A rise in discreet wealth is creating a new type of status symbol, and the elite are spending their money on 5 key lifestyle choices to keep up with it
- Rich people are investing less in material goods and increasingly in habits and lifestyle choices as a new way to signify their status.
- This rise in discreet wealth is part of a turn toward inconspicuous consumption.
- The rich are conveying their wealth subtly through five investments: education, business, health and wellness, customization, and privacy and security.
Luxury goods are out, and luxury lifestyles are in.
Intangible concepts like health and wellness are replacing Louis Vuitton handbags and high-end education is replacing a fancy set of wheels.That's because the ultra-rich are investing in immaterial means instead of material goods as a new way to signify their status. It's a result of the rise in "inconspicuous consumption," a term coined by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett in her book "The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of an Aspirational Class."
In an article last year, Currid-Halkett wrote that it's a contrast to how the elite used to spend their money - through conspicuous consumption, which refers to the concept of using material items to convey social status.
"This new elite cements its status through prizing knowledge and building cultural capital, not to mention the spending habits that go with it," Currid-Halkett wrote, adding, "Eschewing an overt materialism, the rich are investing significantly more in education, retirement, and health - all of which are immaterial, yet cost many times more than any handbag a middle-income consumer might buy."
See what forms of discreet wealth are becoming new status symbols.