Everyone’s heard of the phrase, “Keeping up with the Joneses,” which refers to the phenomenon of using one’s neighbors as a standard of comparison for the consumption of material goods. (For example: it’s hard not to notice when your neighbor buys a luxury sports car, and it’s even harder to keep yourself from wondering whether it might be time for you to upgrade as well…even if it means reducing contributions to your retirement fund to pay for it.)
Our neighbors, however, are no longer our only salient standard of comparison. Reality television shows, lifestyle magazines, and gossip websites inundate us with stories about which celebrity bought what and how much he or she paid for it. The problem is this: not only is conspicuous consumption ubiquitous, it may negatively affect our financial behavior and how we feel about ourselves more generally.
Read the whole story: The Atlantic