Want to see inside someone’s wallet? Take a peek at their car.

Isn’t it funny, how we stereotype people by the cars they drive. As a college student I drove my father’s rusty, old, Toyota camry station wagon to campus. I’d park it alongside the shiny BMWs and SUVs of fellow students. I used to hate driving that old bomb to campus. Thinking back I relish the fact that my parents even had a car for me to drive.

As I mentioned in a previous post I recently sold my 2000 Honda Civic for a 1994 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency. I love driving it around town, primarily because I think it gives people the wrong impression of my financial status. I bet people think I’m young and broke. Maybe they think my grandmother passed away and left me her old bomb.

As a society we immediately think the driver of a Lexus has money, and that the driver of a run-down old Ford Escort does not. But the Millionaire Next Door points out that these stereotypes just aren’t true. In fact the Millionaire Next Door notes that most millionaires drive older, American made vehicles. The book goes on to point out that those individuals driving luxury, foreign cars probably have a smaller networth than those driving older vehicles. After all, they just spent a whole lot of money on a brand-new car.

I ran through a list of the people in my head who have recently bought new cars. None of them purchased the cheaper models and none of them bought their cars used. One friend who is constantly worried about her family’s spending habits bought two new cars in the past year. And another couple we know, with two mortgages, alimony and child support payments just purchased a teched-out SUV. My brother-in-law convinced his parents to buy him an SUV, rather than a small or mid-sized car. And my husbands coworker leases an expensive vehicle even though he’s thousands of dollars in debt.

Obviously you can’t spot a driver on the road and determine whether or not they have a hearty savings in the bank. But I bet if you look at the vehicles of your friends and neighbors you can easily determine those living paycheck to paycheck from those sitting on a large retirement fund.

I’m pretty curious about this subject…
Tell me if you are trying to save money, what kind of car do you own?

4 thoughts on “Want to see inside someone’s wallet? Take a peek at their car.”

  1. We drive a Honda CR-V SE, which is eminently practical. Our net worth would have allowed us to buy any car we wanted.

  2. Right now I use public transportation which is great because I don’t have to spend any money on transportation. However, I may be starting a new job outside of the city in a few months and I will probably buy my good friend’s 2002 Pontiac Sunfire. I don’t know for sure because it has a ridiculous amount of miles on it and he’ll be racking up some more driving from DC to Texas and back.

  3. I have a 2005 Dodge Stratus. Even though it's the closest to new I've ever owned, I bought it for $4,500 a year ago, and it only had 45,000 miles on it at the time of purpose! I could sell it today for $2,000 more than I spent on it two years ago! I would never buy a new car. Period.


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