) in 2008 just as the lease was up and gas prices were killing us, and my neighbor had his daughter’s low-mileage car for sale,a little Hyundai Accent. Took a 3 yr note from the credit union and have 12 months to go. Simple cheap car to do maintenance on, timing belt is next and I do my own maintenance.

    I do a lot of other stuff to reduce my expenses so I probably save a lot that way. Schedule all my errands at once in the most efficient route;try to time my gas usage to run by the cheapest gas station around just when I need to fill up, etc.
    I also use synthetic oil for better engine management temperatures, lubrication, and cheaper cost in the long run. I used to average 15k miles/yr, but with planning and lower-income, I now do about 10k, including driving to work. I’ll be keeping that car for a long time as a commuter. The big problem we have in Austin is you’re only allowed to have 1 vehicle per driver in your driveway. Even older non-registered vehicles are not allowed and since everyone uses their garages as storage nowadays…..

    I’ve still got the old ’67 Impala with a 4-brl Holley and 283 small block w/Powerglide tranny, simple to work on. And the ’91 Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptor (bought at auction), all mechanical :), so…..simple to work on and maintain, and ALL PAID OFF.

    Bottom line, doing your own maintenance work will save you a ton of money and it’s not that expensive.

  34. 130

    kickstand says

    It’s a pretty reliable indicator that anything sold as “Luxury” can be translated to “Waste of Money”.

  35. 131

    Southside! says

    Just found your post–interesting stuff! I must confess I did buy a Lexus back in 2001…but I bought it used (2 years old) and am still driving it. It’s gonna be 12 years old soon and we just passed 120K miles. LOVE the car. Paid it off in three years and never looked back. I have no interest in anything new, so it was a pretty good investment for me. It didn’t cost me any more than a new Avalon at the time, I had the bucks, and it’s a great car. Plan on keeping it to 200K!

    • 132


      Good for you! I think that is the best way to buy a car, Southside. Especially when you consider most cars lose almost half their value as soon as you drive them off the lot.

  36. 133

    Brenda says

    When I first started working, the first car I bought was a very very old Datsun. It got me where I wanted to go, even though it was probably the most dangerous car I will ever drive,but I was happy. Then I was transferred to Germany where my second car was a very old Ford. Again,I drove all over Europe in that thing, until it died. All my colleagues told me to get a BMW,or a Porsche, since it was the level they were driving.I seriously thought about it, but in the end, wound up buying a brand new Datsun 350(this was 1982, the year before they started calling all their cars Nissan). I was single with no debt except for the car note. I got married in 1984,still had my Datsun. My son was born in 1988,still had it; my daughter in 1990. The car had been in Germany, California, Indiana, Illinois, and Texas. We were moving to UPPER STATE NEW YORK in December 1991, the car was still going strong, but with two babies, I just did not feel as if we should be taking any chances, so we finally bought a new mini-van. Had the van until it died in my kids’ high school parking lot in 2005. No pricey car then, none now. We replaced it with another mini-van.We’re in the market for a new car since my husband’s car, purchased in 1990,just died last month , and it won’t be a luxury car although we could afford one. I’m at a point where I absolutely feel no need to show wealth by driving an expensive auto.

    • 134


      Good for you! And best of all, just think about all the money you saved over the years, Brenda, by not having a monthly car payment or two every year! Thanks for sharing! :-)

    • 135

      Anthony says

      Brenda guess what.??
      My dad bought a 1982 Datsun off the lot Cash for $3000 in 1983. He drove until 2 years ago when he gave it to me. He had 3 children with it and enjoyed it.
      I now have it. This car has never failed on me, has never had a car issue because me and my father maintain it pretty well because I don’t know that much about cars yet, but I will.
      I still have it today, gets about 25/mpg, and it’s been paid off for about 28 years now.
      I have about $40,200 for a new car, but I guess I fell in love with my FIRST love, and so many people try to clown me, but when they realize I have so much money in my wallet and not in debt, I always leave with the last laugh. :)
      I’m 21 years old by the way..

  37. 136

    M.D. says

    But Lenzo..obviously you’ve never driven a high end auto like a Bentley or similar vehicle. If so, you probably would not question the difference between them and some mid-range vehicles like BMW’s and the like.
    I must say there is clearly a difference.

  38. 138


    Len, I read about a rapper that just bought a new Veyron last week. It cost him $2 Million, plus $180K per year in maintenance. I’ll bet it’s fun to drive a 1,000 HP car. Of course, I rarely need to go 260 MPH.

  39. 140

    R says

    Mr fake America. Why dont you preach instead to the millions of fake patriots driving huge suvs and pickups wasting precious gasoline. Its these fake patriots who are keeping Mr Happy Arab, happy.

  40. 141

    dinosaurdave says

    Many posters have mentioned they drove blah blah until it “died”. The vehicle “dies” only in an accident with damage impossible/uneconomical to repair. I’ll wager a Mercury dime nearly all of those that “died” did so from decreasing levels of maintenance,brought on by an unwillingness to pay for sometimes expensive repairs.If your 10 year old $2500 car needs repainted and you won’t spend 400 for an econo paint job, you don’t get to say the car “died” 5 years later when you can toss your Value Menu wrappers out the rust holes. Buy yourself a quality car, maintain it and keep it forever. I’m more impressed with your 25 year old/600,000 mile immaculate Rabbit diesel than your neighbors brand-new Jag.

    • 143

      C says

      I totally agree! Pretty much what my parents do. We have a 90 Accord (98k mi.), 95 Quest (160k mi.), a 01 civic (130k mi.) and a 10 civic (15k mi.). I think of my dad’s 90 Accord as his nice car. My mom’s Quest takes us to church and people like coming with us because it has 7 seats and runs super smoothly but yes it does have its repairs. But my dad says, why not just repair it instead of buying a new car at $400+/mo on average? My dad bought me a 10 Civic just because it’s such a great car 35 miles to the gallon hwy and only costs my dad about 250/mo with insurance at .9% interest and he doesn’t want me to worry about getting stuck on the road. When I see my uncle’s Nissan truck hitting 350,000 miles man that knocks my socks off it’s like damn your truck is a champ. I know our Nissan will hit 250,000 at least before maintenance will even start to become a little pricier. As long as you take care of your car it truly will last forever.

    • 144


      It’s not only accidents that can kill a car. Eventually, even if you maintain it scrupulously, it will reach an age where the cost of keeping it on the road is higher than the cost of replacement. If you have a 20-year-old car that’s worth $200 and needs a fuel pump that will cost $500, it’s probably not worth it. (I say “probably” because if you love the car so much that you consider it irreplaceable, that’s something you can’t put a price on.)

      • 145

        Len Penzo says

        I hear ya, but I’ve never understood how some old cars can be worth less than the sum value of its parts.

    • 146

      Lori says

      I don’t put huge mileage on cars, so I like to buy a new one, at the best price I can get, and drive it almost forever. I stick to low to mid-price, mid-size cars. Many used cars have mileage on them that would be five or more years’ use for me. Many dealers offer 0% financing, too, so a new car can be a better buy. I haven’t ever had to do a really major repair except when someone crashed into me. I had an ’82 Toyota, took meticulous care of it, and was still driving it when it was stolen in ’95. Now I’m still driving the car I bought new then. The phonies in my suburban neighborhood like to make fun of my old car, but I haven’t had a car payment in 15 years.

      • 147

        Lori says

        I forgot to mention: one of the other savings is that it costs less to insure an older car; you can drop collision coverage when it no longer makes sense to carry it.

  41. 148

    Bitter, much? says

    I keep seeing a rash of posts that are blowback against “excessive” lifestyle choices – and the forums are full of anger and bitterness aimed at those people, as well as a smug self-assurance that the people who make these choices are foolish and will ultimately pay the price for their poor financial choices.

    You know what? A BMW is *much* nicer to drive than a Honda. It is.

    But you know what else? A good late model BMW that is in good condition can cost less than a brand new Honda.

    I’ve owned several BMWs now. A ’97 BMW 328i, a ’90 BMW 325i convertible. Currently I own a 2003 BMW X5, a ’97 BMW Z3 convertible and a 2006 Cadillac Escalade.

    They’re all reliable, well maintained, and absolutely more of a joy to drive than your typical grocery getter.

    And here is the hilarious part. Most of the people cruising around in a brand new, $26,000 Ford Focus, Honda Accord or Toyota Camry don’t know the difference between a 2006 Escalade and a 2007 Escalade. Only other Cadillac Escalade owners know. I get all the same admiration *and* hate directed at me as a guy pulling out of the dealer lot in a brand new 2011 Escalade. But I paid *less* for my Escalade than many of you paid for your daily-driving *beaters* that will depreciate faster than rocks dropped over the side of a hot-air balloon.

    Haters gotta hate, I guess – and if it makes you feel better to think the guy in the luxury sport-ute or German car is an idiot and that you’re intellectually superior in your rattling, feature starved rust-bucket, you go right on going on.

    Seems like there is a lot of anger, frustration, and justification for failed potential in these threads and blog posts, to me.

  42. 149

    Bitter, much? says

    One more thing, Len…

    Delayment of gratification only works if you cash in that good-will before you DIE.

    If you die tomorrow, someone else benefits from the fact that you sacraficed and skimped to drive a beat up Honda.

    If you can treat yourself to a luxury, to a better experience, *today* – and it isn’t going to affect your comfort *later* – why wouldn’t you?

    Living beneath your means is fine if there is an end-goal that you’ll make it to. But if you’re doing it just to show how much smarter you are than the average bear… maybe you’re not so smart, after all. Instead of “bitter much”, maybe I should have asked, “Catholic, much?” Didn’t “self flagellation” go out with the middle ages? :)

    And hey… drop a few bucks more and upgrade your blog hosting service. It seems to be broke.

    • 150

      PiddlyD says

      Len, congrats about getting picked up by MSN and the traffic spike. Unfortunately it kept me from posting a follow up post. No, saying that a BMW is *nicer* than a Honda doesn’t make me a snob, it makes me a realist. The Accord is a grocery-getter designed for housewives and pencil-pushers. Little things, like having a single set of controls in the center, so that the driver *or* the passenger can control everything, like the back windows – is a *driver oriented* “luxury” that BMW understands. Having the radio console slightly angled toward the driver is also a unique feature in BMW design – one of the reasons why BMW wins Car and Drivers Editor choice so often. The car is designed and engineered for *drivers*. It isn’t just their ad-copy. YOUR tone and attitude about *this* is what is offensive.

      As far as early retirement, Len – If I chose to live how you describe, I *could* retire now. I live in a 4500 square foot home on 3.25 acres. If I were willing to live in a 2500 square foot home on a half acre or less lot and drive a used Honda accord, My investments would easily cover the cost of living. I’m 40. I moved from California to Ohio before the California real estate market tanked, but after the Ohio market had hit bottom.

      I’m not bragging, or trying to make you feel bad. Right place at the right time is often a key part of good fortune and personal wealth. I’ve been fortunate as much as I’ve been smart.

      You’ve got a chip on your shoulder about this topic, Len, and you should examine it. Your tone and attitude gives your true opinion away, as well as the opinion of many of the posters here who agree with you.

      I appreciate your responses, though, and the article was well written, if disagreeable.

      • 151


        I’m still trying to figure out where you get the idea that I have a chip on my shoulder though. An interesting take, to be sure. You seem to have missed the entire point of the article!

        I think you need to go back and reread the post and then quote me the lines that lead you to come to that conclusion.

        By the way, why would I feel bad about your financial situation? I’m very happy for you!

        The fact that you need to bring that into this conversation here seems irrelevant though. You can understand why it might seem rather egotistical to bring that up in this particular conversation, right? Actually, I bet you don’t.

    • 153


      Wow, struck a nerve, huh? The end goal is called “early retirement.” As a result, I always find it ironic when somebody says I am the one who is delaying gratification by living within my means.

      Judging from your comments trying to justify the obvious – that a BMW is a “nicer” car than a Honda – it is pretty clear that your real issue is that you are offended that there are people out there who just aren’t impressed by luxury sedans.

      BTW, I apologize for the slow server. I was enjoying a rather large traffic spike yesterday by readers migrating here from MSN, who published an article of mine.

  43. 154

    Speedy says

    Mr. America – your first post came across as “pompous”

    Bitter Much- Amen, brother! I agree totally. Nice reference to self flagellation. Well done.

    My only addition is to quote a well known band:

    “Life is a journey, not a destination” – Aerosmith

    I live my life by this premise. Sometimes you need to stop and smell the roses along the way.It’s not all about the finish line.

    PS- Your going to look pretty stupid caning your way towards your first new convertible convette at 70 years of age. Trust me, my neighbour does this.

  44. 156

    LuckyforYou says

    I think you are right — buying a used BMW for less than a New Honda is a smart financial move. And paying cash for a used BMW is a even smarter move. The only dumb financial move is financing a used BMW when you could pay cash for a used Honda.

    You seem to have a lot of your ego tied up in the car(s) you drive. Many of the posters here do not. I wouldn’t project bitterness and anger into a simple recognition that most cars in the U.S. today are financed, as thus a poor indicator of the net worth of the driver.

    • 157

      Speedy says

      Lucky, I don’t think it’s solely an ego thing. It’s more about not driving a s**tbox, when you can afford something a little nicer.

      To continue to drive that beater, when you can afford to upgrade, is only another indicator of your cheapness, and trust me, your friends all know who the cheapskate is(you).

  45. 160

    John says

    The truth is you can’t really know someone’s financial circumstances by the car they drive. It might represent a small fraction of their net worth or it might be 10 times their net worth. Some people, myself included, enjoy quality and can afford to have it. I don’t snub my nose at those who choose to drive a beater, but it sure seems as though they’re snubbing their noses at me. A truly content person should not find it necessary to prejudge people they don’t even know based upon the type of car they choose to drive.

  46. 161

    Speedy says

    ….and yes, figuring out the tip at a restauraunt to the nearest PENNY screams “I’M A CHEAPSKATE” too…..

  47. 162


    I can understand both sides of the argument that people have been having here lately in the comments.

    First, I understand that it’s not respectable to overextend yourself to try and impress others. However, on the other hand, many of us who *can* afford it enjoy purchasing expensive cars to impress others. The fact that some aren’t impressed gets us down a little bit.

    One comment that threw me for a loop was the one about the goal of retiring early. That’s not a goal I’m interested in. Rather, my goal is to stockpile an incredible amount of wealth, a portion of which will be spent on over the top material possessions that are well out of reach for every non-millionaire.

    I’m fully aware that avoiding conspicuous consumption helps you get rich. However, once you’re rich, conspicuous consumption is the reward. Wealth without conspicuous consumption just doesn’t sound like any fun.

    • 163

      PiddlyD says

      @Jon. Well said, and brutally honest.

      Retiring early is a worthwhile pursuit – but it depends on what terms of retirement you’re willing to accept. You can retire at 20 if you settle on a life in a 1 room shack in Montana riding a bicycle 20 miles into town and back every 4 months to pick up 12 cases of Ramen. And if that is all you need to be *happy*… then *do* it.

      But I don’t care if *you* don’t care – and aren’t impressed by – my German sports car… if that is the decision you make. And I don’t think you’re smarter or entitled to any kind of smug superiority for that life decision, either. I agree with Len’s basic thesis in his post, I think the delivery is ambiguous enough that it casts doubt as to how pure his motives are. The tone doesn’t say “live and let live”, it says, “If you’ve bought a luxury vehicle instead of a Honda, you’re an economic fool and I am better than you”.

      It is a snobbery of its own sort. The snobbery of denial of self-gratification. Very puritan.

      • 164


        For a troll you’re a funny guy, but if you are going to make intelligent comments you’ll need to take a lesson or two in reading comprehension.

        Since you ignored my previous challenge to point out the lines in my article that support your specious claims, I’m going to have to let our discourse come to a merciful end. (Even though it’s been great entertainment for my readers.)

        You seem to think that everybody secretly yearns to own a BMW or other luxury car. You seem incapable of comprehending that lots of people see no need to drive anything more utilitarian than a modest used non-luxury sedan. We really really don’t. I know; the truth hurts, Piddly. The fact that you consider that to be snobbery is simply incredible. Even more so considering the self-deprecating title of the post.

        Deny it all you want, but it is obvious that you DO care that I don’t care. It shakes you to your very foundation that many people don’t give a wooden nickel what kind of car you drive. Otherwise, you wouldn’t keep coming back here, trying to explain to anybody who would listen that your BMW – and Escalade (!) – are worth the money you paid for it, which they probably are.

        But then again, whether or not a BMW is worth the price it sells for isn’t what this post was about, was it?

        (That’s a rhetorical question, Piddly. No need to come back again and show that you don’t understand that point.)

        • 165

          Justanobody says

          For me, car is merely a transportation from A to B. Only attention seekers buy car to get attention (turning head,huh!?).

          And Piddly,remember this… you ARE NOT ANY BETTER than people who retire at 20 and settle on a life in a 1 room shack in Montana riding a bicycle 20 miles into town and back every 4 months to pick up 12 cases of Ramen.
          Be realistic. Be honest at least with yourself. How much you want to argue,in the end you’re the one who are falling behind.
          The race is long,man. In the end you are only racing with yourself.
          Relax and enjoy life,man.

  48. 166

    CM says

    Looks can also be deceiving. While not always, every so often I get dirty looks because I drive shiny Mercedes. While I understand not everyone thinks highly of people who drive fancy cars some of them are actually not all that expensive. I’ve always wanted to drive a luxury vehicle. I like the look. So I purchased what I like to call a “Baller on a Budget car.” Before I opened my own business I worked as a Valet guy and I learned that luxury cars tend to drop in value pretty quickly. You can pick up a 3 series or a c class for a pretty good price if you know where to look. They also last forever. (At least in the cars I’ve owned)

    Mercedes kept the same body style from 2002 – 2006. (only the interior changed) So…I purchased a 2002. (looks like a 2006, drives like a 2006) It looks like a 30,000 car. (Heck it feels like a 30k car) most people ASSUME it’s a 30k car. Nope, 11k baby and paid off. Repair costs are not to high and it’s been really reliable. The great thing about rich people, when they finally do get rid of their cars they want them gone quick. I’m guessing the money isn’t a huge issue to them. I think so long as your not digging yourself a financial grave, there isn’t anything wrong with driving a flashy car. You just have to be smart in the way you buy.

    • 167


      Now THATS impressive, CM! Thanks for sharing your story. Luxury cars can be bought by people of modest means without breaking the bank if they let the original owners eat the depreciation. :-)

  49. 168

    Karry jackson says

    I ride a vintage Vespa scooter all over my city. And the looks people give me are horrible. I am often degraded and insulted by people who find it funny to see me on my bike.Sadly my personal life has been affected. I am often judged as being ‘poor’ because I ride a scooter. I do not see the point in having a car in the town I live in. Its so small and there are few places to park. The scooter works well and its classy, exotic and Italian! But most people just see it as a scooter and the fact that its old makes it even worse. I get judged all of the time. From my education to my career. Though in reality I am established and have appeared in the international media for my work.

