do bogleheads have no aspirations for "flashy wealth&qu

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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baconbff
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do bogleheads have no aspirations for "flashy wealth&qu

Post by baconbff »

was kind of curious if anyone on this board has had the urge to make a fairly significant purchase primarily based on the prestige accorded, rather than the utility you could derive from the object. The most common example that comes to mind is buying a luxury car.

The boglehead doctrine shuns such practices, but I'm curious if anyone has ever been tempted to buy a sports or luxury car, and if you caved in and did it or if you were able to fend off your desires.

My friend is in the market to buy an infiniti g37- a luxury entry-level sports coupe, ~40 grand. I drive a mazda3, and I'm almost certain that my net worth is higher than his. We're both 23 and I freely admit I am jealous of him, or more accurately, his car. I can make a list of reasons against such a purchase (1. higher insurance 2. higher maintenance costs 3. significant depreciating asset 4. almost 3x what i paid 5. missing out on investing 6. all the traffic tickets i'd get because I'd be speeding everywhere etc....) but just the thought of us both driving somewhere and people going on about his car, make me want to go out and buy a nissan gtr (you only live once, right?). I think the temptation is worse because I have a sizable cd maturing this month and it would nicely cover the cost of a g37, but I'm probably going to funnel it into my vanguard account, following my ips. But the thought is always lurking in the back of my mind....

Help me stay the course! How do you guys fend off such temptations because I'm certain a lot of you have a net wealth much larger than mine's. I know most millionaires buy second hand cars, f150s, and warren buffet has a cadillac or lincoln when he could probably buy out almost every single high-end carmaker in the world, but how do the bogleheads fare? Do you really have no desire for ostentatious wealth? And if so, were you always like that or did some change/maturation process take place first?
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Post by rustymutt »

We did make one of those prestige purchases last year when I drove to KC and bought a used 2007 Mercury Montego loaded. $16,000 for a car with 28,000 miles on it. Pure Black with ebony leather interior. We felt like it was a indulgence. The MSRP had been $36,000. I've been driving this car instead of my 94 Suburban. Some might not think this a indulgence, but to the wife and me it was.
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beardsworth
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Re: do bogleheads have no aspirations for "flashy wealt

Post by beardsworth »

baconbff wrote:Help me stay the course! How do you guys fend off such temptations?
The same way you try to fend off all temptations that you have good reason to know (or at least suspect) may be bad for you in the long run. Like the temptation to rob a bank. Like the temptation to eat double bacon cheeseburgers every day of your life. Or whatever. You try to stay mindful of the long–term consequences.

In the case of a car, you think about what you really need in the way of reliable and comfortable (which is not the same thing as luxurious) transportation, and you think of what the future cost of gas is likely to be (so you don't want a gas hog), and you think of how the money you saved on a vehicle could be invested elsewhere, which could mean anything from mutual funds to "investing" in your own further training and education.

You reject "keeping up with others" as a reason for any consumer purchase, because it means that you'll always be in a kind of semi–slavery and insecurity in which your purchases are determined by what "others" are doing––which would mean a perpetual loss of control over your own life. You ask who and what you want to be instead of what you think you ought to be doing, or buying, or being, in order to be more like others. "Keeping up" for status reasons is a losing game, because there will always be someone who has "more." But you try to remember that having "more" material things is not the same as having "more" of a life; and that the more stuff you own the more you have to take care of, and repair, and (if bought with a loan) pay interest on.

Not trying to sound preachy, not trying to sound "puritanical." Nothing I've said above means that you have to live like a monk. It just means trying to keep your head screwed on right in a world where there's constant temptation to do something dumb and expensive. So you keep your off–budget pleasures small and relatively harmless. Could be chocolate. Could be recorded music or live concert tickets. Whatever. But not cars/house/other big–ticket items whose cost far exceeds what you reasonably need.

At least this is what I've learned for myself.

