Author Topic: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"  (Read 15357 times)

living small

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #50 on: February 04, 2018, 05:05:49 PM »
I am in a well-paid medical profession. I live in a modest house in an area code that my colleagues often raise their eyebrows at. My hubby and I drive paid for 10 year old cars. We shop at thrift and consignment stores for clothes and housewares. We love ALDI and costco for food.  I get two different reactions practicing stealth wealth:
1. It can be disarming, meaning people see that you place no value on pretense and relax and be themselves around you.
2. It can be unsettling, meaning that people cannot possibly conceive of the fact that you make all of that money and are not following a lifestyle that indicates that!

 I noticed when I do go into a retail store because I need a particular higher-ticket item, if you look like a normal, non-fancy person, you get to see how people will really treat you. I have been places where everyone gets the same level of customer service, and I have been places where they look past people who don't style themselves to look like they have money. Guess who gets my cash?

Also, practicing stealth wealth, IMO, keeps my kid from growing up and feeling entitled.

TartanTallulah

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #51 on: February 06, 2018, 04:30:04 AM »
Also, practicing stealth wealth, IMO, keeps my kid from growing up and feeling entitled.

I think I possibly stretched this a little too far. When the Bedroom Tax was introduced, meaning that people receiving housing benefit would be penalised for living in houses with more bedrooms than they needed for the number and mix of occupants, one of my daughters worried that we'd be affected because she and her sister had a room each instead of sharing and her brother had a room of his own but wasn't living with us full time. It hadn't occurred to her that I had bought the house outright with cash.

One of my other daughters almost popped her eyes out of her head when her brother - living at home with us, doing casual work for minimum wage - let slip that he had a five-figure sum in his savings account. "Well, it's not as if I need to spend very much," he said, and I pointed out that when his childhood savings policy had matured he'd put it straight into an ISA instead of spending it on a car or a load of tchotchke. I think I need to point him at ERE.

Dicey

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #52 on: February 06, 2018, 04:52:34 AM »
Also, practicing stealth wealth, IMO, keeps my kid from growing up and feeling entitled.

I think I possibly stretched this a little too far. When the Bedroom Tax was introduced, meaning that people receiving housing benefit would be penalised for living in houses with more bedrooms than they needed for the number and mix of occupants, one of my daughters worried that we'd be affected because she and her sister had a room each instead of sharing and her brother had a room of his own but wasn't living with us full time. It hadn't occurred to her that I had bought the house outright with cash.

One of my other daughters almost popped her eyes out of her head when her brother - living at home with us, doing casual work for minimum wage - let slip that he had a five-figure sum in his savings account. "Well, it's not as if I need to spend very much," he said, and I pointed out that when his childhood savings policy had matured he'd put it straight into an ISA instead of spending it on a car or a load of tchotchke. I think I need to point him at ERE.
Where is this Bedroom Tax you speak of? How does it work? In my state, taxes are levied based upon the price one pays for the house, not on the size. Please tell me more.

kork

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #53 on: February 06, 2018, 05:56:22 AM »
BIL and SIL has a waterfront rental home,  a home they lived in, subzero fridges, etc... they were just not really good with money. A few years ago we found out that their marriage was falling apart and were in huge debt.  Credit companies were chasing them, etc.

They sold the waterfront home and I lent them the money to pay everything off with a repayment schedule. I told them I needed to take out a loan to do it but I just used cash. I don’t want people to know we had that kind of money “lying around” while we were driving older cars and living in a modest home...

Dicey

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #54 on: February 06, 2018, 03:13:09 PM »
BIL and SIL has a waterfront rental home,  a home they lived in, subzero fridges, etc... they were just not really good with money. A few years ago we found out that their marriage was falling apart and were in huge debt.  Credit companies were chasing them, etc.

They sold the waterfront home and I lent them the money to pay everything off with a repayment schedule. I told them I needed to take out a loan to do it but I just used cash. I don’t want people to know we had that kind of money “lying around” while we were driving older cars and living in a modest home...

