Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Money Monday: Status Symbols of Today

Status Symbol: Perceived visible external demotion of one's social position and perceived indicator of economic or social status.

Growing up, it was a really big deal to have expensive china. The type of plates, bowls and silver wear that you take out a few times a year, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and if the Pope comes to your house for supper.

While we never went without food, when I was younger, money was tight, and there was not much extra for nice clothes, vacations, or luxuries.

Here it is. Red Avon Pope china. My mom has loads
of this stuff. And, like this photo, she even kept the boxes.
But, we did have the special Pope china. It was not the designer stuff, it was from Avon. My mom built her collection over many many years, and I remember when she completed her set, she was so happy and excited.

I think for her generation, that was a major status symbol. It was a symbol of how far they had come.

I don't know anyone my age that has a set of china. Do you?

What about the fancy soaps? The ones shaped liked objects that you were not allowed to use. Again, these were reserved for royalty, like Princess Di, or again, the Pope.

I also think that another status symbol that has begun to pass is the McMansion. The 5,000 square foot house in the suburbs, that cost $650,000 or more.

I think for us from the millennial generation, our priorities have shifted a bit. When the recession hit, many of my generation were just a few years out of college, and we were working hard to pay off our student loans, establish our careers, and learn to stand on our own two feet. Then, the dreams we thought we were entitled too, the dreams that we quickly realized were not guaranteed, came crashing down.

Somewhere along the way, our priorities shifted, and like the generation after the Great Depression, we have come out on the other side, changed.

We decided we no longer needed the huge houses, the Rolex watches, or the fur coats. Many of us have shunned those things as relics of the past.

From what I can tell, the status symbols for my generation seem to be as follows:

Homes: There seems to be a trend to purchase a smaller, older home, the remodel it, and make it open, modern, and contemporary.

Cars: BMW's seem to be left by the wayside. Now, Audi's and Infiniti's tend to be the car of choice.

Boutique Gym Memberships: Pure Barre, Yoga, Barre 3, Physique. These studios that specialize in one type of workout are now major trends that show how we spend our disposable income.

Accessories: Many of us pride ourselves on purchasing mid priced clothing, but if you look close, the accessories speak volumes. Hipster glasses, Fitbit's, iPhone's, iPhone cases, purses, and wallets speak loudly about how we spend our dollars.

No better, no worse, but trends have changed, and we as a collective group have changed. We felt immense pain during the recession. It hurt, we lost a lot, and we had a brush with reality that many of us were not prepared for.

What do you think are the status symbols of today?


alyssa said...

You make some great points here, and I definitely have to agree about today's status symbols. More people I know who are able to buy homes are interested in fixer-uppers or lofts in cities. You nailed it with the accessories too, and it's beyond the phones — FitBits and glasses, like you said, plus things like expensive juicers and produce co-op subscriptions definitely scream "I made it!" these days, at least around these parts!

Brooke said...

i bought my home at foreclosure prices for half of what the bank said they'd lend me.
i drive a 12 year old toyota
use the local community center gym (free thru work)
and wear my Great Grandmother's old avon jewelry.

and yes, i am bragging about it. i'm proud of what i have. but mostly because what i have doesn't have me in a headlock (or my wallet in a crunch)

Ashten said...

My mom has that red china too! & I remember always wanting to use the fancy soap. I agree with all of these status symbols... times have really changed and the amount of money we (I) can spend on useless accessories is a bit embarrassing.

Denise said...

local and organic foodies - I include myself here.

for sure, a smart phone

and the ability to travel or at least go on adventures...