In my spare time, I sometimes hop around different personal finance and other related blogs on the Internet. It’s one subject that I enjoy writing and reading about. Today, for whatever reason, I came across a few blog entries that discussed cars as an extension of person’s personality. Here are a few thoughts that I felt compelled to write.
(Note – Regular visitors might notice a pattern. The pattern is that I can get fired up about the topic of cars. Why does this occur? The primary reason is that they one of the biggest items people ‘splurge’ on. By splurge I mean go further into debt for no practical reason. They also are costly in that no one pays only 1 large lump sum of money for a car. Insurance, registration, routine maintenance and fuel are all regular expenses…I didn’t mention debt payments, which is part of the list for most car buyers.)
A person that consciously thinks that a car (by car I mean automobile) is an extension of his/her personality must feel willfully inadequate. A car is a chunk of metal, or maybe fiberglass, affixed to four wheels with a few seats, which is ultimately powered by an engine. A car is a tool that is made to be purposeful and useful.
Now, I understand wanting to drive and be seen in a ‘nice’ car. This is no different from wanting to be seen in nice clothes. Yet, most people would probably agree that you can dress in a very fashionable way by going to Kohl’s or JC Penny’s. You don’t have to depend on Nordstrom’s. Why does this not apply to cars? For example, why do people side with a BMW 3 series when it’s a much better financial decision to go with a mid-size American or Asia sedan? Why do people buy quasi monster trucks rather than a regular truck or another more reasonable option?
Feelings of inadequacy can cause us to do some pretty interesting things. Unfortunately, most of those ‘interesting things’ equate to detrimental acts. Buying a car in an effort to demonstrate ones financial status, when the act actually strains ones finances, is irrational. Buying a vehicle that makes you feel macho or sexy is ultimately a distraction from a personal issue that goes beyond the realm of transportation.
Do not fall into the delusional trap that your car is an extension of your personality. Have more self-worth than to depend on a vehicle to prove to the world that you’re tough, sexy, or wealthy.