Oh, shit, I can hear all the alarm bells going off! Have they paid you back? Are they still together? Divorced? Did they sell the rental? Lose their home? C'mon, inquiring minds want to know!!!

TartanTallulah

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #55 on: February 06, 2018, 03:57:53 PM »
Also, practicing stealth wealth, IMO, keeps my kid from growing up and feeling entitled.

I think I possibly stretched this a little too far. When the Bedroom Tax was introduced, meaning that people receiving housing benefit would be penalised for living in houses with more bedrooms than they needed for the number and mix of occupants, one of my daughters worried that we'd be affected because she and her sister had a room each instead of sharing and her brother had a room of his own but wasn't living with us full time. It hadn't occurred to her that I had bought the house outright with cash.

One of my other daughters almost popped her eyes out of her head when her brother - living at home with us, doing casual work for minimum wage - let slip that he had a five-figure sum in his savings account. "Well, it's not as if I need to spend very much," he said, and I pointed out that when his childhood savings policy had matured he'd put it straight into an ISA instead of spending it on a car or a load of tchotchke. I think I need to point him at ERE.
Where is this Bedroom Tax you speak of? How does it work? In my state, taxes are levied based upon the price one pays for the house, not on the size. Please tell me more.

It's a UK thing, aimed at disincentivising people in social housing from occupying a bigger property than they need. When it was introduced a few years ago, I was deluged with requests for letters stating that my patients needed additional bedrooms for medical or social reasons.

It doesn't apply to property owned by the occupant or rented privately.

Slee_stack

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #56 on: February 07, 2018, 01:45:22 PM »
Like most here, I'm a big fan of Stealth Wealth.

I wonder if we should have a thread for any negative aspects of Stealth Wealth?

Occasionally I like to buy something nice (ie wasteful, clowny, etc).

However, since I'm so ingrained in being 'Stealth' in all things financial, I neurotically hide all of these purchases from peers, friends, and even some general family.


The most challenging one was a 'status' car that I truly enjoyed driving, working on, and keeping pristine.

I stressed over driving it to work though.  I didn't want to be 'seen' in it.  I actually probably made it about a couple dozen drives in without anyone finding out that it was mine.  Even when the cat finally escaped the bag, I just didn't want the questions, eyebrows, whatever.   I know I shouldn't give an F, but I did and still do.  I hate the idea of flaunting anything...even if its just a perception.   

I sold the car.  It was just easier sticking to a car that is milquetoast.   I don't want people to think of me as poor or rich.  I want people to NOT think of me at all.  I want to blend in.  Look at someone else!

Damn you Stealth Wealth mindset!  And damn my weird mental issue!
« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 01:47:05 PM by Slee_stack »

BrickByBrick

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #57 on: February 07, 2018, 02:06:07 PM »
Favorite thing about stealth wealth...blending in, I get to subscribe to common fiscal woes and use those as cover as to why I'm not spending everything I have.

A while back, I got married and "word got out" that I was footing the bill for the wedding and that my wife was bringing in an unknown amount of debt.  I didn't publicly complain, but I did acknowledge that "we were working on it".  Truth is I cash-flowed the wedding, and her debt was paid off a couple months later. 

My wife is playing along, and I'm still enjoying the cover of being 'saddled with debt'.  We're not even lying at this point, it's just that no one asks.  I'm hoping I'll be able to ride this into our first kid as well, then I can assume the cover of being a broke parent.


Finallyunderstand

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #58 on: February 07, 2018, 02:25:15 PM »
My family went on vacation.  We have two small kids.  We told other people we went with "we can't do dinners out as much as them".  We said it due to eating out with two small kids is not enjoyable at all and it's much more fun to stay back and cook, swim, play on the beach in the evenings.  They thought we said it due to financial reasons and said "we can go to less expensive places if you want".  lol.

We drive used cars, live in a house that costs one year of take home income and is paid off, rarely eat out, etc.

Syonyk

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #59 on: February 07, 2018, 02:39:14 PM »
The most challenging one was a 'status' car that I truly enjoyed driving, working on, and keeping pristine.