Best wishes,

Marc
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Post by retcaveman »

Well, life is about choices, so do you choose to be wise or careless? Are you self-directed or other-directed? Are you superficial or do you have depth of character?

For me, a car is mostly transportation at a reasonable cost. Not the cheapest vehicle you can find. Add in a few nice features/options and you've got a reasonable compromise.

I admit there was a time, in my teens, living at home with no other financial responsibility when having a shinny new thing sitting in the driveway was desirable and that's what I did. But after I watched it get old and messed up in an accident, I lost my passion for such things. I realized that there will always be attractive options to chase, thanks to the Madison Avenue marketing machine.

For most of our adult lives, we have driven Accords and Camrys. They seem to offer a reasonable balance of cost, features, comfort, dependability, resale value, etc.

From the perspective of a retiree, I am happy I invested my potential "luxury auto" money vs putting it into a depreciating asset. But, life is about choices. It has helped me at times to acknowledge, "I can afford to do X if I want, but I choose to do Y. Choose wisely.

Best wishes.
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JMacDonald
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Post by JMacDonald »

Hi,
I try to buy items that give me good value for the money I am spending. So my question: is that car a good value for the money, or is it just a very expensive toy?
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More Please
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Do Bogleheads have no aspiration for flashy wealth...

Post by More Please »

"Warren Buffett is one rare—and extreme—example. When he was a young man, according to Alice Schroeder's biography "The Snowball," Mr. Buffett often asked, "Do I really want to spend $300,000 for this haircut?" He was thinking about the vast amount of money he wouldn't have decades in the future because of the small outlay he might make in the present."
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Post by midareff »

I keep telling my neighbor (40's professional DINKs) and his wife I am jealous of their new BMW 3 series convertible. Makes him feel good. Then I drive my 8 year old Jeep to work and park it under a tree where it is a constant target for those little things with feathers. I could park a couple of spots over and not be a target but I don't, so I guess I really don't care, and I'm really not jealous. ... but I could come up with an index ETF to bury that $50K in real fast. :roll:
sscritic
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Re: do bogleheads have no aspirations for "flashy wealt

Post by sscritic »

baconbff wrote:was kind of curious if anyone on this board has had the urge to make a fairly significant purchase primarily based on the prestige accorded, rather than the utility you could derive from the object.
If your definition of utility doesn't include joy, then you need to include joy and pleasure as a third reason to make a purchase.

Sailors buy sailboats that only go out into the water and back again to the same dock. Totally without utility, unless you consider joy and pleasure. That owning a sailboat might bestow a certain prestige on the owner is not the point of the purchase. The same might be said for a long cruise or vacation in a foreign country.

So no, don't buy just for the prestige if you get no other joy from your purchase.
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Post by tim1999 »

Most 23 year olds I know of don't have the income or assets to justify the purchase of a $40,000 car without help from mom/dad/inheiritance. Just because they can swing the monthly payment, doesn't mean it's a good idea if it is at the expense of saving nothing or very little for the future. A Mazda 3 is a fine car, you aren't exactly driving a 1976 Pinto.

I bought a $35,000-$40,000 car a year or two ago. However, I put a substantial amount down, will have the balance paid off in about 2.5 years, while still saving 30% or more of my income. When I was 23, this would not have been possible without selling retirement or other long-term investments, and crimping my savings level, so I drove a lesser car.

Being a "car guy" I do get a good deal of utility out of driving a nice car. Much as someone else might get utility/enjoyment out of a yearly vacation to Europe, etc. (which I do not, so I don't spend on such vacations.) However, I am not out to impress others, only myself.

Purchasing something solely based upon the prestige is silly, except perhaps if you are in some kind of highly-paid sales job where you need to impress high-end clients to get the sale.