    • 169


      I, for one, think Vespas are cool. And I wouldn’t worry about what others think either. After all, my whole point of this article — which was missed by a few people who commented before you — was that it is completely misguided to judge anybody’s financial status by their mode of transportation. :-)

  50. 170

    Exotic car dealer says

    I agree with Len… Why do people waste money on tinting their windows when you are just going to be forced to remove the tint when a cop pulls you over.

  51. 171

    Canuck says

    Why comment on other people’s choices like this at all? It’s quite pathetic really.

    I drive an Audi for which I paid in full on the first day. However I seem to get nasty & jealous looks or comments (e.g. the bank probably owns your car etc….) on a regular basis. Why can’t people mind their own business and keep their green feelings to themselves? Perhaps spend that energy instead saving up to pay or a reliable well-engineered car that is fun to drive?

  52. 173


    Amen my friend. I used to think otherwise, and spent a lot of money on stupid cars. I now drive a 1200 dollar car and am loving it!

  53. 174

    Emerald says

    I am so glad you brought this up. This was just what I needed to hear. I just paid off my 05 Malibu a few months ago, and my ex just bought a new 2011 Honda Accord with payments by the way because I tried to help him fix his credit…ehem. Nonetheless, it was one of those thoughts that I had “What does he think he is doing better than me now”, and now I know, that it makes him feel better about himself. Loved this blog!!!

  54. 175


    Great post Len!
    There will be some people is highly interested when read your post, but some left would just smile and keep thinking that their “car” is their “social status”.
    I am not an American, and same condition happen in my country, lot of people still at that opinion and yes lot of them just do it to prove that they is “rich” and success people. And also their is a lot of “Jennifer” in my country. My friend is an example, she is poorly cheat on people to buy a new car, “just to make people looking at me” she said. What a ……!

    • 176

      Len Penzo says

      Thank you, Luke. Again, I don’t begrudge people who own luxury cars. But I’m not impressed by what they’re driving either — and that seems to have struck a nerve with a few folks.

  55. 177

    Anthony says

    Can it not be that some of us out here actually have good incomes, save and invest aggressively, AND can afford a nice car…I drive a 2011 Acura TL and I hate to think that people look at me like I’m the village idiot as I drive by…

    • 178

      Len Penzo says

      If you bought an expensive luxury car because you appreciate that kind of car and the comforts and performance it provides you, who cares what other people think about you when you drive by, Anthony? Enjoy your car! :-)

      Again, my main point is it isn’t wise to buy an expensive luxury car if it is just to impress others — especially if you can’t afford it anyway.

      • 179


        Exactly. I see a lot of people driving these fancy, luxury cars and I’m pretty sure a lot of them can’t afford it. But they want to look cool anyway.

  56. 180

    Bryan says

    I do not like American or Japanese build quality simple as that. If you buy a brand new car then i can agree you are a fool but look at the used market. I bought my used 03 Audi A4 roughly four years ago with 86,000 miles for $12,000 and i have had absolutely no problems with it aside from regular maintenance. It is paid off and a car with impressive reliability that will run for many many years to come.

    • 182

      Ihatethe405 says

      Just wait till the terrible CVT transmission breaks Bryan, then you’ll be cursing that you ever though to purchase an Audi.

  57. 183

    David says

    I’m 50 years old and worked since I was 18. I always drove used cars and in fact drove each of them 5-10 years. When they were paid off I kept making payments to my bank account. All this was so I could drive my dream car someday- Mercedes S class. I finally bought one this week and regret people who criticize me. I am gay, will never have children and I never wanted to own a home. I do live in a nice apartment. I’m still working 12-14 hours a day and I deserve my Benz s my big lifetime purchase. Do not criticize people unless you know their lives and their personal sacrifices. Spend your hard earned money however you wish. I now earn 6 figures from my hard work and can easily make my car payments. Walk a mile in my shoes before you speak.

    • 184

      Len Penzo says

      To say that smart people aren’t impressed by luxury cars is not criticism, David. It’s just an observation. Luxury car owners who can truly afford to pay for them — such as yourself — shouldn’t feel threatened by such as innocent statement. I encourage you to go back and reread the article because you completely missed the entire point of the piece.

      • 185

        Misha says

        That’s not the only statement you made Lens. And there are numerous offensive statements in the comments. You haven’t made the choice to address those. Again, you only reply to the luxury car owners. That along with your ambiguous article implies that you share their views.

        • 186

          Len Penzo says

          My article is not ambiguous. In fact, my thesis is extremely clear:

          1. Smart people understand that the type of car one drives does not always correlate to one’s level of success or wealth in life.
          2. People who can’t afford luxury cars shouldn’t drive them.

          That’s all; no more, no less. I suspect any other conclusions being reached for by others is a result of:

          1) their insecurity (they have luxury cars that they really can’t afford)
          2) their ego (They’re successful and they own a luxury car to signal their success, but this article correctly points out it’s not a reliable indicator of success.)

          Luxury car owners who don’t care what other folks think have absolutely no reason to get riled by an article like this.

          As for a pro-luxury car comment from me, check out my reply to LJ (above).

  58. 187

    Ecowind says

    This is a very interesting article. Having money doesn’t mean you need to have a six or seven figure income it means to save money, invest in smart choices, and use it properly. I live in a fairly private neighborhood (as in people generally keep to themselves). I have a neighbor who has 2 Audis. And another neighbor who has a Ford Focus and a Toyota Corolla. What I realized is that the person with the Audis might have to make sacrifices for the payments or live reserved. The person with the Ford and Toyota can afford to go to nice vacations every year. Being a millionaire isn’t about the job you have and money you spend, it’s about your mindset. I know someone who bought a Buggati with the majority of their savings. It’s really a shame that he spent his savings, he said it’s to motivate him to work harder. Also I have another friend who throws change in the trash and throws dollars out the window of his car because he is an only child and his parents spoil him. I’m 19 years old and I’m really trying to understand economy, money and investing as a concept in deep meaning. In college I might major in business too can someone recommend me some good books in investing?

    • 188

      Len Penzo says

      Your observations and understanding of money belies your relatively young age, Ecowind. Life is a series of trades, and we are constantly making choices with our wallets. That’s why, with rare exception, everyone’s financial position ultimately comes down to the choices they’ve made in life.

  59. 189

    Jenny W says

    Once every ten years, we buy a Toyota Corolla, paying cash. We found just the right car for our needs- one that does not require trips to the repair shop or big prices at the pump. I must admit our car looked ridiculous sandwiched between the Hummers and Explorers my coworkers parked at work, but that didn’t bother me. Besides the lower initial cost of the car itself, we saved dollars on insurance, gasoline, and maintenance. If I had a flashy, expensive car, I would forever be worrying about dings from gravel, scratches from shopping carts, and fender-benders. My daughter drove my Corolla into a curb and scratched the finish when she was learning to drive, but I easily ignored it and felt relieved that it wasn’t a BMW!

  60. 190

    Mike says

    I’m not interested in reading all of the comments because I really don’t have the time right now so this may have been said before. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you are driving. At the end of the day you are still who you are. When it comes down to it you can always tell if someone is driving a car because they like it, and can afford it, or if they are driving it to impress the world even though they can’t really afford it. In most cases it is painfully obvious. The same goes for most things. For instance you can usually tell who actually purchased a Rolex from a reputable store from the person who stole the one they’re wearing, or bought the knock-off (these days the knock-offs look pretty good if you aren’t well versed).

  61. 191

    mr.new joisey says

    I’m sort of on the fence. Both of my parents made over 100k. They both drive luxury cars (not brand new). They bought houses to invest, even went into a fast food business. They lost so much money with the fast food. We sold the business and now, no one is paying rent due to the economy. I completely understand that not paying cash for a fancy car is stupid. When I look back on it i figured they could of spent that money on a nicer car, or anything for that matter. I know they were trying to make our lives better, but as I am about to graduate college Ill get a “fancy” car as soon as reach 100k and just live my life. Yes I want to feel special ill admit it. I didn’t spend all this time in school NOT to drive a “fancy” car frankly. All my friends skip classes and party all day anyway. In my mind I am special. Life is short, as for investing ill be fine with keeping my money under my mattress.

  62. 192

    keithrac says

    I don’t understand why some of you are so proud to drive sh*tboxes. I own a 2010 hyundai sonata flat out at 19 years old. if you really think a 30k car is a massive investment you should take another look at your finances.

  63. 193

    keithrac says

    if you don’t think a BMW drives nicer than a honda you have never driven a car that is made to really be driven hard.

    also, why do so many people seem to be proud of being cheapskates? at 19 years old I’ve got a 2010 hyundai sonata paid off.

    if you really think 20-30k for a nicer car is a massive chunk of change you just might need to look over your finances again

  64. 194

    most expensive dog today says

    Sometimes high prices can equate to prestige and quality. However, not all people think that way. In China, the owner for most expensive dog today equates price with quality.

  65. 195

    Gene Hutchisn says

    I recently bought a Mercedes GLK350. The MSRP was the same as a Ford Edge Limited. I’ve also written a personal finance book called “The Freedom Letters” in which i discourage owning luxury cars, however, the deal on the MB made me buy it instead of the Ford or Toyota.

  66. 196

    listen to the cry says

    Good thing I worked hard my entire life to drive a nice 6-series, just to have it rationalized by insecure people driving beaters and all high-fiving each other so they don’t feel bad. Some people have it. Lot of people with nothing to posture about are here posturing because they realize they can’t do it on the road like some of us :).

    94,000 for the car – cash – better put elsewhere? Retired before 50. Yep, I’m enjoying my life with nice stuff. Enjoy your minivan. Enjoy your neighborhood and your undervalued house.

    I’ll pull a notion from this topic and just not care what people think of me and my car, since we’re all apathetic, right? Yeah, my car sucks but I don’t care because (rationalization).

    • 197

      Len Penzo says

      I guess I hit a nerve there? Either you completely missed the point of this article — or you’re just upset that not everyone turns their heads in awe every time you drive down the road in your 6 series. I bet it’s the latter.

      • 198

        Misha says

        Len the problem is that you reply to Piddly’s (and other) comments, but you choose not to respond to those who post comments that berate ALL luxury car owners. This shows that Piddly is correct in his assumptions about your original intentions. I too own a “luxury” car. I didn’t consider anyone else’s perspective when purchasing car. It is a car I liked, wanted and could afford… So I bought it. There are many comments here that are intended to insult those who own “luxury” cars. If this wasn’t also YOUR intent, you would spend some time replying directly to those comments. Instead you responses are almost always directed back at the luxury car owners who post comments in their own defense.

        • 199

          Len Penzo says

          You must have missed my reply to LJ (above), so I’ll repost it for you: “Don’t be offended. I understand there are many people who CAN afford nice cars — and bully for them (and you)!”

          How many times do I have to repeat that point, Misha? I have over 250 comments on this thread as of today. I don’t feel like reposting that point multiple times just to assuage the feelings of some of the more-sensitive luxury car owners out there.

          On the other hand, I am much more inclined to respond to folks who let their emotions get the best of them and, as a result, completely missed the point of the article.

          • 200

            Misha says

            Let me repeat, “There are many comments here that are intended to insult (ALL) those who own “luxury” cars. If this wasn’t also YOUR intent, you would spend some time replying directly to those comments. Instead you responses are almost always directed back at the luxury car owners who post comments in their own defense.”

            When I owned a non-luxury car, I did not pay attention to what other people owned. Now that I have a car that’s considered a luxury vehicle, I still don’t pay attention to what others own. There’s something that disturbed you (emotional) enough to make you write this article in the first place. Who cares what others are doing and for what reason? How does that impact your life? Obviously you ARE someone who pays attention to want others own. And it must make you feel inferior. Sad. So sad. Just live your life and let others live theirs. You’re like those chicks who sit around criticizing another woman walking across the street while minding her own business … Just because she is better dressed, more polished and looks more confident that you feel. Why not put your energy into writing about how much you enjoy living your life as you choose to live it. Hmm?

            Be honest. You’re in agreement with those who sling insults at luxury car owners. I have yet to see you address any of those comments.

            • 201

              Len Penzo says

              Did you see the response I left to you previously, Misha? The one where I pointed you to my pro-luxury car response to LJ? If so, I have to question your ability to comprehend what you read.

              This is a personal finance blog, in case you haven’t noticed; I spout advice related to personal finance here three to four times a week. In a previous comment to you, I carefully explained the thesis of this article for your benefit, yet even after spelling it out for you, it still flew right over your head! Sadly, there’s not much more I can do for you.

              You said: “Now that I have a car that’s considered a luxury vehicle, I still don’t pay attention to what others own.”

              Maybe not. But it’s pretty obvious you expect everyone else to pay attention to your luxury car now. Otherwise, this post wouldn’t have you so worked up. Come on, Misha. Admit it.

              By the way … As long as you can afford your luxury car, I’m really happy for you. I really am!

              In fact, I’m so happy for you that I’ll gladly post a picture of it for you on my blog so everyone can admire it.

          • 202

            Misha says

            Again… your sarcasm and statements at the end of your most recent comment proves my point. Also, the fact that whenever a luxury car owner tells you he/she does not care what you think of their vehicle you reply indicating that they do. Its obviously difficult for you to imagine this truth. Its called projecting. Youre projecting your insecurities onto those who have what you apparently wish you had or are afraid to get because you DO care and base your purchasing decisions on what others think. What each luxury car owner on here has tried to convey to you is that they are responding to the multiple insults in your comments section. This message apparently has gone over YOUR head. Again, each time you provide repeated replies to luxury car owners and with one response to insulting comments by others. Stop hiding behind other people’s words. Speak honestly. I am not bothered by your article. But I am bothered by your response to the comments made to luxury car owners and your lack of response to comments made by those who choose to be insulting to us. Len in time you too will reach your financial goals and be able to enjoy the life you seek. Envy is not a good look. I’ll keep you in my prayers. Meanwhile, work on your bitterness. It’s really not necessary. We all get blessings in one way or another. I’m praying for you Len. Envy is ugly!

            • 203

              Len Penzo says

              LOL! You’re starting to make a fool of yourself now, Misha. The fact is clear to see: it is you who are projecting. And you’re just upset I pointed out that your luxury car is not a sure sign of success — and you bought your car because you don’t want that to be so. The proof is in your inane and incessant insistence that I validate your decision by replying to those who (in your mind) insult luxury car drivers. You completely fail to see the irony in your disingenuous claim that you don’t care what others think. Why am I not surprised?

              In fact, I’m beginning to believe you’re driving a car you can’t really afford. Please sell it and buy yourself a beater ASAP. I won’t think the less of you.

              Now go away. You’re psychological projection is starting to scare me.

  67. 204

    Zelda says

    I really hope you are still replying to comments on this subject. This is a subject of much anxiety for my husband and I right now. We own a clinic specializing in sports therapy. It’s a new business and we are doing fairly well at it. We are not flashy people by any means, and we do not like to spend money we don’t have. But my husband drives a very ugly, very fuel efficient Honda Accord. I loathe the thought, but the truth is that people do not take him as seriously because of it. I don’t know why that is – he is a remarkable doctor and therapist. We are looking to purchase a better vehicle with a little more “status” attached but I am in a cold sweat as to whether this is a good idea. We aren’t in a business where our income is automatically known. Financially, we are not quite where we would like to be (we’d prefer to pay cash for the car) but at the same time, we want what he drives to reflect that fact that he is very good at what he does. I would desperately like some advice on the subject especially from someone who doesn’t think cars are a big deal.

    • 205

      Len Penzo says

      You bring up an interesting situation, Zelda. If I were in your hubby’s shoes and I could prove that my car was really and truly resulting in lost business opportunities equal to or greater than the cost to buy a flashier model, then I would absolutely upgrade. Why wouldn’t you, if it would result in a net increase in income? :-)

      That being said, the trick is being able to *prove* that your husband is actually losing business because he drives a “beater.” How do you know that with any certainty? To be sure, you would need to poll all of your customers, ex-customers, and potential customers who chose to go elsewhere. Unless you can verify that assumption with a high degree of confidence, I think you may be letting your emotions get the best of you.

      If it will make you feel any better, I don’t see why any rational person would judge a person’s professional competence by the car they drive. I don’t care what my doctor drives. In my case, it’s a good thing my employer’s customers don’t either, because the majority of cars in our parking lot are very modest vehicles even though they’re owned by highly competent and very well-paid engineers who design extremely complex high tech cutting-edge products. LOL

      I don’t know, maybe it’s an engineer thing, but most of us tend to be very practical people.

      • 206

        Zelda says

        Thank you so much for responding. I wish everyone was an engineer. Our best patients are engineers and they love what my husband does, and really do not judge at all. :-)

        It is an impossible thing to quantify. We never would have given it a thought if people that we hope to get business from (attorneys, corporate higher-ups, even professional athletes) hadn’t mentioned it. I don’t want to make it sound as if anyone has been rude or snobbish because no one has – we live in a very kind city – but we are definitely getting the impression that the car is making us look somewhat amateur, when we’ve always thought we looked hard-working and thrifty.

        Let me give you an example. Some jerk in our building drives a worthless Corvette, and he parks it right next to my husband’s car, so it could very easily be mistaken for his. I can’t tell you how many people come in asking if that is his car and their eyes light up and they get all excited. It has become a little embarrassing to say, no, it’s someone else’s and he drives the Accord with the dangling front license plate. People then smile kindly and tell us that we’ll be able to afford it before long, and that Doogie Howser probably didn’t own a nice car right away either. :-)

        The thing is, I think we are being judged more for it because we are not corporate and people can’t determine our success just by asking who we work for and what we do for a living. I’m thinking it’s almost like a review – if you drive a nice car, it is an indication (not proof) that you are successful enough that people keep coming back to you. And we wouldn’t be giving a false impression in that regard – we have a great patient base and it’s increasing. But like anyone with ambition, we want to expand and hire more people and that entails really putting yourself out there especially to people who can afford your services. We’ve been putting all our money into the clinic making sure the patients have the best, but we haven’t given any thought to initial impressions. But I’m scared to death to borrow any more money and I don’t know that I could even enjoy the car with the debt hanging over our heads.

        Sorry for the 8 pages of stupid worrying, but we really don’t know the right thing to do and are looking for some advice.

        • 207

          Len Penzo says

          Gosh Zelda. I think my original advice still stands: unless you are absolutely positive that a more “impressive” car will increase your cash flow such that it more than covers the costs, why do it? Especially since you seem to be really tied up in knots over the debt.

