I think there's people out there that buy gear because they like badges, and red rings. They are saying to themselves, "If I buy the gear people will respect and like my photography"
I bought a 70-200 2.8L mkII IS. People often slag me off for buying it because they think I just want to look cool and pretend to be a journalist or something.
I've dropped it with my 7D, I've smacked it off a wall when I fell into a river, I've lay it down on wet grass, and got it dirty. The lens hood is all scratched and it keeps going. That's why I bought it.
Like a joiner who buys the best drill driver, or hammer, a camera and lens are just tools. No more expensive than most other trades. Find the right tool for the job, and buy the best. Base it on build quality, longevity and overall if it's doing what you need it to.
The natural respect you have for your gear should mean it will stay clean and outlast any car you'll probably buy too, and probably be worth more than the car by the time they bring out new stuff.