Deep Thoughts While Driving A $150,000 Maserati

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For some reason, my friend received a postcard from Maserati offering him some Omaha Steaks if he came in for a test drive. You’d think buyers of $150,000 luxury vehicles couldn’t be convinced to do a test drive for $50 worth of meat, but I guess not. Anyways, I convinced him to go – and of course to let me tag along. 😀

I wasn’t really familiar with the car, but the Maserati Quattroporte does look sexy. You may have seen it on the HBO show Entourage. Designed by Pininfarina and engineered by Ferrari, with a base price of $110,000 it could almost be seen as a bargain… compared to the $250,000 F430 it was sitting next to in the showroom. Here’s a video review from the UK:

Deep Thoughts…
One realization I had while cruising down the road – caressed by supple leather and listening to the Ferrari engine – was that I was getting more comfortable in my own “financial skin”. Before, I might have felt self-conscious on going to this test drive. Now I don’t care what people think of me. If I really wanted to, I could probably buy such a car some day. But I already have my priorities and they are nothing to be ashamed of.

At the same time, I also started to understand that there is nothing wrong with someone who does buy such things. Sure, they might be mortgaging their future in order to look cool now. But they also might be successful people with a solid financial plan and also appreciate fine Italian cars. I asked the saleperson who the typical buyer of a Maserati was. While many people were business owners or corporate executives, he also said his last sale was to an 82-year-old government retiree who finally decided “what the hell” and bought something nice for himself. In other words, perhaps us frugal folks shouldn’t judge others either.

I know I’ve been guilty of this. To this day, whenever I see someone under 25 and driving a shiny new BMW, the words “paid for by the Bank of Mom and Dad” pop into my head!

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  1. Awesome post, awesome car, awesome message. Oh, and awesome car.

  2. Great post! As an FA I work with a lot of people who have been prudent savers and have amassed more money than they expected to. One of my favorite conversations begins… “you’ve saved more than enough to sustain the lifestyle that you planned for in retirement, congratulations, now what do you really want to do?” A common answer is a nice(er) car. And since I love cars too I share in their joy and excitement about the conclusion that they can safely trade in their tired old Accord for a (new or used) BMW, Lexus or ‘Vette and at 65 they finally get permission to buy the car that they’ve lusted after. (Disclaimer – I always advocate buying used!!!)

    Also, thank you for introducing your readers to Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear. When this post popped up in my RSS reader I assumed it was from Jalopnik or Autoblog.

  3. Your second to last paragraph sums it up well. To each their own.

    The only conflict here is when people mortgage their future buying things they cannot afford — then expect a bailout from the government to save them. Nah, that would never happen here.

  4. Definitely agree with you over the Bank of Mom and Pop statement. Way too many of them everywhere.

  5. As long as you have your financial priorities in order and have the money buying something nice can be very enjoyable. For some people a Ferrari is the epitome of success, I would never begrudge them that if they could afford it.

    Good Post, nice car though I’d still take the Ferrari.

  6. so the test drive worked on you 🙂

  7. Never underestimate the power of free. Just because someone has a lot of money doesn’t mean they don’t take advantage of free stuff.

  8. “Definitely agree with you over the Bank of Mom and Pop statement. Way too many of them everywhere.”

    um, he was using that as an example of his past hasty judgment of others which it sounds like he’s trying to curb. You could try to join him.

  9. Yup, for some people enjoying a Maserati on a daily basis is more enjoyable than a moderately nice home or super easy retirement. Also, some things are more enjoyable at a younger age…

  10. Frozen Calzone says

    If you have not already, Read Secrets of a Millionaire Mind.

  11. I bet it was a nice car to test drive. 🙂

    I agree with your sentiments – it’s tough to make an assumption about someone based on their car when we don’t know their financial situation. For some people, being able to afford a Maserati is no big deal, for other’s it’s stretching the limits of what they can afford and then some. But it doesn’t do any of us good to worry about it.

  12. “I know I’ve been guilty of this. To this day, whenever I see someone under 25 and driving a shiny new BMW, the words “paid for by the Bank of Mom and Dad” pop into my head!”

    I usually have the same reaction but I don’t feel particularly guilty about it and don’t think it’s because I’m uncomfortable in my “financial skin”. An expensive indulgence by a retiree in a comfortable position is one thing. The same from a 20-something is a different thing entirely. The fact that it’s likely to color others’ impressions shouldn’t be surprising.

  13. “The same from a 20-something is a different thing entirely. The fact that it’s likely to color others’ impressions shouldn’t be surprising.”

    I don’t think so – life is short and unpredictable. If you are 25 and the only thing on your mind is how you are going to live when you are 75, you need a wake-up call.