          Like I said, to rational people, it’s impossible to infer with any certainty one’s professional or financial success by the car they drive. You just can’t. There are too many people driving fancy cars who are in debt up to their eyeballs and one missed payment from having it taken away by the repo man. Likewise there are even more people who drive modest cars who are wildly successful, both financially and professionally.

          I’m going to write a new post regarding your concerns this coming weekend, Zelda. I’m interested to hear what my readers will have to say on the topic next week.

        • 208

          binrat says

          Zelda, i get the idea your husbands accord is ugly and very “used” looking, which shows poor maintenance. Thus like you do not care about details. There are plenty of NICE affordable used vehicles available that are clean and fresh looking. There is no need to buy a new Accord/Lexus/Infiniti to impress clients. Just Find a nice clean well maintained car. You wouldn’t wear tattered worn out jeans and a greasy t-shirt to a client meeting, but there is no need to wear an Armani suit either. You can drive a “nice” in expensive car and actually appear to be economically astute and professional. I overheard my dentist joke with another patient once about his minivan that he drove, he said “i never drive my porsche to the office, it scares away the customers”. I do know that he does NOT have a Porsche, as he is very business minded and knows where his money is better used. So upgrade that “beater” to something less beaten, without going into severe debt.

  68. 209

    Anony Mous says

    I bought my 1999 Ford “fleet” truck (AKA vinyl seats, a stick shift and an AM radio) brand new for cash in 1999 when we remodeled our house. I hardly drive and when I do, I’m usually hauling wood (I’m a retired guy… and woodworker) My wife’s “fleet” Honda cost about $20,000 cash, but then again – she drives a lot and in traffic so we wanted something that will protect her. Her car replaced a $13,000 “fleet” Honda which we bought in cash and which was totaled when a moron driving a new huge luxury car (and likely unpaid for from the amount the dingbat was stressed over the damage done to her car instead of the fact that she could have killed my wife) But due to the Honda’s excellent bags/belts/crumple-zones my wife walked away with only a few kinks in her neck/back which seemed to eventually go away with exercise and stretching. The point is… my wife and I are not loaded – but we are a lot better off than nearly anyone we know, because we made good money for years and invested it, because our idea of a good time is beers at a pub and not trying the newest ostentatious west-side restaurant, and our idea of a good car is one that transports us and our crap from point A to point B as reliably and safely as possible. As a result, we live in a nice (but modest) house in a really nice old neighborhood with a low crime rate and well-educated interesting neighbors, we have good insurance and plenty of money to spend on our hobbies and travel and enjoying each other and the company of friends. No one’s life is stress free, but I can’t imagine living to support my things. If expensive things don’t make me happy when I’m alive and if they don’t matter when I’m dead, then why the hell would I want them? It’s just ridiculous. Maybe I’m just not buying into the system. Could be that I don’t watch TV. We stopped watching TV about 15 years ago when we figured out that life was more interesting than TV and TV was getting in the way of our time for conversations and walks and little day trips to explore new parks & districts… and many other fun spontaneous things we enjoy doing. Having a TV in your livingroom disrupts your living. Having a TV in your bedroom disrupts your relationship. Don’t be dirty minded – I’m talking about intimacy – cuddling – reading – talking – sleeping. TV is like noise pollution that programs you to go buy crap you don’t need… like a car designed to impress idiots. Nice blog by the way.

    • 210

      Anony Mous says

      Oh, I should add that I retired at 41 when my woodworking hobby stared making me about $15,000 per year. I’m 44 now and this year it will be about triple that. I can’t imagine I’ll push hard enough to get my little business to pay me much more than about $60 or $70K because I don’t want to do the things that would be required to take it to that level. No one knows how they will feel in the future, but I imagine I’ll want to work in my shop as I do now until I become physically unable to… hopefully that will be a long time from now. Am I retired? Dunno. Feels like it except on those rare occasions when I get a jerk for a customer but I generally “fire” those customers (much to their surprise). My wife changed careers recently – now works at a non-profit doing (what her hobby used to be) only now she is doing it with a budget that we don’t have to fund :-) She had to quit a couple of the boards she served on so as not to have conflicting interests in her new role, but otherwise, she’s just basically doing more of what she used to do in her free time. I don’t think she’d consider herself retired because she has an office and an appointment calendar and co-workers, but it doesn’t seem that she wants to be retired at this point. Retiring under 40 would just be weird anyway. But as neither of us has a Porsche to pay for… I suppose she could ramp-up or ramp-down her workload at will.

      I can’t imagine why it took us so long to have the epiphany that a person should follow the path of joy and let the money come instead of following the path of money and waiting till retirement for joy to begin… But then again, maybe I can’t imagine how we had the epiphany at all… because societal programming blinds people to thinking about work and lifestyle as things that can be synergistic. Work and lifestyle are always portrayed as a tradeoff to be balanced. Odd about that. We’re a race of beings smart enough to double our own lifespans, travel to other planets, and build a communications infrastructure that can connect people in meaningful ways to share ideas across the globe as we’re doing now, and yet we can’t figure out how to simply get up in the morning and do productive things that we enjoy. It boggles the mind.

      • 211

        Len Penzo says

        Great insights all. I think that is terrific you are doing what you enjoy. I’m continually stressing the “do what you love and the money will come” mantra to my kids. And, again, I am with you — I don’t understand the allure of extremely early retirement, assuming by retirement you mean either: 1) living like a pauper for the rest of your life to make your money stretch enough so you don’t outlive your nest egg; 2) do nothing productive with your life and just traveling, and sitting around the house.

    • 212

      Len Penzo says

      Why thank you for the compliment. I’m glad you enjoy the blog and I hope you’ll become a regular here! :-)

      We have pretty much the same philosophy, Mr. Mous. Although we diverge at dumping the television shows. A lot has changed over the last 15 years. You know, since then, reality television came along and actually made tv fun again! ;-)

  69. 213

    Joe says

    wait… why do you care what type of car someone is driving? you’re suggesting that people shouldn’t judge you for driving older vehicles, but you’re perfectly fine judging others for perhaps living outside their means? that’s pretty hypocritical. some folks enjoy the finer things in life. some folks want to save every penny. to each their own…

    • 214

      Len Penzo says

      I don’t get it, Joe. Tell me again how saying “Smart people — and I — don’t care what car you drive,” translates to me caring what car they drive? How is that judging others? You need to reread the article more carefully; the whole point of the post was directed at people who buy cars they can’t afford only because they were under the impression people cared.

  70. 215

    ann says

    not eveyone that drives a luxury car has loans on them. I was in a seven car accident where a car landed on me. If I was not in my car (as the fire chief said…”it is a miracle you are alive and able to walk away, your car saved yoru life”.) I was also pregnant. That is why, I will spend less every where else but not on my car. It is my life and my families life also


  71. 216

    Jerry Stauffer says

    I work in a factory and notice that the new hires drive new trucks and the 35 year skilled trades drive beaters. Guess who has their house paid for and who lives in an unfurnished apartment? My 1980 Oldsmobile gets no respect, but I do not fear the repo man.

  72. 218

    Robert says

    If you don’t drive a newer Audi, its like you don’t count. The newer luxury drivers act like they’re rich. Such snobs!! My older Audi A4 which looks really nice still doesn’t fit into the upper-upper class of snob bleeping fools. And I sort of get the cold shoulder when I visit the Audi service shops. Its like my patronage isn’t the same as the guy with the newer Audi. The Audi dealerships show very little customer service towards “real” people and can be rude as well. Luxury service people have no personality or soul as I have seen them display.

  73. 219

    Stilton says

    Personally I think you lot writing comments about how other people want to spend their hard earned money need to sort your life’s out. I’m 21 and an apprentice. Iv worked the last 4 years on £2 an hour trying to make something of myself and the first thing I’m going to do when I’m qualified in a few months is to go get a flash car on finance, and why shouldn’t I? Iv spent the last 4 years working my arse off and havn’t been able to buy new shoes when I needed them. I’m not from a rich family so I have to pay my own way even though I earn next to nothing. So when you see me driving down the road in an expensive BMW and designer clothes don’t you dare judge me because I deserve this luxury. I can barely afford a pint at the pub with my friends but soon I will be earning more money that most other 21 year olds and probably more that most 40 year olds and if I want to spend spend spend over the next couple of years that’s my decision. Don’t judge me and think that I’m only out to impress you sado’s because the truth is iv worked hard for it and if that’s what makes me happy before I settle down and have a family then who are you lot to say other wise.


  74. 220

    William says

    I know first hand about owning a car that I maybe shouldn’t have or someone else did. I make between $50 – 60k a year and I drive an 04″ Lexus that has around 49k miles on the odometer. I owe less than $10k on the car and it will be paid off in less than three years along with my students loans. Did I mention I pay a house payment too so I can’t afford a high end car and it does not bother me on bit. Other coworkers have told me that I need to get this and get that but I am happy with my 04″ Lexus. Sometimes I think they are trying to get a rise out of me but that don’t. I just tell them I am happy with my $300 payment of which I refinance with money down and for the same amount of months left with lowering the interest rate by almost one percent and lowering my payment by almost a $100 dollars. Some of those same coworkers who try to embarrass me about my car make about the same as me and their payments are in the $500s. Forget that! I want to pay off my car and put that money into a new home! Thank for the article and insight!

  75. 222

    J.G. says

    I have mixed emotions on this article. Though true cars are the absolute dumbest thing you can sink money into (talking major money), they also have some amazing rewards. Also, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. I would be the stereotypical young punk you refer to in this article that lives way beyond my means and makes very little income because I’m not a programmer. I’m 28 years old and get carded for alcohol every time (I’m younger looking). In reality I own two vehicles. Both are 2009, one is a BMW and one a Silverado. I am a semi successful sole proprietor in the Oil and Gas industry. I have worked since 14 and worked my way through college. I didn’t come from money and to the contrary help my parents (paid for a new roof last year). I have paid off all student loans, bought land, invested 401k, IRA’s etc.

    The reason for some what annoyingly bragging? Some young people can make appropriate decisions in life. Now to the cars. The pickup I bought in 09 brand new with the Chevy rebates and Obama tax incentive and some long hour negotiating at the dealership. MSRP was $41k (obnoxious I know), and I walked out the door for $30.8k and that is not the slightest lie. And since then have depreciated it every year in taxes through my company. Since I work in the middle of nowhere with mechanics located anywhere from 80 to 200 miles away at any time, I would and will drive a newer vehicle any day of the flipping week instead of a beater to avoid having break downs in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the winter.

    The BMW, was a splurge and sort of dumb. Growing up in ND, these cars were like Ferraris to me. And I always wanted to know what the engineering felt like. I grew up with crappy cars and loved it. Beaters are still my favorite, door dings and scratches do not raise your blood pressure. My 96 Sunfire was starting to run like crap and break down a lot. Since my pickup was across country for work and I lived in FL, I decided to shop around. It took one year and my dream car appeared for the right price. I went in and haggled and negotiated for 5 hours and walked out with a BMW that had never been sold, on paper new with 8k miles on it and depreciated $12k, after negotiations I got it for $19k under original MSRP and $7k under book. How? Research, patience, and being a pain in the A$$ They only gave me $500 for the Sunfire, but I saw that coming way before. And let me say, with the maintenance program BMW has, the car costs me nothing to maintain. Will it depreciate? yes. Was it worth it? Maybe, I don’t know. I love the car and know I will never have to wonder what they are like. It is fast and fun and drives on rails. After I sell it, I will probably get a older Honda Accord.

    The reason for this super long post/love story of cars that no one will read? To prove that young people with ambition can have nice things and that I don’t do it for ANYONE but me. It’s not to keep up with the Joneses and to show off. (I am probably the only BMW driver that wears old worn out jeans, plain $3 T-shirts and a sweat marked shredded hat that should probably have a Hazmat sticker on it.) I love technology and reliability. Under the right circumstances and with lots of patience and research, people can own nice cars. Are they financially worth it? Hell no, it will never make sense on paper. But I have broke down enough to know a reliable car is worth a lot. And that driving semi-old Toyotas and mini-vans does not make you self righteous or hold, secretively, anything over anybody.

  76. 223

    J.G. says

    Robert is right though…..BMW dealerships are the same way. The people there are snobs and pretentious and I DESPISE having to ever go to the dealerships. If I could service the car somewhere else, I would.

  77. 224

    Notshallowperson says

    Where I come from (the Pacific Northwest), we think people who drive luxury vehicles are douchey. Seriously, those cars say “Look at me! I’m better than you! I make more money than you! Notice me! Love me!Rob me because I make lots of money!” Gag me. The wealthy people where I’m from still drive Volkswagen Bugs or beater cars and don’t want people to know how much money they make–they want people to like them for WHO they are! I’m starting to think that there is an inverse relationship between one’s intelligence and the flashiness of their vehicle. I started to notice this when I moved to FL. There were people that I worked with that made at most $40K per year driving brand new BMW’s. Seriously, wouldn’t the car payment alone rape your entire paycheck and not leave you anything left over for rent or food? What were they trying to prove? Don’t even get me started on women who have to have designer purses with big tacky logo’s plastered all over! My instant reaction is an eye roll.

  78. 225

    SK says

    I understand where all of you are coming from, however keep in mind there are people who CAN actually afford these vehicles. As an example, I recently financed a $44,000 car which I am happy with. The reason being is that it makes me happy not only because it sits in my driveway, but because I worked hard to reach the salary I have and that in itself feels good.

  79. 226

    Jack says

    I agree with most people on the board who talk about their paid off cars. I usually buy my cars in cash but with low interest rates today I decided to finance a new fancy car and keep my cash in liquid assets. It is funny how alot of people who drive fancy cars cannot really afford them though. I’d say if you cannot buy a fancy sports car in cash, then you cannot really afford it.

  80. 227

    binrat says

    i once hired a handy man to fix the roof on my shed, he came by the next day to pick up a check for the materials in his ESCALADE XL… I almost backed out when i saw that. He can afford to drive an ESCALADE being a handyman?? I cant afford an escalade on my salary, in hindsight he fixed the shed roof, did a good job and probably netted out $50.00 an hour for his day and a half of work. (and HE actually did the work himself he didnt have a crew).

  81. 228

    reese chazne says

    Wow I can not believe this is such a heated subject and maybe this thread is dead but I will give my 2 cents. I have always enjoyed being a consumer and buying high end luxury things. I have realized from a young age trading time for a salary or wage was not the way to go as I would never be able to afford the things I want. I found that if I started a business with the sole purpose to make money and put other people to work to make me money they would gladly come to work everyday and I would not have to work. I now own my own chain of fast food restaurants that make enough money and now since my investments are making enough I buy nice things when I want. I don’t want to manage any more assets. I have found if I put it in the bank and save inflation just makes it more worthless so i may as well enjoy what i want now. I have no way to spend all the money I make as I now travel the world and enjoy being wasteful so If I want to waste my money on high end useless items I feel I can and feel as if I have earned that right. I knew from a young age I wanted lots of money and didn’t want to work hard my whole life so I set it up so other people work under me and earn me a living. Since I don’t invest my time to earn money I could care less how much anything costs. Just thought some of you could see it from a different perspective.

  82. 229

    carafecianado says

    I read almost all the posts here. I will say there is insecurity, as well as non insecure comments on this subject.

    Like many here have said it boils down to personal choice.

    I have no problem with either side of the fence.

    I personally would rather fall in the “baller on a budget” category. I can justify giving the illusion of wealth. Anything, more than that would make me squirm. Game the system buy that used vehicle that looks like it cost more than it does if you want. We all know what they are. You’ll still live below your means.

    Great conversation guys and gals.

    P.S. I personally like flashy cars to impress the opposite sex. If I said anything else I’d be lying :)

    • 230

      Len Penzo says

      “Baller on a budget.” Ha ha! Love that term. There are women out there who aren’t impressed with flashy cars, by the way. In fact, I’d argue you might be better off attracting a gal who ISN’T attracted by a flashy car. (At least you know she is interested in you because of YOU and not your car.)

  83. 231

    caraficionado says

    P.P.S. Due to burning the midnight oil. I failed to make a correction on spelling of my user name. As you can you now looking at this comment. 0///0 o///o

  84. 233

    caraficionado says

    Len I thought about that, and, maybe you’re right. On the other hand, when you live in a society where there are many alphas going after the same most beautiful women in the world. You better have either an overwhelming reputation(famous), or, an overwhelming perception.

    Women who get alot of attention everytime they step foot out the door don’t have time to learn about how great a guy I am in my rusty pinto. They are seeing all types of guys stopping them in traffic, grocery store, church, and, who knows where else. I have to be on my “A” game. This means I need to be James Bond, Bruce Wayne, or, “the Dos Equis commercial guy”.

    What woman don’t want that kind of excitiement?

    Creatively consume frugally :)


  85. 234

    Texas Lexus says

    I don’t know how old this interesting thread is but I’d like to comment on something I didn’t see in the other comments. I read most, scanning the judgmental ones. Some of us have occupations that require driving, a lot of driving. I have been behind the steering wheel since 1974 and am closing in on 1.5 million miles. The last 600,000 miles were in two Hondas, a Civic and an Accord, both good cars. Two because a Cadillac took out an otherwise perfectly fine Civic with 297,000 miles in a front end collision. When I turned 60 with over 300,000 miles on the Accord, bought used, I was tired of the road noise and stiffer ride of Hondas. I wanted to end the career in something more comfortable, quiet and easier on the body. As a person who has driven that many miles with the compressed vertebrae to show for it, the choice of car was for my benefit without regard to what anyone else thinks, or may use to judge my financial success, which is no one’s business anyway. I looked at various new cars and found the best deal for me was a used Lexus paying cash. It was less expensive than the cost of lower trim line new cars. I now have 98,000 miles on a six year old car with zero repair costs and it gets 32 mpg. It is the best car I have driven and a pleasure to drive. Having spent my life in the front seat of a car, what I drive is important to me. What others think is of no concern. I’m sure there are those who buy to impress. I just wanted a comfortable, quiet, reliable cruiser and I have it. The only surprise has been the fuel economy with the Lexus being more fuel efficient than the Accord.

    • 235

      Len Penzo says

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I certainly appreciate where you are coming from — I may even take the same route you did, buying a 2 or 3 year old luxury car after my Civic bite the dust (although it only has 150k on it now — so it could be awhile). That the Lexus is more fuel efficient than the Accord is a surprise.

  86. 236

    isaac g says

    You people talk bad about others having nicer cars than you. I honestly think that your all haters. It’s not just the fact that your driving a nice car to look cool but its also the reliability and safety and comfort of a luxury car that a cheap honda or toyota won’t give you. In my house hold my parents, my two sisters and i drive German vehicles and were proud of it and were very happy with our cars. I’m 20 years old and my very first car was a 2004 Audi A4 that car was paid cash for I was 16 I loved that car. That car only lasted me a year it got totaled after a drunk driver hit me from the passenger side and trashed my car should I have been in a stupid honda I probably would’ve been sent to the ER or probably dead. My second car was a 2006 BMW 330i that car wasn’t paid cash for but I did put a lot of money down and my payments were only about $230 a month for 3 years I paid it off quickly and gave that car to my sister now I drive a 2010 Mercedes E350 and i love my car I would never drive anything else or trade it for any other car out there.

