What will the neighbors think?

What will the neighbors think?

Ok... I have a situation in my home.

I'm going to make this as quick as possible but I do need to give a little history about myself. First and foremost I'm not a rich man. My wife and I are degreed and have great paying jobs. I'm not pulling down $100k a year but together we make a decent living. We've made couple of good investments that have helped us attain a comfortable life. I have a modest home in the suburbs. It's not a $300k+ home with all the trimmings neither is it some $50k hole in the wall. It's just a normal everyday home in an average nice sub.

When decided to get the Model S which was 15 months ago (give or take) we where all in. My wife loved the very idea of the car and it seemed PERFECT for our lives. Fast Forward to now....

As the time gets closer and the car becomes a reality my better half is having major issues. Since the original day of reserve things have changed in the home. I've decided NOT to trade in my current ICE vehicle (a 2008 with 0% interest). I plan on using it for snowy days because salt is MURDER on a vehicle. She has an SUV that's only 16 months old and paid for. (again saving and good investments have helped us)My son goes of to college this fall so that's antoher bill. We are more than able to handle it but do you get where I'm going with this?

My wife's concern is that the neighbors will flip out when they see a $90k+ vehicle sitting in our driveway. In her mind it will start people to asking a lot of questions about our life that she has no plans to answer. She's nervous that the rareity of the Model S will make us a target.

Does anyone have any advice for the situation. I need a means to make her feel more at ease. Is anyone else feeling or have someone in the home feeling this way?

MandL | 14 juli 2012

Just tell them you wanted a Camry but couldn't afford NOT to buy a Tesla:

bsimoes | 14 juli 2012

We know all about the car, but really, it looks like other cars. I've noticed that other companies are stealing ideas and putting in computer screens and pano rooves--Kia, for example. It's the battery that adds so much to the cost. People are self-centered enough that I bet no one really notices, or if they do, will bother to research it and find out its cost.

stephen.kamichik | 14 juli 2012

Put a car cover on it if you do not have a garage.

Mike_ModelS_P457 | 14 juli 2012

This isn't meant to sound like I'm being an ass, but why does it matter what the neighbors think or what questions people have?

You have a child headed to college, so you aren't a Millenial who obsess over the outside views and opinions of people. I say you lead by example. Show your son that you live as you are and don't worry what the neighbors think.

space09 | 14 juli 2012

@ViewAskew: I'm with Mike, but I understand the issue. I think you should coach your wife to answer the question (if she gets it) something like this:

"Well, the car is similarly priced to a BMW 5 series, starting at $50k after the tax credit. Expensive, yes, but we really believe in the car, and we have the further benefit of never having to fill up with gas every again. That defrays the longer term cost of the vehicle, around $2k per year in gas alone, plus no oil changes, transmission service, etc. In the end, some Tesla Model S owners will probably pay around the same amount of money over 8 years that a V6 Toyota Camry owner will pay, only with a lot less fun ride."

I like the answer because I'm sure your neighbors see BMWs driving around, and $50k sounds expensive but not overly so, and you're getting some back with the gas savings. Mike's right, though--you worked hard, you saved your money, made smart (or lucky!) choices, and you should enjoy it if it is something you know you can afford.

wbrown01 | 14 juli 2012

Wow it is nice to know there are folks just like me. I do not make a lot of money. I do travel 80 miles round trip to work and see my saving of $400 to $600 a month in gas. I never once look at this as a green thing, could care less. I don't know if you travel as far to work as I do, but your neighbors would say nothing if you got a new Toyota Camery, but pay $500 a month in gas. I love telling them this comparison. Who knows maybe they will do the math and agree. After 5 years when a make the last payment the cost to operate the car will be next to nothing. Gas prices on the otherhand will be 5 to 6 a gallon. They will see you at that time as a smart person.

Mark2131@CA-US | 14 juli 2012

"In her mind it will start people to asking a lot of questions about our life that she has no plans to answer. She's nervous that the rareity of the Model S will make us a target."


