Stealth Wealth: How Being Secretly Rich is Powerful

Have you ever wondered about the net worth of the people around you? Some assume that those they know, like neighbors or friends, have similar wealth to themselves.

But what about those that are wealthy and don’t show it? Some people live seemingly ordinary lives, drive average cars, and look like part of the middle class, but they may be secretly wealthy.

It’s called stealth wealth, and it just might be the wisest decision anyone can make with money.

This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you purchase an item through these links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Please read the full disclosure policy for more info.

rich women holding finger up stealth wealth concept

What is Stealth Wealth?

Stealth wealth is the term for keeping your net worth and wealth amounts to yourself. This means you don’t let others know how much money you make or have, including people you know well, such as relatives and good friends.

This also means that you don’t spend your money on typical lifestyle status symbols like a huge house, fancy cars, and other luxury items. This is a preferable lifestyle for some; they like keeping their finances quiet.

Want somewhere to track your wealth across all accounts?  Grab this free financial dashboard to track your savings, retirement, net worth, and more!

How the Rich Hide Their Money

With stealth wealth, it’s all about not making a scene with money. Those who practice stealth wealth live without drawing attention to their status, and they take care to blend in.

Here are some of the things they typically do.

1. Drive Average Cars

A flashy car is a total giveaway for either having a hefty paycheck or a ton of debt. Since many people associate fancy cars with money, stealth wealth advocates avoid them.

Instead, they drive average cars that look normal. Obviously, safety is still important, but beyond that, they will choose a reliable vehicle that you’d see every day on the road. 

2. Pay Cash for Everything

A lot of wealth is gained when you don’t get caught up in debt. Those that are part of this movement know that avoiding credit cards and buying only what you can pay for is the way to go if you want to keep as much money as possible. 

3. Don’t Engage in Consumerism

A quick way to become broke is to buy a bunch of stuff. Consumerism can really take over your budget and life.

Those that practice stealth wealth know how to avoid consumerism. Instead, they buy what they need and save for wants. If you want to be wealthy, avoid consumerism at all costs.

4. Don’t Spend Money to Impress People

People that practice stealth wealth are not out to impress others. Because of this, they don’t spend money just to show off.

Since they want to avoid the attention associated with having lots of money, they are more likely to avoid seeming wealthy by not overspending.

5. Don’t Spend More Money As They Get More Money

There is a phrase known as lifestyle creep. It means that as you make more money, you inflate your lifestyle to match, and you spend more.

The wealthy know how to avoid this. Instead of spending more, they’ll invest and save.


Why Stealth Wealth?

There are some perks to being wealthy and not caring who knows it. Fancy houses and cars, luxurious vacations, and paying for things for friends, to start.

Why would people instead choose to not let others know that they are secretly rich?

Avoid Expectations

Like it or not, when you are rich, and others know it, they will have opinions. It isn’t fair, but people do tend to place expectations on others who are wealthy.

They may think that because their friend has money, they should buy things for them, give to specific charities, or drive a fancy car. The expectation list can be endless, so some choose to avoid it entirely. 

Avoid Judgment

Along with expectations, there can be some judgment associated with wealth. People may have all sorts of ideas about whether or not you should be wealthy and what you should do with your money.

Even if people don’t think having money is wrong, there may still be some subtle judgment that the secretly rich don’t want to deal with.

What Are the Benefits of Stealth Wealth? 

While it may be difficult to hide your wealth from friends or family at times, there are many benefits to stealth wealth. You can do many great things with money anonymously, and you don’t ever need to feel pressure to spend in a certain way.

Check out these awesome things that happen when you don’t share your net worth.

Privacy

Sometimes rich people have very little privacy. If people see signs of affluence, they may want to know more.

Friends, family, or even perfect strangers may want to know how you gained your wealth. You may be bombarded with questions from those who want to know the secrets to become wealthy, including how long it took and details about your finances.

While you aren’t obligated to answer these questions, some may prefer to avoid it altogether by being secretly rich.

No One Asking for Money/Favors

When people know your net worth or that you have a significant income, they may feel entitled to some of it just because you are friends or because they’re part of your family. Some will think you owe them something.

It can be exhausting when people start asking you for money or to do them favors, like helping them network. While it is acceptable to help people out financially if you want to, it’s always better to do this freely and not out of obligation.

When nobody knows you have money because you live simply and have a regular house and car, they aren’t likely to ask you for anything. They’ll assume you’re just like everyone else and don’t have too much to spare.

This can make being wealthy a much more peaceful experience. 

People Won’t Expect You to Spend Money

If those you associate with know how much money you have, they may expect you to spend it. This might mean they want you to pay for things for them, or it could mean they think you should have a particular type of lifestyle.

You may hear things like, “Well, since you’re rich, you should wear designer clothes.” Or, “Why don’t you show off your wealth by driving an expensive car?” 