The hack there, if you do like vehicles, is an older luxury car (70s-80s BMW, Mercedes, etc) that you keep in really good shape.  They're fairly cheap to maintain if you do the work yourself (it sounds like you do), and they're old enough that they don't trip the "Drives a new luxury car" trigger in other people.

They're mostly seen as "quirky" and acceptable if you're a "car guy."  Plus, anyone can go out and buy a new luxury car.  Keeping an old one in good shape and running well?  That takes skill. :)

2Birds1Stone

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #60 on: February 07, 2018, 03:33:11 PM »
Like most here, I'm a big fan of Stealth Wealth.

I wonder if we should have a thread for any negative aspects of Stealth Wealth?

Occasionally I like to buy something nice (ie wasteful, clowny, etc).

However, since I'm so ingrained in being 'Stealth' in all things financial, I neurotically hide all of these purchases from peers, friends, and even some general family.


The most challenging one was a 'status' car that I truly enjoyed driving, working on, and keeping pristine.

I stressed over driving it to work though.  I didn't want to be 'seen' in it.  I actually probably made it about a couple dozen drives in without anyone finding out that it was mine.  Even when the cat finally escaped the bag, I just didn't want the questions, eyebrows, whatever.   I know I shouldn't give an F, but I did and still do.  I hate the idea of flaunting anything...even if its just a perception.   

I sold the car.  It was just easier sticking to a car that is milquetoast.   I don't want people to think of me as poor or rich.  I want people to NOT think of me at all.  I want to blend in.  Look at someone else!

Damn you Stealth Wealth mindset!  And damn my weird mental issue!

This car guy is curious what car/model?

Imma

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #61 on: February 08, 2018, 01:29:52 AM »
I don't drive, but some people were really surprised I was able to buy a brand new €800 bike when my other bike was stolen last month. The bike I had was 15 years old and well maintained but of course it looked fairly used after all these years. For some people it's hard to understand I rode an old bike all this time when I apparantly had money for a new one. They were very surprised I have money for things like that when I look broke on the outside.


2Birds1Stone

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #62 on: February 08, 2018, 01:53:20 AM »
I don't drive, but some people were really surprised I was able to buy a brand new €800 bike when my other bike was stolen last month. The bike I had was 15 years old and well maintained but of course it looked fairly used after all these years. For some people it's hard to understand I rode an old bike all this time when I apparantly had money for a new one. They were very surprised I have money for things like that when I look broke on the outside.

That is wonderful!

I use an 8 year old Macbook Pro, which gets me funny looks considering I work in the tech field and everyone around me has to have the shiniest new toys.


Michael in ABQ

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #63 on: February 08, 2018, 06:55:19 AM »
Still building up our net worth but just being able to live below our means and be debt free is certainly nice. I remember my previous boss being surprised that I could even afford to live on my income at the time (probably about $50k). That didn't include another $10-12k from the National Guard plus much cheaper health insurance through them and simply living within our means. I hear one of my co-workers who probably makes a bit over $100k complain sometimes about having to work so much just to pay the bills. Meanwhile if I got fired tomorrow it would actually be a bit of a relief and with our emergency fund and income from the National Guard we could probably go about 5-6 months - plenty of time to find a new job.

I drive a little old pickup truck that's got faded paint, some scratches and a sizeable dent on one side. I paid $2,700 for it a year or two ago and I'll probably be able to sell it for close to that here in the next few months. I could go buy a new car from the dealership tomorrow and though we can't afford to pay cash for something like that yet, I wouldn't even if we could. Maybe I'll upgraded to something with less than 100,000 miles on it but it's just a means of getting from A to B.

Slee_stack

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #64 on: February 08, 2018, 12:55:44 PM »
Like most here, I'm a big fan of Stealth Wealth.

I wonder if we should have a thread for any negative aspects of Stealth Wealth?

Occasionally I like to buy something nice (ie wasteful, clowny, etc).

However, since I'm so ingrained in being 'Stealth' in all things financial, I neurotically hide all of these purchases from peers, friends, and even some general family.


The most challenging one was a 'status' car that I truly enjoyed driving, working on, and keeping pristine.