I'm sure you're not the only one in this situation. Reading this boards over the years there's plenty of people who've stated, "This is the most expensive car I've ever purchased". Yet, the sticker shock has NOT prevented those people from making the commitment. Like you, they've done the math and come to the conclusion that long term, the costs really aren't that different. But... make no mistake, a Tesla is a luxury car, and it's going to be flat out more costly than say a Prius. So... here's my suggestion:

Use every inquiry from the nosey neighbors as an educational opportunity. Move the conversation away from sticker price towards an explanation of the "technological paradigm shift" that a Tesla represents. Like it or not, you ARE an opinion leader. People are curious about these cars. Inquiries about price are natural, and NOT aimed at you or your economic situation. People really just want to know if THEY can/could afford it. So, brush off the money issue and focus on what the car represents.

You WILL be getting a lot of attention. Much more than if you brought home a brand new Bimmer. But for all of us early adopters, isn't that part of the fun? Enjoy your new found celebrity status.

Sudre_ | 14 juli 2012

I've been talking to my neighbors quite a bit about Tesla. More because I like the idea of the electric car than the fact I am getting one. I think my neighbors are more on board with wanting one than how I can afford mine. You should start filling them in now about all the great benefits the Tesla has to offer.

As far as keeping my ICE. I have been going back and forth with that idea. I am certainly not going to worry about corrosion on the Tesla. I am buying the car to use as a car not a trophy.
If you plan on leaving your ICE sit around most of the time and drive the Tesla you will have problems with your ICE. Altho everyone screams about bricking, ICE cars do the same thing. I talked to my mechanic about that just the other day. Driving a gas car once a month or less is extremely hard on the engine. You can 'store' the car for long periods but regular rare usage is horrible. Since my wife will have her ICE car I am back to getting rid of the Saturn. The fact that someone just hit me also strengthens that decision.

jerry3 | 14 juli 2012


-- I say you lead by example. Show your son that you live as you are and don't worry what the neighbors think.

Works for me. At worst you can tell the neighbours that they can take up a collection, purchase your house and you'll move elsewhere.

jbunn | 14 juli 2012


The fuel cost of a new Ford Explorer SUV at 17.5 gallons per mile for 200,000 miles with an average gas price of $4.00 is about $45,000. I'm guessing over the next 10 years gas will be much higher than $4.00.

So I'm not replacing my 98 Explorer with 206,000 miles with another gas vehicle, because I can't afford to. The total lifecycle cost when you include fuel is way more than I can afford. That's what I'm planning on telling anyone that asks.

jerry3 | 14 juli 2012

I purchased our first Prius for Denise in 2001, then I got one of the first 2004's in my area (Oct 2003--some folks in CA would have received theirs a couple of weeks before I did due to shipping delays). We've both talked about the great experiences we've had with those cars and while not everyone who we talked to got a Prius, a fair number did.

I expect it to be the same with the Model S--maybe even more so because for some reason many people think the Model S looks better than the Prius. Personally, i want a 21st century car to look like a 21st century car rather than a 19th century horse drawn carriage--but that's another story.

TikiMan | 14 juli 2012

I have a neighbor who lives in one of the most modest average homes in our neighborhood, and yet owns a Maserati. He works in commercial real estate, so his car is likely imporatin to obtain a certain image for his clients trust.

On the flip side, I also have a few neighbors that live in fairly modest homes, drive fairly modest cars, and own a fancy boat and RV.

IMHO, who cares what you spend YOUR money on! It's NONE of your neighbors business! If you get a Tesla, and one of your neighbors hassles you about it, just say... "We decided a gew years ago to forgo the lottery, and daily 12-pack of beer, and look what we saved enough to afford!!!" (watch how quickly they will shut their stupid jelious mouths).

BYT | 14 juli 2012

I also would go with the ROI approach. I already have people ask or make comments when they hear I am buying a Model S. How can you afford that? Wow, they are paying you too much at your job. Ect.

I tell them that with current gas prices the savings add up. I refer them to that Teslanomics site as well. I assume here in California, $6 or $7 a gallon gas is easily on the horizon in 4 or 5 years which also makes justification much easier. I calculated that over the life of my Model S and even with dramatic battery drain that I can get almost 15 years from my investment. That comes out to $8,000 a year with very little additional maintenance and for a luxury car that is eco friendly, beautiful, fun to drive, carries the whole family, made in America but with so few parts is less likely to break down (my biggest issues with American cars has always been dependability, but I know it's gotten better). Did I mention that it's REALLY fun to drive?

Ultimately however, you will run into the ignorant and the hard headed and I find my stress level is best served to ignore those types!!

