Monday, 17 September 2007

The Incongruence of Symbols of Wealth

When is it right to purchase a luxury item or symbol of wealth (e.g. a sports car)? How do we know if the purchase of an item is really helping us or conditioning has attached incorrect associations to it?

One of the things that amazes me is how some people purchase luxury items to make themselves feel wealthy, but by doing so they end up significantly reducing their wealth by using a disproportionately large amount of their wealth to pay for it.

The level of advertising and programming that some of society is under has reached a point where people will increase their debt, i.e. take out a loan, to purchase something to make themselves feel more wealthy.

I think it is fascinating how we can be convinced to believe that doing something will help us achieve our goals, when it is so clearly doing the opposite.

So can we ever really justify purchasing a luxury item that we are conditioned to believe will give us feelings of status, prestige and wealth?

I believe we can, but I believe in order to justify doing so in a conscious way our purchases have to come from a different perspective.

I believe it is good to pay for a luxury item, such as a sports car when you have enough money that the difference between purchasing a sports car or a regular car will have an insignificant affect on your total wealth.

I also believe there can be situations where it is appropriate to spend a disproportionately large amount of your wealth on a luxury item, for example on a nice suit, if doing so will allow you to influence people and grow your wealth where if you had not made that investment in that luxury item then it would not have been possible.

A more generalized way of looking at it is this:

There are three key factors to take into account when making a purchase of a luxury item.

1. The quality of the product relative to the price, i.e. is it good value for money?
2. The proportion of your wealth the luxury item represents
3. The affect the luxury item has on other people

By looking at it this way you can hopefully distinguish between the true value the luxury item will add to your life and the feelings of status advertisers may have associated with it. This should enable you to make a purchasing decisions that will create joy for you in both the short and long term.