I am going to show you a picture of a car, and I want you to try and picture the owner and their life.
What do you think this car says about the owner? Maybe that the owner has a lot of debt, low income, lives in a ‘bad’ neighborhood, and can’t afford anything better that a an old beater.
This interesting article from 2001 has some interesting things to say about what the color and model of our cars says. The color says that the driver is “cautious, conservative, often introverted personality likely to drive the good bargain.” The model says that the driver is an accountant and voted for George W. Bush
A car can speak volumes about who we are and more specifically what we value. My car looks almost exactly like the car in the picture(same pealing paint job and all). I am guessing that common sense gave you the wrong opinion. You probably don’t think that I have owned the car for about 6 years, haven’t had a payment in 5, have a net worth of well over $100,000 at age 28, live a quarter mile for million dollar homes, and earn an above average income. This little exercise leads us to an interesting observation that will aid our journey to freedom.
We are not our possessions – Materialistic cultures constantly bombard us with the idea that you are not somebody unless you have nice things. We often lust for better cars and houses, but those things will not bring us fulfillment. We need to redefine how we view ourselves to align with things that we truly value in this world, not with some external expectations. Things like families, your dreams, morals, and how we treat other are much better examples of ways to define ourselves. Remember that part of redefining ourselves require us to redefine how we view and value others.
The truth is that my car aligns with my values and dreams. I originally bought the car with debt, but I will never purchase another car with debt. I fight the occasional desire to upgrade, by framing the purchase in light of values. It has helped me to not care that people give you glances when a beat up car pulls into a nice restaurant. I know most of those people don’t even own a car, the bank does. Ultimately, I want my money working for my family and my dreams, not towards creating a false image of myself.
Just in case you are wondering, I have not had a major repair on this car yet. That being said, this car may not have much life left in it, but I have already chosen to start saving $4,000 – $5,000 dollars for the next reliable ‘beater’. This car is a ‘beater’, I call it my ‘debt beater’. Can anyone out there top this jalopy?