Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ferrari or Ford?

I just overheard yet another phone conversation where my fabulous project director was specifying my car to a disappointed sounding journalist.

My first experience of this disappointment was a few years ago being interviewed for a prominent Australian television show. Their master plan was to have background footage of me zipping around in my Ferrari. Sadly, no Ferrari was to be found in my garage. No Porsche. Certainly no Bugatti Veyron (much to my husband’s disappointment).

Sitting in pride of place in my driveway is a 2001 Ford Escape in the sunglasses-inducing colour of bright yellow. I bought it in 2002 and I have in fact never owned a new car. (insert shocked gasps from journalists everywhere!)

The journalist on the phone also admitted with regret that another one of his interviewees for the story was worth 7 million and drove a 2002 Ford Fairlane!

It appears this trend of not needing to splurge on a vehicle extends way up to the upper reaches of the Forbes billionaires list as well.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page (google co-founders/billionaires) both drive the modestly priced yet environmentally friendly Toyota Prius (also the latest must have celebrity accessory).

Warren Buffet conservatively worth around $52 billion has the license plate “thrifty”!

Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft has a Porsche in his garage but spends much of his time in his 1988 Mazda pickup.

Ingvar Kamprad the little Swedish boy who turned into the giant behind IKEA (named cutely after his own initials and those of two towns he grew up in) roams the streets in a 1993 Volvo 240 GL (that’s what over $20 billion buys these days!).

For me, I learnt long ago in my real estate career not to judge a book by its cover, a client by their car or a person by their clothes. Some of my wealthiest clients drove to their properties in 20 year old cars because having their money in a depreciating asset like a car wasn’t important to them.

If I adored cars and was absolutely passionate about them – I’d probably have something a little more flash. But for now, I’ll stick with spending my money on things I actually adore (travel and shoes) rather than the trappings that some others think are associated with wealth.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments


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