  14. nicolas wilson says

    What does 20 something have to do with anything? I’m 21 and i could afford to buy a BMW.. besides whats wrong with letting your kid drive a car you bought?

  15. Great site! I do wish the BMW stereotype could be put to rest. I live in NYC and driving a new BMW is normal for a twenty-something. Everyone works hard and should enjoy the luxuries of life.

    I say dream big and enjoy all the little things in life that make you happy!

    How did you feel driving in the Maserati?

  16. Sorry, see the BMW’s an other expensive cars the students at my wife’s high school drive. Can’t help but think the parents are setting those kids up for over consumption before they’ve even gotten their first job.

  17. Yea – about that 25 years comment… there are plenty of adults under 25 that can afford nice cars. Half of my graduating class took positions with ibanking or consulting firms that pay very well.

  18. I know plenty of friends under 25 who have earned their BMW (or equivalent).

  19. Ok, here is a question to all of you frugal but tasteful folks:

    a local Autotrader ad shows a 2006 Maserati Quattroporte with only 20,000 miles for $65,000. What should you get? A used one like this (knowing that the previous owner probably took really good care of this baby and you will have just as much fun as a new one) or a brand spanking new one (which value will drop almost half in just 2 years?!!)

    Now we talking. Frugality is in your trained/genetically mutated minds…

  20. I’ve already decided that if I get a sports car costing over $50,000 it will be this one that I can help build myself. That way, the $50k can also include an education in auto mechanics 🙂

    25 is probably the wrong age, I should have thought about it more. 20 is probably more appropriate. I could have afforded a BMW at 25 myself.

  21. I used to have a 330i ZHP (it’s a factory-modded BMW 3 series). I loved driving it to Home Depot or getting gas on weekends while doing yard work. I’d get out of the car – unshaved, clothes with holes, hair a mess – and on several occasions people would actually ask me if the BMW was my car. That was fun.

  22. My friend has a 330i ZHP. Very nice car as well.

  23. Jeremy Clarkson = Legend
    Almost as much of a legend as the stig

  24. toasty aroma says

    I could never justify buying a car that expensive, no matter how much money I had. I guess I don’t have anything to prove.
    Sorry to be a killjoy, but that money could be much better spent IMHO.

  25. Not to take ANYTHING away from your comments b/c we all like reading your blogs. But this Great post would’ve been Great if all you had was that YouTube video. I’m sure it didn’t take much “convincing” for your friend to make the test drive.

  26. Mariusz Pudzianowski says

    Most of you are missing the point! The fact that you consider a BMW as “treating yourself” means you spend way too much time worrying about what other people think of you.

    And those 20-somethings with BMWs AREN’T bankrolled by Mom-and-Dad.. That’s the SAD part, they’re making $600+ a month payments on their 40k/year wages; It’s not the Car itself that’s screwed up, it’s their priorities.

  27. BMWs are actually a fairly cheap car to lease. I’m 24, with a fairly middle class, 50k a year yuppie job and zero dollars from the Bank of Mom and Dad, but a Z4 is perfectly affordable for me given that I’m single with no kids. When I was shopping, you could get a new Z4 2-year lease for 0-down, 425/month, including all work down to brake pads and oil changes. Because of the promo interest rates and some hard bargaining, it ended up cheaper than the 2005 Accord I almost picked up instead!

    To be honest, I think the single, 20-something is a perfect time to enjoy a fun car. You could buy a *really* exotic car for a bit north of 1k/month, but if you prefer fancy car and smaller apartment with a roommate to simple car with your own fancier apartment, who am I to judge? They net out the same.

  28. One thing I’ve never understood is the attitude of some of the posters to this blog. Comments like “I guess I don’t have anything to prove.” and “Definitely agree with you over the Bank of Mom and Pop statement. Way too many of them everywhere.”

    Jeez, can’t you just accept that some people do have different priorities? Obviously this blog caters largely to the extremely frugal. Not everyone cares about that. Some people like a nice car for factors other than what other people think about them. Stop being so judgmental people!!

  29. Whilst a lot of 20-somethings who drive BMWs and Benzes are bankrolled by mum and dad there are actually some who can afford it on their own… I am 22, w/ a six figure income and 40k over the past two years that went into my SEP-IRA rather than on a sports car.

