I didn’t say you need an expensive car but some people need a nice car.  I know “nice” is a very subjective term, it could mean reliable, but in this post I simply mean an ascetically please car to society.  First and foremost I should mention that this post is almost entirely inspired by a fellow yakezie member, LenPenzo and his recent post, “Why Your Expensive luxury Car Doesn’t Impress Smart People (or Me).” As the title would indicate Len’s main point is,

…it’s true a large segment of society still believes that the car a person drives is a status symbol that accurately reflects the level of financial success he or she has achieved.

The truth is smart people know nothing could be further from the, er, truth.  (Dang, I hate when I do that.)

It isn’t difficult to find a personal finance blog which says never take on debt to buy a car or never lease a car, but like most rules in life I just can’t agree that something is always bad.   Hey, I am the guy that advocates buying life insurance on a child, how is that for going against the grain?

When I Think You Need a Nice Car

As Len points out in his post if the next door neighbor, who I know makes 40K, has a boat load of debt, stops by house in a 65K 5 series BMW I am not impressed, actually I think he or she is an idiot.

However, there is one particular situation that I can think of where a nice car does make a difference.


I am not going to argue what sales is, maybe you are selling a product like The Wife, or maybe you are just selling yourself, but without any previous knowledge of you a nice car, or to a certain extent luxury car provides a certain hint into how succesful you are.  With anyone leasing luxury cars is it a good system? Nope. Is it Reality? Yup.

I truly belive it is analogous to a professional showing up in a suit that doesn’t fit or who has an inappropriate (yet Frugal) haircut.  Sorry Mrs. Money from Ultimate Money Blog, I don’t want my CPA to look like he NEEDED to get a home hair cut (I don’t mean to pick, you did a great job on the husband’s hair).

The moment someone shows up to sell me something and their car barely works or looks like it would barely work, I just assume no one has bought from them why should I?  You can overcome that hurdle with me at least, but why put a speedbump in your way?

As it Relates to Cars Does Expensive Mean Nice?

No.  You don’t have to have an $800/month lease payment to portray success.  Do you need something with a good paint job and doesn’t make weird noises if you start it next to a client?  Yes.  I don’t want my doctor to be driving a 1986 Pinto because he NEEDS to save $400 a month.  I want her to be so successful that it doesn’t matter if she spends a normal amount on a car.

Let me have it…am I too materialistic?  Are you worried if I am this materialistic is there someone else judging you?