Stealth Wealth: Why You Should Never Tell People How Much Money You Have
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Being wealthy and successful has its advantages. With money comes freedom and the ability to live your life the way you see fit. There are, however, disadvantages to having a lot of money. One of the biggest drawbacks is having to deal with people treating you differently solely based on your net worth. That is why a lot of rich people embrace the concept of stealth wealth.
What Is Stealth Wealth?
Stealth wealth is pretty simple. It is the act of hiding your finances and net worth from your family and friends. Why would you do that? That’s also pretty simple. To avoid the pitfalls that come with people judging you solely based on the amount of money you have in your bank account.
Of course being coy about your finances isn’t easy for everyone, but unless you’re famous or you’re known to come from wealth, applying stealth wealth tactics in your own life shouldn’t be too difficult. And it will save you a lot of awkward conversations down the road.
The Rise Of Stealth Wealth
When you achieve a certain level of success or wealth, it’s natural to assume that your friends and family should nothing but happy for you. You expect them to love you for who you are not what you have.
As rosy as that sounds, we all know that isn’t the case. That is why you should never assume that whatever success or wealth you have only matters to you.
The moment most people know that you have money — like, REAL MONEY — they will stop seeing you as a person and they will start measuring you for what you have.
In fact, only two things will happen when people find out you’re rich: They are either going to try to find ways to get you to part with your money (handouts, investment ideas, etc.) or they will use it to size you up.
Things That Happen When People Realize You’re Rich
- You will be asked to solve other people’s problems with your money.
- There will be expectations to pay dinner tabs since a couple hundred dollars is “nothing to you”.
- People’s motives for talking to you often come back to money or investing.
- You will either be looked at as a jerk who flaunts his money or a cheapskate who doesn’t spend it.
- Everything you do, or spend your money on, is under a microscope.
Sounds fun, right? It is!
Why You Should Never Tell People How Much Money You Have
We are judged by our money. Whether we want to be or not. Having money implies freedom, power, and security. And whether or not you change as a person, other people will perceive you to have changed. And, more importantly, their expectations of your relationship might have changed too.
Telling people how much money you’ve made is like painting a target on your back. Flaunting your wealth only paints a bigger target. It will never work in your favor. For every positive that comes from flaunting your money, there are 10 negatives.
How You Can Practice Stealth Wealth
This might sound painful and go against everything you want to do with all that sweet, sweet money, but you need to look less rich. Or you need to move to a community with only wealthy people so you can have all the luxuries you want, but without all the judgement from friends and family who have less.
The goal is to find a middle ground so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, without always feeling bad about having more.
Acting Less Rich Means…
- Don’t drive luxury cars everywhere you go. This goes beyond just family. In a business setting, especially non-luxury sales, people tend to want to do business with Average Joes, not a someone who rolls up in a Range Rover.
- Edit what you might say around certain people. Not everyone can relate to the cost of fixing a Ferrari headlight.
- Avoid wearing ultra expensive clothes or jewelry.
- Never disclose your full income or complain about your tax liabilities. No one is going to feel sorry for you that you have to pay 35% income tax on a $500K salary. Especially when they are making five times less than you.
- Don’t talk about businesses you invest in or other income assets you own. Ownership and the ability to invest in private companies will lead people to believe that you have wealth. Opening that can of worms will only lead to questions you don’t want to answer.
- Lie when people ask how your business is going. No one is going to conduct an audit if you tell them your company is struggling.
It might be hard to understand why you need to hide your finances. And it’s often hard to do that. If you have a big windfall of money, part of the excitement is being able to tell your loved ones. But what we’re saying here is that while you might be expecting high fives from telling them the news that you’re now rich, they might actually be sticking their hands out expecting something else.
Trust us when we say that stealth wealth is the best way to operate. We’ve seen this happen in our own lives and this is one lesson you don’t want to have to learn on your own.
Looking for a way to track your wealth and understand your actual net worth?
One of our favorite stealth wealth tools and ways to keep all of our investment accounts together is Personal Capital. Personal Capital is an online wealth management company that gives you a 360-degree look at your net worth.
If you’re like us, all of your financial eggs aren’t in one basket. The downside of that, however, is trying to track everything to get a full understanding of how much you’re worth. And if you don’t know how much you’re worth, it’s hard to make and reach goals.
That is why we love Personal Capital. The app is completely free to use if all you care about is tracking your investments in one place. They also have a retirement planner that is second to none. They do have a paid-for service to manage your money if that is something you’re looking for. Not only do they offer investment services comparable to robo-advisors (like Acorns), but they are also able to give bigger picture advice.
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