I stressed over driving it to work though.  I didn't want to be 'seen' in it.  I actually probably made it about a couple dozen drives in without anyone finding out that it was mine.  Even when the cat finally escaped the bag, I just didn't want the questions, eyebrows, whatever.   I know I shouldn't give an F, but I did and still do.  I hate the idea of flaunting anything...even if its just a perception.   

I sold the car.  It was just easier sticking to a car that is milquetoast.   I don't want people to think of me as poor or rich.  I want people to NOT think of me at all.  I want to blend in.  Look at someone else!

Damn you Stealth Wealth mindset!  And damn my weird mental issue!

But why are you so worried?

I’ve learned two major things that have freed me from caring much about what people think
1: they don’t actually care that much, most people are so caught up in their own lives, they barely really cares what goes on in anyone else’s
2: even though they don’t really care that much, they’re going to judge you anyway, no matter what you do

People judge, it’s like a national past time, and you can’t prevent it no matter how benign you try to be. So why bother denying yourself the things you love just to try and avoid the judgement that you can’t avoid?

I get wanting to be private, but letting it affect how you enjoy your life seems like quite the sacrifice and I don’t really get the benefit.


I recognize that its me that has the issue. 

Some people like to show off, brag, etc.  I just can't fathom that desire for attention.  It really is completely foreign to me...and i find the practice...distasteful.  I guess I feel 'dirty' if I do the same...again...even if just by perception.

While I enjoy having a nice car... I do have many other interests that end up just....easier for me to reconcile.

The correct answer is for me to simply not give an F about this.  It is a goal of mine.

Like most here, I'm a big fan of Stealth Wealth.

I wonder if we should have a thread for any negative aspects of Stealth Wealth?

Occasionally I like to buy something nice (ie wasteful, clowny, etc).

However, since I'm so ingrained in being 'Stealth' in all things financial, I neurotically hide all of these purchases from peers, friends, and even some general family.


The most challenging one was a 'status' car that I truly enjoyed driving, working on, and keeping pristine.

I stressed over driving it to work though.  I didn't want to be 'seen' in it.  I actually probably made it about a couple dozen drives in without anyone finding out that it was mine.  Even when the cat finally escaped the bag, I just didn't want the questions, eyebrows, whatever.   I know I shouldn't give an F, but I did and still do.  I hate the idea of flaunting anything...even if its just a perception.   

I sold the car.  It was just easier sticking to a car that is milquetoast.   I don't want people to think of me as poor or rich.  I want people to NOT think of me at all.  I want to blend in.  Look at someone else!

Damn you Stealth Wealth mindset!  And damn my weird mental issue!

This car guy is curious what car/model?
Late model Jaguar XK Vert

BuildingmyFIRE

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #65 on: February 08, 2018, 01:10:56 PM »
I don't drive, but some people were really surprised I was able to buy a brand new €800 bike when my other bike was stolen last month. The bike I had was 15 years old and well maintained but of course it looked fairly used after all these years. For some people it's hard to understand I rode an old bike all this time when I apparantly had money for a new one. They were very surprised I have money for things like that when I look broke on the outside.
This is me but with a car. I have (had) a 2001 small truck I bought in 2007 for around $4000. It was my FIREtruck to take camping road trips in. The entire time I had it friends would constantly say "if you went back to work you could afford a nicer car" (or house or clothes or luxury vacations).  A few months ago I sold the truck and bought a low mileage 2016 van with all the bells and whistles. Friends were all "OMG how can you afford that? Will you be able to make the payments? Will you have to go back to work? Did you rob someone?" When I told them I had paid cash they just couldn't understand why I would have driven a 20 year old beater truck if I could afford a new somewhat expensive van. I tried to explain why MMM style but it fell on deaf ears. Wait until I buy my next house with cash (hush @boarder42 ;-)) without breaking the bank. Of course then they'll start telling me if I went back to work I could get a bigger better house! Sigh..

This story just made my day!

