This morning, a colleague whispered to me, “Mr F drives a Lexus to work, wow, he must be rich.”
Both my colleague and I take the public transport. During peak hours, commuting can be a nightmare. That’s when you really look at the drivers in their Lexus enviously (at least till they get stuck in the traffic jams).
I smiled at my colleague, and showed him this article I happened to be reading: “One day I’d like to meet someone who is actually rich” by Jeff Hadenread at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141103134657-20017018-i-looked-and-no-one-actually-feels-rich-or-happy.
Here is a short extract from the article:
One day I’d like to meet someone who is actually rich. Sometimes I think I’ve found one but it always turns out I’m wrong. No matter how rich I assumed the person to be… within a few minutes I find out just how poor that person really is.
Take the guy who sold his company for more than $40 million. (Well, actually $100 million in total; $40 million is his share.) I was sure he was rich.
Then he told me how for tax and estate planning purposes he had structured the disbursement of funds over 10 years. So sure, on paper he may be “worth” $40 million, but he only gets around $4 million each year. And despite all that nifty financial planning the taxes are still so high he doesn’t see nearly that much. It’s a bummer.
Or take the guy who just splashed a cool $450 grand on a Lexus LFA with the Nürburgring package. His everyday car is a Porsche 911 Turbo S. I was sure he was rich…
(Credit: I first read the article here at www.theindependentabecedarian.com)
For non-local readers, please close your mouths tight. Cos I am going to tell you a terrifying fact (despite Halloween being just over), that may make your jaw drop.
The Lexus Mr R was driving costs about S$250k, or US$190 grand. And this pile of metal can only be driven for 10 years.
Singapore controls the car population with a tool called COE (certificate of entitlement), which is literally a piece of paper, that allows you to drive for a decade. After that, you need to get “entitled” again.
The current COE is about S$75k. That makes cars ridiculously expensive, and out of reach for most. The government thinks the system prevents road congestion. Plus it is also good tax money.
The ironic thing is, because cars are so expensive, many people aspire to buy one. Sadly, I know of friends who despite working for many years, cannot afford to get a new car. Maybe only the rich can afford cars now?
No wonder my colleague thinks that Mr F must be rich. But Mr F works in the same company as me, and we have about the same salary. I save 100% of my salary. He probably spends a big sum each month on his car loan.
So he is either really having money, or just being foolish. Mr F brags about his car, so I can actually guess which.
Just last night, a friend commented that he needs to drive. A car to him, is a need and not a want. He drives everyday to work, to visit his in-laws and to ferry his family.
Another friend recently scrapped his 10 year old vehicle, after driving for more than 20 years. He decided to switch to public transport because “it is too ridiculous to pay so much to drive”. His wife and kids are also adapting, taking the public transport together with him.
I envy my second friend, for having a supportive family. And also for his resolve. As for the first friend, it is his choice to make. It is impossible to change a person’s mindset, when he is not ready to think otherwise.
Whether it is a need or want, depends on a person’s perspective. Whether Mr F is rich or foolish, depends on the wealth mindset. My colleague might think of him as rich, I feel otherwise.
Before I end off, I will like to share something inspiring I heard recently: “Do for some years what many will not, then you can do for the rest of the years, what others cannot”.
While I may afford to, I will not drive. Instead I choose to use my money more wisely, so that I may do in future, what others cannot.