Every generation is different from the one before, something that becomes increasingly evident when we look back a century or two when the world was entirely different from what it is today. In the “good old days,” previous generations bought the best-quality items they could afford, with the expectation that they would last a lifetime. My grandfather taught me that he wasn’t “rich enough to buy cheap things.” Meaning, cheaper items break too quickly and need to be replaced, ultimately costing more than buying an expensive item that would last. As family offices look to better serve their clients, lifestyle management trends suggest there is a move away from possessions, towards meaningful experiences.
The rise of consumerism
However, those days seem long gone, and we have entered an entirely different era. The change began when the world transitioned to consumerism, a concept that was identified about 100 years ago and has been accelerating in our society ever since. In a nutshell, consumerism is the idea that more is better. The ever-shortening life cycles of consumer products and technologies like phones, computers, and other fleeting entertainments fuel consumption. Mainstream media has played its part in perfecting the art of pushing consumption, with the general narrative being that if you don’t consume, you’ll become inadequate among your peers quickly. As hard as it might be to admit, oftentimes, we don’t buy things for how they make us feel, but rather for how they make others feel about us.