The Bentley Continental convertible in the neighborhood

I saw a black Bentley Continental convertible in the driveway of a neighbor (I don’t know them.) I looked up the address at the county assessor: it’s appraised at $146,304.

The house or the car?

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According to statistics, 5 of our 100 posters are millionaires I suppose it does not mean you have to have a fancy house.

Depending on the Bentley, you can get them for less than 40 grand. Older Bentleys go for a song because you have to wait for someone who doesn’t consider maintenance costs when buying their bargain-basement used luxury car. No one else will touch them because if you have enough free cash to keep it on the road, you have enough to qualify for financing on a much newer one, and if you don’t, and you consider what it will cost to maintain, you realize you won’t be able to afford it after all.

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I have a friend that works for a company that makes cheap specialty air-suspension and active damper corners (a fancy strut assembly) for cars like this. The factory part for ONE side is $6800 for a Bentley. Theirs is $1800 for a PAIR. You lose the fancy electronic shocks but you are still driving a Bentley… :wink:

That’s a good discount!

Unfortunately it can cost over 3 grand per year just for routine maintenance on a Bentley, and that’s assuming it’s been well-maintained. Which, if it’s a $40,000 Bentley it probably hasn’t.

The trouble with the really high-end cars is that even if you buy them for a song, it’s still a super high end car. Everyone assumes anyone driving a Bentley is not only rich, but is willing to part with a lot of money for car service because if you can afford a $200,000+ car, a $500 oil change is nothing.

And sadly, we poors aren’t going to get any discounts by explaining that we’re value shoppers who waited for the car to depreciate by an order of magnitude before buying. :wink:

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Considering how NICE the local Bentley service waiting room is… Clearly that IS the case! There is a lot of high-end stuff in a Bentley not in lesser cars that is more expensive to service and replace. But buyers have no clue about all that. Many don’t have a clue about service costs until the first visit!

Since his company owns quite a few older Euro cars as test vehicles, I asked my friend how they hold up as they age in the Florida sun. The Bentley my friend’s company owns has held up VERY well as do the other Volkswagen Audi Group cars. Far better than the BMWs, Land Rovers, Jags or Volvos. Porsches, since they are now a VAG product, are getting better. Mercedes, not so bad but the interiors are not that great. Don’t even consider the Italian stuff.

Part of the reason I bought a used Audi…at a bargain price!

I wonder if the owner of the Bentley is on another web forum posting about the 85 Toyota pickup in the neigborhood! :slight_smile:


I was out for my evening walk, something they probably don’t do or, if they do, not in my side of the neighborhood. There’s a lot worse: junked cars in yards, '40s Studebaker truck…

A lot of Bentley drivers aren’t owners, they lease, common with expensive cars. If I knew I was trading in every 2-3 years I’d probably lease, too.

It’s true. Most “everyday millionaires” aren’t very distinguishable from your typical middle-class individual. Most of them have regular full-time jobs, have typical homes, and don’t usually drive ostentatious cars. These are the people with net-worths of over a million, but probably no more than 3 million. They are financially secure, but not wealthy to point where they are lighting cigars with $100 bills. Or jetting off to their villa on the French Riviera every other weekend. Basically they live below their means, but aren’t slumming it. Middle class lifestyle but with an upper class or high end of the upper middle class income.


Even that can get you. I’ve got a friend who used to work IT for a chain of gas stations. One of his job benefits was free gas. So he bought an Audi S4 because, hey, free gas, why not get something luxurious and fast?

He ended up dumping it not long after because despite never paying for gas, the repair costs were draining his wallet at an alarming rate. He blew his car-related budget faster with an Audi that he never paid to fuel than he had with other cars at jobs where he didn’t get free gas.

That said, I wish Audis broke more often. My neighbor’s 20-year-old kid got himself an S4, put glasspacks on it and what must be about a 6 million watt sound system, and likes to sit in the driveway with his friends playing loud music and revving the car, sometimes for hours. I keep hoping he’ll grenade the engine, but he hasn’t yet.


