Why Unhappy Retirees Are Driving BMWs
Certified financial planner Wes Moss has surveyed over 1,300 retirees in 46 states about everything from their assets to their happiness and the cars in their driveways.
He found that when it comes to luxury cars, the most common pick among unhappy retirees is the BMW.
In his book, "You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think: The 5 Money Secrets Of The Happiest Retirees," Moss explains that this correlation might have less to do with the car itself than the impression it leaves on others.
He suspects that BMW owners are "still competing. They buy the 'Ultimate Driving Machine' because they're looking for a distraction - a high-end status symbol to make them feel better about themselves," he writes. "But in purchasing a car, they have opted, either knowingly or unknowingly, to add an additional financial burden to their lives."
On the other hand, the happiest retirees in comparably luxurious cars are driving Lexuses - and in a five-year price comparison, Moss and his team found that owning a Lexus costs 16% less than a BMW. Happy retirees, he found, bought their cars for "comfort" and "cushion."
In his book, Moss also lists the non-luxury cars that tend to pair up with happy and unhappy retirees, from Nissan and Subaru (happy) to Chrysler and Dodge (unhappy).
As Moss says, driving a particular car won't magically boost or tank your happiness level ... but the findings seem like more than a coincidence.
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