With the downturn in the US economy, job losses, and losses in the stock market, some residents of very affluent suburban towns are beginning to rethink the value of being in a prestigious area. Living in such wealthy neighborhoods comes with many additional hidden costs beyond the cost of a jumbo mortgage. Often, there are also high property taxes to pay for excellent public school districts, high maintenance costs of a large home and high utility bills.
Many residents of affluent neighborhoods and towns also fall prey to Keeping-up-with-the Joneses syndrome, which entails having a country club membership, shopping for high end merchandise regularly, driving expensive cars, and employing staff such as a cleaning lady, landscapers, nanny etc.
I think it’s great that many are rethinking such conspicuous consumption, especially when many have overextended themselves financially in order to give the appearance of being wildly successful. We in America need to return to a more practical way of life, in which it’s fine to have some additional comforts in life, but we need to be saving much more money for our futures rather than squandering all that we have, and then some in order to create a smoke screen that makes others think we are much better off financially than we truly are. Moderation is the key.