I’ve given up trying to draw any sort of correlation between wealth and the cabin in which one flies on an airplane. Even so, I do find it interesting that PGA pro golfer Tom Hoge won $1.4 million over the weekend then flew home in American Airlines economy class. Why? Because it is uncomfortable!
PGA Pro Golfer Tom Hoge Picks American Airlines Economy Class Over Private Jet Despite Million Dollar Win
Going back to Dr. Thomas J. Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door, we know that you cannot look at a person and tell how wealthy they are. Clothes can be deceiving. Cars can be deceiving. And in the case of travel, just because you are rich or “comfortable” as some may prefer to put it, does not mean you fly on a private jet or at least in the front of the plane.
I’ve got a dear friend who is very well off. But he drives a 1993 Toyota 4Runner and has worn the same dungarees and sneakers for decades. He also rents. But he has amassed a massive amount of money.
So often I find that first class travelers are those using other people’s money or those middle class people (like me) who derive joy more from the game of miles, points, and upgrades than the seat itself.
So we’ve established that looks can be deceiving. But why does it even merit a conversation?
Well, Tom Hoge is a talented young man and per Eye of the Flyer, he placed third in a golf tournament over the weekend, a victory which netted him $1,475,000. Not a bad day’s work, eh?
But there was no first class victory celebration. He did not take a private jet home like many of his colleagues. Instead, he flew in American Airlines…in coach class.
— Tom Hoge (@HogeGolf) March 13, 2023
I think that’s great. He told Golf Digest:
“I always fly coach. That’s normal for me…I try to hang onto some of this money we make, right?”
It’s true. Try buying a decent home with $1,475,000 in LA and you’ll be invited to check out the far suburbs. A million bucks isn’t what it used to be. Perhaps he’s looking into buying investment properties or making the money grow instead of blowing it on a nice seat for a few hours.
Ultimately, I make the same cost-benefit analysis. The beauty of miles and points is that I can often fly up front for the price of a coach ticket, but I have no desire to blow thousands on a bit more legroom when I can survive just fine in coach. And because money must always be examined in terms of comparative uses, I embrace Hoge’s approach.
Pro golfer Tom Hoge flew home in American Airlines economy class after an impressive finish in a Florida golf tournament. I think Hoge has a healthy perspective on flying first class and if he flies enough to earn elite status, hopefully he will score some complimentary upgrades on future flights.
image: @hogegolf / Instagram
Sure, maybe fly first if available but I think people become happier when they find real value in things. Private jets? Lot of value comes from the instagram story as do a lot of other acquisitions of wealth. Fancy watches etc.
I fly biz and first when I can (similar to you I love the chase (and the experience) but I often balk at a $4 bottle of water when there’s a fountain right there. Not so much to even save money but from a satisfaction in saying “I don’t need to buy this right now”.
Once you worry less about what other people think of your decisions it’s quite liberating.
At the end of the day, spending choices come from a simple cost-benefit ratio that is up to the individual. I agree with what’s being said here, and can definitely relate to your friend because I literally do the same thing despite being more than comfortable. I’m still rocking my Forbes College gear when I work out and that’s from when I was a freshman in college.
Personally, my flights are covered by my employers to fly in F or J, depending on the route and how important they value the trip. When I pay for my flights, though, I usually fly Y for domestic because I don’t really see a difference between domestic F and Y unless I’m trying to rack up status points (which I haven’t done in a very long time) and my back can withstand up to four hours staying put in a seat. Past that, I know I need a lie-flat option and I’m forced to spend money there.
A friend of my daughter is filthy rich having sold his startup at the age of 20. The first time I met him, I wouldn’t have thought that he had any sort of money. He is completely humble and frugal, didn’t wear anything any of the luxury brands typical rich college students own/drive/wear/etc, and he still lives with his grandmother in a typical suburban town. He invited the families of his friends including me and my daughter to his estate near Clermont-Ferrand in France to celebrate graduating from college and he flew us out on his Gulfstream G700s and the estate was massive. I can only respect him even more because it was all self-made and made me embarrassed with my spending habits.
