One of the most destructive wealth behaviours is the need to own the biggest, best, latest, shiniest – house, car, toys…stuff.
Appearing wealthy to everyone around you is not the same as being wealthy. Not everything is as it seems. Total wealth ≠ net wealth.
Craving the status of wealth and caring what others think can end up pretty costly. And leave you in the exact opposite position. If you derive your happiness from material things it can take you down a neverending spiral. Wanting, needing, having, feeling satisfied for a while and then wanting again.
I recently replaced a 14 year old car. It was paid off a long time ago and hadn’t given me much trouble with repairs. Compare that to the cost of replacing a car every 4-5 years on finance – the saving was massive. Sure I copped some grief about driving an old car but I didn’t care. In fact, I started to enjoy sharing the biggest benefit of this – I paid my mortgage off much faster!
The book, The Millionaire Next Door identifies the common, standout characteristics of the wealthy. One of these is believing financial independence is more important than high social status.
Since the book was first published in 1996, the temptations around social status have only increased. It’s not only houses and cars these days but it’s the latest iPhone, tablet, TV, multiple streaming accounts and the latest fashions with one click. We are constantly bombarded with targetted buying temptations – online and through social media. Marketers are using behavioural experts and Jedi mind tricks to lure us into buying crap.
One of my favourite quotes is from online retailer Gabby Leibovich from Catch of the Day:
“I like to call it selling them shit they don’t need at prices they can’t resist”.
Make sure you focus on what matters to you.