I once had to take a personality test for my first job in financial services. It had several questions, placed throughout the exam-but always worded just a bit differently- that asked if I thought that the car a person drives reflected their lifestyle or preferences. I initially replied “NO” to this, thinking that just because I was driving a 1989 Hyundai didn’t mean that I wanted that car. I wanted a Saab. My car didn’t reflect my prefernces. But as that same question continued, I started replying “Yes” or “agree” because it became apparent to me that people drive what they can afford, what keeps them and their families safe, what color they prefer, what was given to them by their parents, what they saved up for etc….
Then there was the poster on an ex-boyfriend’s wall that showed several sports cars, and on it was written “Incentive for Higher Education”. Welcome to the problem of keeping up with the Joneses. Who are these Joneses, anyway, and why should I care what they do?
Our vehicle does represent more about us than we may think.
But just how much importance do we place on our image and what does it signify?
I had a co-worker whose client asked if he was doing okay in business because my co-worker had been driving an older model car (maybe 5 years old). He was so bothered by this comment that he went out – soon after – and purchased a new car. He had to finance it , of course, putting a new financial burden on him and his family. Maybe he could afford it, maybe he couldn’t, but his reaction to his client’s comment had an impact on his life and finances. That troubles me. Why should we allow anyone’s opinions to direct our choices, especially when it comes to money?
I drive an older model car mainly because I enjoy not making car payments and using that money, instead, to save for other things (like retirement, college education for my daughter, vacations etc…). The decisions we make every day with our money – whether they be beneficial or detrimental – can affect our lives for years to come.
I still want the Saab, though, but only if it’s a hybrid.