I'm in your situation except I drove for years in France before so I had a little bit more insights.
Here's what I would advise you to do:
- For a first car in HK, definitely buy a cheap one, cash. Your salary cannot affort a 400k car. I wouldn't either and I earn 3 times more than you.
- Don't forget the yearly MOT, every year it will come back, every year a new chance at discovering issues
- Insurance will be like mine: I'm considered a new driver in HK, on a sport car, that is 21 years old. I pay the maximum they could make me pay, 7k a year, and it doesn't cover the car itself, only the damage I cause to people and their properties.
- Service and parts cost a lot for nice cars, so save for it. One day a 50k job will be required to make it drive again. Or one day you'll rip a taxi like I did, get a huge scratch on it and lose half the resale value unless you fix it - for half the resale value... good thing my car was under 100k with no debt
- Finding a good parking is difficult. Mine is 2k/month in central - what a bargain right ? Except it has a huge mega slope, I cannot park it easily and I scratch the car sometimes trying to maneuver in it.
Rule of thumb: only throw money at a car in HK that you can afford to lose or that you'd have thrown in a casino in Macao... It's not an investment (as in Europe you need one to get to your job), it won't raise in value and you must be ready to ditch it in the sea at the first sign of paying more than you can afford to literally throw by the window.
Selling a car is also very difficult!
If you are overlooked for a job even though you are more than competent because another less competent candidate worked at a large, well known company, then it matters.
If you are trying to find business clients, but they decide to go with someone they know from one of their private members clubs, then yes that status matters.
If you go to a networking event and people are looking for the top CEOs or Senior Management even if they are not the ones with the purchasing decisions, then yes it matters.
Most people here are not in the extremes where they would feel the people they meet judge them on their status. But as an experiment, next time meeting new people, just pretend to be at opposite spectrums of what you are now e.g. rich/poor, employed/unemployed, banker/cleaner, mid-levels flat/subdivided flat, have iphone/can't afford a phone, have a degree/no education etc.You would be surprised at how differently you may be treated.
This is just life though. It is the same in every country, it is not specific to Hong Kong.
I went from being paid in euros by a small startup on training visa, living without windows to owning a 911, living in central and working in an investment bank, and I feel like I get less respect somehowOriginally Posted by UK/HKboy;
Like yeah you get the jealousy and the people trying to rationalize their own inferiority, as in I dont like living in central, owning a car is so useless, I hate corporate life, but never did I get someone telling me mad respect bro let me invite you to a model party or sir let me open the door to you ahaha
How different were you treated when you moved from hobo to overpaid ?
Lots of good advice on this thread.
OP, been in your position, done that. I bought a cheapish second hand Porsche Boxster at 25 (from geo expat classifieds actually). I paid for it outright with most of my available savings which I think was the best decision I made (better than financing it and having to deal with loan repayments). I had it for a few years before selling it and buying an engagement ring for my now-wife.
I dont regret the decision to buy the Boxster, although now looking back, I wish I had saved the money instead. It was a money pit, I had to put quite a lot of repairs on it (obviously did not do enough investigation), and if I had financed it, the cost of repairs + financing would have been a huge burden to bear. I had a blast driving along the south side with the top down, up to the peak for ice cream, visiting random villages in the new territories which were hard to access by public transport - I drove not because I had to get from point a to point b but because I loved the handling of the car, and would seek out new destinations every weekend just so I could take the car out for a spin.
As the well-intentioned posters mentioned above, theres a lot of costs that goes into car ownership, including unforeseeable costs, like accidents (may not be through your fault - some guy backed into my boxster one weekend, and it spent a month at the garage), or other repairs at inopportune times. Just wanted to point out that if this is going to be a huge burden financially for you, you may not actually enjoy the experience that much. You would be too scared to take the car out for fear of someone scratching the doors, or if it breaks down and it needs another repair, which could run up to 5 digits. All this takes away from the fun of actually driving it, if you have to think about where the money is going to come from to do the repairs you need, or if you realize you spent a few thousand dollars a month on gas, and its a large part of your income.
That said, if you can afford it, and can comfortably handle the repayments and maintenance costs, go for it. As someone said above, better to get that itch scratched now rather than later. Looking back from where I stand now, I know it was foolish financially to put that much of my net worth in a car at such a young age, and while I was earning enough so that any repairs werent too painful, it was painful enough that I did sometimes second guess my decision to buy the car (which was a good check and balance for me).
I sold the car to buy an engagement ring for my fianc who never cared about what I drove, whether I wore branded clothes or how much I had in my bank account. I cant say I regretted buying the car, I still think about my twenties with fond memories and I am glad I got the convertible out of my system, but I do think about how much the money I used to buy the car would be worth now had I put it in the S&P500 instead over the past 10 years. I dont have an itch to buy another convertible now - instead looking at soccer mom vans instead, but I guess you could say I am glad I did what I did when I was still young and single.
Just my two cents: YOLO, but remember, the choice isnt binary - it doesnt have to be the GTR or no car. As the other posters have mentioned, there are other cars that are as fun to drive but might not cost so much, and make less of a dent in your wallet.
Best of luck with whatever you decide, and if you do decide to buy, I wish you many years of happy and safe driving!