TikiMan | 14 juli 2012


LOL! I get the same thing! But for me, I just wink and smile!

Hell, I wan't people to think I can buy and sell them with the snap of my fingers! The MOST successful people I have ever met in my life, maintain a better than average image. If you are preceved as successful, you will BE successful!

BYT | 14 juli 2012

Yup, I also believe in "fake it 'till you make it!" as it holds true very often.

prash.saka | 14 juli 2012

First of all, thanks for making me feel like I too belong here. Based on some of the other discussions here, I felt that I was not as financially well-off (in other words, rich) as everyone else here. I am glad to know that there are quite a few of us in the same boat as I am. Initially, I wanted to get a $30,000 Lexus CT 200h. But, changed my mind at almost the last minute when I heard about Tesla (again).

I agree with most of the posts here. As far as you can tell them, in a nice way (it sure does appear as if you do) that, even though the sticker price seems expensive, in the long run, this car is very affordable. You are planning to have this car for a while and as fuel + maintenance costs of Tesla are far below than others', this is a definitely a good deal. Electric and luxury are just very good plus points.

If your neighbors are jealous kind, then there is nothing much you can do. They will be jealous no matter what. But, if their questions are because they are curious or want to know your formula for success, then the numbers will certainly help. Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words. So, feel free to show the comparison chat. And, if you are in the US, you can tell them that the Model S comes with the tag "Made completely in USA".

~ Prash.

PS: Well done on getting your finances right. Keep in up.

prash.saka | 14 juli 2012

@MandL, seriously? :)

Brian H | 14 juli 2012

Just a side comment; here in Vancouver BC $300K wouldn't even get you a small bungalow. Maybe a small tear-down for the sake of the lot, but even that would be unlikely. The housing bubble is older, bigger, and more pop-resistant here, I guess. Lots of mortgage-poor.

Boiled-down response from above suggestions: "Filling up with electricity at home every few nights is so much cheaper than with gas at a station every few days that the car will more than half pay for itself." Then give them, and smile, and say nothing else about costs. Just brag how it can quietly blow the sox off anything else in the neighborhood.

brianman | 14 juli 2012

Just tell them gasoline makes your wife sick.

If they ask more, you can delve into the sickness as mental issue (financial and environment).

but the type that like to gossip and condemn often crawl back in their hole if they think you're referring to a medical condition.

cerjor | 15 juli 2012

I simply tell people that, "I want it!" Most of them understand that.

Larry Chanin | 15 juli 2012


Regardless of the title of this thread, with all due respect, I think our discussion has focused on the wrong issue. The important issue should not be "what will the neighbors think?", it should be "what will make my wife comfortable?"

You need to be sure her true concern is really about what the neighbors will think, and not disguising other more fundamental concerns. Ask her whether she would prefer that you cancel your order. Her response might be very enlightening.

Answering neighbors inquiries, if you chose to do so, is a trivial exercise. Addressing your wife's real reservations is not.


BYT | 15 juli 2012

OUCH! I have to disagree with you on that Larry but not entirely. Although yes I do agree and believe that it's true, a "Happy Wife = Happy Life" and you should always consult and understand how your spouse feels and never disregard her or give her a reason to resent you, BUT you still have to think of you.

I think the Model S, this is to me now, is one of those EXTREMELY rare purchases that I am looking forward to. I can't thing of anything I have wanted more since being a kid!!

I'm the type of guy who NEVER wants anything for Christmas, Father's Day, Birthday, aside from everyone around me to be happy and at peace, REALLY!

My wife is also concerned about the cost, as am I, but it's that special purchase to me. I told mine, consider this the gift that covers all those occasions for the next 5 years! This car is all I REALLY want. I would hate to feel resentment, regret, and lack of fulfillment because I couldn’t reach a compromise with my wife.

From what I read and believe to understand, it’s not his wife that is the one with the problem but the neighbor’s lack of vision and understanding. His wife maybe OK with the idea, and as my wife understands, and knows how much I want it, has compromised with me.

To use an analogy I think we all can understand. In short, it’s a two way street and sometimes there are speed bumps, stop signs, red lights and deer to slow you down. Your wife is your passenger in life, but don’t let the obstacles in the road deter you and ultimately her indirectly from punching that pedal and feeling alive from time to time.

