In my last blog I profiled the “used vehicle-prone shopper” category of the millionaire next door population. I also briefly mentioned an engineering professor who detailed his latest car purchasing experience.
“The sight of cash has a powerful effect on some people. Accordingly, I took $2,000 in twenty dollar bills from my emergency cash reserve. I put $500 of it in my right trouser pocket and the remaining $1,500 in my left shirt pocket. After arranging to come and see the car, I got an old Navy shipmate of mine to drive me to the appointment.
The seller lived in a pricey neighborhood with equestrian trails. He had a new Jaguar sedan, a Toyota sedan, and a Cadillac Escalade SUV in the three car garage. His oldest daughter had been using the Mercedes to drive to [her college]classes …. She was moving [out of state] . . . and he had just bought her a new Toyota. He also said, ‘I don’t need four cars for just me and my wife.’
This passed the ‘smell test’ and it indicated that this was probably not a ‘lemon’ he was trying to unload on someone. After test driving the car, I took out the wad of twenty dollar bills from my shirt pocket, laid it down on the hood of the Mercedes and asked, ‘Would you be willing to entertain an offer of $1,500 cash?’ He was.
Thus it came to pass that I drive a 1980 vintage luxury Mercedes Benz as my daily driver to work and back. It runs quite well, gets 25 miles per gallon, and I enjoy driving it. This car was made back when Mercedes Benz had a well deserved reputation for exceedingly high quality manufacturing standards and for designing their cars to last. Plus, my inner 20 year old kid is delighted that he finally got his wish, even if it took thirty-eight years for it to come to pass.”
Too many Americans may believe that by driving a new car they are emulating economically successful people. But only 8.6% of those driving this year’s model motor vehicle are millionaires [those with $1M in investments]. Don’t ever feel degraded if you are riding around in a used motor vehicle.