I sometimes think I practice SW against myself.  I use the artificial scarcity tactic to save by having auto deductions for 401K/529K/etc taken at the beginning of the month.  The result of which is that I always feel broke, which is a great motivator not to spend on stupid things, because the money wont be there in my checking account at the end of the month.  :) 

Dicey

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #66 on: February 11, 2018, 10:50:35 AM »
Wait until I buy my next house with cash (hush @boarder42 ;-)) without breaking the bank. Of course then they'll start telling me if I went back to work I could get a bigger better house! Sigh..
Not speaking for b42, but since I'm firmly in that camp, I say it's COMPLETELY different in your situation, spartana! Why? You're already FIRE! You're no longer looking for ways to get there as efficiently as possible, you've done it! Hooray! Not prepaying an affordable, cheap-ass, fixed rate mortgage is a just a smart way to create wealth and get to FIRE faster. But...

You're there.
You're there.
You're there.

Paying cash is a perfectly good decision in your situation. Plus, all your fans know you're not planning on spending as much on the new pad as you made on the old one. I hope you find a place you love!

okits

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #67 on: February 12, 2018, 12:57:26 AM »
Like most here, I'm a big fan of Stealth Wealth.

I wonder if we should have a thread for any negative aspects of Stealth Wealth?

Occasionally I like to buy something nice (ie wasteful, clowny, etc).

However, since I'm so ingrained in being 'Stealth' in all things financial, I neurotically hide all of these purchases from peers, friends, and even some general family.


The most challenging one was a 'status' car that I truly enjoyed driving, working on, and keeping pristine.

I stressed over driving it to work though.  I didn't want to be 'seen' in it.  I actually probably made it about a couple dozen drives in without anyone finding out that it was mine.  Even when the cat finally escaped the bag, I just didn't want the questions, eyebrows, whatever.   I know I shouldn't give an F, but I did and still do.  I hate the idea of flaunting anything...even if its just a perception.   

I sold the car.  It was just easier sticking to a car that is milquetoast.   I don't want people to think of me as poor or rich.  I want people to NOT think of me at all.  I want to blend in.  Look at someone else!

Damn you Stealth Wealth mindset!  And damn my weird mental issue!

This car guy is curious what car/model?
Late model Jaguar XK Vert

I'm not a car person, so don't know.  Anyone's panties get wet reading that?

@Slee_stack , I'm kinda sad you don't still have the car you liked.  Maybe again, someday?

Edit: fix quote tags
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 08:47:44 PM by okits »

Laura33

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Re: What's your favorite thing about practicing "stealth wealth?"
« Reply #68 on: February 12, 2018, 08:17:45 AM »
. . . .

The correct answer is for me to simply not give an F about this.  It is a goal of mine.

. . . .

Yeah, this.  FWIW:  I went through the same thing.  I bought a car that is not only showy, it is a very classic "Hi, I'm a 60-yr-old balding overweight guy who is worried his penis doesn't work anymore, so I am overcompensating so at least you'll think I'm rich" car.  I bought it simply because nothing in the world is as much fun as driving that car.  But I absolutely hate everything that that car says about who I am -- I bought it in spite of its showiness, not because of it.

And, honestly, it took me a good decade to pull the trigger.  I spent much of my life telling myself that I am not the kind of person who buys that kind of car.  But then I finally realized that refusing to buy the car was still contorting my life around what other people think:  while most people buy the showoff car to convince complete strangers of their awesomeness, I was not buying the showoff car because I did not want complete strangers to think I was the kind of person who would buy that kind of car.  It was a decision founded in weakness, not strength: I was modifying my behavior and denying myself what I wanted because I was afraid some complete stranger would think badly of me. 

Real power is deciding what you want for yourself, even if others will disapprove.  I really like the way Malkynn put it:  sure, I care; I still want people to think well of me.  But not enough to let their opinion decide what I can and can't do.  Fuck that.  They're not living my life.

And, yes, I do get the irony of preaching self-empowerment through material purchases on the MMM board.  Necessary disclaimers that I am FI and paid cash, yadda yadda.  But yeah, still no excuse for it.  Luckily, I don't care anymore.  :-)