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Gone are the days of showing off a cordless phone, dishwasher and conservatory – symbols of success now include a high performance car, a nanny for the children and a swimming pool in the back garden, research has revealed. The study of 2,000 Brits shows just how much times have changed in the space of one generation, with items once used to display wealth and success in the early 1980s now considered nothing more than ordinary.
Thirty years ago, a microwave oven, mobile phone and even a colour TV were thought of as signs of a wealthy individual – things now commonplace in today’s homes.
In comparison, to be judged a success now, you need to travel in business or first class, own a second home and have a cleaner, personal trainer and gardener at your beck and call.
It also emerged that Brits today are far more likely to judge someone on their belongings and lifestyle, with four in ten believing people put more importance on status symbols now than in previous generations.
Andy Oldham, Managing Director at the UK’s biggest cashback site Quidco.com:
“The world has changed a lot in the past thirty years – that might seem like a long time, but it’s only a single generation.
“Things our parents grew up dreaming of owning – a dishwasher, colour TV and even a mobile phone – are now so normal that almost everyone has them.
“In some cases, things which were considered to be exclusive items only the rich and successful owned in the 1980s, don’t even exist anymore, or have been replaced by far more superior models.
“Times may have changed, but people still hope to one day own some of the things on the list of status symbols.
“One thing that remains is the desire to have the best of the best and be a success – even if those status symbols are now more extravagant and expensive than they were in the eighties.”
The study, of 2,000 Brits, found that to be considered a success in the 1980s, a car phone was the biggest must-have, followed by a dishwasher, having your children attend private school and owning two cars.
Holidays abroad, particularly outside of Europe, were also seen as signs of success; though 16% believed that just having a holiday, regardless of where or when, was enough to show you were well-off.
A conservatory, pony, colour TV, diamond jewellery and a cordless phone completed the top ten.
Other status symbols in 1980 included a fur coat, home sunbed, a caravan and a fax machine.
An electric shower, VHS recorder, mobile phone, remote control TV and a coloured bathroom suite also feature on the list.
Nowadays, a high performance car tops the modern day status symbol list, along with a designer watch, swimming pool, tennis court or electric gates with your home and being a first or business class traveller.
A second home either in the UK or abroad, privately-educated children and a nanny completes the top ten.
Other modern day signs of wealth and success include a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, a Prada or Mulberry handbag and Louis Vuitton luggage.
A good knowledge of wine, a walk-in wardrobe and a personal number plate are also top ways to show off.
The study also found that to be a success in1980, homes needed to be worth £46,618 – a far cry from average property prices today.
On top of that, a status symbol income was around £18,291 per household, with £680 in savings and investments.
In comparison, a house today needs to worth £603,676 before you can use it as a status symbol, with a minimum household income of £105,490.
Savings and investments must also add up to just over £65,000.
Andy Oldham, from Quidco.com added:
“It is no secret that the cost of living has increased dramatically between generations, as have the returns on properties, pensions and savings.
“Those craving for modern day status symbols need to be smart with their money, or exceptionally successful in their careers.
“Moneysaving tools are available to those that aspire to owning the list and cashback via Quidco is available on many of the items listed.
“This means that money can be put aside for those saving for a swimming pool, or for those who would like to offer the gardener or nanny a raise!”
Status symbols in 1980
- A car phone
- A dishwasher
- Children at private or boarding school
- Two cars
- Holidays abroad
- A conservatory
- A pony
- A colour TV
- Diamond jewellery
- A cordless phone
- Satellite TV
- Fur coat
- Corner bath
- A microwave oven
- Sunbed at home
- A caravan
- A commodore 64 home computer
- A fax machine
- A drinks cabinet
- Remote control TV
- Golf GTI
- TV hidden inside a cabinet
- A large mobile phone
- VHS recorder
- A coloured bathroom suite
- Electric shower
- CD player
- Ford Fiesta XR2
- Dimmer switches
Modern status symbols
- A high performance car
- A designer watch
- Swimming pool at home
- Flies or travels in first or business class
- A second home or more
- Tennis courts at home
- Children who go to boarding or private school
- A holiday home abroad
- A home with electric gates
- A nanny
- A cleaner
- A personal trainer
- A pair of Christian Louboutin shoes
- A good knowledge of wine
- A gardener
- Louis Vuitton luggage
- Two or more cars
- A Prada handbag
- A mulberry handbag
- A membership to a member’s only bar or club
- Wears diamond jewellery
- A walk-in wardrobe
- A membership at an exclusive gym
- Drinks Champagne
- A personal number plate
- A hot tub/Jacuzzi
- A season ticket at a Premier League club
- Travels in taxis rather than the tube or bus
- A range or Aga