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The New Ways Wealthy Parents Show They’re Better Than You

elite

A new report suggests that the wealthy are showing off their affluence in inconspicuous ways including by breastfeeding, sending their children to private schools and sending them off with organic foods packed neatly in their fancy lunchboxes.

According to an article in BBC.com, the elite class is “eschewing an overt materialism” and instead is  “investing significantly more in education, retirement and health – all of which are immaterial, yet cost many times more than any handbag a middle-income consumer might buy.”

Interesting, no?

Author Elizabeth Currid-Halkett points out that the top 1% of income earners have increased their spending on education 3.5 times since 1996 while  middle-income spending on education has remained flat over the same time period.

Another interesting factoid Currid-Halkett suggests that the affluent signal their wealth is through the way they feed their newborns.

“While time in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City might make one think that every American mother breastfeeds her child for a year, national statistics report that only 27% of mothers fulfill this American Academy of Pediatrics goal (in Alabama, that figure hovers at 11%),” she writes.

Beyond child-rearing, it’s suggested that the wealthy also set themselves apart from middle class by knowing what small talk to engage in at the local farmer’s market, heck, by shopping at a farmer’s market in the first placy, and knowing which New Yorker articles to reference.

We’re not sure this is necessarily new as I’ve noted in my Amazon.com book, “How to Look Like Old Money”, you can always tell who is cultured by their ability to engage in intellectual conversations and be versed in a variety of politics to pop culture topics. But I suppose Currid-Halkett is suggesting that which particular “New Yorker articles to reference” matters even more.

But all of this subtle hints are not for nothing.

These examples reveal to the world that one possesses a certain level of  cultural capital, which in turn gives up access into social networks that, in turn, help to pave the way to elite jobs, key social and professional contacts, and private schools.

In short, inconspicuous consumption confers social mobility.

“More profoundly, investment in education, healthcare and retirement has a notable impact on consumers’ quality of life, and also on the future life chances of the next generation,” the piece continues. “Today’s inconspicuous consumption is a far more pernicious form of status spending than the conspicuous consumption of [economist Thorstein ] Veblen’s time.”

To me, this reads like sounds like social climbing just got harder.  So if you’re part of that upward mobility set who look to the aspirational class for cues, better take note and adjust!

Good luck!

Savannah Guthrie shows off bump at events all weekend, Katie Couric rumored to be her maternity leave replacement

First time mom-to-be TODAY show host Savannah Guthrie has been having a ball showing off her growing baby bump at events recently. 
This weekend was a busy one. Today, the seasoned journo wore a black floral dress to the Fed Up  premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Just this past weekend, she was all smiles while posing with co-host Matt Lauer at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner at the Hilton in DC all pretty in pink, and went floral again the night before at the annual New Yorker pre-WHCD party at the W Hotel  in DC.  
And just last month, she was being honored  at The Hollywood Reporter’s  35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City.
Sharing the spotlight today was the news that former host Katie Couric has been rumored to possibly sit in Guthrie’s stead when she departs for maternity leave after giving birth to her first child with new husband of a few months Michael Feldman. 
Among other big names floated around to sub include another alum Meredith Vieria, the former panelist host on The View who took over after Couric left TODAY the first time in 2006.
Interesting…. Who do you think they should select?

photos: Getty

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