According to Currid-Halkett, displays of knowledge — such as referring to New Yorker articles — expresses cultural capital, giving a person leverage to climb the social ladder and make connections.
But it's not just knowledge for themselves that people are investing in: Parents are trying to reproduce their class position for their children, J.C. Pan wrote in The New Republic.
When it comes to education, they're equipping their children "with every educational advantage, from high-end preschools to SAT tutors to Ivy League tuition," he wrote. "In 2014, the top 1% spent 860% more than the national average on education."
"The thin, toned body expresses this class's worldview: Even leisure must be productive," Kuper continued. "Instead of trawling shopping malls, class members narrate their family hikes on Facebook."
The ability to invest in travel is an overarching status signifier — and it's a multi-layered expression that extends far beyond the classic idea of a vacation.
Nowadays, the super-rich are taking months-long, multimillion-dollar trips to recharge or reconnect with family, Business Insider's Katie Warren previously reported. Often, it's because they're burnt out from overworking. Luxury travel agency Original Travel saw these sabbatical trips spike in 2018. Many clients are "looking for an escape," co-founder Tom Barber told the Guardian.
"For others, it's 'braggability,'" Barber said. "They want to use their money to open doors that normal people can't and to tell their friends all about it."
These trips range from extreme adventures to luxurious getaways, Warren reported. They can also take shape in wellness escapes and educational excursions. Rich parents take their kids on enriching trips to the Galápagos, according to Pan, thereby imbuing their travel with a subtly educational note.
And, on a not-so-discreet note, plenty of top-dollar, high-end boutique hotels are designed, as Business Insider previously reported, specifically to be photogenic — because taking to Instagram is the perfect way to display the access that wealth can buy.
Instead of investing in open displays of wealth, they're increasingly opting for "under the radar" living, reported Kate Allen of the Financial Times.
This involves blocking GPS from locating property with a jamming signal, removing homes from the grid, and hiring architects to conceal buildings — whether by designing an underground home or by using a "stealth concealment design" for aboveground properties, Allen reported.
The rich are also living in affluent neighborhoods that bar Google's photography vehicles from entering — meaning their residences don't show up on Google Street View — and spending more on home security systems, Allen reported.
"As the demand for luxury shifts away from goods and increasingly toward experiences, customers don't just want any experience: They want personalized experiences that are either inherently unique or specifically tailored to them," Business Insider's Lina Batarags wrote.
The trend is particularly prevalent when traveling; the elite seek luxury hotels that offer personalized amenities and personalized attention like cocktail butlers who mix drinks in your room or drink trolleys in the hallways, Batarags reported.