And that Warren Buffett car (or house) story needs to be put to rest. He flies around in a private jet probably worth more than $10mil. He owns multiple homes in addition to his Omaha residence, which is actually a very nice home for as modest as people make it out to be. The fact that he arrives to the airport in a Cadillac instead of a Rolls Royce is meaningless. Just because someone has a ton of wealth, doesn't mean they are some kind of godly king of frugality just because they do not live extravagantly in all areas of their life.
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Re: do bogleheads have no aspirations for "flashy wealt

Post by HomerJ »

sscritic wrote:
baconbff wrote:was kind of curious if anyone on this board has had the urge to make a fairly significant purchase primarily based on the prestige accorded, rather than the utility you could derive from the object.
If your definition of utility doesn't include joy, then you need to include joy and pleasure as a third reason to make a purchase.

Sailors buy sailboats that only go out into the water and back again to the same dock. Totally without utility, unless you consider joy and pleasure. That owning a sailboat might bestow a certain prestige on the owner is not the point of the purchase. The same might be said for a long cruise or vacation in a foreign country.

So no, don't buy just for the prestige if you get no other joy from your purchase.

Good post.
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Defining prestige/time value of investing at age 23

Post by mass_biker »

Great question - my wife and I come from very modest means. When we were first dating, we furnished our apartment by picking up furniture/housewares that people left on the street around the time when apartments turned over...in Boston, this was typically Sept. 1, so each fall, we would add new pieces here and there. Very early on we started to invest as much as we can in our various 401ks, IRAs etc. Our friends, with presumably different backgrounds than us, seemed to live fairly large - vacations, trips, new furniture, cars etc. - but it didn't even register for us because that was not how we were brought up. At the age of 23, neither of us had a car - we took the bus, subway, or rode our bikes.

Flash forward ~ 15-18 years or so and nothing much has really changed in our philosophy towards spending.

What is clear to us though is that we have greater financial flexibility now because of the actions that we took in our early 20s. We always sought to "save the spread" - i.e. as income/assets grew, we did not change our operating expenses unless life changes (kids etc.) came along. And if you can compound the spread, then a decade or two later, you're talking about real money.

This is not to say that one has to live like a hermit. Rather, if you buy things, buy things of enduring value and take good care of them as you use them well. Also, be sure to define what is important to you in your spending of discretionary income.

For us, we have committed to a significant investment in the education of our kids, building up their 529s at a relatively early age . "Prestige" for us means building more financial flexibility for the two of s, and hopefully, through our actions, for our kids down the line.

But back to cars:

My suggestion to you is look at the cost of a new car that you would like and you feel strongly that you deserve. Now look at your car and calculate the spread between the cost of the new car and what you could get for your old car. Split that spread in two and if you can, write a check out for that amount to your favorite low cost mutual fund. Wait a year. And then if the urge takes you, repeat those same steps. You'd be surprised at what kind of financial flexibility you build by doing this over time.
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Post by Go Blue 99 »

There is some middle ground here- buy a USED luxury car. Luxury cars tend to depreciate quickly, and you can get some terrific values. Just buy the same body style as the newest model, and no stranger will ever know you didn't buy new.
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Re: do bogleheads have no aspirations for "flashy wealt

Post by Harold »

sscritic wrote:same might be said for a long cruise
I suspect telling others about having done this (especially if just casually mentioned) is a major reason for the trip. (Though that may not be "flashiness", that element is more in the "flashy" realm of trying to impress others, rather than providing personal joy.)

Not everyone knows what they truly enjoy, and if we really dig into it, we'll find that very many activities (which can still be pleasant) are influenced by, and need the validation of, others.
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Post by KyleAAA »

If I won the lottery, really the only flashy thing I could see myself purchasing would be a large sail boat. But even then I wouldn't go overboard. A 60 footer would be plenty for me.
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Post by centrifuge41 »

I'm going to write my post from the viewpoint of the literature on the psychology of happiness.

There is a theory that suggests that when we purchase nice goods, we may be happy for while, but there is a tendency to take it for granted after a few months / year / whatever. (Set point theory / hedonic treadmill, etc). This is partly because we may not spend time thinking about said new luxury all the time anymore.

