The Range Rover has become a very popular jeep in Nigeria lately. In the western world, Range Rovers are mostly owned by celebrities and royalty.
By Usiere Uko
Author of ‘Practical Steps to Financial Freedom and Independence’, herein shares on how people can manage their finances when purchasing desired cars. Excerpts:
Spending without progress
We often spend to impress, using money we don’t have to buy what we don’t need to impress people who don’t care. For most of us, apart from our homes, the automobile is our second biggest ‘investment’. This is where most of our money goes. We are in the market for a new car every couple of years, keeping up with the latest models at the expense of making progress towards our financial goals.
You cannot hide your car. Your car announces your arrival everywhere you go. That is the first thing people see, and often use to categorise you. We want to look cool and belong to the happening crowd. Nobody enjoys looking like the poor cousin. We want to look affluent, even when our pockets are empty and our fuel gauge is close to empty. Lol
We have thus made the automobile to become a symbol of who we are. It is no longer a box that takes us from point A to B in safety and comfort. We believe your car defines who we are – ‘you are what you drive’. People with this mindset respond to you based on the car you drive. Your car can make a difference between being snubbed, tolerated or welcomed with open arms. As a result of this societal pressure, the decision as to which car to buy is hardly a rational one. At the spur of the moment, a man can wipe out family savings to buy a “befitting” automobile. Consequently, more often than not, buying a car also means going broke.
Expensive second hand cars
In deciding what car to buy, we first look at what our peers or folks we want to rub shoulders with drive before making a decision. When we cannot afford to buy a new one, we then opt for a second hand. We rather drive a second hand Range Rover than a brand new Honda Accord, or a second hand Honda Accord rather than a brand new Hyndai Accent.
There is nothing wrong with buying a second hand car. It can be cheaper and more cost effective if you don’t hold unto it for too long, to the extent of spending every weekend with your mechanic. However, it makes sense if you can afford a new one, but choose to buy a second hand one to save money and invest the balance. This means you have the cash flow required to support the ownership of the car, from insurance, servicing and repairs etc.
When you drive a second hand Range Rover, you become a member of the club irrespective of the fact that you entered at half price. That is where the discount ends. You have to face the music going forward. Range Rover parts do not come cheap. Very few accessories are less than N100k a piece. You may become a member of the club on the outside but dying financially inside as the cost of maintenance starts to bite. To make it more interesting, older cars need more maintenance brand new ones that require just oil change at intervals.
Then there is the issue of insurance. You will assume that all owners of flashy cars hold a comprehensive insurance cover. Many don’t. They have a third party policy and often most are only on paper. If there is an incident, the car is parked for months. It makes you wander is you are driving the car or the car is driving you.
Impressing people is not sustainable
When we reach beyond ourselves financially to impress others, are the people we are trying to impress truly impressed or shaking their heads in pity at our foolishness? How sustainable is our drive to impress? Does impressing them move us towards our goals?
With automobiles, can we keep up as new models show up after every two – four years? Public opinion is very fickle. When you keep pace today and fall behind tomorrow, nobody remembers you. You no longer belong.