The Financial Times’ How To Spend It magazine has long inspired bankers looking to squander their bonuses on designer goods, but the publication has been rebranded as overspending is no longer seen as a positive trait.
Packaged with the FT’s Weekend edition, the luxury magazine is full of expensive ads for luxury watches, safaris and luxury yachts aimed at its jet-set-rich readership – making it a money-spinner for the newspaper.
Still, the FT says the name How To Spend It no longer reflects “changing times and priorities” in a world of financial inequality and the invasion of Ukraine. As such, the magazine has been renamed HTSI, with the FT inviting readers to “interpret the ‘S’ in line with their own deeper interests”.
The paper suggested possible definitions of HTSI, such as how to style it, how to store it, or how to send, surf or enjoy. Other possible interpretations from readers — such as how to spend it, how to sniff it, or how to steal it — didn’t lead to the press release announcing the changes.
Jo Ellison, the magazine’s editor, said the change was necessary to “reflect a world with deeper sensibilities” and “the irony with which the title was first conceived has sometimes failed to come across”.
She suggested it was inconvenient to run a magazine called How To Spend It in a world dealing with the aftermath of a pandemic, where Russia invaded a neighboring country and where the cost of living was starting to bite.
Despite the rebrand, she insisted that the magazine continue to focus on “optimism, fun and beauty” and remain “a little hedonistic”. “We have no plans to change our essential being; we just want HTSI to reflect the deeper sensitivities and priorities of a changing world.”
Many journalists at the FT, which have been praised for its increased focus on social issues in addition to traditional financial reporting, have an uneasy relationship with the luxury goods magazine.
It is widely recognized that How To Spend It’s advertising revenue subsidizes other parts of the organization. However, being funded by a publication synonymous with conspicuous consumption can feel uncomfortable to reporters who would rather think they are criticizing modern capitalism – rather than taking advantage of it.
How to spend Its popularity among unsavory characters has also caused embarrassment. In 2011, an Independent reporter found a “thumbed copy” of the magazine in a coffee table in a compound that once belonged to Libyan dictator ColMuammar Gaddafi.
The name How To Spend It originated in 1967, when the FT’s first female employee suggested that readers’ wives enjoy a section on how to spend their husband’s income.
It later became a standalone magazine, participating in the boom in luxury goods — and financial services — of the 1990s and 2000s. Alice Pickthall, of Enders Analysis, told a long-read 2018 Guardian that the magazine was best understood. as the “Argos Catalog for Rich People”.