Now, some people really love some types of goods. If you are totally into, say, baseball cards, and you spend a lot of time thinking about it, then your baseball card collection may give you much utility even over the passage of time. If you are totally into cars, and you think about how spiffy your ride is during most of your daily commutes, then your purchase may continue to give you utility over time.

But if you are like most people and you aren't particularly into cars, then it is likely that your utility from a new spiffy car will fade over time. Left behind are the higher insurance and maintenance costs etc etc. These costs are significant because a car is generally the 2nd biggest thing that people buy.

Given that you'd be out a big sum if you bought the car , it would be wise to ask yourself about opportunity costs. What do you really enjoy out of life? Say the luxury car costs $4k a year over and above your existing car in extra fuel consumption, depreciation, etc). Ask yourself, what could you do with 4k that you personally value? Maybe that would be travel to a foreign country, maybe you'd spend part of it on electronics, baseball cards, home furnishings, etc. Maybe you'd save and invest most of it.

Food for thought :)
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Post by CMMCC »

I consider myself a boglehead and have a luxury car. In my opinion being a boglehead doesn't mean you can't buy luxury goods. It all depends on your income. If you have a high income you can afford to buy nicer things.

I mean sure I could live in a cramped apartment, eat mac and cheese, and drive a 15 year old car. I think that would be silly to do at my income level.

Warren Buffet still drives a caddy, but he also flies on a private jet.
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Post by HomerJ »

Save money on cars and houses, and you'll easily become rich in all other ways.
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HomerJ
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Re: do bogleheads have no aspirations for "flashy wealt

Post by HomerJ »

Harold wrote:
sscritic wrote:same might be said for a long cruise
I suspect telling others about having done this (especially if just casually mentioned) is a major reason for the trip. (Though that may not be "flashiness", that element is more in the "flashy" realm of trying to impress others, rather than providing personal joy.)
I seriously doubt that... I don't take vacations to impress others... I can't imagine that bragging about a trip would be a major reason for most people to take it..
Last edited by HomerJ on Thu May 05, 2011 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by CrankyManager »

I frankly have no idea if I have the "aspiration" for flashy wealth or not.

I guess I was just born without whatever gene makes people covet the aluminium and leather and fiberglass depreciating asset that is a car.

Ditto for massive houses with more rooms than I need. Whenever I drive by a monster house I always think, "Man! Who's got to clean all of that?"

I think for most Bogleheads, our wants and needs are simply differently aligned by nature. We're generally frugal, and we certainly understand the time value of money. There are probably plenty of people who could drop the cash they have on a flashy sports car... but they know what that car will cost in future dollars.

That said, we're probably not without our guilty pleasures. I'd sure love to buy a couple of new Macs. :wink:
"Does not Dionysius seem to have made it sufficiently clear that there can be nothing happy for the person over whom some fear always looms?" -- Cicero
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Post by exoilman »

Well after working since 14 years of age and being prudent i.e. living below our means I felt the need to treat myself to a "nice car". So at age 67 I now drive a 2012 Accura. It does bring me some joy because I can talk to it and it talks back!

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Post by RadAudit »

I ask "Will buying a new luxury car and / or living in a new extremely larger home make you truly happy a year or two from the date of purchase?"

The answer is, usually, probably not.
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Re: do bogleheads have no aspirations for "flashy wealt

Post by Harold »

rrosenkoetter wrote:
Harold wrote:
sscritic wrote:same might be said for a long cruise
I suspect telling others about having done this (especially if just casually mentioned) is a major reason for the trip. (Though that may not be "flashiness", that element is more in the "flashy" realm of trying to impress others, rather than providing personal joy.)
I seriously doubt that... I don't take vacations to impress others... I can't imagine that bragging about a trip would be a major reason for most people to take it..
You may doubt it. But you also may not have put a lot of thought into the reasons underlying why people do things that they do.

