Recently updated on: October 21, 2023
- Historically, status symbols have been primarily tangible properties or easily recognizable traits or titles that anybody can easily show.
- Today, the younger generation of Millenials and Gen Zers are redefining a new set of status symbols to aim for.
- The new status symbols prioritize mental and emotional health over material possessions.
People love to own possessions they pass as status symbols to show their wealth, work, or social standing.
Historically, status symbols have been primarily tangible properties or easily recognizable traits or titles that anybody can easily show to their families, friends, neighbors, and even strangers.
Before, the common status symbol often answered these questions.
- How big is your house?
- How fast is your car?
- What do you do for a living?
- What brands do you wear?
- How much money do you have in the bank?
- Which schools do your children go to?
However, a new generation of young people are staying away from this old line of thinking by the prior generations regarding status symbols.
While we respect the sacrifices and hardships of our parents and grandparents to give us our current lifestyle, there are just more options today than twenty or thirty years ago.
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What Changed in Terms of Status Symbols?
Due to the emergence of the focus on mental health, more and more people are now becoming more conscious of escaping the rat race and trying their ways to deviate from the old lifestyles presented by the previous generations.
In the past, people emphasized tangibles - the things that pop the eyes and the activities that can push a person higher in the social structure.
However, in the last few decades, people have been rediscovering other ways to escape the societal expectations of trying to be rich.
These days, more and more people, especially young and energetic millennials and Gen Z'ers, are looking at minimalism and intentional living and acquiring a different set of status symbols.
The New Status Symbols
Here are five new status symbols for the younger generation that may not make much sense to the previous generations but are starting to become mainstream.
1. Flexibility to Work Anywhere
More and more people also embrace the opportunity to work while on vacation destinations. We've heard stories of people working from travel locations like beaches and out-of-town sites while still functioning during work hours.
Flexibility is crucial since it allows people to perform their best work even in the comfort of their homes.
2. Debt-Free Lifestyle
Dave Ramsey, a personal finance radio host and an author, would always say, "Debt is dumb, cash is king, and the paid-off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice."
So, it is important to avoid getting into debt because it will create a ripple effect that may take years to undo, leaving relationships broken and trust beyond repair.
3. Doing What You Love For A Living.
Doing what you love is vital for many millennials and Gen Zers. Also, because of the opportunities presented by the Internet, earning from hobbies became possible.
Decades ago, artists were often called starving because earning decent money from their artworks was hard. Now, they can draw, paint, take commissions, and sell their works online.
Before, writers' reach was limited by the number of publishers willing to take their work. But because of the Internet, writers of all kinds, including the one I am doing now, can be a viable source of extra income.
4. Peace of Mind.
In the old days, where you work, your company position, and how much you earn are significant. However, many new-generation employees are starting to veer away from that mindset.
The younger generation is leaving high-paying companies with terrible working environments and toxic workmates in exchange for a lower-paying job that keeps them at constant peace.
With the emergence of mental health awareness, more people are finally beginning to understand that money is not the ultimate goal - it is only a means to do more things that spark joy.
5. Freedom to Choose.
Finally, the freedom to choose is one of the important new status symbols available.
Before, many employees would continue working in a hostile environment with scared manners and heavy hearts for decades because they didn't want to "waste" their degrees or they didn't want to waste the opportunities to work in a stable job.
That is why the freedom and opportunity to choose what you want to do in your life has taken over the outdated thought of working only for stability and buying things.
The world has changed in the past twenty years. The opportunities we have now are almost unimaginable in the past. So, it is our responsibility to do what we can to maximize the possibilities of our generation.
We must understand that we are privileged to be born in this millennium, allowing us to have more options - let us not waste them.
Keep safe, rat race runner!