'A top footballer works minutes for his car, but the average worker must graft for 12 months'

Mike Rutherford says it's increasingly easy for them, and far harder for us, to earn enough for our new cars

Opinion - average car

If you’re an average worker on an average salary seeking to buy an average brand-new car, you’ll have to work full-time for about 12 months for the privilege of buying and owning one outright.

Put another way, a 40-hour working week, 48 weeks of the year equates to almost 2,000 hours of time served at the office, factory, shop or wherever. Depending on which official or unofficial figure is used as a reference point (there are many), the average annual wage for a full-time employee is around the £30k mark. But after income tax, National Insurance and other work-related deductions, that figure reduces – and then some – to £20k-plus. And, by year end, it’s this sort of money that will be enough to get you the keys to, say, a MINI or another nice, but small car.

If it’s a more spacious SUV, estate or people carrier that a parent needs in order to accommodate kids, pushchairs, pets, bikes and the like, they have to think in terms of circa two years’ salary/4,000 hours of work time. Make that nearer three years/6,000 hours (ouch) if buying a large, high-quality EV is the goal. That’s not just a big ask, it’s surely near-impossible for the typical working man or woman, who also has to put food on the table. No wonder most people turn to monthly repayments to afford a new car.

At the other end of the scale exists a very, very different type of worker in the UK, known as the Premier League footballer. And many of those with such a multi-millionaire job title don’t take months or years to earn enough for a new car. No, no, no – when they’re at the coal face (or in their case, on the football pitch) they can gross the cash for a new car in mere minutes, according to Fixter, the car-servicing people. 

Fixter reckons Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante bought, among many other things, a MINI Cooper S, which he could pay for after just 10 minutes and 15 seconds on the pitch. That’s right: 2,000 hours of hard graft from you in return for that MINI, 10 minutes on the field from him before he was rewarded with the same car. Nice work if you can get it, eh?

Heung-Min Son of Spurs went one better by buying his Ferrari LaFerrari for £1.15million – which he earned in just nine hours. Or, to put that another way, most folk probably won’t earn a million pounds (in today’s money) during a working life lasting decades. By contrast, Son can make that sort of wedge in around 500 minutes.

These footballers are obviously supremely clever with their feet, their heads and their undoubted earning powers, but there are other sportsmen who do even better on the car and financial fronts. The world’s most elite racing drivers enjoy similar levels of fortune and fame – but, unlike footballers, get their road cars for free. Lewis Hamilton will enjoy gratis Mercs for life. The same probably goes for Sebastian Vettel and his Aston Martins, while Charles Leclerc can look forward to Ferraris on his driveway forever. 

And why not? After all, these Formula 1 boys work harder and deserve even more than those Premier League footballers, don’t they?

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