Status symbols of the past 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 is your job title? What brand are your clothes? How much money do you have in the bank?
However, the new generation of millennials is no longer subscribing to the old line of thinking brought by the prior generations in terms of status symbols.
While we respect the sacrifices and hardships of our parents and grandparents to give us our present, there are just more options today than twenty years ago.
What changed in the past few years in terms of status symbols?
Due to the emergence of the focus on mental health, more and more people are now 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 put much emphasis on 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 by acquiring things money can buy. More and more people, especially young and energetic millennials, are looking at minimalism and intentional living.
The New Status Symbols:
Here are five new status symbols for millennials that may not make too much sense to the previous generations but are starting to become mainstream.
1. Flexibility to Work Anywhere
Thanks to the digital nomad lifestyle made possible by the Internet. It is now possible for everyone to work while living anywhere, as long as there is a connection.
More and more people are also embracing 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 functioning during work hours.
Flexibility is crucial since it allows people to perform their best work even in the comfort of their homes. It has been proven during the pandemic that employees can still perform even while working from home – something that was thought impossible before Covid-19.
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.”
I believe many people fall into the trap of “easy money” through debt. However, people often fail to pay their obligation, which becomes stressful for the debtor and the lender.
It is important early on 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 your hobbies is possible.
Decades ago, artists were often referred to as starving because of the difficulty of earning money from their artworks. 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.
Freelancing and the creator economy have also flooded the Internet, and many earn enough to make a decent living by doing something they love.
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 allows them to be 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.
But now, stability has become subjective. Many opportunities available today were unthinkable two decades ago, and investments can now ensure your life beyond retirement.
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!
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