People often contact me asking for a special dispensation because they drive expensive prestige makes of motor vehicles. They maintain that this is an effective way to show others (especially prospective customers or clients) as well as themselves that they are successful. And every one of them tells me that they either got a great lease deal or purchased their motor vehicle at cost, at dealer’s cost. . . . But should you be bragging about the deal you cut if you’re driving around in $80,000 worth of sheet metal?
Sorry but I don’t give special dispensation! I do tell these people, however, that 86% of those who drive prestige makes of motor vehicles are not millionaires [having an investment portfolio of $1M or more-see Stop Acting Rich]. Also, I mention the median price paid for the most recent motor vehicle purchased by a millionaire was $31,367 [for decamillionaires-$41, 997]. It is understandable why so many people relate wealth with the price tag of a motor vehicle. In a study of more than 2,000 respondents, The Wall Street Journal found that 35% believed that in order to qualify as being rich a person must drive a car that costs $75,000 or more. If I applied this $75,000 threshold to the millionaires whom I surveyed, more than 90% would fail to qualify.
I also mention the case studies about two decamillionaires who drive anything but prestigious automobiles. One of these men invented the “dumpster”; he drives a Honda Civic. In sharp contrast, a trial lawyer who works in Boston commutes every day in his Ford 250 super duty pick-up truck. Clients judge his success on his track record in the courtroom, not on the basis of his choice of motor vehicle!
The key here is simple: focus your energy on becoming an economic success, not on acquiring the pseudo symbols of success.