Are We Thinking Ourselves To The Poorhouse…?

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Is it just me, or is anyone else tired of hearing about how terrible the economy is? If tuned in to any of the cable news networks or simply surfing the web, it seems all anyone is writing about, talking about, blogging about or praying about is the economy. Things have gotten so bad that being optimistic is not so much out of vogue, it’s almost become criminal. Are things really as bad as we think? Or, are they so bad because we constantly think about and assume the worst?

I caught myself thinking and assuming the worst when leaving to the stables last Monday morning. A handsome construction-type guy (anyone who compliments my riding outfit qualifies as handsome) pulled up to the house across the street. “Uh-oh,” I thought. “Someone is losing their home and the construction crew is here to fix it up for a possible sale. Or worse, foreclosure!” But it was a relief to learn the owner was simply having her deck redone. “Wow,” I thought. “I can’t believe she’s spending so much in this economy.” But that’s when I began to wonder if things might not be as bad as I’ve been conditioned to think.

Then, later that same day over lunch, a very wealthy friend complained about not being able to go shopping. Not because she was out of money, but because she felt guilty spending when so many people were having such a tough time. WHAT!?! Now if the cash monies of the world stop spending simply out of sympathy, we’re really in for a tough time. So, here’s a little advice for those itchin’ to spend a little dough without appearing out of touch, insensitive or flat out arrogant.

If you and your family are fortunate enough to reside in one of the many ‘McMansion’ communities that have sprouted anywhere from Orange County, CA to Henderson, NV or Orlando, FL, you are well aware that your neighbors may not be your neighbors for much longer. Does that mean you should cancel the annual Holiday or New Year’s bash everyone in your community looks forward to? Absolutely not. You’ve still got the money; spend and enjoy. But instead of an over the top soiree with a server for each guest and appetizers no one can pronounce, keep it modest and tasteful; simple even. In fact, try un-decorating the entertainment areas of your home by removing obvious signs of wealth and luxury and opt for a more comfortable relaxed decor. Then, SPEND some cash in the private areas of your home. Make your boudoir more luxurious than ever. Splurge on the Frette linens and antique furniture. Be as opulent and extravagant as you like. No one will know but you.

And what does one wear to a holiday party this year? While there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the finer things in the fashion life, you may want to minimise the sequins. For those who shun the high-low method of dress for a high-high style, instead of over the top, overly embellished couture, opt for a chic and refined little black Versace dress. Sumptuous fabrics with exquisite details, born of the hands of artisans feel rich and luxurious without shouting it to the world, “Hey, look at my fancy gold dress!” But if you want to step it up a notch; or feel naked in something so minimal, nix the six figures worth of jewels and try four figures worth of the finest lingerie offerings from La Perla or Wolford. Again, no one will know but you, darling and you can feel just as rich and fantastic as you are!

But what of the rest of us? Is there any way we can feel good about an uncertain financial future? Absolutely! But instead of splurging on things we don’t need or can’t afford, let’s opt for an affordable luxury treat for an everyday pick-me-up. Try a his and hers selection from the Tom Ford fragrance collection. Especially that new White Orchid. We may not be able to afford a trip to the Amalfi Coast but we can smell like we belong there! Or, if you can save $20 a week for a year (perhaps one latte a day instead of three) treat yourself to fantastic weekend at a W Resort near you. Or, spend half of what you save on a one-night stay and a fantastic spa treatment and throw the rest into a savings account! Hmmm, splurge and save at the same time; LOVE IT!

Yes, the hiccups in the economy will change most of our lives to some degree. But life doesn’t and will not end because f it. No matter how bad things get, remember, there’s a world of people out there who may never know or enjoy one-tenth of the everyday ‘luxuries’ we take for granted. And no matter what income bracket you’re in, sharing the wealth never goes out of style. If you can afford it, take a friend to lunch, buy your buddy a drink, donate to a charity or start your own non-profit. In the end we’ll all be richer for it!

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Published in: on November 23, 2008 at 9:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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