Let me ask you this question. Does anyone you know, or any critic, or even ‘hippy’, want a rustier car? Do they want a pokier, smellier house? Do they want filthier clothes?
Imagine if, for an idyllic moment, we all just dropped the facade of what other people think of us, and we had absolutely no fear of being judged. Could we all be honest enough to say “I want the nice things that money can buy”. This could be to increase your quality of life, or your experiences, or the quality of life and education and experience for your children, family and friends.
There are many reasons that people judge (and even fear) so called ‘materialism’. We will cover those in a moment. But first, those who claim others are materialistic likely are too, just in a different form to the materialism they are judging others on. A very good friend of mine says he ‘values experiences over materials’, (Almost like it’s somehow better) yet he drives a Porsche 911 S. I would argue he just has his own versions of ‘materialism’. He is very proud of his investments. His case is that these go up rather than down, but how does that make them more worthy material items? They are simply different, and being judged on one’s individual values. He will also happily spend £300 to £600 a night at a nice hotel, because this is an ‘experience’, and not ‘materialistic’.
Many people see materialism (as defined by Dictionary.com) as “a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values“. They consider that this is somehow morally inferior, or that the money spent takes away from the poor. But this definition is to separate and polarise materialism from spirituality, which in my view cannot be done.
Spirit is energy, care, ideas, creativity, solutions and service. Matter is physical form. It takes spirit to create matter. All material forms have come from a spiritual idea. “Spirit without matter is motionless and matter without spirit is expressionless”. Therefore all material items such as cars, houses, watches, handbags, shoes, collectibles, clothes, bagels; every material item is a physical expression of spirit. Every material item has had creation and expression of the designer, producer or builder put into it. Some are things of beauty, others are things of utility, but the creation is the same.
So when you buy material items your are funding and fuelling the spiritual expression. This is not an excuse to go and flippantly waste your money, because there needs to be a balance of wise money management (budgeting, saving, investing), but a balanced view to materialist-bashers. People’s livelihoods are being funded by the purchase of their products and services; be them opulent or functional. So in that regard it is an act of giving to exchange money for material items. Your spirit went into your work, which you created, served and solved through, and retained some profit in fair exchange. That profit was then shared with someone else whose spirit went into their work.
So, if it makes YOU happy to have material opulence in certain areas of life you value, then you go for it. Disregard what the critics and haters say, they are likely judging you on their own standards and failings. Would then turn down a million quid and some nicer things? Not likely.
In my book “Money – Know More, Make More, Give More”, I wrote about the commonalities of the wealthiest people through history (pound for pound, adjusted for inflation). One of the 3 main commonalities was and is that they feel an inner or even divine right to surround themselves with opulence. This could be in the form of service or material items. It is an expression of wealth and status. But contrary to popular opinion (of the skint), it is not that the poor have been robbed to pay for the riches of the wealthy, in fact it can be quite the opposite.
As one increases there own wealth, they in fact increase wealth around them, by increasing the velocity of money. The velocity of money is the amount of money multiplied by the speed (or frequency) of transactions. The more opulent the lifestyle (well managed), the more the total money that moves, the faster and more frequently it moves. There are more products and services funded and the wealthy spend more, and this the localised economy (I call this ‘Your Personal GDP) is increased. Drivers and jets and big tips and entourages might seem opulent, but they are creating more localised economy and spirit into material form. You will do the same as you increase your wealth and material (or experiential) investment.
You can give more away to those who need it, too. You have the choice.
Another benefit of a (balanced) material drive is you can use it as milestones towards a goal. You can use it as a method of keeping score of progress. Of course there are other measures of progress including happiness, fulfilment, reach and engagement, but a hard measure is a reward, purchase or amount of money. It can drive you to be, do and get more, that wouldn’t be there if you were meditating or living a minimalist life. This drive has as much merit as any other other driver, and can be very rewarding and thus continually motivating to manifest something tangible for your hard work.
If you are careful to procure physical material items that matter to you, you can add your spirit to them by either giving them to others., or having them as a legacy or heirloom. I have a ’79 Rolex Daytona (my birth year). A thing of beauty that will go to my son when my time comes, and as such keep a live a small part of me and my legacy, and to act as a memory and keepsake to my son. I like giving away nice gifts when I have the chance, and it feels great.
Of course, don’t let materialism rule your life, that should go without saying, but don’t sell out your (material) dreams because of critics & haters. Even experiential dreams will cost a lot of money, so do meaningful work that serves and solves for many people, maintain your fair share of profit and enjoy the fruits of your labour as you see it, balancing gifts to you with gifts to others.