I'm not saying bragging is at the forefront of their thinking (would think that would be a small minority), but almost certainly a majority lets the preferences (or perceived preferences) of others help guide them to their interests.
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Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Back in college, I had a friend who owned this flashy sports car, a real chick magnet :D , but he owed nearly 90% on it. As a result of having bought that car and some other debt he owed on (flashy cars = girls, girls = need to spend $$$) credit cards, he dropped out of school. He never finished college. I owned a real beater - it had dents, needed a paint job, the seats were developing rips, it was 11 years old. Okay, he got the girls and a ton of debt.

I had to wait a bit longer to find Ms. Right. I walked away with a degree, a job and my beater. Fast forward, his car is gone, still no degree, I could easily buy a multiple of those flashy cars (wife won't appreciate it if I did :lol: ), but I would get no pleasure in having it parked in my driveway.
Besides, flash usually attracts "flies" - not sure if you are into that. Substance is much, much better.

Go home, have your Mazda 3 "detailed", take it out for a spin, enjoy it. You will have a nice shiny car and money in the bank - what could be better than that, other than winning the lottery? BTW, you have hit the lottery, now don't blow it on frivolous novelties. :wink:
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Post by sscritic »

I enjoy my kitchen. I use it regularly. I like granite. I will never go back to tile. Do you like cleaning grout lines?

I don't have granite counter-tops in my kitchen to impress friends. Now marble counter-tops (solid, not tiles) in the bathrooms? Maybe. But when you invite a friend into your private bathroom, you want to impress, right? :)
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Re: do bogleheads have no aspirations for "flashy wealt

Post by JimInIllinois »

I don't care about prestige when making a purchase because I don't care to impress strangers with how much money I can spend. I have other ways to impress my friends and co-workers. People in a profession where you have to "fake it until you make it" to impress clients may have a good reason for buying a flashy car (although that money may be better spend on suits).

centrifuge41 has it right about the hedonic treadmill. I'll pay whatever I can afford for something that's going to give me long term enjoyment. I'll spend money on a great vacation that I'll remember for years to come. It's easy to not want something if you know from experience that it's not going to make your life more enjoyable, and even easier if you know you're going to spend the next decade buying insurance and worrying about it getting stolen or scratched.

Buy a car you can afford, that meets your needs, and that you will enjoy driving.
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Post by vince123 »

Ah, the good old "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality...

My observation is that extroverts are more susceptible to this than introverts. I am a slight introvert and frankly, I don't get jealous much of my friends' material belongings, etc. But I do get jealous at times of course, that is just basic human nature.

However, my extrovert friends just make all sorts of buying decisions based on other people's decisions, from new phones to car to home repairs. I even had a friend who decided to become a CPA because his neighbor (who is a CPA) had renovated his kitchen. Funny but true!

Anyway, I hope I had not offended any extroverts in my post because this is just my observation in my little circle of friends :)
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Post by manuvns »

my kids go to private school . Does that count ?
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Post by yobria »

I drive a beat up car with a bumper sticker displaying my net worth...

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Post by sscritic »

Combining the previous two posts:

Drive a beater with a bumper sticker saying "My Child is an Honor Student in the Most Expensive School in Town."
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Post by HomerJ »

baconbff wrote:Do you really have no desire for ostentatious wealth? And if so, were you always like that or did some change/maturation process take place first?
I absolutely have no desire for ostentatious wealth. I don't know if I was always like that...

I was poor in my 20s.... and when I started making serious money in my 30s, I didn't want stuff, I wanted to be sure I'd never be poor again.

The trick is to increase your lifestyle slower than the increases in your income... You go from $30k out of college to $60k five years later, but only change your lifestyle to $50k... You still increased your lifestyle, you still feel richer, but you're also saving...

10 years later, you're making $100k, but you're living on $75k... You've got a bigger house, a nicer car, and now you're really saving well...

Peace of mind because you have $300k in savings is SO much nicer than that new-car smell (which disappears in 6 months anyway)

As for the car question, I've never cared about cars... but that's just me... I've always driven cheap but dependable imports (last two cars were used Honda Civics - usually drive them for 7+ years). If you care about cars, it will be harder for you to resist...