    Coincidentally I learned what a SEP-IRA was from your site, I have been an avid reader for at least two years 🙂

  30. i guess it depends on your definition of “treating yourself”. i own a 325i, which i paid new in cash. treating to me equated to it’s a great car to drive. i also recently spent $20k in cash on a new watch, which means that between my wife and I we have spent nearly the amount on watches as the maserati or people’s homes. although i sometimes wax over the latest watch purchase, i could afford it so really who cares. i like watches and the waxing over the purchase is because i really “want” another watch. i could care less what others think about it except to share their love of watches with me.

    in the end, it really is a matter about you feel in your own skin. it just seems these days, especially in the pf blog world, that people are trying to impress others by how frugally they are living and have all these condescending opinions about people who do buy things. doesn’t seem to be any difference in the end to me. i agree with Kuzbad completely on this.

    about the “bank of mom and dad”: there are plenty of people out there whose parents have the sufficient means to buy their kids a bmw. so what. if this is how they choose to spend the money that they have earned, then why is it so bad? although many in the pf blog world say they wouldn’t buy to impress, it seems they are indeed impressed because they talk about it endlessly.

    we all choose how we want to spend money, it doesn’t mean that those spending on bmw’s or maserati’s are lesser people for not fitting into the vision of frugality that we may possess. i could care less how frugal anyone is being, because it doesn’t mirror up with how I want to live my life. I have considerable savings and continue to save aggressively, but at the same time, I know what I “want” and thus am willing to spend money towards those ends.

    the maserati is a kick ass car that i’ve lusted after since the 80s (go figure, i was fixated by the clock in the dash). would i ever buy one? probably not, because although i can justify my watch cravings, i can’t personally justify spending so much on a car no matter how nicely the engine purrs. operative word being personally.

  31. I’m all about frugal, and I do find myself unfairly judging fellow 20-somethings who have nice cars as being likely snotty pricks, despite lusting the vehicle they drive.

    But for some perspective (not to be a Debbie Downer), my dad died 4 months ago. He was 65 and it was fully unexpected. He had quite a nest egg but still drove a 9 year old Lexus LS. He was eventually planning on getting the new LS. Well he kind of got screwed out of that, despite living a pretty frugal life as well. I was a bit shocked when I saw some of his bank accounts afterward – better savings than I ever expect to achieve. He also test drove a BMW 3 Convertible that I was trying to convince him to go ahead and spend on, but it was a bit too snug for his carriage.

    I guess the short is that some things may be “less snug” and more easily enjoyed when you’re younger, and you never know what life will throw at you!

    I’m happy to have learned to be a lot more frugal in the past few years, but on the other hand, as the “sunday” poster said, “If you are 25 and the only thing on your mind is how you are going to live when you are 75, you need a wake-up call.”

  32. Totally agree with the sentiment that one can’t make assumptions about a person based on the car he/she is driving. It makes me happy that a lot of the people buying Maseratis are old guys with a “what the hell” attitude.

    With that said, I think its less an issue of frugality (who cares how you spend your money?), but one of values, where perceived status is more important than numerous other things. Whatever happened to modesty and individual contributions to charity?

  33. It’s mostly so people can feel better about themselves, and I agree with Ray – what ever happened to modesty? I went down that road before and drove cars I could not afford. Why? I wanted to impress people. It’s a major problem in the U.S., with people overcompensating for something with what they buy, instead of concentrating on the issue at hand. If you can afford it, great…but most people cannot. I hope one day things will change.

  34. Sometimes it just comes down to priorities.

  35. BMW @ 25 is very affordable. Even the 7 series. Now, if you see a 20 yr old driving a BMW……

  36. The Big K says

    Of course the 20-somethings that can afford Benzs, Bimmers, Porsches, Lexus, Audi, or in very, some rare cases, Bentleys and Maseratis, with their own money (by making an honest living, not dope slanging) are Entrepeneurs, I-Bankers, Corporate Lawyers, and Bus. Management Consultants. Those guys you see driving crazy cars probably were working their butts off in College and pulling in at least 3.5 GPAs. That is the result of working hard in college, being smart, highly skilled and going after jobs that have serious earning potential.

  37. The fact that you said there is nothing wrong with people who buy these types of vehicles after a test drive says a lot about you, and probably me. Do I wish I could drive a car like this because I’ve been beaten down by the marketing of US television telling me if I don’t drive a car like this or buy diamonds for my woman on V-Day I’m not a man? Yes, if I had the money would I drop 100k+ on a car just to LOOK like a baller, not in a million years. I met a man recently who has more wealth than you or I and the majority of people who buy these types of cars. Why type of car does he drive? A Honda Accord? Having the shiny object stuff makes you feel cool and look cool but it doesn’t change who you are. You were a dick before the fancy car and will be a total douche afterwards. Sure, you might get laid more after purchasing the car but it’s only because women are superficial retards. It’s not because you’re any better than the dick who shit his pants when he was 16.

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