After 2 years… and 6000 miles, maintenance has not been a big issue and reliability has been a non-issue. It is my wife’s car and she doesn’t drive all that much.

Oil, filters and brake fluid change are all so far. Ran Seafoam through the intake to clean up the valves as a preventative but it uses no measurable amount of oil at all. Might need a battery soon. I leave it on the charger overnight once a month because of the short trips we take. Another regular posted they do that (don’t remember whom) and I though it was a good idea.

The car had nearly new Audi-spec Continental tires on it so it will be a while before that is an issue. No TPMS sensors in the tires - uses the ABS system. Brakes are likely the first “big” service but I can do that myself as well… I have the app that retracts the electric E-brake to change rear pads.

I knew a woman (a true car enthusiast, who used to race MGs back in the '70s) who bought a brand-new Audi TT around 2000-2002. She loved the way it drove, but she had to dump it after a few years because of the recurrent, unfixable electrical problems. The most “memorable” one had to do with the windshield wipers, which would quit working at the least convenient times.

She made multiple trips to the dealership for repairs, but nothing seemed to work for the long term. Finally, the dealership’s Master Mechanic showed her the “trick”. He showed her the exact place on the dashboard where she had to pound very hard in order to get the wipers to work.

He said that the preferred method was to first turn on the wiper switch, and if–as usual–the wipers were dead, then just POUND on the dashboard in a specific place. Sure enough it worked, but most of the other bizarre electrical problems couldn’t be rectified in any way by any mechanic, so she dumped the TT.

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Last I heard the US was under 3% millionaires.

But there are millionaires and then there are MILLIONAIRES. Wife and I contributed to our retirement savings with 401K and IRA’s ever since they were made available back in the 80’s. On paper we’re millionaires, but that’s along ways from being able to buy a new Bentley.

Many companies are only offering a 401k as their only retirement. Depending on where you live - you may need 2 million plus just get buy without taking a part time retirement job when you finally retire.

I guess it depends on how you measure it. 6.7% of households now qualify:
Millionaires in America 2020: All 50 States Ranked | Kiplinger

When planning for retirement, it’s useful to assume a burn rate for your net assets. If you assume 4% per year and your annual return is about 4%, that allows you to live your entire life on whatever you saved. Are you going to live to 100? Maybe, maybe not, but a lot more people live that long. At $3 million, annual expenditures could be $120,000 in the scenario I presented. I suggest that $3 million isn’t as much as some people might think. It’s certainly an good retirement, but not excessive. Also, don’t forget unplanned medical expenses that Medicare won’t cover.

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I am not sure about your math, but don’t forget you need to pay taxes on that stuff. Not planning any burn rate at this point until RMD from retirement accounts kick in, got 4 years to figure it out. Bought stocks, and cheapo I am need to know capitol gain considerations. Last year my accountant told me after 125k income 6% capitol gains tax kicks in. Maybe I do not remember the facts correctly, but think it has changed, I’ll bother him after tax season. Wonder how many people need to claim car sales, profit and cost basis. If I wuld have known how old car values had sky rocketed, I would have bought a bunch and a barn to store them in.

You’re absolutely right. I was referring to people who are in the 35-50 age bracket who have net-worths of 1-3 million as everyday millionaires. They aren’t retiring in the near future, but are ahead of the curve. When they do retire they’ll probably be worth 5-7 million depending on how the market does. Your 3 million figure is about what I figured I would need to be worth when I retire (my figure was a bit under 3 million on the low end about 3.5m on the high end), which probably won’t be for another 15 (wildly optimistic) or 20 (realistic) years. That would afford me a little bit more lavish lifestyle than I currently have. It also assumes that Social Security won’t be there, and I would have at least some significant medical expenses that Medicare wouldn’t fully cover and me living until I’m about 85.

Unfortunately alot of people these days really underestimate how much retirement is going to cost them.


One needs to plan for sure. Living on pension and SS, with enough fluff for fun, the assets are there if needed, but I understand where you are coming from.