Not everything you own has to be a status symbol. If it works, serves its purpose, and fits your budget, then it’s probably the right thing for you. It becomes a status symbol when you start thinking about how others will view you as a result of your chosen item. A person could fall into this mindset with just about anything… clothes, shoes, electronics, sunglasses, lawnmowers, purses… anything. Here’s how you can avoid falling into the status symbol game.
Let’s take an obvious example of a product that is often seen as a status symbol… cars.
When shopping for a car, it can be easy to get hypnotized by a shiny new luxury vehicle with all the bells and whistles you can imagine. This can be especially true when you can actually afford it, whether buying or leasing. Enjoying luxury features is one thing. Paying for them just so you can turn heads is another.
When you think about an item as a status symbol, you’re putting the values of others ahead of your own. Sure… maybe you can afford to drive that luxury SUV around town. You could also get a well-maintained used model that’s a few years old, and put that extra money into your savings account, retirement fund, or you child’s college fund. That mindset will help you avoid overspending for status, and keep you on track for a secure financial future. Don’t worry about what people think of you in your used car. Rest assured that it’s a smart decision for your situation.
Just about any item can be construed a a status symbol. It just depends on the person. Maybe you like designer clothing. Maybe you like high quality electronics. The point is that when you let the opinions of others influence your financial decisions, you’re losing control of your money.
Stick to your own financial goals and values and you can avoid the status symbol game.