How to preserve the wealth you have
You might not think of yourself as wealthy, but you own stuff. Right? The stuff you own is your wealth, however meagre and is worth preserving. If you don’t preserve your wealth, then you get poorer. That means looking after the things that you already own. They last longer and won’t need replacing so quickly.
The big things are the most important. Property traditionally goes up in value, but in this recession some property is going down in value. Property does need maintenance and lack of maintenance will reduce the value. It is a good idea to keep your property well maintained and don’t let all those little jobs that should be done, pile up. Doing cleaning properly, especially in kitchens and bathrooms is important. Does that nice fitted kitchen that you were once proud of still look as good as when it was installed; I know mine doesn’t You might think that you need a new kitchen, but would a good clean make it look better? Maybe you have odd handles missing or doors that need fixing? Would fixing the little things and giving you kitchen a deep clean, add value to it? The outside of the house and the garden might need some attention too. Can you do the maintenance yourself to save money?
Your next expensive possession is probably your car and now is a good time to pay it a little attention as winter approaches. Maintenance is a specialised job, but are there things you can do like topping up fluids, giving a good clean and polish, charging the battery, changing wiper blades and checking tyre pressures? After you have done the easy stuff, you might decide to have it serviced professionally and try to keep it well maintained and make it last as long as possible. Try to resist the temptation to trade it in for a later model than your neighbour. Your neighbour is unlikely to help pay for it!
Other possessions that can be maintained are your expensive technological devices. Are you looking after them? You might want the latest technology, but by looking after what you have, you can make it last longer and resist the temptation to upgrade as soon as the latest model comes out. This will save you money; money you can invest for a better future. So you have to watch DVD instead of blue ray? You don’t have high-definition or you do have high-definition, but need 3D? Will you ever be satisfied or will you always be chasing after the latest toys?
Other possessions in the home include you furniture and maybe items that you collect. These too should be looked after, furniture is it’s good quality should last for years and even cheap furniture can sometimes be ‘improved’ to make it last. I have furniture that is 80 years old and shows no sign of needing replacing. I’ve been to historic houses where the furniture is hundreds of years old.
You can also look after your clothes. The ones that are washable can be washed on the coolest setting on your washing machine. You can preserve clothes by ‘keeping them for best’ or only wearing them when appropriate. You can also think about whether you need the latest fashion when buying clothes. The latest fashions often go out of fashion by the next season.
The groups of possessions that I have mentioned all have something in common. They are things people buy to keep up with the Joneses. For many people their home and garden is a status symbol, a visual display of status. The car too can be a status symbol, as can be the furniture in your home and the latest tech toys. Fashion is a statement of status too, the top designer names are thought to say something about the wearer.
Having a stock market portfolio, money in the bank and a secret art collection won’t signal success to your friends and neighbours, but isn’t doesn’t that symbolise success? You might not feel so insecure that you have to put your success on display for all to see, but it’s still success. Isn’t it? I would go so far as to say that spending thousands of pounds on a work of art, rather than a designer dress was more of a symbol of success. Being able to appreciate art rather than being driven by your own insecurities sounds more like success to me.
- How to be rich: our 10-point guide (confused.com)
- Status Symbols: Palm V (theverge.com)
- Runway Retrospective: Prada (fabsugar.com)
- There is No Accounting for Taste (georgewalkerdesign.wordpress.com)