You guys. I just learned about a thing so utterly ridiculous it defies belief: investment purses.
What is this mysterious and logic-defying item? Well, according to the Interwebz, it’s a grossly overpriced handbag that gets to be grossly overpriced because a famous designer’s name is plastered all over it. And it’s called an “investment purse” because you buy it with all the money you’re not investing in your future financial well-being. I’m assuming. Because what else could possibly be the explanation?
An investment purse, as it is so loftily known, is similar to a luxury car or a gold-plated Rolex watch. In other words: it’s a status symbol, a way of keeping up with the Joneses.
And status symbols, my beautiful, badass, budgeting butterflies, are fucking dumb as shit.
The illusion of status symbols
Here’s the thing about a fancy purse or an expensive, impractical car: they can be bought on credit. Which means you neither own them nor can you actually afford them. That’s right: you’re borrowing money to make yourself look rich. The status you’re symbolizing is entirely an illusion.
Which brings us to The Millionaire Next Door. A great way to actually be wealthy and successful rather than pretending you are with your goddamn investment purse is to avoid wasting money on status symbols. The concept behind The Millionaire Next Door is that a lot of really wealthy, financially secure people don’t flaunt that wealth in any way. They’ve got stealth wealth. You’d never know that your neighbor who drives a ten-year-old Subaru and mows his lawn himself is actually a multi-millionaire because he doesn’t bother spending his millions on useless status symbols. And that’s half the reason why he’s so rich.
So if you don’t actually have to be rich to purchase status symbols, and those who are super rich don’t necessarily buy those status symbols… then why bother?
No one fucking cares
Look, let’s just say it how it is: the kind of self-aggrandizing that is the real purpose of status symbols is a pathetic financial dick measuring contest. If you’re secure in the size of your, er—bank account, then you don’t need to wave it in the faces of your friends and neighbors.
The only people who care about status symbols are those who prioritize buying them. It is, in effect, a circle jerk of debt and questionable financial decisions.
I couldn’t pick a real Hermès Birkin out of a lineup even if you threatened to spoil Game of Thrones for me. I buy my purses at Target, and I choose them based on overall cuteness and their ability to carry both my Kindle and my sunglasses at the same time without either getting squished.
Perhaps there’s a woman out there looking down on me for my $24 Target purse. But if she is, then I haven’t noticed because I’m too busy enjoying the fact that my student loans are paid off and I’m legitimately struggling to decide what to do with all that extra money I now have every month.
Those who do care have bigger problems
I worry about the kind of people who buy status symbols like loud, fast cars—you know, penis surrogates. Because if you’re spending $80k to tell the world as you zoom by that you are a) flush with cash, and b) hung like a rhinoceros, then what aren’t you spending your money on?
Are you prioritizing a fancy watch over contributing to your 401k? Are you sacrificing your retirement fund or being debt free so that you can afford a Noguchi coffee table? Because if so, please get help. Those diamonds might look sparkly now, but you definitely won’t be able to eat them when you’re retired.