  87. 237

    expensive car driver says

    So much venom in these posts. Wow. Judging by the broad and hyperbolic statements I’ve read, I would say that you are the type of pellets that see a priest and assume he is a child molester(you know what I mean, shut up. It’s an analogy)

    I am 20 years old and work a full time retail job and part time sales job and I drive a top level Mitsubishi eclipse with every option. Around 30k$ am I so deluded as to think it impresses chicks or makes people think that I’m rich? NO, AND LIKE YOU PEOPLE, I DON’T GIVE A FLYING F*** WHAT PEOPLE THINK ABOUT MY CAR!! I happen to be into driving and take my car to the track regularl for fun. I spend most of my disposable/leisure money on cosmetic/performance parts for my car. I rent an apartment. I guarantee the majority of you people bought houses that you are financing for 30 years. Please, explain to me how this is different? Yeah, cars depreciate, so? I enjoy it and it is my hobby, who f***ing cars what it will be worth in 5-10-20 years?

    Not me. Chances are I’ll have so much extra time, blood, sweat and parts put into I won’t wanna see it go. Unless you people bitching about the “stupidity” of people who enjoy nice cars and THANKFULLY WE LIVE IN AMERICA, WHERE PEOPLE CAN CHOOSE TO BUY AS THEY PLEASE live in a shanty you built from wood you cut yourself, with no electricity, running water, and heat, wearing potato sacks for clothes then you are EXACTLY THE SAME as these abominations upon whom you so readily paint a scarlet letter. WHAT?! YOU GO BUY CLOTHES? YOU IDIOTS! YOU HAVE A TV? YOU IDIOTS! YOU HAVE INTERNET AND PHONES AND HOMES AND TOYS AND APPLIANCES? YOU IDIOTS! You should be saving all of that money that you are wasting!! How dare you use money for which you have worked to pay for something which you enjoy! That’s stupid and I hate it. You are clearly just trying to impress me because I have such delusions of grandeur that I assume anyoe who dares to spend a dime ABSOLUTELY MUST be doing so in hopes that my opinion of them will be slightly better!!

    Seriously, do you guys hear yourselves? Yeah, dummies go and live outside their means and get cars defaulted on. So do people that buy houses! some people can’t afford children yet have them. If I make a PERSONAL choice to spend a portion of my income on a nice car because I enjoy driving and have a tuning hobby, who f***ing cares? Do you REALLY think cost drivers of nice cars are doing so to impress you? That’s honestly disturbing.

  88. 239

    expensive car driver says

    Go ahead and dont approve my comment! Why would you? It adds perspective and valid counterpoints to these arguments. I won’t be mad or anything. I know at least someone has to read at least some it to deem it unfit and that’s enough for me.


    • 240

      Len Penzo says

      I didn’t censor your comment, Tex. The automated comment system did because you lost your temper and let a few f-bombs fly, as some of the more emotional people who come here are wont to do. I’ll edit out your f-bombs and then everybody can read your rant. K?

  89. 241

    derrunner says

    So I have a 15 year old BMW with 150k miles. The A/C barely works and I am waiting for the next shoe to drop. If I were not able to work on the car myself it would be expensive to keep going. However, I make over 6 figures a year not including my wife’s income or dividend income. I could pay off my house (we owe $175k) by writing a check at anytime and have plenty left over. But at some point you realize that life is short and you need to enjoy some things you like, too, instead of watching a bunch of numbers in a stock/savings account. So if someone likes cars, what the hell, let them buy a fancy car. It’s their life. BTW- I am buying a 5 year old Jag to replace the BMW. New price – $78,000 – my price – $18,000 – with a warranty. So if you see me driving down the street in an $80,000 Jag, don’t laugh with contempt that I am spending a fortune – I probably spent less than you did for that Honda Accord you are driving. :-) And I can still pay off my house – and this is one of the reasons why. Now, people who go buy a brand new fancy car and take $60,000 in depreciation over 5 years – yeah, I feel bad for them. But oh well, it’s their life not mine.

  90. 242

    Jack says

    Honestly, instead of sitting there and seeing people with nicer cars than you and saying “Look at those stupid people who don’t know how to invest their money and are knee deep in debt!” you might want to consider the fact that someone else in this world has reached a higher degree of success and has all of their money in the right place and can still afford to pamper themselves because of the hard work they have put toward making themselves financially flexible instead of having to sit in the same car for 20 years. Don’t stereotype and say that all wealthy people are stupid and can’t get a grip on their money. I work hard, earn very good money, and therefore have the right to buy the car I desire and still have financially security.

  91. 243

    Annoymous says

    I would not drive a used car – period. I would only buy an BMW or Porsche or Jaguar! I have a reputation to keep. Being 20 and full employed; I need to show the ladies that I am the “Man” and my friends that I am a somebody.

  92. 244

    caraficionado says

    anonymous you must is being sarcastic because surely you can keep your reputation in a used luxury car.

  93. 245

    messinias says

    I’ve read a couple people’s opinions on here and I have to say that the original article sounds like it was completely taken out of context. Reading through a couple of the articles I would have to agree with Mr. America’s post. Listen – living within someone’s means is the problem. If someone is living within their means and wants to buy a luxury automobile and can afford them then who are you to judge. There is no question they depreciate but then again so does everything in life. If you are happy with your purchase the hell with what people think. I may think a boat is a terrible financial investment…but that doesn’t stop me from going on my friend’s yacht and celebrating New Years now does it? Why? because it’s beautiful and the guy is financially secure. Am I going to tell him he made a bad investment or enjoy the 500 dollar of wine he usually serves his guests. Bottom line – enjoy your life and stop judging people that are more fortunate than you. If they can’t afford it – then fine…”they made a poor decision”. You’re on this earth only once in your life..don’t waste time judging others and worry about what you can do to be successful and secure.

  94. 246


    Luxury cars just prove how materialistic one is. The money spent for that car can be used in other MORE USEFUL things. Can even feed a whole bunch of people. A normal car would do for as long as it gets you where you need to go.

  95. 247

    Rog in Miami Gardens says

    I own a 2005 Corolla, but I only basically use it at nights after work or on SOME weekends. I mostly use my bicycle and mass transit to get around. I love to read, and I find that I get so much more reading done when I catch the bus or the train.

    I simply don’t understand the love-affair with cars. I just don’t get it.

  96. 248

    Alex says

    HAHAHA I read this article and immediately thought of…myself!! I have a new BMW 335i x drive coupe and I probably can’t even afford new tires right now lol. I know it’s irresponsible, but I like it. I paid $56,700 cash for the car so it is paid off. I had a really good job, but the “trustees” of the company I worked for seem to think that my job was a waste of money. I totally agree that one must plan for the future, cause you never know when your cash cow will run out. However, it should also be noted that if anything-and I mean anything-happens to my car in the next six years, it will be repaired or replaced for free! This includes brake pads, rotors, electrical, mechanical, etc. On one hand, I spent unnwisely, but on the other, if I had a 1997 corolla that broke down tomorrow, I’d be walking. hopefully I’ll finish my degree (I’m going to school for dentistry) before my warranty runs out so I can afford the repairs, because I’m the kind of person that will own this car until the wheels fall off (then spend every dime I have for another one!!) You know what? I like it like that!

    • 249

      Len Penzo says

      Thanks for sharing your story, Alex. My only comment is in regards to this statement:“On one hand, I spent unnwisely, but on the other, if I had a 1997 corolla that broke down tomorrow, I’d be walking.”

      Actually, if you had a 1997 Corolla that broke down, you’d still have about $54,000 in the bank (that you didn’t spend buying your BMW) to make repairs — or buy a two- or three-year old economy car for a relative song. ;-)

  97. 250

    Sarah says

    Couldn’t agree more with the premise here. For the fancy car drivers who are threatened by people not being impressed, you’re proving the point that it’s an ego issue for you. If you’re secure in yourself, you wouldn’t care what we thought. You’re loaded, you treat yourself, good for you. Some of us just think differently, and in fact, choose to rebel against the marketing forced down our throats since birth.

    I have a 12 year old car, as well as a 32 year old car I’ve been fixing up. I get compliments on both, because I keep them in shape. Not that I care, I would love them anyway. The older one (Lucy) used to look like a Mad Max machine, faded paint with moss. I gave her a new paint job and tuneup. She now runs like a champ and is a revived beauty. I see so much blind consumerism and conformity, so I appreciate the older cars. They add character and spice to the highway, and although I could afford a new car, I don’t want one. It’s a dumb money move for me. And as a woman, give me a man tinkering on a old pickup with his own company and money in the bank, over a flashy guy with a flashy car and no savings, self esteem or brains any day (I’ve known plenty of those.) You can afford a fancy ride? I’m happy for you. But not everyone shares your priorities. I like my men like I like my cars, with plenty of character and in it for the long haul. Smart people see through facades.

  98. 251


    Luxuries are luxuries period. If you can afford them, great, you only go around once. If you can’t Don’t buy it, sucks to be you.

    btw… this applies to cars as it does to women’s shoes.

    We all WANT. Right after we got by the NEED.

  99. 252

    Jessica says

    Glad I stumbled across this article, because I wholeheartedly agree and wish more people understood this. My husband and I drive a long-ago paid off 1998 Ford Mustang, and I would still be driving my 2001 Honda Civic coupe – which was two payments from being paid off when it was hit totaled – if I had the option. We got a decent settlement for it, and I then purchased another used Civic, this time a 2008 sedan with heated leather seats and nav, because I wanted a little bit of ‘luxe’ while still getting good reliability and great gas mileage. But sometimes I miss that coupe and kinda wish I still had it – and NO car payments!

    We could afford much nicer cars, but we have chosen to invest in a second home instead, which was a foreclosure we got a great deal on; and it is not a depreciating asset like almost all cars are (unless you’re spending the major bucks on a collector car which may appreciate over time), but rather is being turned into a fantastic income-generating rental property this month. Not too shabby for being 30 years old and under, huh?

    I might add that we are not opposed to having one small car payment and may need to buy a third vehicle soon; but I can guarantee you it won’t be anything brand new, and probably will be something we can pay cash for. I try not to judge those who are willing to pay through the nose for “luxury” cars, because we all have different priorities; I’m just not willing to do the same – because, like you, I think it’s just not smart.

    P.S. The real reason I’m commenting is not to brag about what a genius I am (haha), but to ask if I’m retarded, or is there no button to link and share your material on facebook? This is something I would like to help circulate :)

  100. 253


    Beer income buys beer…

    Your buying a Honda because that is what you can afford.

    A person with lesser income may look at you buying a vehicle with a nav system as a BIG SPENDER, why spend hundreds of dollars when you can buy a perfectly good map for 3 bucks.

    • 254

      Jessica says

      Danny, why you gotta be a hater? I’m a smart shopper and I paid the same for that Civic as ones without nav, so I’ll save my three bucks for a map everywhere I go, thanks.

      P.S. Do you own two houses? That’s a lot of beer money, to put it in layman’s terms.

  101. 255

    Michael says

    The bottom line is this… what somebody else drives has absolutely no bearing on your existence. If you drive a less expensive car as a means to an end, you should be happy knowing that you’ve taken a major step towards your ultimate goal. If you work hard, make a decent living and realize that you don’t get the same utility out of driving a “sweet car” (as somebody put it) when you’re 80 as you do when you’re 30 and single, then go for it!

    I read a terrific book once about happiness… the biggest take away is that you have to condition yourself to not compare yourself to others… we have a tendency to compare ourselves, and next thing you know, you’ve created a superhuman “competitor”, to whom nobody can compare. He – in my case – might be my better looking co-worker, richer boss, smarter college roommate, more athletic best friend… etc.

    I drive a 3 series BMW – not so much because I want to be seen in one, but because I looooooove the way I feel inside of it. It’s such a fun car to zip around in… I really, really enjoy it. I remember the first time I drove it, I actually was grinning from ear to ear. I’ve had it a couple years now, and I still derive the same enjoyment. I have no debt. I save nearly 30 percent of every dollar I make, own my home, take a nice vacation every year and am on pace to retire at 60.

    Oddly, out of all my financial decisions, the one that is universally accepted as the most savvy, has turned out to be my biggest blunder. I bought that damned Chicago condo in 2008. I got a great deal at the time, and have since lost quite a bit of the equity based on a recent appraisal for a refi.

    I guess my point is… focus on your own stuff. Live in the moment. If you’re driving whatever you choose to drive – smell the roses. My “roses” are the fact that I absolutely LOVE driving my car that I, admittedly, splurged a bit on. Your roses might be the comfort of knowing you made financial move which will contribute to your early retirement.

    Don’t stare out your window at others, don’t look over the fence. You can only control yourself. You alone can control the way you’re feeling. It’s a choice. Envy is a choice, jealousy is a choice, bitterness; a choice.

    You know what your own goals are, don’t buy the luxury car if it leverages those goals. If it doesn’t, and you’ve got your finances in order, you only live once?! I’m glad I have the means to zip around in a Bimmer now while I can enjoy it! It’s fun!

    Find a job you love, work hard and make a list of things you care about. Don’t focus on anything but that list. Easier said than done, but if you master it, you’ll be a happy camper.

    • 256

      Jessica says

      Just had to say that I agree with everything you mentioned; like I said, we all have different priorities in life. However, I wanted to add something – do you love the condo you bought? If so, who cares what it’s “worth” right now? We got a great deal on our primary residence in 2010 but it has still lost value since then – but we don’t care, because it’s an awesome house we love, and we can afford the payment and don’t need to sell it, so we don’t lose any sleep over its fluctuating market value (Zillow’s ‘zestimate’ varies by about $50k depending on if you put a dash in the street number or not, so we take it with a grain of salt). So, I encourage you to look at the condo like you do your car – if you love it, don’t regret it ;)

    • 257

      Becca says

      I don’t normally comment but I just smiled when I read Michael’s comment about loving his 3 series. In 2003, I bought a brand new 3 series. I still have it and I love every minute I’m in it. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that has said “I hate my BMW. It’s a horrible car.” Well, maybe if they’re drowning in debt, they might say that. Thanks for sharing your enjoyment.

  102. 258

    blm70 says

    Awesome blog. I think ‘our type’ is something those who are unemployed/foreclosed/repoed needs to take a new model. Should not be ‘how fancy is the joneses car?’ but ‘how much do the joneses save by driving their car compared to mine?’

    41/m. Long time divorced, no kids. I do best at single as I lack the ability to influence my choice of women’s spending habits. Zero debt other than house note.

    1998 Lumina. 200k. No payments since 2003. Got used cheap from my sis’s company as she semi-retired to have kids. 1999 Ram paid $4k cash a few years ago My 2 car garage is not a garage, it’s a shop. I’m full on diy mechanic/home repair type (beaucoup of savings in itself).

    Both vehicles are sitting in front of a house with a note under half what I qualified for based on credit/income, purchased after prices crashed. House was foreclosure and previous owner drove a mercedes!

    My ‘mercedes’ is my 401k, and I watch it like a hawk. I gained from moving money and taking advantages off all the mini-crashes we always build up to.

    I sort of envy the buying power of a childless couple versus single, like my coworker who’s a DINK but don’t envy their recent purchase of a new suv. But I don’t have to worry about a partner’s spending habits or my lack of ability to influence.

  103. 259

    Sherrie says

    Haha. I think this article is funny. I’m not going to state the car I’m going to be getting after graduating high school, because no one cares. Definitely, not everyone is struggling to pay for their 30k+ cars. To, Mr. America, I don’t see this as jealousy I see it more as people who are middle class and don’t really have the chance to buy themselves something better. Anyways, I don’t really see the point to this article. Why are you stressing about the cars other people have? Worry about your life, live it, love it, and enjoy it.

  104. 260

    Oscar says

    Funny the talk of peer pressure. I and many others I know are feeling the peer pressure right now to only buy cheap, old, used cars and stay away from newer, more expensive simply because everyone is on the “LOOK AT HOW MUCH MONEY I SAVED COMPARED TO YOU!!!” bandwagon. Being frugal is now the new status symbol. Just read the posts here.

    Well I will probably end up buying somewhere in the middle because, like most things in life, that is where the best compromise between being frugal (and now, cool) and buying a headache is found.

  105. 261

    Christina says

    I’ll just be blunt; I don’t like the title of this thread. It’s annoying and tasteless and encourages contentious comments from all sides… and/or post after post reiterating the same tired points which serve no real purpose.

    Why should you or anyone here care about what other people drive ?
    But the fact is YOU do, It’s weird !

    I just returned to America after living abroad for the last few years and need to buy a new car. I’ve always owned BMW’s (4 in total) & always paid cash FYI. I go for the BMW because it’s an excellent car, simple, safe, and a pleasure to drive.
    I drive the car because it feels great to drive, looks great, the mechanics, the interior design, etc. I am by no means a wealthy person., just average and the car is pretty average too (just a bit more in cost & maintenance )…. so what’s the big deal about.

    People should do as they like. If they are living above their means then they will soon find out and they will pay the price but it’s their business. Why don’t you uptight people realize that there are people like me who don’t drive this car (and other Audi or Benz’ in their class) to ‘impress people’ (how lame !!!) but because it’s a great vehicle to own, it’s safe & it just FEELS great to drive.

    • 262

      Len Penzo says

      I don’t get it, Christina. The title simply says smart people (and me) aren’t impressed. It’s not passing judgment in any way shape or form. It’s a simple benign statement:

      You drive a fancy car. Okay, bully for you; I’m not impressed.

      And yet, there is a small minority of folks who drive luxury cars that seem put off by that. Why?

      (Actually, I think Sarah actually answered that question several comments before this one…)

  106. 263

    Christina says

    Come on Len, the title is snide (derogatory or mocking in an indirect way))) and you know it. It’s meant to be provocative and apparently it worked LOL……..you have a lot of footprints here.

    Anyway, It occurs to me that it’s just very subjective on how you define ‘luxury car’. In connecticut where I live, the 3 series BMW ‘s are the lower end and nearly a standard. In Europe BMW is also average, Mercedes are only driven by cab drivers and gypsies (no offense))) so I guess there are some variables in the mix which I didn’t consider. The average American can’t afford much right now so I guess if they can be ‘SMART’ (whatever that means)))) it’s a good start.

