I've always puzzled wealth, status, economics and the like. There are many things I would add to this:
The Elite Granted Equipment
The soldiers steel were owned by the patron (patrons that grant equipment). As much as the fighter pilot did not own his jet, so did the man-at-arms did not own his gear. Controlled Materials are really that of a minority elite granted as a "privilege" of a patron to their clients.
So a Roman cavalryman who earned enough for Status 1 really cannot afford his gear which may be worth 2-5x his annual revenues. "Freemen" who equip themselves were often the landed type and had slaves or indentured tenant farmers for production and had a rather large amount of land by today's standards. Freemen were not freemen the way we know them now, they held power over lower status individuals and can be argued a different kind of elite.
Example of such freemen were the danes aka vikings who employed slaves regularly, even the most humble of roman citizens all had slaves, many medieval farmers had slaves or indentured servants.
Patrons granting gear is the norm in low tech world, which is weird to us who see patrons as employers in modern world (they grant employment and all the benefits mandated by the state plus something extra for loyalty or less if the client is disposable). Only sons of Lords expect to start out with their own steel and mount, and those hedge knights earned theirs from lords and battles of times past.
Although this may not be as expensive as Sticker price on the gear. Note that many of these Armorsmiths are on retainer and produce a quota of arms and goods to their lords in return for minor titles, monopolies, and a their lords ear. So the banneret decked out with all the best gear got it at a steel since he got it from his lord who happens to retainer Mr. Smith. Consider the entire town who has to pay tribute and concede to the monopolies of the lord are the ones financing the Banneret.
This may come as a shock and a disruption in GURPS rules as written but in the end of the day the GM just need to give enough to make the game challenging and to create the expectation and atmosphere of immersion.
Note equipment is "conditional" they are meant to be returned to the lords armory (many things happen that allows the retainer to walk away with the equipment but not the titles). Note that the patron described is a modern lense of a patron (B73), you may want to add minimal intervention and Freq-6 to listen to appeals (that odd meal with his underlings to check on their loyalty or their go-between pecking for the same pulse).
In my current campaign, War Beneath Heaven, the party is their own large corporation. About 100th the sized of the most prominent in their country of Haven. Wealth increments of a smaller degree matter more in such a game, when Logistics can be boiled down to a roll and the Captain of industry wields his assets like a force to size and conquer various objectives and terrains.
These days I find myself just keeping notes on the slight differences of the wealth. I notice its not for everyone because the macro style play is maybe for more for me lolz.