Despite Frugality, Wealth Not Going Out Of Style

It is has never been more hip to be frugal. Riding a bike to work is praiseworthy, while closeting the Fendi in favor of a canvas bag is downright noble.

However, Harvard economics professor Edward Glaeser reminds us that, while it is fashionable to be unflashy, the wealthy should jump off the bargain bandwagon. In his Times article, Glaeser explains how those with big bucks must look beyond the thriftiness trend in order to aid the economy.

“Cracking open the Champagne does not exactly feel in tune with today’s spirit of national austerity, but recessions get worse when prosperous people do not spend. In fact, if you can afford it, then this is exactly the moment to redo your kitchen or buy a car,” he writes
Though Glaeser agrees that big spending can breed envy and contempt among neighbors--or “get you lambasted by a Senate subcommittee” in severe cases--he is quick to point out that busting out the big bills need not be showy. “Spend generously but discreetly” is the most obvious solution. Glaeser reminds us that it is the perfect time for the fortunate to redo that master bedroom and an even better time for the less fortunate to encourage their wealthy buddies to head to the dealership.
According to Glaeser, “President Obama is right about the need for more responsibility, but for those of you who have been responsible, this is the time to disregard those puritanical whispers and buy something fun.”
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