What is Stealth Wealth? Hidden Signs and How to Secrets
What is the meaning of stealth wealth?
First, stealth wealth is as the name implies. You keep your wealth private and out of conversations that may be tempting to boost your status among others.
Stealth wealth is being secure in your wealth. It’s about not feeling the need to flaunt it.
However, stealth wealth also makes it difficult to see the difference between rich vs wealthy in others.
For example, Ronald Read, gas attendant and then a janitor, amassed 8 million dollars without anyone knowing. On his death, he gave his local hospital and library the biggest donations they had ever seen.
Why is stealth wealth important?
There are many reasons to keep your wealth to yourself. Here are a few:
Money Comes With Judgements
Once your family and friends get word of your wealth, they tend to think “she can afford it” or “why is he being such a cheapskate.”
It Can Provoke Keeping Up With the Joneses
No one has to keep up with the other if you keep your financial situation to yourself. And this allows you freedom to get off the hamster wheel of what others are doing.
Keeping your wealth stealthy empowers you to live well below your means, without other people’s opinions muddying the waters.
Some People Resent Those With Money
There are people who truly mistrust the wealthy. They’ll say, that “they got lucky,” “never pay taxes,” or “the rich just keep getting richer.”
In this case, people can make you feel bad for working hard and doing the right thing. You shouldn’t have to feel ashamed for building a thriving business, making smart investments, or forgoing luxuries to build wealth.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca
Stealth Wealth Keeps Relationships Honest
By keeping your financial situation mum, you will know what someone is truly after.
Do they like me because I can afford to loan them money? Are they going to expect me to pay again?
You don’t want your relationships to be affected negatively by money. (Ask the lottery winners who suddenly have friends and family come out of nowhere for a piece of the winnings.)
Luxury Things Make You a Target
When you flaunt your money through material items, you suddenly look like a big juicy steak to strangers.
- As a tourist, locals work to get more money from you.
- On the road, your speedy red sports car is more likely to get stopped by a police officer.
- Any salesperson prefers to target a customer who looks like they have money.
Obviously, there are times when you want to look nice. And that’s fine too. Just be aware of your environment.
My dad used to dress down when going to the car dealership for this reason.
What is discreet wealth? And What are subtle signs of wealth?
The other day, I spent a morning at our local cafe. 4 feet away sat a man enjoying a coffee. He wore Calvin Klein shoes, carried several Louis Vitton bags, and had expensive sunglasses on. I immediately thought he had lots of money.
A terrible odor began to waft toward me. And upon further observation, I realized that the things were for show. The man was most likely homeless. Where he got the expensive stuff (or whether they were counterfeit) I will never know. But it was an interesting lesson in the power of appearances.
Discreet wealth is exactly the opposite of this. It’s the neighbor you have who doesn’t have to work, but drives a Honda. Or the family member who has built a fortune but still DIY’s her own projects.
How to spot stealth wealth:
- usually live a middle-class lifestyle
- don’t boast about income or assets
- often drive average cars and live in an average home
To be clear, discussion around finances is important. Often, when things are overly private there is no opportunity for growth. Money conversations can be tremendous learning opportunities. Just keep the particulars off the table, and stay modest.
How do you maintain stealth wealth?
Now to the good stuff! How do you get there too?
Financial independence and stealth wealth are not a quick process. Instead, you are living below your means and building up your assets over time. Let’s break them down.
Live Below Your Means
Making a good income helps. But regardless of what you earn, it always comes down to whether you are spending less than what you bring in. Widen that gap, and suddenly you have opened the gates of opportunity.
Building Assets Up
And now that you have opened the gates, karate kick them open by investing in yourself, your business, real estate, stocks, bonds, or anything else that provides you with greater income in the future. This is where freedom lies.
Putting your money to work for you is the secret of the wealthy.
More Stealth Wealth Lifestyle Tips
Those are the basics. Now, to propel you even further into stealth wealth living, check out these easy ways to practice it.
Keep your financials out of social media Too
Real life isn’t the only place you need to practice stealth wealth. It is also important to keep your money offline. An occasional celebration on social media is one thing, but flaunting money or fancy items and trips is just another form of keeping up with the Joneses.
Hang out with others who practice stealth wealth
These individuals understand finances, but they don’t feel the need to show off. You can learn from them.
Surrounding yourself with these kinds of people also helps you avoid lifestyle creep. If your friends aren’t constantly upgrading their homes and cars, you won’t be tempted to either.
As Jim Rohn once said, “you are the five people you spend the most time around.” Choose wisely.
Be Stealthy About Taxes
If you buy a home that needs work, you will pay lower taxes than one that has been upgraded prior to the sale. Your property taxes will be lower, even sometimes for years after you make your own upgrades (unless you flaunt your renovations).
You can use other stealthy ways to be smart about taxes as well, such as maxing out your retirement accounts to lower your taxable income.
Diversify Your Assets For Stealth Wealth
In small towns especially, everyone knows who the “big shots” are. (And they do not get a lot of love for it.)
Instead, invest in multiple ways. This will not only bolster your bottom line and bring security, but also make it more difficult for others to read your financial situation.
- stocks and funds
- real estate and rental income
- business building
- selling appreciated assets
- royalties from selling rights to use something you have written or invented
- interest from CDs, bonds, and lending
Don’t Let Flashy things Rule You
It is wonderful to enjoy nice things. You don’t have to be a miser to practice stealth wealth.
But don’t identify too much with your belongings. Fancy watches and purses don’t make life worth living. And you can’t take any of it with you when you leave this earth.
Find fulfillment in other ways.
Your stuff doesn’t make you who you are.
See How Others Live
In college, I studied for a summer in Spain, and lived in a tiny apartment with 5 other international students and an older woman. It opened my eyes in many ways.
Perhaps the most profound revelation was noticing how happy they were, despite smaller spaces and smaller cars.
Experiencing other ways of life opens you up to new belief systems. This ensures that you never become a sheep in a flock of people who do what everyone else does.
Acknowledge That There Is a Dose of Luck
This keeps you humble. And it is also true.
It is amazing luck that I grew up in such a prosperous country. I’m also very blessed to have parents who taught me the value of a dollar.
It’s important to remember that even “self-made” people didn’t do it alone. And this will keep you from coming across as a “know it all” or being tempted to talk about your money too openly.
Cheer on your friends, family, and neighbors in their own accomplishments around money. When you focus on others instead of yourself, it feels good. And it also keeps you grounded.
Talk About Your Mistakes
We all have them. In fact, those who are the most successful, often also have the most mistakes. It just means that they were willing to take risks and break the mold a time or two.
Sharing your mistakes has other benefits too. It allows you to teach others without showing off or revealing too much.
Leave a Legacy With Your Stealth Wealth
Wow your family when you are gone. Or be ultra generous to something you believe in.
Make the world a better place with your life.
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