Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Why I Don't Judge People By Their Car

For some reason, certain characteristics are associated with the type of car a person drives. The characteristics often are related to the type of driver or wealth status.

Type of Driver

We have two family vehicles, a full-size truck and a compact car. I've noticed that people seem to drive cautiously around my truck. I rarely get cut off, tail gated, honked at nor experience other inconsiderate actions from other drivers. When I drive my spouse’s vehicle, a compact car, it seems one of these inconsiderate actions happens to me about 50% of the time.

People must think that drivers of trucks have different characteristics that drivers of compact cars. I don’t drive any differently nor do I personally look any different. So I figure the difference must be due to my vehicle.

Financial Status

A few years ago, I purchased a used luxury vehicle for a very good price (less than $20,000). When the wife of a friend saw the car, her first comment was, "Wow, you must have received a really big raise." Actually, nothing had changed. Same pay, same house, and same standard of living. Again, the only difference was my vehicle.

Of course, while wealthy people do drive expensive cars, people who drive expensive cars are not necessarily wealthy. The mistake some people make is to live by the second assumption - i.e. driving an expensive car means that one is wealthy.

My Wealth Builder Situation

I'm doomed to life of being perceived as an dangerous driver who is not wealthy :-) My truck, which only has the basics, is 3.5 years old and has 37K miles on it. I'll probably drive it 7 -10 more years, and perhaps 15 more years if it holds up.

In reality, we are safe drivers (e.g. accident free discounts), and saving 20% of our income. So please don't judge me by what I drive :-)

For more on Ideas You Can Use , check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

Photo Credit: morgueFile.com, Matt Geyer

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


Anonymous said...

Great post. My wealthy clients, have always been the ones with modest cars. It was always those Doctors with a high income and 2 Mercedes that never had any investable assets.

Your truck should make it 15 years. My Jeep, which until last week was my daily driver, is 12 yrs old with 220k. My "new" car is my wifes hand me down 300m (7 yrs and 200k). She got the "new" '03 Yukon with 70k. This is my first experience with a used car. If this works well I will be buying more. At 70k it is barely broken by our standards.

L. Marie Joseph said...

As said in " The Millionaire next door"
the average millionaire buy used cars for under 30K

But in America, I hate to say we are judge by what we drive.

The one that buys new luxury cars are almost always living paycheck to paycheck

Super Saver said...


Thanks for your comments. You have sure received great value from your vehicles. I hope to get over 200K with my truck.


Haven't read "The Millionaire Next Door" yet, but sounds like it has some great perspective.

mOOm said...

I don't have a car and have $400k. The best car my parents ever had was a tiny hatchback called a Mini Metro (in Britain). My Mom doesn't have a car now. Her net worth is $2.5million :)

Super Saver said...


Thanks for your comment.

Good point. No car can be a pretty good situation :-) I miss not owning a car. We didn't have a car when we lived in Japan and loved the situation.

Anonymous said...

Interesting observation about the behavior of other drivers. This gave me a chuckle: the name of the picture on this page is ferrari.jpg, but the car is a Lamborghini...

Frugal Student said...

I do just people by their cars, older nicely taken care of cars tell me that person is well off, where as new cars tell me that person has a lot of debt... I think I have been corrupted by personal finance websites. :)