I was talking to a friend recently and we were discussing how it’s kinda hard to justify having a car in Singapore. Almost every personal finance website talks about how cars are just horribly, horribly overpriced here. It’s so overpriced that even Hollywood Stars are stunned by how much cars cost in Singapore. Check out Michelle Rodriguez’s priceless reaction when we the interviewer tells her the prices of cars here.
And we have a world class transport system as well! It breaks down now and then but it’s still one of the best in the world. Seriously, Singaporeans have no idea how good we have it here. We’re definitely in the top 10 for public transport for every country. Fly out to some of the other cities like New York / London / Paris and you’ll see how most of their public “transport” are literally crumbling around you. We’ve got freaking air-conditioned stations here.
There’s also Uber / Grab for everything else, so how do you justify getting a car in Singapore?
It;s quite simple really
This is how I think about owning a car
- Loan Repayment = S$900
- Road tax = S$62
- ERP cost = S$150
- Petrol cost = S$200
- Parking cost = S$500
- Insurance premium = S$170
Total about 2000 a month
- Being able to go wherever you want = quite PRICELESS
- Being able to ensure my pregnant wife gets to work safely = extremely PRICELESS
- Being able to show off that I can own a car = bonus self-esteem point
Total = priceless + bonus self-esteem points > 2000 a month
We don’t want to admit it but we’re all basically driven by the same basic desires: safety, greed and a desired to be loved. And buying a car fulfils these desires.
It’s not logical to get a car in Singapore. So, why do we do it?
That’s the thing about money and buying. It’s an emotional topic, not a logical one. We buy a car because buying a car in Singapore tells people that you’ve made it! It’s a big flashy symbol in Singapore to tell others that moi has arrived! Sure, a car is an expensive liability but showing off is one of the great unvoiced desires that we all have.
I’ve always found it interesting that no one comes right out to voice our real desires
- “I posted this picture of me with a hot girl to make my ex really jealous”
- “I bought a BMW so that people will know that I made it”
- “I want to be famous because I want millions of faceless people I don’t know to love me”
These desires are extremely uncomfortable to admit. They’re politically incorrect. We’ve been taught to be humble and altruistic. But these desires are also very real!
You don’t have to tell anyone. Just take a quiet moment and think about about this. Ask yourself the real reason why you posted that picture of yourself dropping 10 kg on FaceBook or that kick-ass photo where you’re skiing in the Alpines on a Wednesday. Just to tell people where you’re up to?
Or are you secretly doing it for the likes?
Did you notice how uncomfortable it is to admit that you post pictures on Facebook just for the likes? It seems so petty and small. But it’s perfectly fine. We all get a dopamine rush from the likes; that’s why so many of us do it.
We can bury our desires under pointless platitudes like, “I want to focus being the best version of myself I can”. I do it too. Frankly, I’d rather acknowledge my real motivation and work towards it. It’s much better than ignoring that little voice in my head, it doesn’t go away after all.
You don’t have to tell everyone ALL of your motivations. Everyone has their own private motivations. Keep the ones you don’t feel comfortable sharing to yourself; no one has to know but you. Besides, I don’t think anyone wants to your ex anyways.
The difference is; you’ll know yourself better.
So when you buy a car, I’m betting most of your thoughts will be around how successful you’ll look driving around in that Mercedes. Buying is always more of an emotional decision than a logical one.
I’ll be honest, I’m quite scared about owning one. I make very decent money now but a car is still a major liability. But I’ve taken some steps to make sure I can afford the car. Stay tuned for the next update by joining my mailing list below.