Millennial Money Tips - #4 Know Your Self-Worth
Brands are making billions by convincing you that your happiness and self-worth is only a purchase away.
Our society is set up in a way so that it can support economic growth. For the current system to work it needs to keep churning out products, which requires consumers who are willing to buy those products. So how does the economy keep us in a state of perpetual buying? The answer is Advertising. Some time ago corporations figured out that by marketing their products as a means to achieve the 'perfect body image' and the material 'good life' that we would confuse our well being and self-worth (which is how you view yourself) with self-image (which is how others view you), and would look to those brands/products as symbols of our 'ideal self'.
To help demonstrate the importance of knowing your self-worth and how it affects your financial wellbeing (not to mention your sanity and happiness), I'd like to share with you a true story...
This story takes place a few years ago while I was working as the design director for a fashion company. I was on my way to New York City to meet with a client when prior to leaving I was warned that it was common for women in New York to judge you based on your choice of handbag. I brushed it off as nonsense until I met with a group of designer handbag toting designers who disapprovingly stared at me and my simple handbag (gawk!). Here I was a Design Director at the top of my game and in charge of orchestrating a successful 30 million dollar collection, and was being judged by a group of girls carrying purses worth more than two months of their salary. I left New York that day feeling much like the handbag I was carrying - generic and of little value. Against my better judgement I went home, banished my generic handbag to the back of my closet, and headed over to the Coach store to purchase myself a new one. At the time the purchase temporarily improved my self-esteem, but today looking back at the reasons why I purchased the bag, I feel like a sucker.
Sadly the women I met in New York have been hoodwinked by years of intelligent marketing, resulting in a belief that they/we are only as good as our outwardly appearance. The reality of today's culture is that it's become much easier to judge people based on their outwardly appearance (shoes, car, clothing, make-up, brands) than it is to take the time to truly get to know them. The same thing happens on the dating scene - Take for example how many of us have been convinced (brainwashed really) into believing true love comes in the form of an expensive diamond engagement ring.
Companies and brands want your money and they are willing to spend Billions of dollars yearly (yes BILLIONS) to convince you that your happiness and self-worth is only a purchase or click away - and that's not only detrimental to your psychological wellbeing, but it's also very expensive to maintain!
Developing your self-image (who you think you are; your values, beliefs, talents, and what you contribute to society) will help you see that you are so much more than the brands you wear, the car you drive, and the handbag you carry. And the sooner you develop this insight, the sooner you will prioritize spending your money on things (or experiences) that really do make you happy.
Wishing you a prosperous journey.