There are no expectations when people don’t know what you own or how much money you have. It’s unfair for people to tell others what to do with their finances without being asked, but some people will want you to spend if they know that you’re wealthy.

But when wealth is quiet, no one will expect you to pay for fancy vacations, dinners out, or other non-necessities. You’re free to spend and save in whatever way you choose without hearing other’s opinions.

Sincere Relationships 

This isn’t always the case, but some people try to find powerful or wealthy friends to hang out with to get something for themselves. You may find it hard to form sincere relationships when people know you’re rich.

The people around you might be focused on your wealth instead of you as a person. 

Being obviously wealthy can also make dating difficult. Meeting the right person is hard enough without complicating it by wondering if they’re interested in you or your money.

Stealth wealth solves all of this. Suppose you live simply and no one knows how much money you have. In that case, you will find that you attract friends and dating relationships that are sincere and focused on honesty, not money.

You won’t have to wonder if people are only hanging out with you because of your net worth. 

You Can Negotiate Better Deals if You Don’t Appear Wealthy

If you find yourself in a position to negotiate or bargain, it can be easier when the seller can’t tell what you can afford.

People may be able to tell if you have money based on appearances, but wearing average clothes and driving an average car can be an advantage. Don’t appear wealthy, and you may save money. 

Avoid Markups for the Wealthy 

There is a term called “price discrimination” that exists in the world of buying and selling. When selling something, the price can change depending on the customer, even if they are all buying the same thing.

People try to determine what a buyer can afford and set a price based on that. To keep this from happening, don’t make it obvious what you can afford.

This will not completely stop price discrimination, but it can’t hurt. The mentioned article also claims that in some cases, data mining can be used. Be careful who has your information and who knows your net worth and buying habits. 

How can you tell if someone is secretly rich?

You can’t always. If a person really wants to hide their wealth, they can probably do so. But some subtle signs might let you know if someone has money.

You may be able to tell if someone has created stealth wealth by what they don’t do or have. For example, if they don’t drive fancy cars and live in an average neighborhood in a normal-sized home. But this by itself doesn’t mean much.

Those who don’t want people to notice their money will do several things, including not driving flashy cars and not making themselves appear too smart. People who practice stealth wealth take care to seem like they’re just like everyone else.

How to be Stealth Rich?

There are a few things involved with gaining money. The process for creating wealth is relatively simple.

But keeping it is difficult if you spend without thinking. So the main principles are to achieve the amount of money you want over time and then keep it by making wise decisions. 

Save Money

First, when you get paid or gain money, save as much as you can. This is a good practice that will help you throughout your life.

The more you save, the more your money can grow, and later down the road, it can be worth a lot more. It’s easy to do this once you get used to it, although it might take some time to become very good at saving.

Related: Ways to Save Money, Live Better

Invest 

After you save up some money, invest! Investing is one of the wisest decisions for your money.

Investing will help you make interest and increase what you have with minimal effort. You can set up direct deposits for your investments so that you don’t even have to think about it.

And you’ll be gaining more wealth with each passing year if you continue to invest.

How to spot stealth wealth?

Look for people that seem to have a good sense of what to do with money, but they aren’t flashy about it.

They will probably not be stressed about money and may not mention being broke or needing more cash, but they also will not talk about having a lot of money. They will live everyday lives and may have average jobs, but the secret is that they know how to invest and save.

How can I hide my wealth?

Stealth wealth is a smart way to live, especially if you are relatively young or are concerned about others wanting access to your money. You can hide it by thinking like a person who isn’t rich would think.

Ask yourself, “What type of car would a person with an average income drive?” or, “What clothes should I buy to not draw attention to my wealth?”

You may also want to consider lifestyle decisions like where you live or anything visible to the outside world. Overall, try not to make it evident that you’re rich. If you go on a nice vacation, enjoy it, but don’t post it on social media.

If you choose to make a large purchase, don’t brag about it. Keep your wealth to yourself by not making it obvious that it’s there.

Practicing stealth wealth is a clever way to live if you are a wealthy person.  

To avoid people asking for money or favors, and to form sincere relationships, don’t tell people about your net worth. Stealth wealth has many benefits and is a smart idea.

Remember that wealthy people are often known and judged by others, and once people know about your wealth, you can’t take it back.

It’s much better to live modestly and have wealth that others aren’t aware of. Then you are free to live and spend the way you want with many benefits and few downsides.

Related Articles:

Steffa Mantilla round headshot
Steffa Mantilla

Certified Financial Education Instructor

Steffa is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and the founder behind Money Tamer. Her 12-year background in operant conditioning and positive behavioral change training is used to help people find effective motivators to change their harmful money behaviors. Steffa explains the reasons “why” behind people’s financial behaviors and how to successfully change them. After paying off over $80,000 in debt through budgeting, she now teaches families how to get their own finances in order. You can learn more about her here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *