Having a car in Singapore is like a reflection of your social status. Sometimes I feel like I need to get one to not be "looked down upon". If you are financially capable of buying a car, would you? - Seedly
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Anonymous

Asked 3w ago

Having a car in Singapore is like a reflection of your social status. Sometimes I feel like I need to get one to not be "looked down upon". If you are financially capable of buying a car, would you?

I just feel like when all my peers have cars and are using it as their main mode of transportation, sometimes feel a bit ashamed that I don't have a car.

Bryant Tan
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Hi there,

I discussed it once with my partner about a car and we agree that that the money that we can use to buy a status symbol, eg. car can be used to fund our future children's education. It's a matter of priority because money, being a neutral immaterial object, can be used to purchase a legacy for your loved ones. I think that will be more meaningful. Either ways, people can choose to buy a car if they can afford it but some may not be able to.

I think we have our value systems regarding why we will want to make certain high-end purchases. Nothing wrong with wanting to impress, to each his own. But if given a choice, shouldn't we re-direct our limited resources (for a large majority of us) to something more tangible and meaningful?

My friends won't thank me for impressing them with a car. But my children probably will thank me for astute financial prudence.

Financial planning is an integral part of life. You can reach me here to find out more.​​​

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A car may seem as a social status but there is no need to feel ashamed because you dont own one. If we were to discuss regarding the topic about social status, watches, clothes, handbags are also a reflection of one's social status to a certain extent. However, it is crucial to note that there will be no end to comparing one's social status, because there will be always someone you know that has a more expensive car, watch or bag.

Personally, the decision to purchase a car should be based more on whether it brings about more convenience to you and those around you. For example, if you work in the CBD, having a car could be more of a hassle because of the jam you have to go through every morning, the expensive parking charges, and also ERP. I have several clients that are around their 30s, and easily drawing a salary of S$15,000 to S$20,000 or more a month, which you can comfortably classify them as being financially capacable of buying a car. However, most of them do not own one because they feel that it is more convenient and cheaper to take a grab or public transport around.

IMHO, if your friends are looking down on you for not having a car because its more financially savvy to do so, perhaps you should really consider having some 'new' friends instead.

As a simple rule of thumb, the cost of owning a car is easily around $1,000 to S$1,500/mth and MORE considering ERP, Parking, Road Tax, Servicing, Petrol etc. So unless u travel around very often or have a kid to shuttle around, it may really not be a good decision to get a car.

All in all, do a simple check on whether you NEED a car, and whether its financially savvy to do so, rather than think about social status on coming to a decision on whether to get a car or not

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Actually many of the car owners are not rich. They are in debt with all the car expenses, so you are actually better off in fact. I think ashame is ok, but if you buy a car which is beyond your means then it will be totally ashame if you result in debt or borrowing money!

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M

Maria

Level 2. Rookie

Answered 2w ago

Maybe you have the wrong friends! Among my friends, those who own a car are those who need it - for their work, their kids, or elderly parents etc. Majority of us will not buy a car. Not because we can't afford it but its a sure waste of money. I know people who own several cars - that they don't need. I am not impressed by them.

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You do not need to be pressured by your peer's achievements too much. What matters is what you are working towards. If you can afford to travel via public transport, do it. The monthly repayment you need to fork out to finance a car can be used to invest and grow into something bigger than a car - a secure financial future and an earlier retirement. Think about the big picture and you will feel that you are actually doing something greater than just buying a car out of peer pressure and emotion. Don't give in to temptation!​​​

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Maybe they need to be ashamed to own a car, haha. (If it is not a Tesla).

No, maybe, depends on the average smoothness of the traffic (which I do not know).

There are so many fees and restrictions, astonishing, but maybe a good thing.

