Can’t buy a luxury car? Buy the experience instead

As she rings in the Year of the Rooster, Automologist LING finds time amidst the hubbub to look beyond wishes for wealth in the lunar n...


porsche driving experience
As she rings in the Year of the Rooster, Automologist LING finds time amidst the hubbub to look beyond wishes for wealth in the lunar new year.

Chinese New Year is very much about money: the 财神(God of Wealth) takes centrestage; money is given from the married to the unmarried in 红包 (red envelopes); the Lion Dance involves plucking vegetables, because in the Chinese language, ‘vegetable’ sounds a lot like ‘fortune’. It is also a time for families to get together and join in silent competition, comparing who has the better career, children, house and CARS.

Fortunately, my own family don't care for such comparisons; otherwise, my rusty Myvi and I would bring my parents, and the spirits of my grandfather and great-grandfather to shame. But it did get me thinking that I would perhaps never be able to afford to drive a luxury car home to show off to my relatives.

Read also: 2016's Six Most Expensive Cars not meant for Commoners Like Us.

Just a few days ago, I chanced upon a 20-year study conducted by Cornell University, about seeking happiness; the conclusion was that to find it, buy experiences, not things. It goes against traditional Chinese values, which generally lauds the material. But, as the study teaches us, experience becomes a part of your identity and there are less social comparisons; also, you won’t be stuck with an expensive car that you can ill afford or eventually grow bored of.

So, how can we “buy experiences” with luxury cars, instead of buying the car? Here's three ways:

Hail a luxury ride

In my neck of the woods, the ride-hailing app, Grab, offers a premium version of its service, called Grabcar+, whereby you will be picked up in a luxury car instead of the usual jalopy. Other ride-hailing apps offer similar services – eg. Didi Premium in China, UberLux in some parts of the USA, Ola Lux in India, etc.

Essentially, I get to be chauffeured around in an expensive car at an affordable fee, as and when I require, without having to pay a high monthly loan installment or chauffeur wages. Sounds sweet to me.

Rent an exotic car

It isn’t too difficult to find an exotic car rental service (Google it). For a few thousand Ringgit, you can rent a Porshe or an Aston Martin or a Ferrari. Why not reward yourself when you’ve closed an important deal, gained that hard-earned promotion or for that special anniversary or once-in-a-lifetime (or for some, more than one) honeymoon/bachelor/bachelorette party?

Join a Driving School

Some of the world’s most luxurious car brands offer driving programmes, during which you can muck about behind the wheel of one of their latest models, under the guidance of a professional coach.

Porsche’s Driving School, for instance, offers one-to-three day courses in everyday driving to racetrack, well, racing. The course is available in 16 countries around the world, none of them mine. But if ever you are on holiday in one of these cities, it could be the highlight of your whole itinerary.


So, this Chinese New Year, I wish you – not wealth, not possessions – but many experiences that will bring you happiness.


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