    • 264

      Len Penzo says

      There is no doubt that the title may be perceived as being provocative to someone who drives a luxury car and is offended that smart people (just my opinion) aren’t impressed. But I respectfully reject the notion that it is snide because the title is obviously self-deprecating (the “Or me” part). :-)

      Besides, I’m not disparaging luxury cars. Read the post again; I’m clearly speaking only about people who drive them and can’t afford them — but put their finances at risk as a means of impressing others. That’s not smart. It’s also why “your” (meaning “those who can’t afford them”) expensive luxury car doesn’t impress smart people. It could indicate you’re a financial success — but it could just as easily mean you’ve simply over-extended yourself.

      I’ll shut up now. ;-)

      What part of CT are you from? My wife’s family is from the West Haven area.

  107. 265

    Oscar says

    Len, why don’t you just own up to the meaning behind the title of your post? “Smart People”, in your world, are people that save the most money and/or spend the least. You confirm this with “the rest of us will continue driving our Honda Civics, Toyota Corrolas, and Ford Focuseses-es (or is it Foci?) and use the money we save for our relentless drive toward financial freedom.” By saying “us” here, you include yourself, and identify the “us” as not just people who can’t afford a luxury car, but everyone else as well, since you said also that you could afford a luxury car.
    Just look at the examples in your article: teenagers driving BMWs. People making $30,000 drivining Infinities. I know you know that it is more than possible those teenagers could have a large trust, or that those people making $30,000 could have a substantial investment egg. It’s quite often that people that have a huge nest egg take a lower paying job because they enjoy it much more than the higher paying job, in addition to the tax benefits.
    Knowing you know these things, because you are not ignorant, means you are not fooling anyone with your claims that your derision is only for people who drive luxury but can’t afford it. If that were the case, you’d have made some kind of disclaimer in the article itself, yet you did not. You only have the disclaimer once people started calling you out.

    • 266

      Len Penzo says

      I have given no disclaimer at all, Oscar — nor do I need to; I am merely responding to your assertions.

      You said: “Smart People”, in your world, are people that save the most money and/or spend the least.”

      No, “smart people” in my world are people who spend less than they earn.

      That is a theme throughout my blog — and I think it it is clear to most folks who read this post too. But if you want to read-in your incorrect assertion here, there is nothing I can do to help ya, brother. :-)

  108. 267

    HFK says

    Even though this article was written in a provocative tone, it sheds light on a true problem with many people’s common sense logic and sense of priorities. It’s never a good idea to unnecessarily place yourself in debt.

    Having that said, let’s not be presumptuous. Many (if not most) luxury car owners do not fit the profile described here. Perhaps those teenagers’ parents got them their cars… and in some cases for free (look up “How to Drive a Luxury Car for Free” or “How to Drive an Exotic Car and Get Paid”). Many purchased those luxury cars used. But most importantly, not all of us purchase these cars to impress everyone else! You look at a car is a practical mean of transportation to go from point A to point B, that’s why your “beater” will do the job. We look at it differently. We purchase those cars out of passion… think of it as a hobby… to own a car that one would enjoy driving (let everyone else drive lambos for all we care).

  109. 268

    Elijah says


    I definitely see your argument about people over-extending their financial means to purchase cars that they are incapable of affording. It definitely drags others who do own luxury cars as myself. I own these cars because I have a passion and a strong love for cars. (I track race) These people who over-extend themselves are just plain idiots, but you could have slightly restructured your argument. As stated before, I agree with your main argument, but I think if you left driving a “beater” out, you wouldn’t have these people posting. When you say “beater” it makes you sound like you shun luxury cars, but that is completely your choice and I respect that. I could argue against owning a beater as well, especially the carelessness that comes along, “my car isn’t so nice, so I don’t care where I swing my door open at, the person with the luxury car won’t notice that dent.” You buy what you can reasonably afford, as do I, some people can afford more than others.


    • 269

      Len Penzo says

      Well said, Elijah. If I gave the impression that i am flat out against luxury cars per se, that is incorrect. I simply prefer modest cars (they don’t have to be beaters either). Who knows; like some others who have posted here I may even decide to buy one someday, although to avoid the depreciation hit, it would be a used (er, pre-owned) one that is at least a couple years old.

  110. 270

    George says

    I know this is an old article, but I just came across it and thought I’d throw in my $0.02. I like to think of myself as a relatively frugal person. Until recently I was driving a mechanically perfect 1996 Nissan Altima with only 120k miles. Cosmetically, this car was a mess because it’s clear coat was peeling. Loved the car because it was cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, and cheap to fix. :D Unfortunately, after driving it for a couple years, I came to the harsh realization that in my line of work (attorney) it DOES matter what people think. And unfortunately, many people judge success by what kind of car you drive. It doesn’t matter if these people are not the type you would want to be buddies with– my livelihood depends on them as clients. Now I drive a used entry level luxury car. Costs more all around, but it seems to make a difference business-wise, so financially it was a good decision. On weekends, my family and I still tool around in our fully-paid for, 12 year old SUV. I don’t see clients on weekends. :D

    • 271

      Len Penzo says

      Well, I don’t think that way, but I see your point, George. Your experience proves that there is a large subset of folks out there who love to make baseless assumptions about people (good and bad) based upon the car they drive.

  111. 272

    Annoymous says

    Anyone who is worth anything in self esteem would buy a “new” luxury car. I seen people who deliver pizzas in new BMWs like mine. They are the people who know how to live life!

  112. 273

    Steve says

    For the record, some of us like cars…

    I bought a brand new BMW after my 21st birthday and don’t regret it. It’s not like it cost 100k or anything, it’s just a nice car to drive.

    At the same time, I also saved a decent downpayment for a house.

    I did this all with an income of less than 50k a year…

    I don’t think I am impressing anyone with my car. In fact, part of me thinks I should eventually get a “beater”, but I will do that when I am ready.

    I would agree that the average person could not accomplish what I do financially, nor could they live my lifestyle, as it requires discipline and measured expectations.

    I would assert that anyone that has kids or a spouse with a low income (or none at all) is less financially intelligent than a young guy with a nice car.

  113. 274

    clemberto says

    What a bunch of jealous little cry babies. I never graduated high school and make more than most doctors. I can buy afford to buy any car I want and will if the mood strikes me. I could give a crap about economic times… I take risks and win. That’s why I’ll always do better than you ditch-diggers. NOW BACK TO DIGGING!!! LOL

  114. 275

    Nicholette says

    While this article makes some good points, I have one issue. Some of us really do enjoy driving luxury cars. I personally find mine to be worth the expense. I just prefer the feel and lack of road noise. I do not drive it to say “Look at me world!” and be a rich prick. I drive it simply because I prefer the smooth feel, the engine power, and the lack of road noise. This does not make me dumb, this makes me a person who goes after what they enjoy. A car is something we spend a lot of time in. I think your article makes too many assumptions.

  115. 276

    Mike says

    I drive a 24 year old Grand Marquis. I recently found the original window sticker in the glove box. This car listed for almost $22K in 1988. In today’s dollar’s, that would be almost $43k! I keep the car in pristine condition. It floats down the road with no noise and I consider it to be made much better than today’s cars. Built to last! Even if I have to put another motor in it, I’m still way ahead, financially. My annual tag is $26.00! The only real expense is gasoline. But, even still, a whole lot cheaper, overall, than purchasing another car, if that’s the only reason for doing so. Our home is paid for, we have NO debt, and we plan to keep it that way. We live in a modest home and live very modestly, even though we could afford nicer. Our goal is to travel when we get into our retirement years. As an earlier poster stated, “time” is the most important thing to achieve the most of.

  116. 277

    little viking says

    i live in a low-moderate income working class industrial neighborhood.. there is a food bank 3 doors down. Every Saturday the street is packed with SUV’s, BMWs, mercedes, etc. etc. If it isn’t luxury.. its less than 2 years old. All these folks hit the food bank. and then there is me.. not once needing to hit up the food bank, with 10 vehicles all over 30 years old. 2 of them over 50. They all drive, and i can fix them on my own. I know i don’t need 10 cars.. but i can afford them since i don’t have the expense of a new or newer car, nor a luxury car. I also don’t have the cost of Registration and insurance that comes with owning a more expensive car. I have neighbors living in city housing who have all the up-to-the-minute stuff, including a mercedes… its no wonder they have to rely on section8 housing. its going to cost her more to get her oil leak fixed than it costs me for my monthly mortgage (1400), where is the sense in that?

  117. 278

    Emily says

    Thank you for writing this post. I was raised in a neighborhood where most of my peers’ parents were very successful. Because of the peer pressure, some people would lease their cars to keep-up or appear successful as well. When 2008 happened, some of their homes foreclosed and they were forced to move or sell most of their possessions. Everyone would know because of the signs on the front lawns. Your post highlights exactly what has happened to some people because of their choices. Because I’ve witnessed this in my hometown, I would never judge someone’s financial stability by the cars they drove. Of course, there are people that can afford to pay for such luxury or expensive cars and they enjoy driving them. The reality, too, is that they depreciate along with maintenance costs, but I always think, “to each their own.” If they like it and can afford it, then I wouldn’t be so concerned. As a realist myself, your post makes a lot of sense. It isn’t a good choice to live beyond one’s means for the sake of appealing to others. I wouldn’t be impressed either. I don’t look down on them, but it’s also difficult to take them seriously if they’re obnoxious and look down on others that don’t appear successful or drive luxury cars for the world to see. I love your post!

  118. 279

    Kiss My A4 says

    Judging by all the vitriol from the Corolla drivers on this thread, the non-luxury car drivers seem just as guilty of playing the ‘comparison game’ as do the luxury car drivers. Instead of a race to the top (BMW, Mercedes, luxury SUVs, etc.) its a race to the bottom instead (look how many miles and how much $$$ I saved). Two sides of the coin.

    As for me, I bought a two and half year old Audi for 20K with full warranty through 100K miles. Its a simple joy to drive. My cars previous to this were… two used station wagons (from the parents), a Corolla, and Civic. There’s really no comparison and as others have posted, its fun to drive every single day.

    Owning a lightly used luxury car doesn’t impede my finance goals at all. And just because someone claims to be ‘car smart’ doesn’t mean they are improving on other finance goals in their life. Mode of transport is just one factor, albeit a hotly contested one.

  119. 280

    Mike says

    Personally, I have nothing against luxury cars. I actually prefer to drive them. I do, however, prefer the classics. I’ve driven a 1967 Imperal LeBarron. Very rare car and parts are incredibly hard to find. So, I sold it. I’ve driven a 1970 Lincoln Continental Mark III. Again, incredibly expensive to maintain. I must note, that I have never lost much money, if any, driving these classics. Buy cheap, clean up, detail, maintain, then sell. I appreciate the design of a well thought out automobile. You can’t go too wrong as far as money lost on a true classic. I am on a budget, so buying something incredibly expensive is just not a reality for me. And, that’s where one has to be creative to get what they want, without breaking the bank. Even if I was incredibly wealthy, I’d still prefer the older classics. A Rolls Royce? Yeah, maybe a Silver Shadow or a Silver Spur, but obviously not a new one.

  120. 281


    I stumbled upon your blog because I actually Googled “why do poor people drive nice cars” just out of the blue. And I think this is related to the social pressure of “Keeping up with the Joneses”.

    My general thought is:

    It’s one thing if you want to drive a nice car and can actually afford it, and it’s something else entirely bad (as your post argues) if you’re trying to buy a nice car but cannot afford it, and therefore not being financially sound in your decision.

    There are plenty of people who enjoy driving their luxury and sporty cars and can easily afford to do so. Hopefully, if you’re a person looking to buy one of those cars, you’re also one who can afford it.

    People have different preferences and different desires in life. But in the pursuit of those things, you shouldn’t behave like MC Hammer and spend irresponsibly into oblivion (unless of course you don’t care if you go broke). That is basically the main idea behind good personal finance and the whole spirit of this blog.

    Ultimately though, I believe in the saying “live and let live”, and people (like me, you, and anyone else) should spend their money however they like.

  121. 282

    LiveWithAnOpenMind says

    Man what a sword fight in the comments section!! If the true intent of this article was to make the point that a persons net worth cannot be accurately ascertained based on the the vehicle they drive, than It should have only been a few sentences… The intent may have been there but the underlying tone is one of judgement, especially in the comments…. Here Ill give it a whirl… “Dont judge a book by its cover”… there I did it, phew that was easy. Its simple, most people desire a couple common things in life; good health and happiness are probably a safe bet. Absolutely everything we do, and all the choices we make, tip the scales of sacrifice /necessity /risk /reward etc. The fact that we are all individuals means that we will be placing different things on these scales, and that’s a good thing. Life would be quite boring if we were all the same. Who is to judge what brings you happiness? Who is to judge what risks you are willing to take? Its your life, you are free to mold it as you wish. Back to the topic….
    Maintaining an affordable payed off car for many years brings some people a sense of pride. It is an accomplishment that not many people do and in the end makes them happy. That’s awesome! There are several reasons someone may make that kind of financial decision…1: Might not be able to afford a more expensive car, 2: don’t see any point in paying more, 3: love their car dearly 4: have other things they would rather spend the money on. 5: don’t want to be judged in articles written on the interwebs…… all great reasons to make that personal choice, all things that keep you on the path of happiness you are paving for yourself. I do not judge that decision and therefore I don’t even make the assumption that you are somehow more “money savvy” than anyone walking a different path. Only after a few beers and some time to get to know YOU and your situation may I begin to make judgments on your personal matters. It really is about the individual and what kinds of things make them happy. Life is all about sacrifices and trade offs, what you are willing to sacrifice may bring someone else joy… Im happy if you’re happy…

    PS: If I ever found myself with a TON of $$$ I would most definitely go buy a NISSAN GTR…its my dream car.. absolutely fabulous piece of engineering.

  122. 283

    Gil says

    Look..I could care less what someone else drives or doesn’t. As long as it doesn’t affect me, It really doesn’t matter. I have my own reasons for not getting a luxury vehicle, but would never judge or deny some one else.

    Personally, I would rather just drive my almost paid off car and use the money that would otherwise be spent on a new, flashy vehicle to travel and save for our retirement. Plus, why get something new and shiny anyway? It’s guaranteed sooner or later to get scratched and dinged up..either deliberately by haters or the elements.

    In ALL honesty, if I didn’t HAVE to drive a car and could walk and take public transport, I would get rid of it in a heartbeat.

  123. 284

    youarehilarious. says

    first i don’t know why google give me your website when i searched average income of people driving bentley.
    when i was 16 i buy my self a m3 out of the money i sell iphone case that i inported from china.i don’t see any point that a person,a middle age grown up,can’t even afford himself a nice car,is smart….
    and your point that a person who own a nice car is a mere action to show off is hilarious.
    maybe from your point of view a infiniti fx50 is a dream car,well,now i am 19,and my sofa set worth more than that.
    i guess your former president is right,we told the poor money can’t buy happiness,so they won’t rob us.

  124. 285


    I agree with this post. Many cars that are too expensive usually don’t attract smart people. I mean cars are meant to ride not to be shown off!

  125. 286

    Tyler says

    I am 21 years of age and when I turned 21, I inherited about $65,000 from a much loved grandfather! I was living beyond my means before I had money and was driving a stunning Mercedes that was in and out of the workshop…

    I sold the Mercedes, paid off all my debt ($10k) and bought a 2007 Holden barina hatchback for cash. It’s a great car and is still new, it’s done 55k miles and is little maintenance and saves me
    Heaps of money in fuel which I think is great!
    I get “looked” at by other people my age with flashy debt ridden cars and I just smile as I am in no financial hardship at all!

    I invested the rest of the money in term deposits and shares and am in a good position financially with a car that I will drive into the ground!

    Great article and one that I have been looking for for a while now :-)

  126. 288

    andrew says

    well this is your opinion and i respect it, however, you cant judge everyone because your opinion says it so. Everyone has different standards and thoughts than you. Driving a luxury car does not make you achieve any status, nor it makes people think that you are rich or something. IF you can afford to ride a luxury car and you want to, go for if, if not, then go buy a cheaper car that will meet your standards and expectations. But judging everyone and accusing for being stupid and super out of mind just because they drive an expensive car, sorry but this is very pathetic and ignorant to say. I am 32 years old, i drive a BMW, i make 120k/year and i am a down to earth guy with simple and minimal/casual dress code. Does it make me look like im trying to show off my success or something? i bought a BMW because i like it not simply because i wanted to show off my status or anything you said in your article.

  127. 289

    Tommy Nguyen says

    I’m 29, and I drive a brand new Escalade, loaded. Since everyone here seems to hate people like me…. how about stop for a second and use your brain (because obviously everyone who drives economical cars are very smart) and think about values (not in dollars, but personal). What if people like me like big houses, nice cars, big TVs, and NOT big bank accounts? At least when the banks to bankrupt, I still have the physical things, and memories to play around with…. rather than check my bank statements online for a six digit number that when you die, someone else probably just going to spend it (perhaps even buying a nice, expensive car). You guess it: I’m implying the word “cheap”…. my theory is do what is most valued to you, so when you die, no regrets, no empty bucket lists, no greedy heirs fighting for your cash pile, no one referring to you as a “Scrooge”, no boring memories of work, sleep, instant noodles day to day! Relax people, since you’re so smart… why bother what other people drive. You obviously look at one point because they do look good! Admit it, deal with it, quietly enjoy your bank numbers, and hope your children might use some of it to upgrade your nursing homes.

  128. 290

    Lukie A says

    There is an inverse relationship between one’s intelligence and the flashiness of their vehicle. I drive a 1998 Ford Ranger with 220 K miles and I feel very “smart” when I drive it.

    I have never met an intelligent person who drove a very expensive vehicle, simply because any person with a basic understand of Economics would understand how absurd “investing” in an expensive car really is.

    I love people who make 50K and drive BMW’s, while people like Warren Bufett, a billionaire, drives a regular, non-flashy car.

    It is a world of fools out there!

    • 291

      Len Penzo says

      See, folks? Here is another smart guy who is not impressed by luxury cars. (Thank you for proving my point, Lukie.)

    • 292

      i'm not smart says

      Warren Buffett also owns a jet and multi-million dollar estates/homes. What a show off. He doesn’t do much driving of his own because he has personal drivers.

      By your logic people aren’t intelligent unless you met them. That sounds more like the definition of ignorance.

      People are not impressed with things they don’t understand; be it music, fashion, cars or houses.

  129. 293

    Mike ///M5 says

    I have a BMW M5 and it was NEVER a waste to me it was the best thing money could buy and for all the people who thought I leased it or am paying payments I’m not lol I’m rich as hell and bought the car cash money all you morons thinking you somehow win in life cuz you drive a peice of shit are in a weird strange case of looser denial lol…. And I didn’t by the car to impress no one I bought that car for me and me only because I saw a M5 in a magazine when I was 9 and I remembered M5 whenever cars would come to topic …. I could Care less how much I bought spent lost on a car because I’ll make more money because I’m a positive individual in this world full of cheap asses and jealous haters lol cars are a passion people have jus like art jewelry coins whatever life is too short to drive a peice of shit and WHAT IS MONEY FOR anyway to look at ?? it’s to spend and enjoy on whatever you want you all sound stupid bragging about you peice of crap cars that you pay no payments on lmfao please shut the eff up you broke clowns and catch up to the rich people doin big things!!!!!!!!

