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What Do Wealthy People Really Drive?

What brand of car do you think wealthy people most often drive? Mercedes? BMW? Lexus?

If you answered any of those models, you’re only partially right. That’s because, according to a study done by researchers at Experian Automotive (and published on Forbes), 61% of wealthy people actually drive Hondas and Toyotas and Fords, just like all the rest of us.

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What amount of income do they consider to be “wealthy”? The IRS says only 2% of American households make more than $250,000 a year, so that’s the dividing line.

These big-time earners—people who could easily afford a new Mercedes if they chose—drive Honda Accords or Toyota Camrys. That gives a whole new meaning to the idea of “the millionaire down the street,” doesn’t it?

The top 10 cars for $250,000-plus households include the Mercedes E-class, the Lexus RX 350 and the BMW 5 series and 3 series. Following those top four were three Hondas, a Toyota, an Acura and a Volkswagen.

Also, it’s sadly not surprising that 8% of people who make less than $100,000 own a luxury model car. If that isn’t an effort to keep up with the Joneses, then we don’t know what is. You make $50,000 a year and you own a $60,000 car? That’s insane.

Dave talks all the time about how down-to-earth the “average” millionaire actually is. Only 2 in 10 millionaires are actually retired. Most of them still go to work every day and continue to generate income and save for their family’s future.

This picture of a low-profile millionaire driving a Honda to work every day doesn’t fit our culture’s stereotype of the wealthy person, does it? The “evil one percent” might look just like you and me—the difference is that you don’t see him or her on reality television or in headlines because of some corporate scandal.

Someone making $250,000 a year could easily afford a nice Mercedes, but only 39% of them choose to drive that type of car. How interesting.

Maybe image isn’t worth as much as you think.

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