But cars are a huge waste of money. By saving tons of money on cars (and houses), I'm able to "waste" small amounts of money on plenty of other stuff and still save a lot.
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Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

rrosenkoetter wrote:
baconbff wrote:Do you really have no desire for ostentatious wealth? And if so, were you always like that or did some change/maturation process take place first?
I absolutely have no desire for ostentatious wealth. I don't know if I was always like that...

I was poor in my 20s.... and when I started making serious money in my 30s, I didn't want stuff, I wanted to be sure I'd never be poor again.
The trick is to increase your lifestyle slower than the increases in your income... You go from $30k out of college to $60k five years later, but only change your lifestyle to $50k... You still increased your lifestyle, you still feel richer, but you're also saving...

10 years later, you're making $100k, but you're living on $75k... You've got a bigger house, a nicer car, and now you're really saving well...

Peace of mind because you have $300k in savings is SO much nicer than that new-car smell (which disappears in 6 months anyway)

As for the car question, I've never cared about cars... but that's just me... I've always driven cheap but dependable imports (last two cars were used Honda Civics - usually drive them for 7+ years). If you care about cars, it will be harder for you to resist...

But cars are a huge waste of money. By saving tons of money on cars (and houses), I'm able to "waste" small amounts of money on plenty of other stuff and still save a lot.
Same here, I never want to worry about losing my home or having the ability to pay for "essentials".
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Post by NAVigator »

When I think about buying something or I see people who have some expensive toy, I consider the quote from the Tao Te Ching, "To know you have enough is to be rich." I then make a choice; Do I want to be rich or make other think that I am rich. The choice is easy.

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Post by MossySF »

My goal is to be Lex Luthor. I want wealth, power and an evil laugh.
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Post by mass_biker »

[quote="manuvns"]my kids go to private school . Does that count ?[/quote]

Teachers at my son's school (who were products of private schools themselves) said that whenever their father's friends came over, he would introduce the kids to them and say:

"Meet my two Mercedes sedans".

I for one do not view an investment in education as a frivolity - if the recipient makes the most of this gift and does not squander it.
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Post by Fallible »

You show much wisdom at age 23! First, you've been wise with your money; second, you recognize temptation (never easy and always there) and are trying to deal with it by seeking advice.

The answer to your question is, of course, no, don't buy solely for the prestige or to keep up with your friend (the Jones's). But do find out what you truly love to do, an interest that's an expression of yourself that will be fun and bring deep and lasting satisfaction (and keep temptation at bay). Could be an interest in or love of music, travel, a sport, a hobby, volunteering, or even in managing your money (a Boglehead characteristic) beyond just paying the bills, staying out of debt, planning for retirement, etc.

Good luck with your decision and I hope you'll let us know what you've decided and why.
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Post by norookie »

:D Substance, not pretense . I'd think most BH's agree. :D Unfortunately this is not learned early on.
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Post by MWCA »

Nothing to do with flash for me. I look at vehicles as a tool. Money is a tool.
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Post by sport »

Read "The Millionaire Next Door". It will give you a good understanding of this question.

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Post by pochax »

the desire and satisfaction one gets from "impressing others" (getting their "oohs" and "ahs" and "i'm so envious of you!" vibes from people) will often quickly wear off....there is always someone who is richer, someone who has something newer and flashier, etc etc. think about it: you will get that G37 (which honestly has been around for a while) and you may get some reactions when you first get it, but the more important thing is that you really like to drive the car and enjoy what it has to offer. if you can afford it and see the long-lasting value for it (including the pleasure as mentioned above), i don't have a problem with you getting it. if it derails your IPS, then i would argue you can't afford it based on your current goals. your friend probably doesn't have an IPS or have as lofty goals as you (or perhaps does and also has a higher income to back it up, but you never mention anything of the sort).