    • 294

      Len Penzo says

      Interesting. If you truly don’t care what others think about your car, then why does this post have you all riled up? Could it be because this post just made you realize that there are plenty of us “morons” out here who truly aren’t impressed with your fancy car? Otherwise, why would you bother trying to convince people how rich you are in the first place? I’m just askin’.

  130. 295

    Mike ///M5 says

    Just making a point saying all these broke ass people on this page can drive there peice of shit cars while I splurge on 100,000 thousand dollar super cars lol I probably make more than anyone on this page lol you all are proud of squeeZing a penny lol how pathetic I’m proud of being able to drive different sick ass cars in my life iv driven M5s 760lis M6 zr1 gtr and a f430 and driving all those cars was the shit and I had the time of my life all I’m saying is if you ever drove or owned these cars you would know why people buy them because there worth every penny I prefer the better things in life and I’m gonna get it even in the future cuz I’m a super human being who deserves fancy cars because I’m a fuking genius lmao

    • 296

      Len Penzo says

      The more you write, Mike, the more apparent it becomes why this article has got you so irritable.

      By the way, if you’re as rich as you say you are, you’d think you could afford to buy a few periods and commas for your sentences. I’m not sayin’. I’m just sayin’. ;-)

  131. 297

    Mike ///M5 says

    Hey lemme ask you a question Len Penzo if you and all these other Len Penzos think cars are a waste of money and everyyone who drives a 1999 Saturn till it hits a million miles are sooooo smart then what is a good thing to save your money for???? Marriage ?? Divorces?? High end clothes??jewelery?? Kids?? There’s a lot of things that are a waste of money on this planet but not cars not to me life is all about houses and cars dammit iv managed a successful life and say everyone with a peice of shit car on this page is really that jeolous of people with nice cars because you all made a page on google like some sissy bitches so you can hate on sick cars you broke fags!!!!

    • 298

      Len Penzo says

      The point of the article was simply this: one can’t judge a person’s wealth by the type of car they drive. That’s all. Based upon your response, the fact that you failed to grasp that point isn’t surprising.

      I appreciate your counterpoints just the same.

  132. 299

    MIKE ///M5 says


    • 302

      Jules says

      I agree with some points you make like, “life is short” a cliche.
      But going on here and bragging about how much money you make, and saying everyone who is poor should get rich doesnt make much sense to me. Yes i get your rich, you stated that very rudely multiple times, doesn’t make you a smart rich person. It makes you the complete opposite, an ignorant rich person. I have a great passion for cars and I do think it is pretty cool that you got to drive an F430 lol but i would rather live on the streets and think the same as I do now than live your lifestyle with your mentality. In summery, if I this was too complicated to comprehend for you, (tried to make it simple for your sake) don’t be an ignorant bastard. Maybe try to be a Philanthropist (look it up;)) I have no further comments for you and I hope you grow to be a bigger person and I truly feel sorry for you.

  133. 304

    GripandRip says

    Everyone’s circumstances are different. My Ford 2004 pickup and Hyundai Santa Fe 2001 were paid off a number of years ago. Both are mechanically sound and run great. However, I think its time for a new vehicle. Will I have car payments? Yes. We live on a fixed income, but substantial. Some would say its foolish to buy when I don’t need to. However, they don’t know we have 400 acres to sell in the near future. See what I mean about knowing one’s circumstances.

  134. 305

    rg says

    I do have a problem with a son who owns 3 homes and lives in a beautiful select neighborhood, buys his wife a mercedes benz for her birthday, a golf cart and atvs for the kids to drive around their exclusive neighborhood, and his 78 year old mother who can barely get around lives in a broken down trailer,,,and they can not afford to pay her propane bill a couple of time a year, really, keep your status, I would love to bring her to one of your elaborate parties for all those people who are so impressed by your life style,,,,shame, shame on you.

  135. 306


    This Article is an extreme load of rubbish. No financially saavy person with any logical sense ever considers a “beater” car a badge of honor. It just shows you do not car about the way you live or the impression or appearance you make.

  136. 308

    JimmyTheGreat says

    Your response has not proven anything. By your article title and its content you define a “smart” person as someone who is financially saavy. That being said me and my colleagues would be considered in a very good financial position based purely on our current careers. Thus, in your definition we would be “smart”. “Smart” people tend to avoid living in squalor, or in your case, the auto-mobile equivalent of it. By that logic your own vehicle is causing you to break your own definition of what being “smart” is. So, I’ll take my nice paid for vehicle and live as a “smart” person would. While you pinch every penny to remain financially saavy.

    • 309

      Len Penzo says

      Well … My response is short because I’ve already answered countless previous replies to arguments that were similar to yours.

      If you read the article carefully (not the just title) and, this is important Jimmy, try and comprehend it from an emotionless perspective, you’ll notice I’m not even addressing folks like yourself who can pay their bills.

  137. 310

    JimmyTheGreat says

    Oh I understand that completely. I have read the article. As you can see my response is directed towards the title itself not the content of the article.

  138. 311

    Paul says

    I’m really on the fence with this one as I can see both sides of the issue. As for me I struggled with the do I or don’t I buy a fancy car for the last two years. THe pros are obviously you get to live a little and to me it does bring some sense of accomplishment for your hard work and perseverence. On the flip side well lets just say it fits the premise of the article.

    I believe there needs to be a happy medium. I almost signed for a new BMW that was nearly 40K and when it came time to put up or shut up my inner self screamed “Oh HELL no you don’t” so I walked. However with seeing the fact life is short and I’ve always wanted one I struck a balance and bought a 5 year old one with ultra low miles that was well cared for for less than 20K. Not too shabby if I do say so.

    My point is although it’s nice to see net worth grow ( I personally save 40% of net) there comes a time where if possible you should loosen the purse strings on occasion. Yes buying a 70K M3 would be a bit much but if prudent in your purchase decision the savings should not really be hindered because of too much debt. That was my primary factor and I’m happy as a result.

  139. 312

    Kyle says

    I sense a lot of jealousy in the article and some comments. Although he has a point about making smart financial decisions, he needs to realize that driving an expensive car doesn’t make one an idiot with money by default. Sure he probably knows a lot of people can afford it, but to call people stupid for having a superior car to him and then putting himself on a pedestal is kind of pathetic. And it seems to be that he’s trying to rationalize the fact that his car isn’t better.

  140. 313

    old beater says

    I once went to the mall and just sat in front of a “luxury” women’s handbag store and counted how many teenagers were walking around with a $200-$500 purses.
    about 20%…..they are not exclusive as they appear to be. but good profit margin for retailer. So I went home and invested my money.

    Now, I laugh at all the fools who buy WHOLE FOODS, COACH, etc. because it is making me richer while they got poorer (they spent it on depreciating consumer goods)

  141. 314

    old beater says

    also, I drive a beater from ’98. But my work reimburse every mile I drive so I actually make money when I drive to customer sites.

    When it comes to cars, it is not just the price. sweet spot is looking at the depreciation rate /year.

    $80,000 luxury car you bought for $40,000 that you can sell for $30,000 in 4 years is better than a new low end model for $25,000 that will go for $10,000 in 4 years. you have to either drive one car for a long time (10+years) or you can also buy low sell high by hunting for bargains and selling higher than market price.

  142. 315

    old beater says

    also, there was a point in my career where I traveled for business and drove a new rental every week. You learn not to have emotional or identity attached to a car.

    Also, fancy luxury car for a young kid is known as “tiny penis mobile”

    really hot women don’t fall for that because really rich people have private jets, or have company car service in a limo.

    “luxury” is only for working class. nobody worth $10,000,000 is impressed.

  143. 316

    old beater says

    Keep in mind that before you can truly be financially free, you have to free yourself from judging yourself by other’s standards. Otherwise you will never be financially free because you always need more money to buy stuff to measure up to someone else.

    Status symbols are for suckers. President of United States lives in a house paid by other people, driven in a limo paid by other people, flies in a plane, paid by other people. Real elites see cars as collectible toys not for utility.

  144. 317

    I'm finally letting go says

    This hit’s home!! Thank you everyone your comments are great

    The wife and I have had a bad habit of buying new cars every couple of years. This past weekend we were looking at trading in our 1 year old Benz for a new Range Rover. I don’t know why it took us so many years to figure this out but.. what the heck are we thinking?? We don’t even need the car we already have two others.
    Our new outlook. Selling the Benz – Lucky enough not to be upside down and will get a 1/3 back of what we put down in cash. anyone who is not trying to fool themselves will admit that a loss of 7k cash is tough to swallow.
    My wife is going to take over driving the car I usually drive. and I’m going to start driving a newer and perfectly good truck i paid off last year that’s been sitting in the driveway.
    Now we are just down to one payment, once it’s paid for NO MORE CARS!!!
    That’s about 700 a month we were spending just because “heh.. lets drive the Benz today” mentality. And yes I will admit it’s an ego thing. But now, I get to inflate my ego even more by knowing I don’t need fancy status symbols to impress anyone. The only people that matter are my family.

  145. 319

    Matt says

    Ok i get wat this is about…100%. But to the defense of the people with the nice cars, the people making 30k a year that have nice cars, simply just want nice cars. Sometimes it has nothing to do with being a status symbol, getting attention, or any of that. Sometime they just want a nice car. I’m 21 and I drive a 2009 Subaru Legacy. I bought it brand new. I have had it for 4 years and it is now paid off. It’s not a bentley, or mercedes, but it’s a nice car. I now have a the security of knowing that all maintinence has been done, it still has a warranty, it has awd, a better sound system then most beaters, etc. Look, buying a nice new car isn’t necessarily a bad decision if your going to keep the car. And most people that own those huge luxury cars didn’t buy them (unless it’s a ferrari or something). Those people leased their cars, and will give it back and get another one, so they pay 5-6k a year…which if u make a lot of money isn’t that much. And for those people who have the nice cars in the apartment complex’s…they bought their cars second hand probably for a 3rd of what the car cost new. I’m on neither side, cuz both sides make sense…but u guys r saying that people judge u for buying shit cars…but u guys r judging them for buying the car that they wanted. Let people do what they want, and buy wat they want, that’s we all work for

  146. 320

    Les Moonves says

    Wow, pulitzer prize winning stuff. Life is short, if you are someone who loves performance vehicles and doesnt want to drive around in a ’94 P.O.S like a Shlub why not enjoy yourself. Smart people in some cases are haters.

    • 321

      Len Penzo says

      Wow. Why would somebody with millions of bucks in the bank even bother to read an article like this?

      I’m not a hater.

      It’s a good thing you’ve got lots of money, Mr. Moonves; at least you can afford to drive the “performance vehicle” of your choice because life is short. Unfortunately there are many more people out here who drive fancy cars even though they can’t afford them, simply to pretend they are as wealthy as someone like yourself in the hopes of impressing others. That’s kind of dumb, don’t you think?

      And, THAT, was the point of my Pulitzer Prize winning article. But you obviously missed it.

      Give my best to your lovely wife Julie for me.

  147. 322

    14commonSENSE says

    Life is too short to drive an old beater car. Some people have a true appreciation for the finer things in life. It’s not all about impressing others. It’s about the joy of driving a beautiful work of art. Sometimes I just take time to admire my car like an artist admires his painting. Cars are sexy. The lines and details. Unlike a piece of art hanging on the wall, a beautiful, high-performance automobile gives you an interactive experience known as the pleasure of driving. It is almost an out-of-body experience to feel the performance and power under your seat as you cruise the open road with your favorite music blasting from the premium audio system and the sun or moon illuminating through your sun/moon roof. For those of us who can’t afford to own a home, A luxury auto is one pleasure we CAN enjoy. As I said, life is too short.

  148. 323

    Mike L says

    I didn’t buy my Cadillac CTS-V to impress people. I bought it because at $72k loaded, it was the cheapest 500hp sedan available. Why do you need 500hp, people ask me. Why? Because I track my car, and if I went to the track with a Civic, people would laugh at me, plus its performance is pathetic. And anyway, its making well over 650hp now because thats what I do for a living, I modify cars. Could I have gotten a coupe for cheaper? Sure, I could have bought a GT500. But then I’d be stuck driving a manual transmission in NYC traffic, plus getting my senior citizen parents in and out of the car for appointments would be horrible. So maybe you need to edit your article, because some of us don’t buy expensive luxury cars to impress people, we buy them because we need them.

  149. 324

    dh says

    Great comments. I recall working in southern gas stations in the mid 70′s. Whole families in the newest Sedan de Villes would lower their windows a half inch and shout out “Gimme dolla hi-tes”.
    Those days, the poor would get together, scrounge up enough for a down payment, then my customer was the lucky one on the third Sunday of the month. The Moral: The shackles that bind you are the ones that you’ve allowed others to place upon you.

  150. 325

    Andrew says

    To me, a car is not a status symbol. It is how much fun you can have before getting to work, home and everywhere else.

    In my spare time, I have been learning about the inner workings of the Automobile, and in a few years I might learn enough to begin creating a Custom Car that will look classic on the outside, but hugely modern and minimalist on the inside.

    I will try to be as accurate as possible to a Lamborghini Countach Quattrovalvole as possible on the outside, and at least a decent Engine to boot.

    My fun in cars is learning how they were built, how cool they look, and being imaginative. I will drive an old beat up POS for years to save the money to build my car.

    Although I don’t regard cars as status symbols, I must say that the idea of driving around in something that makes others go “WOW” is a very attractive one.

  151. 326

    Amanda says

    While this whole discussion is very interesting, I regretfully do not have time to read all the comments. Forgive me if this is a repeat of another comment.

    For me, this is just another way of saying that you should not make decisions based on some competition with neighbors, friends, or coworkers. Decide what’s best for you, for your current situation, for your goals. The foolish thing is not spending money on a luxury car. It is spending money you don’t have to impress people. Is the daily stress of knowing your are living beyond your means worth the occasional appreciative glance as you drive down the road?

    Recently, I felt uneasy about our choice to keep our daughter out of preschool because she felt left out when her friend began going last month. But then I realized that was silly. We wouldn’t send her so that she can be just like her friend. We’d send her for reasons relating to her development, and didn’t send her because we focused on her needs, which would not be met by preschool at this time.

    It’s difficult sometimes, but I think one key factor in being happy is to remember that life is not a competition.

    That said, when my husband and I finally found our financial footing, we splurged on a new MINI Cooper for me. Everything down to the color of the dash was chosen by me. IT WAS AWESOME. Though I’m not a driving enthusiast, it made traffic exciting and fun. I’d still be driving it except that it’s rather impractical once you have small children. Depreciation be damned, once my kids are older, I’m designing my own new MINI again. Yee Haw!

    • 327

      Jules says

      I loved when you said, “The foolish thing is not spending money on a luxury car; It is spending money you don’t have to impress people.”
      It enlightened me to hear that some people actually understand and aren’t ranting on about something they have know idea or knowledge about like some cocky, ignorant fool.

  152. 328

    Financial Centrist says

    Bravo to the author – all good points!

    I work as a financial professional and have had excellent education and experience covering various financial/economic topics and issues. One of them covers net-worth.

    For all those who do not know what net-worth is, it is what your assets vs liabilities are. An economic rule is that if you have a net-worth of at least $1 million dollars, you are considered “wealthy”.

    Having access to various financial bases, I can honestly tell you that most luxury car owners typically have low net-worths. For instance, on average, 85% of BMW drivers have a net-worth of only $20k – that’s quite low and definitely no where near rich. Furthermore, if you gain access to some of these neat databases, you will find out most (but not all) of these people buying these expensive cars tend to have serious, psychological issues.

    Also, from my experience, most wealthy people are quite frugal and value oriented. One investor I know has a net-worth of $25 million dollars, but lives in a normal, middle-class neighborhood and, relating to this topic, drives a 10-year old Toyota Camry. (A little hint – most wealthy people drive normal cars)…

    If someone shoves his/her ego on you regarding a car or anything material-based, challenge to see the person’s balance sheet! Also, if they insist they “bought” their car, inquire if it was “bought” with their money and not someone else’s (only a handful of people can actually do this).

    It’s not about what car you drive – it’s about why you drive it and how you obtained it.

  153. 329

    kentaroWINS says

    I feel both sides. While many people are foolish (or the majority of us believe) for buying/leasing cars they can’t afford, we’re not the ones to be making judgements on what they should be doing with their life. If they want to drive a nice car and they have the credit (until it gets reposessed), so be it. I understand, we could drop dead any day.

    That aside, let me rant. I can’t stand people who drive nice, performance cars, but baby them. What’s the point? Just to look cool? I’m talking about the old men who pull onto PCH in heavy traffic, who COULD accelerate easily to merge into traffic with no slowdown. But no, they have to baby their car and cause 50 cars to slow down (think about how many emmissions that act alone causes). They’re the ones who look like idiots in my opinion.

  154. 330

    Bud says

    OK, not everyone that drives a BMW or Lexus has a taken out a huge loan. A cousin of mine who makes 150 bucks an hour as a consultant owns two luxury cars both of which he bought paying cash.

    I, on the other hand, make barely a third of what he does and own a used Civic. My wife drives a used minivan. We paid cash for one and paid off the other in a couple of years. As far as I can see, my cousin and I both get to our destinations in one piece. Ofcourse, I never get invited to his fancy house too often but what the heck, I’m content as is he(I assume).

  155. 331

    Stuart L says

    The idea that luxury cars will make you appear rich is so stupid. It is part of America’s pig like state religion, Consumerism. Actual rich people have reason to impress the peasants. They usually don’t care if you like their car or not. You simply don’t count.
    Vain idiot Consumerists will buy so called luxury cars and try to impress other peasants with they sheet metal toys. The funny part is, now people on welfare convert their tax payouts and low rent into luxury cars. Now we see poor people driving the same crap as middle class debtor Consumerists.
    Even funnier, German cars of today are overrated, unreliable, expensive to fix crap. One poster mentioned getting a Jaguar, even worse crap. Losses value faster than other sports cars, bad on gas, and you get a Chevy or Ford engine in an unreliable overrated, cranky, car.
    Enjoy impressing other peasants, even the Welfare mom who has the same crap Escalade or Benz that you have. Real rich people are laughing and if they bother to notice, they say, “oh, isn’t it funny when when peasants pretend to be us.”

  156. 332

    bob bob says

    nah brah ur just jealous. yea have fun with your crappy honda and no torque. meanwhile i’ll be in my v12 mercedes which has 3 times the cylinders. now correct my grammar

    • 333

      Len Penzo says

      Why would I need an inordinate amount of torque? I’m not towing the Queen Mary — just driving to work.

