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4 Reasons Why Humans are Materialistic

By Lauren Szeto

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

This is Part 17 of the series Money on Your Mind, a blog series created to tell you exactly what you need to know about your brain and your spending habits in a straightforward, simple format.

If you picture a materialistic person, they probably are well-dressed in brand-name clothing and accessories, drive a fancy car, and have lots of money to spend. Even though most people aren’t this extreme, everyone is naturally materialistic to some degree. Let’s find out why materialism can be intrinsic to human nature.

Why we can be materialistc:

why are people materialistic

There are 4 main reasons that can explain materialism in most people.

Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

  1. Status and proving your worth

    Many people associate prestige and high power with those who have lots of money and are able to own many expensive items, such as houses and jewelry. With media in the modern world, influencers owning and endorsing designer items encourage users to own the same items for general approval.
  2. Grounding and a sense of stability

    When people live hectic lives, placing a high value on physical items can give people a sense of security. Physical items won’t change or disappear and provide constants in those lives who are unstable or always changing.
  3. Shopping High

    People can get a thrill from purchasing items, through different brain chemicals, it makes sense that people continue to buy and appreciate their purchases. Shopping can add pleasure and excitement to people’s lives, causing them to own many items and place a high value on buying even more. Usually, those who are generally sad or unsatisfied in life will seek out this type of gratification more often. It is important to highlight that being materialistic and a compulsive shopper are two completely different things and they should not be confused.
  4. Human Nature

    In general, humans strive for survival. Originally, survival for humans would be determined by their fitness for their ability to hunt and gather food. Now, survival is often dependent on professional success and having a well-paying job. This allows people to afford expensive items, causing people to idealize materialism as a sign of success.\
materialism causes

Photo by Matt Lamers on Unsplash

These 4 main reasons contribute to why people are materialistic. Not all of these factors will be applicable to everyone but still offer a deep look into why materialism is so prevalent in the modern world. One of the heaviest influences of modern materialism is social media, which bombards us with influencers promoting products and increasing the effects of all of these causes. Next time you make a purchase, think about if these materialistic factors are the core reason you are making your purchase.

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