Basically, buying something "luxury" purely for prestige is probably based on some deep-seated need for external approval from others which i would hope most BHs do not suffer from.
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thirdman
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Life is short

Post by thirdman »

I drove old cars until I was out of school and working. I bought sports cars once my income increased. I never took on a lot of debt, and always funded my retirement programs. I bought and Alfa, BMW and others. I really enjoyed owning and driving those cars. I went to rallies and gymkhanas, and used to go to the Riverside car races.

At this stage in my life I have no interest in owning a sports car. I went through the luxury car phase, and enjoyed those cars. Now I drive an older Camry, and I am just interested in transportation. Also, as I have become older, my driving skills are not as good as they once were. I do not want to operate a clutch in traffic.

I look back on the days of sports cars and luxury cars fondly. I also owned a large upscale house at one time, and enjoyed that. If you will really enjoy a car, or luxury item, and can afford it, go for it. If you want to travel, and can afford it, do it. Opportunities present themselves at different times in people's lives, but you are only young once.
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Taylor Larimore
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Are you "inner-directed" or "outer-directed?&

Post by Taylor Larimore »

Hi Bacon:

I have a wise friend who once told me: "There are two kinds of people: Inner-Directed and Outer-Directed."

I think we should try to be the first kind for our own happiness and self-respect.
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle
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greenspam
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Post by greenspam »

i have never been impressed by whatever the neighbors or friends or family purchase; anyone can borrow money, or hit the lottery, or have a good income and decide to buy what they want. but their car or house or boat has nothing to do with who they are as a person.

i AM impressed by things like character, morals, sense of humor, athletic ability, intelligence, dedication, hard work, musical abilities, empathy, kindness, etc... these are things that money cannot buy.

and notice i said 'impressed', not 'jealous'. why would you ever be jealous of someone else's material possessions, or their personality traits ???

but, i digress. back to cars. i bought a mazda miata in 2002, because i wanted a convertible, and i typically commute to work and back alone, so the 2-seater was fine, good gas mileage, handles great.... it has no bells or whistles, but it is a great car. cost about $20K at the time, which i mostly paid for upfront, but financed a small amount because they offered a 0% interest rate. the car now has 125k miles, and the other day my wife asked me when i wanted to get a new car, and i said 'never'. i seriously hope i can get 300k miles out of it, or more, but that may not be realistic.

and finally, concerning impressive purchases, an old saying about planes, boats, and certain women (edit: or men):

"if it flies, floats, or flirts, rent it, don't buy it."
as always, | peace, | greenie.
jb1934
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Post by jb1934 »

Some thoughts:
I don't know. I know I am fortunate enough to have learned that
the important things in life are not things.
Still in our consumer orientated culture I sometime want to keep up
with the joneses.
It's comforting to know i can afford some thing
that i don't need.
Many of the contributors on this site seem to have a
healthy attitude toward money.
Have a great day.
jb
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jh
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Post by jh »

...
Last edited by jh on Sat May 07, 2011 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
retcaveman
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Post by retcaveman »

In reading through the thoughtful posts, I find myself reflecting on my earlier reference to Madison Avenue marketing.

Just think of all the things we say we like because the population seems to have embraced them as perennial truths.

- retiring in some southern location
- living in a homogenous gated community
- having a membership to a private golf course
- taking lavish vacations
- owning expensive toys eg boats, ATV's, RV's
- traveling a lot - the more exotic, the better
- having the latest electronic gadget
- Rolex watches, Viking stoves, etc
- sending kids to the most exclusive (not necessarily the best) schools
- driving the latest "Black Forest" (German) luxury cars
- having a lawn service vs mowing your own lawn - same for snow removal
- even investments - what no ETF's?
- etc, etc.

After my teen years, I lost most of my interest in these things.

Now clearly there is nothing wrong with any of these, if it's something you really want and enjoy. But do we want these things because we want them or we're led to believe they are what we should want?

I feel sad sometimes for people who seem to be directed (imprisoned) by the tastes of others. They are too often defined by other people's values.