      Why do you need all that torque in your Mercedes? Are you using it to tow the Queen Mary?

      By the way, I won’t correct your grammar, but since you seem to be in the mood for advice, you can find the meaning of the word “inordinate” in the dictionary. Just in case you were wondering. Brah. :-)

  157. 334

    Jules says

    I myself, am a car guy. I love to drive and probably enjoy it more than I should. People who work hard for their money, the majority do deserve a nice car without critisizim, in some cases, maybe not. But not making a whole lot of money and having a nice car doesnt mean they have to have, I wouldn’t say “bad car” but not a nice car I guess I could put it. I love feeling how different cars drive and humans are always going to be driving so might as well enjoy the car you drive. I would enjoy driving a sporty car like an Aston Martin. If I could afford it, yes I would buy one; and in my opinion it would be worth it, not because I want people to think I’m wealthy, or because i need it to feel better about myself. I would want one because the way it drives or how it feels. If your content driving a civic, (which i love) then by all means go ahead. But I do like driving cars that feel good to me, and I’m very picky and particular with the cars I like to drive.

  158. 335

    Little Tex says

    I drive a 2000 second-hand Toyota Camry. Up until recently, I was camping out at work to save up to buy a new car and I had my “aha” moment.

    Besides being cosmetically unappealing, there was absolutely nothing wrong with my Camry. I didn’t “need” a new car, I was just being vain. I scrapped my growing “car fund” and started my first portfolio. My heart aches a little bit, but I know I made the right choice. Thanks for talking some sense into me!

  159. 336

    Cal says

    Actually, I consider my husband and I to be smart people. Nowadays, due to a job and state switch, we are able to afford more. And one of the first things we bought was a cherry red ‘used’ BMW convertible. How? Because in FL people put these cars in garages for 6 months of the year and sell them after 7 years with less than 50,000 miles. But as a 7 year old car, it’s cost way less than we could have bought a 2 yrs old Camry for, is a pleasure to drive, and it’s a convertible! Do I like that people smile when I’m driving down the road? Sure – I’d be lying. Don’t care if that makes me shallow in one little way (I volunteer at a job that cost my husband $15,000/yr but could help save lives).
    Because it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Unlike the massive Hummers and Escalades given to teenagers or ‘because I’m not a very good driver and want to be safe.’ They injure/kill many people who are driving little cars to save gas.
    And it’s amusing to price hybrids – way more than the extra gas would cost over a long period (or ever!)
    Anyway, smart people understand everyone gets to make their own choices. Including Miss Single Mom – though I’m not likely to help defray the cost of her decision…

  160. 338

    Aha says

    This article just based on an assumption that if one want a good car, it means that the person want to make himself/herself looks richer than others. I am afriad this is too far away from the truth. You can never know enough why people do something. Do not project yourself on others please. If someone like the experience of driving a high performance car, rather than want to show how rich he/she is, then what could we blame on? But I agree on the idea that other’s “comments” on your car is not necessary. They are talking too much or you didn’t setup a boundary with ego and the surroundings.

  161. 339

    Marco says

    I for one am a 26 year old male, and I’ve been driving the same 1995 Nissan Sentra for over 10 years. With no car payments I was able to help save and buy a home, invest, grow my savings, and live comfortably. And my experience is that anyone buying a new luxury car (on loan) before they have a home, savings, etc. is way dumb. I do admit now, that my old 1995 sentra car has finally bit the dust, I am caving into temptation and buying a new luxury car, in cash, though… Do it if you can afford it!

  162. 340

    Raving Rambling Ramone says

    I am 21 years old. I rent a room from my aunt at a low cost with a garage. I work graveyard and I attend college full time. I own a 98 Porsche Boxster 136k miles, and I love to drive it and maintain it to the best of my abilities. I do give it an oil change before I take it on the track. I purchased it along with tools for it in cash! I have low payments on insurance due to my GPA :).Basically, what I am trying to state is… Do not purchase what you have no knowledge of. Know what you are getting into. Think logically and weigh out the pros and cons relative to your situation not other peoples. By the way, I am selling my car soon and getting ready for Navy ROTC. Only in America, huh? God Bless and happy car hunting everyone!

  163. 341

    Art says

    Sorry, but my wife and I enjoy our her’s and his’ Mercedes. Live only once my friend – so do it well!

  164. 343

    Mike says

    People will do ‘stupid’ things.

    And people are as ‘stupid’ as you judge them to be.

    I read a ton of posts here. A lot of self-praising stories of people who’ve ‘done it right’ (when it comes to owning cars).

    The bottom line is, no matter how you feel about it, people are going to do what they want to do…regardless.

    Theoretically, this is not much different than almost any other subject. Folks know that smoking is bad for them, but they do it anyway. We know that eating fatty (and other bad) foods are detrimental to our health, yet we’re among the fattest and heart disease ridden countries in the world. So how is this much different from “Don’t buy a luxury car unless you can afford one”? If people want to do it, and the freakin’ loan goes through, guess what? They’re going to do it.

    And before anyone questions the point of my two cents: My wife and I drive a 2003 Mercedes E Class and a 2006 Ford Expedition. Both are paid for, but who gives a s**t? H*ll, I’d love to own a Lamborghini or Ferrari. Not necessarily to impress others, but it would be nice to own such a machine…and yes…to have something different than what you normally see rolling down the street. But unless I hit the lottery… I don’t think a military salary will grant me that dream. : – )

    Granted, many of you might drive ‘old’ cars or not make this ‘big financial mistake’ in this one area. But I’d venture to bet that there’s some other area in your life, some other thing you might do, that some other person might judge as ‘stupid’.

    You can only control you. So just do you.

  165. 344

    Matthew Tassone says

    The American dream has been replaced with the American illusion. There was a time when people wanted to acquire wealth and power, now the dream is to pretend to be wealthy and powerful while living in some sort of sick and miserable fantasy world where everyone around you thinks you’re a big shot. You know the truth though? There are only two items in this economic system designed for sheep, cattle and other mindless livestock that are worth having. What are those two items? Well, the first is a degree from an institution of higher learning (a college), the second is a house. If you participate in this system for any other reason, you’re no different than a mindless cow feeding your fat owners.

    • 345

      Len Penzo says

      I would add that only certain college degrees (i.e., those that are science related and maybe a law degree) are worth pursuing. All others are a lousy return on investment that only end up padding the pockets of the universities and their staff — but that’s another thread for another time.

  166. 346

    Matthew Tassone says

    As I am reading the comments section of this blog, I noticed advertisement for a brand new Cadillac. Do your sponsors know that you don’t approve of their product, nor their stupid clientele. I doubt you have a spine, like most Americans seeking “financial freedom.” Where has honor gone? I search for your bravery, far and wide. I search for you who rose up against a mighty empire during the revolution, I long for you who stood stall and fought to the last breath in the great wars. Oh where have you gone, honor? This world you have left behind… this world you have left me, it is sick and morbid without you! When will you return my old friend… you who they call honor!

  167. 347

    Albert says

    I kinda love how half the comment…ers(?) are missing the point of the post.
    So yeah maybe some rich people got fancy cars. But for the rest of us, the intelligent ones stand out by not purchasing a car that we can, in essence not afford. And no, being intelligent doesn’t mean that you’re going to be rich, but being rich sure as hell don’t mean that you’re intelligent either. Intelligent people do however have the advantage of being smarter with finances, on average, than… not so smart people. Unfortunately, today there are just an increasing number of financially immature people who only grow up physically.
    And the financial lion is a hungry beast, just lying in wait for them.

    I’m a lucky person. I live in a country where education is paid for AND the government grants me about $1.000 a month JUST for studying.
    Now, I do agree that everything is expensive around here, compared to other countries, but I’ve managed to live for this kind of money for over a year now. So when students are constantly complaining that their “allowance” is not enough I really just feel like punching them. They should be focusing their energy on managing their finances instead of whining about not getting enough money (This would most likely also affect the artificially heightened prices). I don’t have a job because at the moment it’s impossible to get a decent paying half-time job, but I’ve been able to manage so far just by not buying tons of shit I really don’t need.
    I have a roof over my head, I eat every day (if I remember to), and my apartment is paid for.
    Now, I DO happen to have a fairly large sum of money at my disposal, but I’m fortunate enough to see that these aren’t the rainy days ahead. I’m young, I’m alive, and most of the time and fairly happy – all the money in the world wouldn’t change that.

  168. 348

    PM Heney says

    The item that had me shaking my head in a WTF fashion was that the woman actually had the crass, irresponsible gall to pressure/con people into paying for HER car and its upkeep. I’ve got one or two audacious friends, but no one like that.
    And mine is also a 1997 Honda Civic, bought in cash, purchase and repairs paid for out of MY pocket, not by the friends who would all have the sense to tell me to get lost if I tried anything near that stunt…

  169. 349

    i'm not smart says

    I’m confused – I started reading the article looking for the reason why smart people aren’t impressed with my new car, but there was no answer other than the “because you can’t afford it”. Have you ever heard the saying “I’m not rich enough to buy an old car”? I’ve owned 4 cars for which I paid cash for and the maintenance cost me a little less than payments now for a 30k car. Also, knowing my wife and kids are safe driving in a brand new vehicle that has less of a chance of breaking down, and after a recent accident that totalled the cheap sedan (that hit me) and just broke my bumper, I am again convinced I made the smart choice.

    I generally agree with the article, but not the title – it’s just misleading. There is nothing smart about saying “if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it”. Wow, rocked my world. But I suppose it makes a lot of “smart” people feel very “smart”!

    • 350

      Len Penzo says

      Actually, if you reread the post carefully, the correct answer is because a luxury car (not a new car) doesn’t necessarily reflect the financial success of the owner.

  170. 351

    Tim H says

    wow lots of positions on cars.

    Cars are a liability not an assett.

    I love cars. I have never wasted money on a new one for myself though. I buy my wife a new car abut every 7 to 8 years and we drive it till were tired of it.

    This has made us wealthy in ways those who have new cars much more frequently or those who buy luxury cars.

    Momma said you should have one good clean dependable family car and drive it for twice as long as you made payments on it.

    That didn’t mean go buy a car that cost an entire years salary either.

    I am in a nice middle class neigborhood. Dr’s teachers professors professionals and money savy laborers live here.
    The ones with more than one super nice car or “luxury” car are few and far between.

    Liberals and conservatives living in relative harmony.

    well, except that one lady who yells explatives while she drives her prius like she’s qualifying (she doesn’t slow down … ever!)

  171. 352

    Glam says

    I’m 24 years old and I am employed as a HR recruiter. I have two degrees and I’ve had owned luxury cars my whole life. I currently own a Lexus and Jaguar.

    I feel judged all the time, especially by peers whom drive cars that I wouldn’t consider visually appealing. The fact is that people are judgemental and overly intrusive. Just because people have nice cars it does not mean that they are expensive and cant afford them.

    My Lexus is paid for, when financed it was $300 per month. I know people whom drive a Focus, Malibu and Compass .My car note was less than all of them. So stop being judgemental I can afford my car and I also can afford my condo which is located in one of the richest cities in the U.S.

    Go to college , earn a degree and pay your bills on time. Maybe then you won’t be so jealous and you will have a higher FICO score!

  172. 353


    Luxury cars are a waste of money. As soon as a car is driven off a lot, it loses value. Depreciation is huge on automobiles. Smart people get around with economical cars and invest the extra money.

  173. 354

    Annie says

    I feel the same way Bob and Scott feel. I think you are passing judgement on people with nice cars that make basic income. Who are you to know their finances, they might be saving for years to put a downpayment on that luxury car so their car payments are small. Some folks just don’t like Honda, it’s junk like someone else put it and i like the way they said they won’t settle for anything less but a BMW. I was like that in my 20′s. If you are happy eating cheap food, driving economic cars, dressing from the thrift stores go ahead and do it, but please don’t look down on the opposite of you. They have higher standards than you and want the best for their money. I personally want nice things in life and save money with it. If I can’t do both, I would just work harder and make more money or find a part time job. There is really no excuse for your life other than you are cheapo…. don’t expect me to look up to you, I rather see success with nice homes and cars than a millionaire who drives a honda civic dressed from thrift. It just takes away from class you know what I mean.

  174. 356

    RacerX says

    Lol at all you people. Only idiots who can’t drive buy luxury cars. Go ahead & waste your money on a brand new $45000 junkbox. I’ll stick to my Honda with a turbo as big as your head & still be ten times as fast and save ten times as much. Pathetic really. Lost count of how many cocky M3′s & M5′s I’ve annihilated. The car doesn’t make the man!

    • 357

      Edward says

      Idiot! I hope you don’t kill a family while racing that turbo POS. You are no better than the arrogant M3/M5 drivers you race and claim. If you end up in a body bag, I hope you are alone. Take it to the track jerk!

  175. 358

    goldensv says

    Racer X.
    You sound so dumb when you write that you have a Honda with a turbo, seriously, my friend has a Honda and we took it for service one day, the mechanic was making fun of someone that did exactly what you did. Build it up like it’s a fast beemer or high end luxury car. The quality of the parts they use in your honda is lower than BMW and other luxury liners. You really have to know what you are talking about before you call everyone idiots.

  176. 359

    Powell says

    Americans and nor Americans. Stop the critiques over people. I been wealthy all my life, I’ve never worried about how much money I have on my personal accounts or how much money my real state brings to my pocket. I only know I earn money while I sleep and is more than what I can eat. I expensive cars in my garage and I have the most precious car my dad gave me only when I was 10 years old. 1999 ford mustang fully loaded. I just want to tell everyone realistically in America for poor class, working class, medium class and rich class we all can come to a financial crisis. We all make money and we all have to spend to stimulate the economy. I had a secretary making 65 a year who always choose to live in a apt because she never wanted to pay taxes with five kids. And on top of that they were all sponsor by financial government programs, paid by people like me, doctors, lawyers and more who choose to love the American dream like BOB and his friends. People have a choice. But some how living check by check or on welfare make them happy. Stereotyping is bad. My father drives a Chevrolet suburban 1990 that spend more gas than any new 8 cylinder car or truck but he is happy, he does not only have one black American Express but he owns banks, hospitals, boats, island and thousand acres of land. Yes we don’t worry about money. But the truth is that the ignorance of people push them down. Level of education, class and more separates people from each other. My friends are people like me and honestly I bet you have friends like you. So gear up and use your brain and start making a life for you and your kids and don’t judge those who spent most of their life reading books, working and going to school. They deserve doing whatever they what with their money. There are lots of type of ppl in the world but if it wants for them we. We’re all fighting to drive the Honda civic of this writer who had the guts to criticize Jennifer Situation because she was in pain/jealous when Jennifer bought her $30k truck. You only live once and life is short. Bad Things happen when you don’t know when. I visit Cambodia at least three times a year and people are so kind and humble they don’t put a price over anything due that for them only to be live is a gift. Gets one education, be smart, but don’t think you can come to a job trying to take down your boss with 10 year experience with a PHD and compare to your Highschool graduation. We appreciate those who fight to better off themselves with the purpose of contributions I society so most of you lazy cats can come and have a nibble of hard work not done by those who are just a number. One day a neighbor told my dad why your boy drives a Bentley and my dad told him because I already kill my self working hard like a dog for 40 years so my generations can be settle and stable as long as they live. So what are you doing for your kids? Are you planning them to become like y’all first job in McDonald or Walmart. Be realistic of your dollar. But let everyone live in luxury all they want. That is what is keeping jobs up and a plate of food on your table. Stop calling people idiots just because they don’t live in your world of Hondas. People like me live in sophisticated ways and money is require but respect the law but overall the people I daresay no matter what position we have and what car we drive is not about been smart. I knew my computer scientist that he claimed been smart because he was driving a motor biKe but he got sick frequently do to weather changes, motor bike over heat and on top of that he was spending most of his money on girls and liquor, this could be your case. So look at your self then judge. At the mean time am flying my jet over Rome waiting for the sun to come out in five hours. Have good days

    • 360

      Len Penzo says

      “Stop calling people idiots just because they don’t live in your world of Hondas.”

      *sigh* Really? I appreciate you taking the time to share your stories, Powell, but … you completely missed the point of the article. It went right over your head.

      Nobody was being criticized because they “don’t live in (my) world of Hondas.” The criticism was reserved for people who choose to drive “your” Bentley when they can’t afford them.

  177. 361

    Bobby says

    All an article like this does is perpetuate the mentality of the people who glare at me when I’m at the gas station. My car isn’t even that new, it’s 10 years old but because it has a CERTAIN BADGE and looks factory perfect, that suddenly means something special. It’s a good car and I’ve always wanted one. I work hard and I deserve it, even if its slightly above my means.. I’ve driven my entire adult life in cars that forced me to keep certain tools and liquids in my trunk in order to keep them alive, even had to call tow trucks on occasion.. It’s expensive and I just don’t want to live like that anymore.. Sure, I had to have my car financed and you can think what you want about that, but I grew up poor and my credit is finally good enough to get approved for something decent (albeit with a large down payment).. And honestly I didn’t know if I would be able to keep the car 6 months, but it’s been over a year and I’m ahead on my payments, it gives me motivation.. Furthermore I don’t have to worry about expensive repairs because the car is newer and owning complete crap my whole life has made me a seasoned mechanic lol. The car is fully up to date on ALL service items (over $2k extra invested over time) and I only have another 18 months left on my finance so I’m doing my best in that short period of time to secure my car for the next 10 years (before I buy a house and start a family).. sure’ it’s a “luxury car” but it’s very well engineered (as a software engineer I can appreciate that) and to me it’s worth every penny I fritter away on it. I love cars and it’s nice to have one that I have always wanted. I’m not trying to show off or draw any unnecessary attention, I would just rather have something nice and quiet and comfortable than another piece of garbage.. even if it costs me certain other luxuries during the finance period (vacations, expensive meals, etc). With the way I’m treating it, it’s going to last a VERY long time.. It’s my choice, what’s wrong with that? Please stop judging me :(

    p.s. sorry about the punctuation and lack of relatable scenarios, but this is more of a rant after researching the mentality of people who disrespect me because of what I drive and how young I am.. all before even saying the first word to me, it’s sad really. I may not look like anything special, but I’m a prodigy in my field and a damn good person.. it happens.

  178. 362


    Agreed. One of the most interesting aspects of human behavior is the fact that they complain about having “no money”, when in fact their money just goes to things they don’t need. What’s the point of the fancy car if you can barely pay off your credit card? I don’t agree with the “war on luxury” but don’t purchase luxury if you can’t afford it.

  179. 366

    John says

    Well my daily driver is a tesla. My weekend ride is an MP4-12c. My house cost me 150k (yes cheap beautiful house in vegas). Everything is fully paid off. I don’t judge others for what kind of cars they drive so why should others? These 3 items alone won’t even add up to a house in California. As a lazy car enthusiast, I bought it for the driving experience. Ever seen jay leno’s garage? You don’t judge him because you know he’s a car enthusiast. It is bad to assume and judge others. Leave them be.