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There is definitely some form of social status to owning a car in Singapore. But I don’t think you should feel ashamed that you don’t have one! Everyone’s circumstances are different and having a car is not the best indicator of where someone is. Your friends could have raked up quite a lot of debt in owning a car etc. In my opinion, if I had the financial capability to buy a car, I would. I enjoy driving and being on the road but of course that is just for my own personal enjoyment. You can live without a car in Singapore with public transport and grab

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I used to think “only rich people had cars” because I came from a humble family with a single breadwinner. So I understand where that feeling may come from.

However, as I accumulated savings over the last 14 years working and started investment, I’ve always felt this expense wouldn’t give me the value I needed from it.

This is because I’ve observed how my personal value is best recognised if I find the best environment for me to excel in, the right mentors, and a focus on better risk taking (as I’ve an awareness of how I may be a conservative individual with aversion to loss). None of my friends (or at least I’ve kept my friend circle that way) would think of me as less competent or not doing as well just because I don’t have a car.

I’ve also taken time to learn what truly matters to me and gives me the greatest value whether in work or personal life.

  1. Being more open-minded to others and their opinions

  2. Investing in myself and valuable skills (not necessarily conventional education - this can be approaching hobbies and hobby spending with structure and aim)

  3. Creating meaningful memories worth looking back on in my personal life

  4. Contributing to others freely on what I’ve learnt to strengthen my own learning

  5. Focusing on my ability to create value for others in their own personal life or careers

  6. Taking bigger risks in my career

This shame or unhappiness of not owning material goods (cars, branded bags, expensive travel and so on) that many of my peers may get don’t hold me hostage, when my sense of how valuable I am increases.

However, I’ve noticed that I really enjoy a specific type of travel and sometimes it may cost more. I don’t care for conventional travel experiences to Europe etc, but I really want to learn something or experience something (e.g. skiiing in Niseko, surfing in Bali, exploring coffee culture), that’s when I know money is well spent.

A car could be that for me if I love driving or I have a genuine interest in cars. In my case it’s not. In your case, you’ll need to dig deep to find out.

I’d much rather spend money on creating genuine value for me that’s not focused on diminishing my shame, but enhancing my joy and satisfaction in life.

I don’t have to be the most valuable person in the room, I just have to create the most value for myself and people who mean something to me. That is how I am okay with being here.

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Personally i wouldn't use my money on "depreciating assets". I feel fortunate enough to have a good public transport system in Singapore so that i can save my bullets for house or travelling overseas 👍

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I would never buy a Car in SG. They are overpriced and the costs to maintain is absurd.

Its clearly a liability. Its not an asset at all because it reduces your cashflow.

I would rather spend it where I needed it the most such as education, kids education, house or even a business etc etc..

Happy Investing !

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A car is definitely necessary if you want to make the best use of your time. Not to mention the ability to travel in comfort. People can say what they like but the truth is most if not all people who can comfortably afford a car will have at least one in the household. If buying a car comes with trade offs in your other expenses or retirement planning then the issue is with your earning power instead of whether a car is worth it.

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I will not buy a car for many reasons:

1) Car is a depreciating asset over time.

2) Taking Grab everyday is cheaper than maintaining a car (and you are paying for a chaffeur, safer to not drive when you are tired)

3) Set aside the money for insurance, savings & investments to make it grow! Yeah, not to mention saving for your children's future...

4) Social status and "looked down upon" is a Chinese cultural thing. I am not bothered by it at all.

Hope my personal opinions resonate with many others :)

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Elyn Chan
Elyn Chan

5d ago

Totally agree
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To answer your question, if I am interested in owning a vehicle to transport myself, I would not just get a car, I would get a car AND a chauffeur. I wouldn't want to spend my energy on the roads looking out for other "tiong" cars/lorries/vans/bikes if I can have the time to rest my eyes and take a nap, no amount of money can buy you time and health.

