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ever wonder how your neighbours can afford to buy a new car every year or so even tho they only have average jobs, or even good but not super spectacular jobs?

they must be loaded right?

well,…. not necessarily.

overheard in a cafe:

a: you should see my new car its sweet as!

b: didnt you get a new car a few months ago?

a: yeah but that was last year.

b: so you got another one?

a: no, i traded in my old car, and then i paid only KD600 and got a brand new 2008 car.

b: nice.

a: yup, a new car for only KD600!

b: bargain!

a: but i really want car x which has a new model coming out at the end of the year so i’ll get that afterwards.

b: cool, and you’ll probaby have to pay less since your new car will still be pretty new when you trade it in later this year.

a: exactly! so i’ll get a brand new 2009 for even less than KD600.

b: thats quite clever.

a: it is quite sweet.





now bear in mind that a car, unlike real estate or stocks, is not considered an asset. not even if you have paid it off.


cos unlike a house, which over time should appreciate in value greater than the cost of owning it (repairs, etc) a car can only drop in value from the minute you drive it out the shop. add to that the cost of owning and operating it and a car is a negative impact on your wallet. it is therefore classed as a liability and not an “investment” by any stretch of the imagination. unless you are buying an “already classic” or unless you want to stretch your imagination to 70 years where maybe, just maybe your mass produced car becomes a classic,… after 99% of the cars produced have been scraped.

so what is dude (a) doing that dude (b) is impressed with?

as far as they are concerned, dude (a) gets a brand new car every year and it “only” costs him KD600 a year.

dude (a) and dude (b) both think its a great deal cos yes if you only look at it that way then a brand new car for KD600 a year is a great deal. infact, its so great a deal that i dont know how those car companies make any money or stay in business.

but behind the new car is a loan.

and with each new car, his previous loan is rolled over into a new one.

with massive payments to make every month.

so dude (a) is perpetually in debt.

which i suppose is not a big deal here, unlike overseas where good credit is required to put a roof over your head.

credit ratings dont exist here (yet), so mortgages are approved simply by having a government job or by being a citizen, or by working for a listed company if youre an expat. for locals, home loans are backed by the government and seperated from other loans, and expats arent allowed to purchase property, which means the only things you’ll really really need a loan for is consumer items.

does not being in debt not mean anything?

or does it just not mean as much as maintaining the impression that you have an oil well in your backyard?

and that question is even funnier when you realize that i’m talking to expats as well, who sure as hell dont have an oil well in their backyard, if they even have balcony let alone a backyard. and yet becaus they work inaย  country where “everyone has an oil well in their backyard” they have to be seen to be doing well.

yup, the expats adventuring into such stupidity come from every class,… from the new fresh from college indian kid to the “i’ve been here 15 years” egyptian lawyer to the “yay! i’m not paying taxes western contractor with the filipina girlfriend” to the ” i’ve been here 30 years, so i really do know everything jordanian who has a canadian passport but is really palestinian”.

everyone’s doing it so it cant be stupid can it?


thats up to your own personal definition of stupid.

but atleast now you know,…

youre neighbour isnt necessarily loaded.

he’s just as likely to leave his ID at the gas station as “collateral” as the next guy.



  1. From my experience it’s all the poor husbands who are in debt buying the latest model for their d3looa wife who needs a new Altima or a new Jag or that cute little Nissan jeep thing……He gets in debt buying a car for wife, 2 sons, daughter and driver……go figure.

  2. To the comment above me… WHATEVER ๐Ÿ˜›
    Men always blame women – easier to point your fingers at someone… even though your post was referring to two stupid men LOL

  3. teach: youre right, but i wouldnt have much pity on him since as the head of the household he’s meant to set an example and hold shit down. so no money, no car, you want a car, get a damn job,.. you know that kind of thing.

    ansam: i blame women too,…but only just to annoy you haha!

  4. Oh, to have a debt-free life! Having had a number of “stupid” moments in my past, the debts do a good bit of time to get rid of…. But even I know that constant car debt is REALLY stupid.

    I don’t understand people who buy a new car as soon as they finish paying for their last new car, or rolling the old debt into the new (how can they not see that?) My little 13-year-old car is allllll paid for. Maintenance is easy: regular oil changes, check the tires ~ unless she goes belly up, I’m a-keepin’ her. There’s nothing like no car payments!

    It’s just all that other stupid debt ~ would someone wave a magic wand in my direction, please?

  5. lol you should hear the reply from people i talk to about stuff like that here:

    “but what if i die tomorrow, i want to enjoy myself”

    lol you just cant argue with that.

  6. Oh, sure I can! ๐Ÿ˜›

    I understand that logic, I’ve used it myself. But there’s another side to that coin, too.

    What if I live to be 100? I don’t want to have to work until the day I die just to pay for food, a place to live, electricity, and water. So yeah, you can’t take it with you, but you may need it longer than you think!

  7. indeed, i would have wanted to have my feet up for a good 20 years by the time i’m 100.

  8. I still miss my 13 year old Volvo that I had to sell when we came to the Gulf. I had intended to drive it 20 / 30 years! When you buy quality, and maintain it, you can save a lot of money.

    “Live within your means” . . . you might as well be speaking Zulu here.

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