My 2 cents on it.

BYT | 15 juli 2012

thing = think

Larry Chanin | 15 juli 2012


I'm as rabid an enthusiast of anyone I know. I founded a club and spend most of my day on the subject trying to keep up with developments and plan events, write newsletters, etc. for my Florida Tesla Club members.

But... It's still just a car!

It doesn't come anywhere near my wife's well being. My wife is very supportive of my obsession, but if she had serious concerns I would try to work it out with her. If I couldn't resolve her reservations, I would abandon my pursuit of the car.

It's that simple. It's important to know what is really important.


EdG | 15 juli 2012

I like Larry's take.. It seems to be a problem of the wife's perception of the neighbors' perceptions. That's what needs to be addressed, and in a way that will keep the peace for a long time to come. You don't want that cropping up again the first time you wash the car on the driveway.

BYT | 15 juli 2012

I agree, if it effected my wife that much as well, I also would have to bow out of getting a Model S (although very very reluctantly). I just don't think that is the case here for "ViewAskew" as he stated that, "When decided to get the Model S which was 15 months ago (give or take) we where all in. My wife loved the very idea of the car and it seemed PERFECT for our lives."

What changed for them was a little bit financial (I can totally understand that) and her "concern is that the neighbors will flip out when they see a $90k+ vehicle sitting in our driveway."

I would talk to my wife about both issues of course, but ultimately would hope she doesn't allow the opinions of others effect us so much.

This line however would be a bit of a concern to me if she felt, "She's nervous that the rarity of the Model S will make us a target."

Safety concerns are a whole other matter. I can't speak for where ViewAskew lives, but if my wife or I didn't feel safe where we lived, we wouldn't be living there much longer.

Steve841 | 15 juli 2012

Can't hold back ... Have to chime in...

I could care less what my neighbors think... (In my case, it's my employees). I work for what I have and apologize to no one for what I have or what I've obtained.

When I see people made to feel guilty for their success it makes me want to puke. I'm no millionaire, but I am shooting for it.

When my Model S shows up, I will proudly drive it. Maybe it will motivate someone else to strive for something higher.

brianman | 15 juli 2012

StevenR's comments remind me of another option.

Tell them you lease it on foodstamps. That will start a discussion that will fill weeks before they remember that the vehicle was the conversation ice breaker.

Etographer | 15 juli 2012

Simple...Do the math.

An ICE car has various costs associated with it.

Car Payment

All are costs associated with the car. If you bought a new SUV like your wife drives how much? 40-50K? Payment = 700/month plus 100/month maintenance plus 400/month fuel.

1200/mo? plus insurance.

So I ask you what is the difference if you want to get new car that totals the same or less. The price goes up, but fuel is waaaay cheaper. Bottom line is where your argument should be. You work hard or at the very least you are smart with what you have. If you want it and you can meet your obligation, then don't worry about what your neighbors might think. Maybe, just maybe they might be able to learn from you.

Buy the car.


brianman | 15 juli 2012

To the nosy neighbor, I would put it this way:

1. "I'm not pulling down $100k a year but together we make a decent living. We've made couple of good investments that have helped us attain a comfortable life."
2. "She has an SUV that's only 16 months old and paid for. (again saving and good investments have helped us)"
3. "My son goes of to college this fall so that's antoher bill. We are more than able to handle it"

We bought the Model S as yet another good investment.

And finally...

Would you like a ride? It's a lot of fun.

If you'd like me to help you enjoy living within your financial means, we can have that discussion ... another day.

olanmills | 15 juli 2012

Just do what I do. Keep those kinds of details to yourself.

I'm in a similar situation regarding my neighbors and family members. I don't hide the way I live, but don't volunteer details about it either.

David70 | 15 juli 2012

Like some of you, my problem is convincing my wife. It's no concern of my friends and neighbors. My wife's two big concerns on the cost and the lack of charging infrastructure.

My compromise is that I'll delay purchase until I can satisfy her that the cost and infrastructure aren't a concern. Although I'm not making it official, when I get the call to finalize purchase arrangements, I may have to do a deferral. It might even be necessary to delay purchase a full year.

