You are not your car
What car we decide to buy is a game changer
Hello fellow Protagonists,
Sometimes you don't realise something until its gone. For some this may be how easy school work was until you started "adult" work. For others this may be how your collection of classic Jazz mags, that you were politely asked to burn, was not actually classed as a hobby.
Anybody who has ever finished their final car payment will recognise this feeling. The amount of spare change that is suddenly available can be quite eye-opening. We may not realise how much something costs until we don't have to pay it anymore, not when we are paying it off.
Our cars are usually part of our Big Three expenses, alongside our housing and food. Decisions made to improve these three areas can show some of the biggest benefits without removing many of the smaller things that we may really enjoy.
I have fallen for opening a new car loan on three separate occasions, having only recently ended the last one. So why did it take three occasions to learn the valuable lessons around car debt.
One of these key reasons is the deception that we believe our cars form part of who we are. They create a status that we want to personally feel and also show other people.
Believing that status brings true meaning is one problem. The trouble here is when the status we want to show is higher than what we can actually afford.
I love the phrase "A big hat but no cattle". It basically means wanting it to seem that you have more than you actually do. The hat in this example is our car and the cattle is our wealth. The irony is that the bigger the hat we buy the smaller our cattle becomes.
Nobody cares about the car you drive except for you and maybe those you live with. Ask yourself this, When we see a nice car drive past do we look at the person who is driving it, or just at the beauty of the car. Maybe the reason that we buy personal registration plates is because we realise that people don't care who is driving, so we do what we can to make sure they do know.
They still wont care.
When some of us cannot afford a car with our own money, we borrow or rent the car instead. Some of us could afford a car but still decide that borrowing is the option for us. Leasing a car will cost money to add absolutely nothing to your net worth.
In fact very little will depreciate in value at the same rate that a brand new car does. I remember selling my first "bought from new" car for about a £7K loss over 3 years. If I wanted to write a surefire guide on how to KO your net worth then one of my top tips would be to buy a brand new car.
A person pushing a shopping trolley doesn't care if your car is worth £50K or £5K. If they are going to dink you they are going to dink you. A careless driver can still T-bone your car and birds will still shit on it.
I now drive what I can only refer to as a standard car. It doesn't get any attention from people. By attention I mean neither good or bad attention. People do not care about what we drive.
This is all because we are not what we drive. It may be what we are trying to tell people about ourselves, but that doesn't mean it is us.
I think advice for buying a car can be summed up in one sentence for the vast majority of people.
Buy a car that you can afford up-front, that fits your personal needs and values.
As simple as that. Some of us require a larger car for transporting items, some of us have larger families and need more seats and some of us need a workhorse for the longer commutes. If you can afford an electric car and it fits your values, go for it.
If car building/ tuning is a hobby of yours this is slightly different as hopefully the joy you receive is far greater than a typical car owner. We just need to balance joy to cost like we would with any other hobby.
You are still you whether you are driving a Range Rover or a Rover 75.
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