Pumping the Brakes: Why You Might Want to Think Twice About That Fancy, Expensive Car


Photo by Martin Katler on Unsplash

So, you’ve got dreams of cruising in a luxury car, feeling like a celebrity with every rev of the engine. Before you splurge on that sleek status symbol, let’s pump the brakes and consider why a fancy, expensive car might not be all it’s revved up to be. Buckle up for a ride through the real side of car ownership!

I have a friend that loves his cars speedy and luxurious. Each summer he loves touring Europe in his Maserati gaining admiring looks and experiencing the exhilaration as he accelerates to 160 m.p.h. on Germany’s Autobahn. He can also make a pretty good case why investing in the status of luxury makes sense in spite of the cost of gas approaching exceeding $800 a week. I can make perhaps an even better case why it doesn’t.

Consider The Opportunity Costs

A couple of decades ago, I kept the used company car I bought at deep discount and invested the money in a year-old public company – Google. A little more than a dozen years later, I had the choice between a safe, reliable Subaru Outback and something much more expensive. I chose the Outback and invested the difference in a company called Nvidia. Looking back, avoiding fancy car purchases were the best financial decisions of my life. That Subaru is nine model years older and still looks and runs fine, while still holding those two stocks enabled me to comfortably retire a couple years sooner and enjoy some nice vacations and a second home. As for those cars I could have purchased, they would be long gone, probably anonymously rusting in a grave of some junkyard.

Yes, it appears I was fortunate (or lucky) with those two stock purchases, but why not invest in something that may appreciate as opposed to something that is certain to depreciate?

More Than Just The Price Tag

It’s not just the initial sticker shock. Remember that filling up my buddy’s Maserati cost upwards of $250+ a stop. Maintenance and insurance costs for these high-end vehicles can rival the GDP of a small country. Picture this: you’re enjoying a leisurely drive in your new Lamborgini when suddenly, the dashboard lights up like a Christmas tree. Your heart sinks faster than a lead balloon as you realize that fixing a minor issue could cost more than a down payment on a house.

Now, contrast this with a reliable Toyota Camry or Honda Civic. Sure, they might not turn heads like a Lamborghini Aventador, but they come with a price tag that won’t send your financial planner into a panic. Plus, their maintenance costs are about as predictable as your grandma’s apple pie recipe—affordable and comforting.

Unless you have money to burn, what happens if your sources of income dry up? What if you lose your job, suffer a divorce or illness, or your investments go south. That moving set of fancy wheels you call a car demands cash – cash that could be available to invest in experiences and opportunities that enrich your life.

Stress-Free Commuting: Because Life’s Too Short for Parking Anxiety

Imagine navigating rush-hour traffic in your gleaming Porsche 911 Turbo S. You’re weaving through lanes like a Formula 1 driver, until—bam!—you spot a parking spot that’s tighter than your favorite jeans after Thanksgiving dinner. Cue the stress. Every ding or scratch on your precious car feels like a personal insult, leaving you contemplating a life of hermitage to protect your prized possession. In areas ripe with poverty, your vehicle also targets you for crime.

Now, consider a more down-to-earth option, like my Subaru Outback. These SUVs offer ample space for your adventures without the constant worry of urban parking wars. They’re sturdy, reliable, and won’t have you sweating bullets every time someone parks too close at the grocery store.

Environmental Impact: When Horsepower Meets Carbon Footprint

Luxury cars often come with engines that purr like contented cats, but their thirst for fuel rivals a camel in the desert. Take the Bentley Bentayga—a luxury SUV that combines opulence with a V8 engine that drinks gasoline like it’s high-octane champagne. While it may get you from point A to point B in style, it’s also leaving a larger carbon footprint than Bigfoot on a muddy trail.

For those with an eye on environmental stewardship, electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 or Nissan Leaf offer guilt-free driving with zero emissions. They’re not just eco-friendly—they’re wallet-friendly too, with lower fuel costs and government incentives that could make your accountant break into a happy dance.

Shifting Perspectives on Status: Because True Wealth Isn’t Measured by Chrome

If you look outside yourself for things to bring you happiness or fulfillment, you will always lose. The pleasure of a new car is fleeting never equating to happiness. Matertialism and instant gratification will leave empty. And as you drive your status symbol past the vast majority that never will, does it really make you feel better?

In a world obsessed with status symbols, it’s easy to equate wealth with the car parked in your driveway. But true wealth isn’t just about what you drive—it’s about the experiences you cherish, the relationships you nurture, and the impact you make in the world. Instead of chasing after the latest luxury model, consider investing in experiences that bring joy and fulfillment. Besides, real lions don’t need to roar – they know their worth.

Whether it’s traveling the world, supporting a cause you’re passionate about, or simply spending quality time with loved ones, true happiness isn’t found in the chrome trim of a fancy car. It’s found in moments that create lasting memories and enrich your soul.

Finding Value Beyond the Hood Ornament

While a fancy, expensive car may seem like the ultimate prize, there’s more to life than the roar of a powerful engine or the gleam of polished chrome. By reevaluating your priorities and considering alternatives that align with your values and financial goals, you can discover greater fulfillment, reduce stress, and contribute positively to your personal well-being and the world around you. So, before you rev up that luxury dream, consider the road less traveled—one where practicality meets pleasure and where happiness isn’t measured in horsepower. It’s the journey that counts, not just the car you drive along the way.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)