Point is, I can definitely agree with the article and what others in the comments are saying and to never judge a book by its cover.
“or those middle class people (like me) who derive joy more from the game of miles, points, and upgrades than the seat itself.” … Seriously? This from the man who whines whenever he’s not upgraded at a hotel and shutters at ever entering an economy class cabin?
It’s interesting that’s your takeaway. Of all the bloggers out there the very reason I enjoy Matthew’s is for the opposite of your perception. The fact is he does fly in economy, writes about it, and like us, tempers his expectations for an upgrade/published benefits at hotels other than when he knows they are available but the hotel is just being stingy. The reality is that LALF is very well balanced in a way that gives him a good following of those who dislike the entitled blogs.
Stuart is right – what blog are you reading @viapanam?
100% correct viapanam. Anyone who has reas this blog for a week knows the disdain Matthew has for peasants. He may try with lip service to pretend like he’s a commoner but we all know he’s self proclaimed elite
Your last comment on the site. Hope it was worthwhile. You’re banned, Acura.
One of the WhatsApp guys was on a miles forum either trying to earn or spend miles after selling to Facebook for I think $19 billion.
Good luck to all with the incoming economic collapse. Special thanks to Ben, Gary and Matthew for doing nothing to educate humanity in any meaningful way on any meaningful topic. Clickbait continues on, but so does the destruction of America. Fools.
Don’t spam or cross-post. Repeat posts will be deleted.
Agree with what you say, and your blog reflects that you operate that way as well — however, I suspect that you’re in at least the upper middle class.
Here’s a good tool to get a sense for it: https://www.pewresearch.org/interactives/are-you-in-the-middle-class/
I grew up middle class. That meant *one* present on your birthday, and *one* present at Christmas. One year it was a geometry set for school. One vacation of any sort every 2-3 years. But happy, and never wanting for basics or in danger of wanting for basics.
We tend these days to think we’re middle class if we’re not holding onto $50 million in the bank. That’s an unfortunate and flawed shift. If you (and I) today are middle class, then I grew up poor, and that is borderline insulting to those who actually struggle in poverty.
That said, I do get it — living in NY, SF, LA etc., it’s easy to think you’re middle class when you’re not, and I am guilty of it.
You just forgot to say that the $1,475,000 will be turned in half after all the taxes and fees he has to pay. Also, he must have a caddy and agent so part of that money will go to them. Yes, it will be a nice check at the end but waaaaaay less than the number you posted here.
Yes, but he’s 33 and has $16,000,000 in career prize money alone (no idea how much in endorsements). Even if you misunderstand how taxation works and pretend that he pays a full half of that in taxes, that leaves $8M. Let’s overestimate and say he pays 25% of gross out in agent and caddy fees. With $4M in take home earnings in a decade of playing golf, he can definitely *afford* to pay the buy-up to domestic first if he wants to.
Clearly you missed my point. The post was about the $1,475,000 he got on this tournament so I am not focusing how much he was won in his career.
I’m thinking that him taking picture of his economy seat in AA might get someone there to reach out to him for an endorsement deal.
After all, (one of) the biggest perks to athletic celebrities is that they don’t pay for stuff that us normal folks pay for: They get paid to carry around Sterling Pacific carryon bags. They get paid to sit in 1st class and blog about it. They get paid to dress in fancy clothes. (I can say they get something else for free, too, but this is a ‘family’ blog. 🙂
What’s sad is not that the emotionally insecure wealthy who can afford such things purchase them to be perceived as “hip” but rather when people who can’t afford to, such as the lower class, buy $400 sneakers rather than schoolbooks or perhaps some young married couple who could really use money to help with a down payment on a home instead blow $50,000 on a 1st class trip because they saw some celebrity they admire do it.
To me, there’s nothing more first class than “eff you money”. Eff you money is when a bad boss treats you, er, bad and you don’t put up with it because you have money in the bank/investments and can walk away and go do something else and know you won’t go hungry. It means sleeping comfortably in an economy seat to see treasured friends or destinations rather than fretting about getting by if there’s a rainy day. Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.
However you afford your life, if you can afford it, then good for you.
Please get a copy editor: “golf torment”