I want the car though, and I don't intend to give up on purchasing it.

m67tesla | 15 juli 2012

They will think it's awesome! | 15 juli 2012

To my neighbors & friends (who now routinely ask when it will arrive)---"In the long run it is far less expensive than you might think". "In the short run, you probably already noticed I'm a tree hugger and car enthusiast" :)

cmlaff | 15 juli 2012

Tell 'em that you and your wife have suffered from gas for too long and the doctor prescribed Teslaseltzer with instructions to drive it at least twice a day and as needed for gas pain.

Brian H | 16 juli 2012

At the end, you semi-surprised me. I almost misread: "If I couldn't resolve her reservations, I would abandon my pursuit of the car her."
Tell them it's being paid for by cutting food purchases back to beans and oatmeal, and they might prefer to stand upwind of you.

Brian H | 16 juli 2012

If they don't get the point, lift one leg a foot or two sideways, groan lightly, and sigh deeply. That should do it.

Larry Chanin | 16 juli 2012

Hi Brian,

I repeat, "It's important to know what is really important."

This thread's continued focus on what to tell the neighbors is simply not important.


Supergreekster | 16 juli 2012

I have similar situations, where people see the car I drive (Nissan GT-R) on my day off and say "must be nice!".

And I say, "yeah, it is nice!". But my problem is that they think someone just walked up and gave this car to me...

They also don't see me dragging myself to work for the 3rd call in a row, I am a physician and recently read an article which proves through mathematics that I make only slightly more than a school teacher per hour.

I spent many years in school, giving up my early adulthood, and now I am reaping some benefits, and currently work my A** OFF with long days and lots of 24 hour call shifts, but I don't bother to waste a bunch of time convincing them that their viewpoint is false, I just leave...

stephen.kamichik | 16 juli 2012

Take your neighbor for a ride. After the ride ask your neighbor if he/she has any questions about why you bought a model S.

Epley | 16 juli 2012

I like the thought about taking the opportunity to educate the neighbors.

I also think it's very important, as BYT stated, to make sure your wife really is okay with this.

I had sticker shock when I signed my agreement. When my wife saw it, we had a row. It turns out that the decision was logical to me, knowing the cost dynamics, etc. But my wife isn't obsessed with these forums and hasn't done the research. It took education to change her mind.

Oh, and I'm now officially considered in "midlife crisis" and have a spending limit...(which I'm okay with because I'm 2 months away from getting an amazing car).

David70 | 16 juli 2012

I'm having my midlife crisis now. I'm 71.

Brian H | 16 juli 2012

Maybe not cosmically or morally, but I assure you that Status (and the opinions of others) ranks right at the top of Human Motivations. People will make significant apparently irrational decisions* to gain or avoid losing Status and Respect, etc. It's fine to be or pose as the Noble Individualist or Ethical Realist (ideas are fundamental, objects are merely 'shadows'), but the bulk of humanity runs on striving for inequality (self-elevation). You will make many more accurate predictions about others' (and your own?) behavior using that guideline than moral codes or, alternatively, material selfishness.

To quote the Mackenzie Brothers, "No! No! Zoom in on me!" is the real goal of being on the set. ;)

*People queried about whether they'd rather live in a $300K house in a $200K neighborhood or a $500K house in an $800K neighborhood mostly choose Door 1. E.g.

EdG | 16 juli 2012

Now you can tell them you were reading about the company and the car for a long time, and you bought TSLA options with a strike price of $25 for cheap. You decided to enjoy your winnings by driving them around.

Brian H | 16 juli 2012

After the last 3 days of steady rise (by $5), that could make for a great explanation! On the price thread I calc'ed that at 1¢/delivery from here on out it would hit $70 by Nov. 1 or so ...


Brian H | 16 juli 2012

I tried to do exactly that when it was $22. But I couldn't get broker approval for buying on margin, etc. ;(

EdG | 16 juli 2012

You need option trading capability. Buying calls doesn't cost much. You just risk all you put in.

jbunn | 16 juli 2012

My wife freaked a bit when the pricing page came out without the tax credit. Shes over it now, drove in seattle and loves it. I wanted her to drive, because without her full buy in, this would be a non starter. So, I guess I won the battle. I did however lose the war, as she seems to have laid claim to it. I guess I can still wax it from time to time, if she lets me...

ViewAskew, how is it working out for you?

Brian H | 17 juli 2012

That was my opinion, but the broker required full margin vetting to open the account.