Have you ever known someone who constantly brags about their net worth, how much they make or their earnings in the stock market?
Have you ever gone onto social media and seen someone flaunting expensive cars and massive houses? I’m sure we all have.
On the other hand, you have probably also met someone very wealthy but never would have guessed. Maybe this was because they were very humble, wore regular clothes, or even drove a modest car.
While some rich people like to flaunt their wealth, others want to keep it a secret.
In this article, we will explore the world of stealth wealth. We’ll discuss what it is, why some people choose to hide their wealth, the many benefits, and much more.
What Is Stealth Wealth?
Stealth Wealth is a term used to describe the practice of being secretly rich. Stealth wealth means hiding how much you make and your net worth from others, such as the public, your friends, co-workers, and even sometimes your family.
People who practice stealth wealth know that wealth is about much more than designer clothing, luxury watches, expensive cars, and big houses.
The opposite of stealth wealth is flaunting and showing off how rich you are. This is far more common in the age of social media influencers and is even used as a status symbol.
However, practicing stealth wealth is much wiser. With that said, people choose to practice stealth wealth for various reasons, which we will discuss shortly.
Examples of Stealth Wealth
Although rich and famous people cannot prevent the public from knowing they are ultra-wealthy, many still display characteristics of a secretly rich individual.
With that said, here are a few examples of someone practicing stealth wealth:
- Billionaire tech founders, such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, wearing basic t-shirts and jeans every day instead of designer clothing.
- A Fortune 500 CEO who prefers to fly commercial instead of owning a private jet.
- A person who inherits millions of dollars but lives a frugal, middle-class lifestyle.
- The self-made millionaire who drives an old, inexpensive vehicle instead of buying a new one.
Keep in mind that even if you’re just beginning your journey of financial freedom, you can still practice stealth wealth, as it has many benefits.
Benefits of Stealth Wealth
Here are several benefits of practicing stealth wealth:
When people don’t know how wealthy you are, you won’t have to worry about friends, family, co-workers, a date, or anyone else trying to get closer to you just for financial reasons.
In other words, you won’t have to second-guess people’s intentions for getting to know you.
Instead, you’ll be able to rest assured that the relationships you are building are founded on shared interests, hobbies, beliefs, etc.
No One Asking You for Money
I’m sure we have all heard stories of people winning the lottery and then ending up broke just a few years later. One of the problems they faced was people coming out of the woodworks and asking for money simply because they knew them.
Similarly, the more people know you have money, the more likely someone will feel entitled to some of it simply because they’re part of your family or even just your friend.
People may even ask you to donate to their causes, invest in their businesses, attend charitable fundraisers, etc.
Instead of dealing with the uncomfortable situation of saying no, prevent people from asking in the first place by practicing stealth wealth.
Not Being Judged
If someone knows how wealthy you are, they may form inaccurate opinions and judge you based on your wealth and not who you are as a person. They may even become resentful or jealous.
For example, if you’re young, people may assume you didn’t earn your wealth and were handed it on a silver platter from your parents. On the other hand, if you have a particular job, they may think you earn too much and don’t deserve it.
Regardless of your situation, people will only judge you for your wealth and not consider your sacrifices that made your wealth possible.
Avoid Identity Theft and Robbery
Criminals don’t target poor people. They usually go to wealthier communities to rob unsuspecting individuals. They also use the internet to find people who are constantly flaunting their wealth.
Considering this, the fewer people that know you’re wealthy, the less of a target you will be for identity theft and robbery.
Simply put, when you practice stealth wealth, you won’t be on the radar of criminals looking to steal.
No Pressure to Impress
If no one knows you’re wealthy, you won’t have an image to uphold. In other words, you won’t feel pressured to impress others.
You won’t feel pressured to buy the latest gadgets, wear expensive clothing, drive a new car, or live in a huge house. Simply put, practicing stealth wealth will save you a lot of money.
Not Being Expected to Pay
I’m sure we have all experienced that awkward moment when the bill comes after dining out with friends. Whether you knew it or not, people probably expected you to pay if they knew you were the wealthiest one in the room.
While you may not mind paying every once in a while, it can get incredibly irritating when people always expect you to foot the bill. A simple solution is to practice stealth wealth.
Less Likely to Get Ripped Off
Simply put, if someone doesn’t know you’re wealthy, the less likely they will try to rip you off. For example, car salespeople are taught how to spot affluent customers.
They will look at the car you’re driving, the watch you have on, and even the type of shoes you’re wearing. If they determine you’re wealthy, they will try to get as much out of you as possible.
How to Practice Stealth Wealth
As long as you’re not a movie star, professional athlete, Fortune 500 CEO, or a social media influencer, practicing stealth wealth is super easy.
It’s also super easy to practice if you’re pursuing financial freedom, as it should reflect the lifestyle and financial decisions you’re already making.
With that said, here are a few ways to hide your wealth:
1. Never Discuss Your Finances
The easiest way to hide your wealth is by never talking about your finances.
