Not everyone appreciates luxury. Some view it as an offensive flex that allows the wealthy to flaunt their good fortune over those who have less. That is an unfair and mean-spirited accusation that should not be granted room in your heart. That said, some of the wealthier members of society do comport themselves in such a way that allows such generalizations to fester. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with wealth. There are many wrong things you can do with it.
Purchasing luxury items and seeking luxury experiences are not among those wrong things when done right. Bad luxury is the kind that is gaudy merely for the sake of gaudiness. It is bling without class or refinement. It is expensive while carrying no other benefit than to display to others that you could afford it. Early in the days of the App Store, there was an app called, "I am Rich." It cost $1,000 with no functionality. It was eventually removed by Apple. It wasn't just offensive; it was stupid. You could call it luxury. But you couldn't call it smart. Here are a few examples of what smart luxury looks like:
The first thing to know about diamonds is that you can wear them without getting blood on your hands. Lab-grown diamonds are not like the real thing; they are the real thing. So if diamonds are a symbol of luxury, a lab-grown diamond is a symbol of smart luxury. When it comes to evaluating them, all of the four C's still apply:
If you are in the mood to be especially clever, you can add a fifth C: cost. They say diamonds are forever. But a truer and more universal fact is that diamonds are expensive. Wealthy people did not become wealthy by being foolish with their money. You can be smart when purchasing diamonds, not just with your social stance, but with your money by purchasing diamonds grown in a lab instead of the ones that are ripped from the earth.
With the right set of diamonds, you don't have to settle for being the most fashionable one in the room, you can also be the smartest one in the room. you don't have to sacrifice one bit of what makes a diamond a luxury item. Now, you can make smarter decisions about your luxury accessories.
Luxury travel is a tricky idea that requires care and sensitivity. One does not want to suggest that travel to some places would be undesirable as opposed to some other places that do a better job catering to wealthy Westerners. Let us be careful to never imply that. Rather, we should do a better job at recognizing the value of every spot on the globe and every people group worth visiting.
You might be surprised to discover that the most luxurious hotel in Singapore rivals the finest lodgings anywhere on the planet. Moreover, you don't have to stay at the finest hotel for your trip to be considered luxury travel. You could pitch your tent in the middle of a rainforest and experience nature in a way that the vast majority of people on the planet could only dream of. Luxury travel is as much a mindset as it is a destination. It is not about how much you paid for your plain ticket, but about how much you got out of it.
The 24k gold Aurum Edition Apple Watch is not a luxury item at $6,000, and wouldn't be at any price. It is gaudy, crass, tasteless, and foolish. That said, personal electronics can have a hint of luxury. The Apple Watch is no Rolex. But it could be a smarter purchase than a Rolex depending on what you are hoping to accomplish. An expensive Rolex can retain value for a long time. An Apple Watch Edition can save your life while also making you look good in an understated way. Just don't buy any electronics thinking that it has some inherent value just because it is only accessible to the affluent. Purchase high-end tech because of what it can do for you. Sometimes, the luxury electronic is also the smartest buy.
Whether it is jewelry, travel, or consumer electronics, it is possible to spend way too much without receiving equivalent value. But if you are a thoughtful and particular shopper, you will find that luxury and smart money often go together.