What are the Biggest Status Symbols People Have?

House, car, jewelry, trophy wife…? How do they rank in importance?

For us regular people or for the truly rich?

For truly rich I would say number of servants is the real indicator.

Jewelry can be faked easily, so that goes at the bottom. Looks gaudy anyway if you have too much.

While cars can be expensive (in the $1m+ range), house eclipse those hugely, so I’d rank it that way.

Not sure where to put trophy wife - the concept makes me gag anyway.

I think the real indicator of status is something you can’t buy.

Number of posts on SDMB (or maybe “Join Date”)

Charter Membership.

Depends, doesn’t it?

Doctorates. Job titles. The number of men/women you’ve slept with. Those idiots who pay to be first in line in the queue to get on an airplane. Tits. Cars. Being a member of the UN. Religion. Politics. Pilots licence. Shoes. Wine. Restaurants. Sales figures.

I imagine there are as many status symbols as there are opinions. I don’t think I have a status symbol of my own, but if I could pick one, I’d like a motor bike and a sail boat.

It depends on who’s flashing and who’s being flashed at.

Based on TV commercials, cars are probably the most common status symbol. You aren’t gonna find too many people who don’t appreciate the coolness/sexiness/classiness of a luxury automobile.

Houses are another one, but I think zip codes are just as good in some places. Owning a sprawling plantation in Bumfuck Alabama is bragworthy, but so is being able to claim residency in 90201, even if you’re just renting. Just depends on who you’re bragging to.

I’ve met people who drive cars way out of their price range. “I can’t afford a house, so I’ll drive a super expensive car”. I find these people exceptionally stupid.

On the whole, I find a house way more of a status symbol than a car. Of course, there are all kinds of people who have mortgages they can’t afford also.

Most wealthy people aren’t big on conspicuous displays of wealth.

Can a calm confidence that one would be OK financially if an unforeseen event hits be a status symbol? I have way more respect for someone with a million bucks in their brokerage account who drives a 10 year old Honda than some guy in debt up to his eyeballs driving a brand new Audi.

I’m going to say ‘boat’, but not just a boat in general.

Specifically, an very expensive boat that you have to take out of the water for several months out of the year, and that you get to use maybe 20 weekends out of the year if you’re lucky. Maybe with a week-long stretch here and there.

Truly a luxury item.

In the Netherlands apparently car sales are down because, among the younger generation, a car is no longer considered a real status symbol. The phone has replaced the car as the status symbol that most people have. I would agree with that, the majority of my peers (late 20s-early 30s) don’t have cars. And I know absolutely not one single person who has a car as a status symbol.

In England among the upper-middle class status symbols are frowned upon, so they need to be sneaky about theirs. Hunter wellies, Barbour jackets and looking as shabby as you possibly can are items and characteristics that distinguish people. But anything flashy would be considered very common. Funny English people.

From what I can tell solely from the Real Housewives shows, it’s first about house size and then fashion. I don’t think most of the women have servants (lots do) but they all have crazy gigantic houses that are decorated to the hilt. They also are all crazy for super expensive couture. The ones in New York, where you can’t really have a super gigantic sprawling mansion, they more about fashion.

The biggest status symbol is a mansion or an estate, because big.

The most important status symbol is entirely dependent on the particular group you are trying to impress. As Wikipedia says, “multiple piercings, tattoos, and other body modifications are highly valued among certain subcultures in Western societies.”

I was just talking with someone today about titles in my company. Depending on which particular subgroup you belong to, your title can be incredibly important, or it can mean nothing at all, and even be a subject of ridicule.

If you want to obtain status with a particular group, you have to look at what they value, and then go for that – are they all about cars? Wives? Arcane knowledge of Star Trek trivia? Wearing a particular designer label? Bargains? The Real Housewives are only one particular subset of particularly public wealthy people. I don’t think they are representative of all or even most wealthy people.

I know this is IMHO but I think housing is actually the factually correct answer here.

Trophy wife, for sure, in my case.


Then you’re putting it in the wrong place!:smiley:

Says you.

The 60s counterculture has had its influence on the mainstream, so nowadays many people gauge their status by less monetarily ostentatious factors such as education, mastery of foreign languages, knowledge of foreign cultures, and the number of sexual partners.

In my neighborhood it seems to be porta-potties. Status seeking neighbors are always remodeling (or tearing down and rebuilding) their houses, so they have at least one porta potty in the driveway for the construction workers.

House and car should be high up there. However I think those are more for the upper class (100-500k household income) than for the truly rich. I have no idea how the truly rich determine their status.

Supposedly middle aged women get a lot of status from looks, thinness and fashion. That is likely in part because only women ‘of leisure’ have the free time to devote the attention to their looks. Most middle aged women have careers, families, household responsibilities, etc. If you are well off you have no career, you have a nanny and housekeeper so that frees up time. So that is more a proxy for time, people get status by showing they have a lot of leisure time to devote to causes because of their wealth.

So there are various ways to show status. You can have material possessions, but you can also have leisure time. That and name dropping/social ties. I’m sure there are others.