Surprise, surprise: No correlation between mental illness and new cars

Surprise, surprise: No correlation between mental illness and new cars

Don't buy a new car if you can't afford it.

I was in my car listening to the radio the other day when I heard one of the most ridiculous car advertisements I have ever heard in my entire life. The catch phrase for the article went something along the lines of:

“Don’t let yourself become mentally ill. Buy a new car!”


Say what? The correlation in many advertisements is often way off base, but that was particularly odd. 

The idea that causing someone more financial stress in hard times is going to make their lives easier is hard to believe. Where I live, many people are already worried that they are under water in their mortgages. This means that they originally paid more for the homes than the homes are worth now and that they are paying off loans for houses which are not worth their value. 


Cars work the same way. A new car loses money the second it is driven off of the lot. The benefits of having a safe car are huge, but I am not seeing the strategy of spending money on a new car as a benefit in a hard economy unless they can easily afford it. 


Not spending money on your medication will be more likely to make you mentally ill than using the same amount of money to buy a new car. A new car is the ultimate retail therapy and the gift of a huge monthly car payment and higher car insurance rates is the gift that keeps on giving. 


For approximately the same price as a new car, I can have medical coverage and medicine. With that decision comes stronger mental health and the ability to handle stressful situations better. 


It’s a personal choice; you can look cooler in your new car or you can choose to be healthy by buying things you can afford. The advertisement gave the exact opposite message. Buy a new car to avoid mental illness. And while the advice makes no sense, it is bound to get into the psyches of some people as they drive around town wishing that they, too, had nicer cars. 


Buying a new car can add hundreds onto your monthly bill. If you have a great job, this is probably ok. But if you don’t have a great job and have any kind of need for medication, the ramifications of misusing your purchasing power for status symbols might be steeper than you think. 


Use your brain when you hear advertisements and try to manage your budget wisely.