While it can be good to talk about money with family and even friends sometimes, always be wary of who you discuss topics with, such as your net worth, income, savings, investments, etc.
If you’re very wealthy and have friends who aren’t, discussing these topics will only lead to resentment and jealousy.
2. Talk Percentages
If you talk to someone about your finances, speak in terms of percentages and not actual numbers. For instance, instead of saying you made $100,000 in the stock market last year, say you earned a 10% return.
3. Avoid being Flashy
If you want to be secretly rich, it’s essential that you never show off your wealth. Avoid driving a new or expensive car, wearing designer clothing, wearing a flashy watch, or buying any other luxury items.
While it’s okay to treat yourself from time to time, make sure it’s not bringing you any unwanted attention.
4. Live Below Your Means
As part of never being flashy, you should also live below your means, avoid unnecessary expenses, and rarely upgrade your lifestyle. One of the only reasons people live above their means is to show off and get the approval of their peers.
Instead, live in a modest house, drive a modest car, and wear modest clothing. In other words, avoid falling into the traps of consumerism.
5. Diversify Your Assets
The more and more money you have, the more critical diversification is to protect your wealth. Diversification is also an important stealth wealth rule.
The less your wealth is concentrated in just a few assets, the more challenging your wealth will be to identify.
Instead of being the largest shareholder in a private equity deal or owning a large mass of land in your local community, divide your assets over different geographic locations and several sectors.
For example, invest your wealth across LLCs, stock market accounts, properties, precious metals, etc.
6. Don’t Let People Know Where You Live
The house you live in is a dead giveaway for how wealthy you may be. If someone knows your address, they will be able to look up how much you paid, taxes, and more.
Considering this, if someone you barely know asks where you live, be super vague instead of giving them your address.
In other words, only give out your home address when absolutely necessary.
7. Always be Humble
One of the secrets of self-made millionaires practicing stealth wealth is being humble. Even if you’re super-wealthy, you should never act like you’re better than someone else.
Always be humble about your wealth and considerate of others who have less than you.
8. Credit luck
If someone does know you’re wealthy, a simple solution is to credit all your success to luck. Luck is a great way to downplay your financial achievements. Talk about how you were simply in the right place at the right time.
There won’t be much to discuss if chance rather than your own actions brought about your financial success. Crediting luck will help prevent them from asking further questions.
How to Spot Stealth Wealth
Because stealth wealth is all about being secretly rich, it can be challenging to spot. However, there are characteristics of people practicing stealth wealth that you can look out for.
For instance, people who are secretly rich are typically high achievers who never brag about their accomplishments.
With that said, here are several other characteristics of people practicing stealth wealth:
- Financial Literacy: Secretly rich people typically display signs of being financially literate. This means they follow a budget, spend their money wisely, invest regularly, and live below their means. In other words, they are always making the most intelligent decisions with their money.
- Value of Time: Wealthy individuals realize just how valuable their time is. If someone is secretly rich, you may notice them outsourcing tasks that aren’t worth their time, such as lawn care, house cleaning, grocery shopping, and so on.
- Credit Cards: Even something as simple as a credit card can give away someone’s financial status. People who are secretly rich usually have a high credit score because they are financially literate. Because of this, they typically use the most luxurious credit cards, such as the Amex Black Card.
Stealth Wealth Cars
The best stealth wealth car is one that isn’t brand new and doesn’t stand out. It’s a small, fuel-efficient car with a discreet model.
For example, stealth wealth car brands may include Volvo, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Lexus.
Even some billionaires drive under the radar cars. For example, Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, drove a 2006 Cadillac DTS until 2014.
It was only when his daughter Susie told him it was embarrassing, that he decided to buy a Cadillac XTS for around $45,000. Not much for a billionaire!
Stealth Wealth Watches
The best stealth wealth watch is one that is classy but not flashy. It may be expensive, but it’s not full of diamonds or a bunch of gold.
It’s a watch that only people will know its value if they’re a watch enthusiast and not just because of how it looks.
Stealth Wealth Clothing
While there isn’t specific clothing meant for stealth wealth, there is clothing you should avoid wearing if you want to be secretly rich.
For example, you should avoid wearing designer clothing with its logo plastered all over it. This will make you stick out like a soar thumb.
Instead, wear high-quality, functional clothing that has a purpose. This way, you can still achieve a classy and fashionable look without people assuming you’re rich.
With that said, don’t be afraid to wear average clothing as well. Many billionaire tech founders, such as Steve Jobs, wore a basic t-shirt and jeans every day.
Final Thoughts on Stealth Wealth
Whether you’re pursuing financial independence or simply want genuine relationships, practicing stealth wealth is a great strategy.
Not only will you avoid keeping up with the joneses and avoid being negatively judged for your wealth, you’ll also prevent identity theft, robbery, and much more.
Simply put, unless you want to impress others, there’s no downside to practicing stealth wealth.