OP, as for your mentality, for anything that you intend to do, please either do it for yourself or for your loved ones. Never ever do anything just because of comparison or competitiveness with others (ex-NS mates, ex-schoolmates, acquaintances, colleagues etc), as Chinese saying goes: 人比人,气死人. Your urge/desire to own things, REGARDLESS of needs or wants, should always be about you and the people that you love and care for. And no, I am not encouraging or discouraging you to own vehicles, you should assess whether is the move justifiable (convenience, time, logistics etc), and on a personal level, does it make you happy, satisfied and fulfilled?​​​

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If you're looking for simple transportation maybe you could consider riding. Yes many people would say it's dangerous etc. But isn't it the same for cars? (Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime) It is a cheaper alternative and an enjoyable one too. I wouldn't buy a car yet until I really need it because per month is like $1K of car expenses.

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You WANT a car or you NEED a car? Ask yourself this question. You NEED a car to survive for work purpose, by all means go and get it but own within your budget.

If you WANT a car to impress people then don't waste your time & money. There is many others can afford better cars, you will never win them. To impress ladies, lagi don't waste your time, is not you impress them, is you are giving more option for them to choose which car should they take. 😅 I don't drive, I never hve a car for 50 yrs, yet I found a good wife who don't need a car to be impressed. As u become successful in your career, in the future, many ppl will become ur chauffeur, driving branded car to fetch u. Like insurance, property, investment agent, etc. 😂 In this era, material asset is not important, with cash is king. So save up n be frugal, enjoy ur wealth with someone u love & with u in this life time. 😁

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Elyn Chan
Elyn Chan

5d ago

This is so true 👍
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S

Saver

Level 2. Rookie

Answered 2w ago

If you are financially capable of owning a car and you feel good owning one because it

  • gives you a sense of freedom

  • you like the idea of convenience

  • you like cars

  • It gives you a personal sense of acomplishment and statisaction

Then buying the car is a great idea. But if you will feel good because you are seeking approval from other people to make you feel good, there will be no end to your list of things and you will always be searching from the others to make yur life happy.​​​

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K

KxR

Level 3. Wonderkid

Answered 2w ago

I think a general problem is you are looking at something external that defines your life? Everyone knows that material possessions do not equal happiness. So instead of looking at what others "have" or "do", notice what makes your life meaningful. All of this just puts you on so-called "hedonic treadmill", you buy a car, you inflate your lifestyle, you just want more and more. You wouldn't jump out of the window if others would do it right? Status game is a dangerous game, my friend... Unfortunately, materialistically thinking societies are the ones which drive most of the people into depression and unhappiness, but you realize it's all in your head and in your own insecurities about yourself. So what I suggest is that you define what matters you instead of externals including family, friends or relatives defining what's best for yourself.

I can afford a car, but I would never get one in Singapore because it just financially doesn't make sense and I get anxiety from owning possessions. But if you need to drive you grandma and family somewhere every day, obviously you should consider it.

If its just a status game, its a road to depression and being poor for life. Don't be a lifestyle creep = https://ofdollarsanddata.com/lifestyle-creep/

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Unless you really need it, owning anything more than an ordinary car (such as a Toyota Corolla) in Singapore is really becoming quite unnecessary. Although it can make life a lot more comfortable, especially if you have children, most of the time it's easy enough to manage well without one, and save a lot of money in the process.

Don't worry about what other people think. If they make judgements about people based on what they drive (or if they drive) it says more about them than it does about anybody else. Most of the time people with fancy cars just have bigger debts.

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I think this is a very big misconception. Having cars is not a reflection of social status, as most average families are able to buy a car (just a choice between assets or liability), unless of course you meant really expensive cars like porsche, bentley, rolls-royce, ferari, etc.

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If you can and is willing to afford it, why not?

Suggestion... Putting aside social status, it would be good to pay out your personal priority list of where you would spend your first dollar and then the next, followed by careful verification of how you spend versus your financial value system, does your spending spark joy, or do you cringe committing to your intended expenses? Driving would take conscious decision making.

I value financial safety net to weatherproof bad days. The drive has to be economical, of good safety ratings, user friendly and of least overall financial impact to my portfolio. Hence the choice of a decade old simple ride. Status was not a concern. Joneses won't ride through storms with me the way my loved ones would.

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