According to this morning’s newspaper, Kinora Lee Simmons has an interesting clause in her divorce settlement with hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons. As part of the settlement, Russell Simmons will buy his wife a new car ( with a value of not less than $ 60,000 ) every two years. I realize that , from a legal point of view, it is necessary to stipulate everything exactly to avoid ambiguity and prevent future disagreements but this clause reminded me of the propensity of our society to equate cost with value.
Some years ago, I had a friend in the export-import business who told me about the jeans he used to sell. He said that ordinary jeans used to whole sale for about $6 , but the exact same jeans with a celebrity name stitched onto the hip pocket brought in three times as much.
In ” The Millionaire Next Door”, Thomas J. Stanley and William Danko describe how many people who are millionaires live unostentatious lives , never flashing their wealth. When it comes to autos, they buy ordinary, unremarkable cars and run them as long as they can . Not for them , the compulsion to change cars every three years that so many people seem to have. I am not in the same league as them but I feel the same way. To me, a car is something that will take me around without any problems and give me good gas mileage. Reliability, low sticker price and fuel economy are what I look for. If it looks good, that’s a plus but appearance is not as important as the first three attributes.