One of our biggest motivators of buying things we can’t afford is the fear of looking poor.
How embarrassing it must have been for me to drive around in a 1993 white Chevy Lumina with a maroon interior – so embarrassing that I thought the better decision was to take out a $28,000 car loan just so I wouldn’t look poor anymore. But guess what, although I might have looked like I had money with the new car, now I was officially poor!
My car ran just fine, but I made excuses to justify buying a new car. I needed something more dependable – even though my trusty Chevy Lumina never left me stranded on a Dallas highway. It wasn’t the fear of a break down that fed my bad decision, but the fear of simply appearing poor.
Are you afraid of looking poor?
I wasn’t alone in my fear of looking poor. According to a Wall Street Journal survey of 2,000 people, 35% of respondents said that in order to qualify as being rich, a person must drive a car that costs $75,000 or more. When in reality, Thomas Stanley found “the median price paid for the most recent motor vehicle purchased by a millionaire was $31,367”. Most of us think a car is a good indicator of wealth – and a good way to not look poor.
Our fear of looking poor oftentimes make us poor!
Even Benjamin Franklin made the same observation when he said, “A man being sometimes more generous when he has but a little money than when he has plenty, perhaps thro’ Fear of being thought to have but little.” It was the same 200 years ago as it is now!
Don’t be afraid of looking poor, it might be your best chance of getting rich.