I recently went out for beers with Mr. Genius and Mr. Conspiracy from my MBA program. Funny enough, I had started a MBA for 3 main reasons, one of them being to increase the scope of my network. Of all the 35 people in my class, I have since kept in close contact with just 2 of them…and I don’t really regret my choices ;-). So I guess we can say that I didn’t really enlarge my business network considering those 2 arduous years ;-). But the 2 friends I found there are worth infinitely more than a bunch of business cards littering my desk drawer!
While we were having a beer, Genius said something funny: “hey guys, we now have living proof that the MBA changed our financial status”. We looked at him knowing he was half serious and half joking.
“When we started, I had a mini van, Mr. Conspiracy had a beat-up jetta and the “Y” (me!) had a scrappy Mazda. Now I have a spaceship (a huge SUV to fit his 4 kids and wife), Mr. Conspiracy has an Audi and the “Y” has an RX-8 and a brand new Tribute”. We all started to laugh.
It was obvious that the MBA had nothing to do with our new cars but it was quite funny to see that the 3 of us have significantly upgraded our rides. But this fact definitely leads to an interesting question:
Some people will say that people, like us, with big (expensive) cars are daft. That people, like us, are wasting our money big time on something that loses its value faster than the stock market surfing on a souvlaki. That a car should bring you from point A to point B. And finally, that there are rich people driving their old Fords (Fix Or Repair Daily) for years without changing it. You know what? I think they are half right.
I think that when you have an expensive car, it is a sign that you:
1- Really like cars or
2- You like being comfortable in a car or
3- You have money or
4- You pretend to have money or
5- Most of the above 😉
People that want others to think that they are wealthy will definitely lean towards more expensive cars as it is one of the easiest ways to demonstrate your status in public. A rich car is the equivalent of the stone-age hunter bringing back a mammoth bone on his back at the end of the day. It’s a trophy 😉
Driving a BMW doesn’t mean that you have money. But it is a pretty good possibility though! The funniest part is that people severely question the choice yet they don’t really have an issue with couples who blow $3,000 – $4,000 each winter for a week down south every year. They don’t talk about the guy who renovated his kitchen and sunk $25,000 on it, including granite counters. And they certainly won’t argue with the $5,000 home theatre system with a giant screen during the Superbowl!
When someone is successful (or pretends to be), I admit that I tend to look at what kind of car he drives. Why? Because if someone has to tell you that he is making money, he will surely want to prove it. Low profile millionaires driving around in old cars will never bother to tell you how much they made on their last deal. They are driving an old car because they like the anonymity and they don’t want too much attention!
In the end, driving a nice car is a only a matter of priority in your budget. It’s not a stupid or a smart move; it’s only an expense! If you really can afford the car you are driving, I don’t really see why you should be ashamed of it ;-).
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