  180. 367

    MM says

    I love your article.
    I make a six figure salary and so does my wife, but we are a new couple, so I am driving a 04 Sentra and she uses the train.

    However, we are saving the money to buy a nicer house, which is a much better investment. We want to live near Boston (near our work) so the houses are really expensive :(

  181. 368

    Ash says

    Very well written article. Buying something out of peer pressure is the worst. Although I think if you can comfortably afford something, why not pamper yourself? A car should be for you. You shouldn’t be for the car. My belief!

  182. 369

    Johnny says

    You know? Besides this heated debate, Jennifer didn’t really say anything about her friend’s financial situation, so how can she judge her so harshly? Perhaps replacing the engine could be cheaper than selling the 30K SUV especially if she had negative equity or “upside down) and couldn’t afford to get a used car or beater let alone a new car.I have a friend who decided to replace part of the engine in his Audi because he liked the car, he wanted to keep it and it made more sense spending 2K and keep it for another 5 years or so than trying to sell it, losing money and time and going through the hassle of buying another car, either new or used (unknown predicted reliability). I saw many people lose their houses and salvage their Porsches for the same reason; it would be the less expensive way to move on.

    And well, as much as I agree that some people live beyond their means to impress the rest, luxury cars are in fact an exception because you also have to consider that if you do the math, car leasing deals today allow you to drive a luxury car for about the same price you would finance a regular car and when the lease ends, you can always buy it out. For car enthusiasts like me driving is much more than moving from point A to B so I decided to lease a smooth whisper quiet, comfortable and fast sports sedan instead of buying a typical FWD slow noisy boring car. Its like night and day.

    I’ve actually met people who drive Corollas with FAKE Rolex watches and Louis Vuitton purses, I’m not justifying people living beyond their means but at least they are willing to sacrifice something!!

  183. 370

    Qflux says

    It is AMAZING how much time people who “don’t care about cars” and are “perfectly happy with their X year old ABC car” spend OBSESSING over what other people drive.

    If you need to knock other people down and stereotype them based on the most superficial observations in order to feel better about yourself then possibly you haven’t quite achieved such a zen state of perfection as you think.

    Entries like this ALWAYS bring out the “anti car” zealots who feel it is their divine right to count everyone else’s money and cast value judgments on their lifestyle based on zero knowledge.

    It honestly sounds incredibly nasty and envious. It’s the kind of thing you read in ANY extremist forum.

    Try going to an Eco blog and posting about your great 10 year old car. See the responses you get which demonize you the way you’re demo mixing your neighbor who chose to buy a newer car that was more expensive than what you feel is “enough”. To the Eco zealot, you two are EQUALLY evil. Oh, but they’re “crazy” right?

    The human race would be a hell of a lot better off if people could just find a way to feel good about their own choices without needing to “prove” how much “better” those choices are than someone else’s.

  184. 371

    Anonymous says

    It is pretty evident that most of the posters never experience the status of a brand new luxury car like a BMW. If they had; they never post such stupid stuff. Having an upper class M3 BMW; you get respect, status and a lot of attention from the ladies. You become their dream man that they always wanted to marry! You can get there number or even a date just by telling them you drive a new BMW – M3! $77K car! You don’t have to talk your mouth dry and then they reject you when you ask after a half hour of trying to get to know her. You can just ask her after you tell her what you drive.

    Sure it cost a lot of money especially the insurance $600 a month alone since I am now only 22 years old and work full time as a warehouseman and live with my parents who had to co-sign for my lease and are on their policy but man I am living the life!

  185. 373

    Og_Loc says

    Well, I don’t know how old this is but anyways. Right now my parents own two Honda civics 2001 and 2007. I always envy people that have BMW, Audi, Benz etc. I always complain to my dad too at why we can’t afford these types of vehicles cause I’m so weak down inside that I need to cover up with a luxury car. Keep in mind my family came here in canada bavk in 2000 with no support and only 6 pieces of luggage. Long story short, my dad tells me to never make fun of his 2001 civic, cause I don’t own anything better (I’m 16), he said that when you get a bmw you can laugh at me for having a civic, but I don’t recommend it because you don’t see me making fun of our trashed Mazda when we see someone with it on the street, cause I know that I once had that car and I feel for the driver. All you luxury car drivers that are douches need to stop
    Honestly. True wealth comes from deep inside, not from your car value.
    Thanks guys! :)

  186. 374

    Bryan tocker says

    Have you ever driven a BMW? A 535i or M3 with the tunes playing on a windy mountain road. It is absolutely exhilarating.

  187. 375

    Brand new and a beater says

    I don’t understand why any of you care what other people drive….I have a beater for work, and a brand new high end vehicle that I enjoy driving my wife in on nights out as I’m an auto enthusiast, and enjoy the technology of new fast cars. I don’t piss money at the bar, waste money on cigs. It’s just funny how some of you have opinions on how others spend their money, yet haven’t spoke of the hobby’s you blow more then a car payment on. Yeah the guy collecting toys he had as a kid, or the girl who buys a few $K in handbags a month. Too each is own…live your life the way you want to. Save as much as you can! You may be dead tomorrow. I’ll be at the country club pissing more money I worked my ass off for living each day like its my last. Saving is great, if you can do it, that’s great. Some people can’t, those that can, what are they saving for anyway? Wife and I choose to save, but never sacrifice today for what maybe will happen 30 years from now.

  188. 376

    Sue says

    I completely stumbled upon this site googling another topic. This caught my eye and I became immersed in the “hot” emotions pro and con on this subject.
    I must add my 2¢ worth as I fall in the category that the writer would say “living above her means”. I live in a nice comfortable home with many desirable architectural details found in expensive homes. I drive an Escalade that is not new in years but factory perfect. I carry designer bags and have lots of gorgeous jewelry. I AN DEBT FREE! I paid cash for my car. My home was inheritated, but most people would not have paid $15,000 for it as it was when I inherited it. It became a showplace little by little as I improved and added on and remodeled over the years, using the best of everything. I paid as I went and never borrowed a dime to achieve it.
    I love nice things and nice things happen to cost a lot. I do not buy to impress anyone, I can assure you. Where I live my Prada and Cavalli bags do not impress! The people who see me don’t have a clue what those brands even cost. I’m sure if they think of it at all they think they are from the local dollar store and that my diamonds are fake. It is purely a personal thing with me. I appreciate quality and have found my
    Mother’s old saying to be so true. ” You get what you pay for”.
    If I told you my annual income you would discard this post as a total fabrication. I tell you all this to remind you, do not be too quick to feel smug that everyone is in debt who has wonderful things even if they do not have Wall Street jobs.
    I read and noted I do have all the characteristics of your post how people live well and within their means. I think patience would be the most important. No instant gratification, but achieving a little along is more fun than having it all dumped on you at once and soon the thrill is gone and you are so in debt you cannot get anything else.
    I have stupendous credit and could ruin myself tomorrow if I used all I could obtain. I use credit cards daily for everything and ALWAYS pay my balance in full. This long habit has provided me with the exceptional credit rating I have. I also use “reward” cards and it adds hundreds if dollars for me to “spree” on. My income is so low that the amounts are significant to me.
    Further I am retired. I retired at 50 because I had planned and saved to make that possible. Now I am enjoying my time doing all I wish. I watched my friends going into debt during their 30′s and was sometimes chastised because I didn’t trade cars as often as them, but it was okay because I knew I would pay cash for a car they could never afford. And even then I would purchase a nice piece of jewelry or such along, as no one wants to work and never have a “happy”. It was not excessive because with no debt each paycheck was mine to spend.
    You can live WELL above your means if you STAY out of debt! Debt is horrifically expensive and if you crunch some numbers you will see just HOW expensive.

    • 377

      Len Penzo says

      “… do not be too quick to feel smug that everyone is in debt who has wonderful things even if they do not have Wall Street jobs.”

      Thanks for your comments, Sue; but you’re 180 degrees off regarding the article’s theme, which is:

      “Do not be too quick assume that somebody who has wonderful things isn’t in debt.”

  189. 378

    Sue says

    Oh I forgot to mention one more thing that bothered me reading the other posts! Almost everyone that was pleased to say they drove older cars extolled a foreign brand!!! One gentleman even bragged how his family arrived in America broke and made their fortune here. So this is how he repays America? By buying foreign? Shame. Shame.
    I suppose it’s because they are looking to buy cheap to begin with!

      • 380

        Dave says

        And many “American” vehicles are just as reliable as their “foreign” counterparts these days .. it’s not the ’70s any more!

        • 381

          Len Penzo says

          That’s true. The gap has tightened significantly since then, although I think the foreign cars still have an ever-so-slight edge in that department.

  190. 382

    Dave says

    Thanks, Len, for an interesting blog post with a very insightful comments section.
    Came upon this while debating an auto purchase with myself.
    My vehicle purchases over the years have been generally ok, with one exception. The first two cars I owned were both used and pretty good although the latter sadly turned into a lemon after 85k .. still that’s 40k miles of motoring over 3 years for the grand sum of $6k depreciation and repairs! Then I made a mistake and bought a loaded new SUV. Not that I couldn’t afford it, in reality I could. But at that time I didn’t yet have a house .. I had the nicest car in the apartment complex! I still ended up putting 25% down on a house but my priorities were scewed. When I think back on what I could have done ..
    Dumped it after I paid it off in 4 years on a very good trade for a new (previous model year) economy car which I paid off in less than 3 and I’ve kept almost 8 at this point.
    What amazes me is this now late thirties guy is having serious guilt issues wanting to buy a new less-than-practical car that I can easily afford. The price is less than 1/3 of my income, heck I could pay cash but even better – the bank is throwing me free money. It should be my reward for a successfully planned 15 year career and a very frugal decade. Tried to assauge the guilt by boosting savings and reducing bills .. now it would be budget neutral! All this guilt stems from a silly decision by a twenty something.

    Still .. if you like cars and can REALLY afford it .. that’s what you earn money for. If you can’t or you don’t care (like my misses), then drive around in an old beat up minivan :D

    • 383

      Len Penzo says

      Hi, Dave. I don’t think you need to feel guilty. If you can afford the car — and have adequate emergency and retirement savings built up — then enjoy it!

      That’s a key point: If you can afford the luxury car of your dreams, great! If you can’t afford it, you ain’t fooling financially savvy people (or me) — we know better!

  191. 384

    Brice says

    Cars are my hobby. I love dealing with anything from subaru to Bugatti. I’ve been around cars all my life. In newport its kinda hard not to. It definitely feels good to accomplish something and get what you want whether that is a house, boat, car, anything!
    Not trying to fool anyone either when I drive my c63 around. It was a gift from my parents. I know what it takes to work hard and accomplish your goals. I watched them do it. Now if I want to be able to support my family the way my parents supported me growing up, I know I have work very hard and very smart.
    Yes, some people on the road can definitely not afford the cars they are driving, but just as you stated, it will be repossessed, they won’t be able to pay insurance, you show up at their apartment, lol, or some other repercussion. Just do you and don’t mind what other people do.

  192. 385

    Adrienne says

    I’ve had financial struggles in the past and even filed bankruptcy at the age of 23. It was a very humbling experience and a rude awakening at the same time. After reading book and attending seminars on creating wealth and debt/management, I now see that any form of debt is only economic slavery, of which I choose to no longer participate. I now live well within my means. No more than 50% of my expense go toward living or bills. I live very modestly but I’m not lacking. My philisopy is, if I can’t pay cash for it, I can’t afford it. I don’t care what it is or it’s cost. It can be a piece of bubble gum or my business. Everything I do is self funded. And I encourage others to try to do the same.

  193. 386

    Travis says

    Next time you fly, look down at a busy highway. From about 2000 feet, every car looks the same and they’re all basically performing the same task. You can’t tell which one is a luxury car or a beater. It’s incredible the status people attach to a piece of machinery.

    I guess you could say I’m a big-picture kind of guy.

  194. 387

    I dont get it says

    So I do not understand why so many people want to waste money on luxury cars. I am an associate in real estate law and I was brought into my boss’s office today and he pretty much told me that I needed to go buy a new car if I wanted to stay around.

    I drive a 1997 Honda Accord, it has 210,000 mile or so on it and runs like a champ. Except for a new transmission and radiator I have done nothing to it in the 60,000 or so miles that I have owned it.

    My boss says that nice cars show our clients that we are successful, and he pretty much shuddered thinking about what people would think if they saw me pulling up to the court house in my car.

    I think it is crazy, I still have over $100,000 in debt from law school. Just two years ago when I started this job I had to buy 5 suits and other assorted work clothes. I have heard from others that midlevel associates are supposed to wear a Rolex or some other type of $5,000+ watch. Add to all of this the ridiculous dinners, bar tabs, and “networking trips” which are just times that the whole office flies someplace and stays at expensive hotels and gets drunk.

    I dont get the corporate world. You have to spend tons of money so that you look like you are successful so that you can have enough money to spend so that you can look successful. It is like a hamster in a wheel.

  195. 388

    Anon says

    This article definitely rings true for my family. I’m not personally wealthy, but my dad is moderately affluent and I’ve learned the power of frugality and living below one’s means from him over the years. He’s been driving japanese econoboxes and minivans for as long as I can remember. He’s driven 3 cars in his lifetime (all of which he wrote a check for in full at the time of purchase) – an ’84 Toyota Camry, a ’95 Nisan Quest, and an ’06 Honda Pilot. That’s it. He write checks for cars in full and drives them until they break down.

    Currently he’s 55 and will pull in, oh I don’t know, anywhere from $550k to $700k per year (AGI – federal income tax takes a hefty $150k-$200k of that each year. I’ve seen the checks!) or so and yet he spends maybe $6k-$7k per month on total living expenses. As a result his overall net worth is between $5M and $10M and yet he doesn’t harbor any notions of ever driving a luxury car. In fact, he doesn’t even consider himself to be wealthy. If someone were to ask him what social class he’d consider himself to be in he’d probably say “middle class” and then begrudgingly add “upper middle” as a qualifier if pressed.

    After his Pilot he’s already told me that he has plans on purchasing a Prius as his next vehicle.

    Granted this is not to say that he’ll never spend money on anything. He values experiences more than material possessions. For example, one of his dreams is to ride that Virgin Atlantic aircraft to space ($250,000 per ticket!)

    But this notion that one cannot properly assess another person’s financials based on the car he or she drives is completely correct. There is a correlation between the price of a person’s car and his or her income/net worth, but it’s only a weak correlation.

  196. 389

    Eric says

    This article is outrageously stupid. I drive a range rover. I paid $8,000 for it used (had several mechanical problems) and I work on it myself. If you buy the parts and provide your own labor it costs about the same as any other car. And the fact is that the Range Rover IS a better vehicle with far more capabilities than other SUVs. And I actually use it off-road, a LOT.

  197. 390

    Wishing For a Better Car says

    Where I live, there’s people driving round in brand new Mercs and BMW’s. The cost of these cars are a quarter of the value of the owner’s home. In my opinion the money would be better spent on a better home, which will always be worth something (unlike a car, which will eventually be worthless).

    I don’t spend a fortune on cars (I always buy 2nd hand). The funny thing is though, I could actually afford any car that I want (second hand or new). But the reason I can afford any car that I want, is because I don’t go out and buy any car that I want. Think about that carefully.

    • 391

      Anonymous says

      ” I could actually afford any car that I want (second hand or new).”

      Can you afford to buy a EB 16.4 Veyron Sang Noir – Super Sport? About $3.5 million U.S.

  198. 392

    Lukas says

    It is the most stupid thing I have ever heard :) It is not worth spending such a huge sum of money spending on new car. Nowadays you can buy fix your old one and you can buy all car parts needed online much cheaper and there is huge variety of tutorials which may help you to do everything by yourself.

  199. 393


    My parents taught us this when we were kids. When we saw someone driving a really nice car or living in a huge house and said “WOW, they must be rich!”, Mom and Dad would say, more than likely they are broke trying to pay for those cars and houses.

  200. 395

    Nate says

    This article and many of the comments fail to address the concept of a hobby/interest.

    Do any of you have a hobby/interest that you invest money in each year/month? How much do you invest in that hobby (or how much are you willing to admit that you spend)?

    For some people, cars are one of their hobbies and maybe their only one. Stop and think for a second that their car payment is similar to what you spend on your hobby and then admit that while they could be investing that money elsewhere or saving it, you could be doing the same with the money you “waste” on your hobbies. The fact that they took out a loan has no bearing on the subject when you compare monthly cost of one hobby to another….in fact their hobby may be helping their credit report/score. Is your’s?

    Sure, maybe they couldn’t pay cash for the car and maybe the amount they are spending is more than they should if it is simply a means of transportation, but if it’s reliable and it accounts for some or all of their “hobby/entertainment” fund as well, leave them alone and stop being so judgmental.

    Personally, I’ve gone through 7 cars and I’m 25 years old. 1st was a gift, paid cash for some, financed others, and leased one. I drive them hard and have fun with them, do my own work on them and then switch them out for something different. That’s my source of entertainment. I’m guessing others have nicer houses, nicer electronics, nicer clothes and enjoy nicer meals, but it’s all a choice that we each get to make individually. I choose to drive a nice car… Don’t fault me and I certainly won’t fault you.

  201. 396


    Another thing worth mentioning is that cars depreciate at an astonishing rate. Probably the moment you drive the car off the dealership forecourt the value loses 40%, whilst it can be possible to buy and sell a car over ten years old at very nearly the same price, effectively reducing the ownership costs to just regular maintenance!

    In general, in our journey to financial independence, we want to be buying assets that appreciate in value over time rather than depreciate. And this generally means stocks, or real estate bought at non-bubble prices. My family’s car is a 10 year old Japanese “Kei” car which cost about 1500 USD. On the other hand nobody sees our stock portfolio which throws off enough to just live off the dividends. It’s just like in the book “The Millionaire Next Door”.

  202. 397

    Matt says

    The only thing Jennifer failed to mention was how old and what kind that vehicle her friend has. Then her comment can either be validated, or it means absolutely nothing, as replacing that engine would cost a lot less then buying another (likely new) car of the same model, or even more prudent than just buying a used car period in that price range (whether dealer or private). Emergency fund not available notwithstanding….

    Beyond that, the premise of the article I agree. Many “luxury” cars are often junk, or very elaborately built so when something breaks, replacing it is a royal pain to do. They also don’t last as long in many cases, even if driving casual/light.

    Give me an older Toyota or Honda any day. Drive those things forever, then DEFINITELY go ahead and replace/rebuild the engine. It’ll be good for another 250-300K and far more financially prudent :)

    (I’ll take the real nice car when I really am making the bucks to not care)

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