While we don't have kids, I have often said that if we did, the thing I would most want for them would be the ability and strength to think for themselves. To stand up to peer pressure and not get pushed into doing something they didn't want to do.

There is price however that you pay for being this way. People get uncomfortable with people who are not like them. They are "different" - "weird." Oh, but we love diversity because it's so in to do so.

Sorry for the ramble. I have pondered these things most of my adult life and continue to be fascinated by this dynamic.
"The wants of mortals are containers that can never be filled." (Socrates)
epilnk
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Post by epilnk »

I'm not into self denial, particularly. I enjoy nice things; I just make sure that I am financially prudent, so I can continue to enjoy nice things. I have nicer things now than when I was an impoverished grad student, but even then I still managed to spend a little money on the things I enjoyed and valued.

I would like a nicer car but that's not in my current budget, so it doesn't really matter that my neighbor has one. If I valued it more highly I might spurge - I don't actually consider it a failing to buy stuff you can afford, but a nice car is not a priority for me. I don't generally pay attention to what the neighbors have - I honestly don't care. I have no idea what they think of my stuff; I never asked.

You only live once, it's true. But if you're lucky, life is long and filled with opportunities. You don't need to have it all at the beginning of your life; stretch it out a bit.
rustymutt
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Post by rustymutt »

MossySF wrote:My goal is to be Lex Luthor. I want wealth, power and an evil laugh.
Is your little pinky in the corner of your mouth when you wrote this?
Even educators need education. And some can be hard headed to the point of needing time out.
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monkey_business
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Post by monkey_business »

retcaveman wrote:I feel sad sometimes for people who seem to be directed (imprisoned) by the tastes of others. They are too often defined by other people's values.

While we don't have kids, I have often said that if we did, the thing I would most want for them would be the ability and strength to think for themselves. To stand up to peer pressure and not get pushed into doing something they didn't want to do.

There is price however that you pay for being this way. People get uncomfortable with people who are not like them. They are "different" - "weird." Oh, but we love diversity because it's so in to do so.

Sorry for the ramble. I have pondered these things most of my adult life and continue to be fascinated by this dynamic.
Good post. I agree with you on many levels. It really can be quite difficult to think on your own. It's not just thinking on your own, it's acting on it too. What if what you truly want is not understood by others? What will your friends/relatives think if your actions are far from "the norm"? It's not easy standing up to peer/societal pressure and just letting go and doing your thing.
marylandcrab
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Post by marylandcrab »

I do like nice things. I like them for ourselves. When we were younger and not earning much money we didn't get to indulge.

Now we're in our 40's, we make lots of money and spend way less than our salaries. We have no debt, a year of savings, max out retirement, have kids college under way and well funded, and we're now doing more savings to build wealth. But, we send our kids to private school because we value education, we bought a power boat a few years ago because it's our downtime and vacation and we love being out on the water destressing. We take a nice vacation every year. We upgraded our kitchen because we both love to cook and wanted it more functional. Also, last year after 10 years I bought a new luxury car. I'll drive it for 10 years or until it croaks. I don't care what name is on the bumper, I bought it for the quality and enjoyment I get. I take care of it and I'll drive it to 200k miles or more.

The key is we spend way less than we make. We spent years getting to this solid ground. The things we spend money on are things we value for their own sake, not for designer name or to impress anyone.

I couldn't have done it before the past few years. We bided our time, built savings, built our business and got ourselves to the point where we could plan for more extravagent purchases.
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Christine_NM
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Post by Christine_NM »

You have to figure the lifetime cost of using the CD to pay for a depreciating car. A couple hundred thousand maybe.

People really are not as impressed as they make out to be. I think they see the car, know it was bought to impress, and tell you what they think you want to hear.

I remember a friend's boyfriend buying an SUV back when they were new. Out of his hearing we just talked about how much he'd be paying for how long, and what a drag that would be.

Don't do it. You can't buy the same model as your friend, it would be too obvious.
18% cash 44% stock 38% bond. Retired, w/d rate 2.5%
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