Author Topic: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)  (Read 3358 times)

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1819
Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« on: September 06, 2020, 11:05:18 AM »
We're fired and in the two comma club  a few times over and also have no debts.  House is paid off.   I was just thinking about the simple pleasures I've enjoyed while thinking, " If people really knew..." I'm content with the freedom that comes from stealth wealth and am challenging others to put stories or examples here. 

Here are my top 5:
1.  Driving a car with 105k on it that's 13 years old.  Taking the bus (in non-pandemic times).
2.  Soaking my own beans.
3.  Buying cool stuff at thrift and having people say "that's neat" and saying, "Yeah, I got it at Goodwill."
4.  Using the library, generously.
5.  Buying over half of my clothes (the fancy ones) at thrift stores and the other half at Costco.

lcmac32

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2020, 12:09:52 PM »
I really appreciate your story.  I am not there yet, but know that I could easily go into complete stealth mode.  I don't care if someone knows, but have no intention of showing it off.  There really is no need.

clarkfan1979

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2111
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pueblo West, CO
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2020, 02:18:38 PM »
I am a big fan of stealth wealth, especially went visiting my rentals. I drive a 2007 Pontiac Vibe with 165,000 miles. If I arrived on scene with a 100K Mercedes, I think my tenants wouldn't be as timely on paying the rent.

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3823
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2020, 02:22:21 PM »
We're fired and in the two comma club  a few times over and also have no debts.  House is paid off.   I was just thinking about the simple pleasures I've enjoyed while thinking, " If people really knew..." I'm content with the freedom that comes from stealth wealth and am challenging others to put stories or examples here. 

Here are my top 5:
1.  Driving a car with 105k on it that's 13 years old.  Taking the bus (in non-pandemic times).
2.  Soaking my own beans.
3.  Buying cool stuff at thrift and having people say "that's neat" and saying, "Yeah, I got it at Goodwill."
4.  Using the library, generously.
5.  Buying over half of my clothes (the fancy ones) at thrift stores and the other half at Costco.
So you only  soak your own beans?! Girlfriend, we GROW our own, and shell Ďem. Hahaha!!!   The shelling is a p.i. t.a

I do everything on your list only our daily driver cars are only 11 years old but much lower mileage because we dont drive too much.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2020, 02:24:26 PM by iris lily »

secondcor521

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3040
  • Age: 51
  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Big cattle, no hat.
    • Age of Eon - Overwatch player videos
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2020, 03:58:10 PM »
Tomorrow I may walk about 3.5 miles to the airport to save myself the $12.78 Uber.  Takes about an hour, but is nice exercise and fresh air.

I would drive my 187K 1993 sedan, but it's not available to me tomorrow for reasons.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2020, 04:00:02 PM by secondcor521 »

ducky19

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 613
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2020, 08:19:04 AM »
I am a big fan of stealth wealth, especially went visiting my rentals. I drive a 2007 Pontiac Vibe with 165,000 miles. If I arrived on scene with a 100K Mercedes, I think my tenants wouldn't be as timely on paying the rent.

Ha! Likewise with the 2007 Vibe (although mine has 183k miles...). Thankfully we have good tenants in both of our rentals, but I do always drive my car when visiting our rentals.

ixtap

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2409
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2020, 10:29:38 AM »
To me, it isn't the frugal things we do that make it stealth wealth - I did most of those things when I was scraping by, when I was starting to thrive and just carry on through.

It is people's assumptions and reactions. Especially those moment that you want to say something, but it would either be judgmental or completely out yourself.

People who think we don't have any skin in the game when it comes to taxes. Because who would have a high net worth/income and choose to drive an older car or have a roommate, much less both?!

Relatives who say "it must be nice not to have car payments," but they update their car every other year.

People who can't get their head around the dichotomy between the luxury of a boat big enough to live on and the sadness of "having" to live on a boat. We must have finally dug ourselves out of a hole when we started renting a condo, too, how exciting. Uh, no, and it seems rather insensitive to suggest that landlubbing would be a move up in the world when everyone knows I love my boat.

When someone with a more luxurious lifestyle than you says "we can't afford X" and you respond with "we choose not to spend on that." Very borderline, but most people do seem to take it as a lesson in gratitude, rather than a brag.

When someone with an upper middle class lifestyle makes comments about how the other half lives and they mean richer people, not literally the other side of the median.  Oh, I'm sorry, when you started with that, I thought this was going to be a conversation about inequality or gratitude, not a screed against the .1%.


SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7117
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2020, 11:41:22 AM »
When someone with an upper middle class lifestyle makes comments about how the other half lives and they mean richer people, not literally the other side of the median.  Oh, I'm sorry, when you started with that, I thought this was going to be a conversation about inequality or gratitude, not a screed against the .1%.

Was nodding in agreement up until this.

Complaining about the 0.1% and a conversation about inequality aren't mutually exclusive.   In fact, most of the people I know ( including me) who discuss the 0.1% are discussing inequality...

ixtap

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2409
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2020, 11:55:15 AM »
When someone with an upper middle class lifestyle makes comments about how the other half lives and they mean richer people, not literally the other side of the median.  Oh, I'm sorry, when you started with that, I thought this was going to be a conversation about inequality or gratitude, not a screed against the .1%.

Was nodding in agreement up until this.

Complaining about the 0.1% and a conversation about inequality aren't mutually exclusive.   In fact, most of the people I know ( including me) who discuss the 0.1% are discussing inequality...

The ones I am referring to are just expressing jealousy about being able to buy more or better things. These are the property gospel types, not folks who think anyone at the top has too much. Except Soros, of course. He is the exception that proves to rule. Screed was probably the wrong word, but it is definitely a tone of jealousy I am referring to, a desire to be one of those and frustration at the taxes keeping one from being that rich
« Last Edit: September 11, 2020, 12:02:57 PM by ixtap »

bbqbonelesswing

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Philly
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2020, 02:02:27 PM »
3.  Buying cool stuff at thrift and having people say "that's neat" and saying, "Yeah, I got it at Goodwill."

You can get good stuff at Goodwill! Although we can afford not to, we get almost all of our clothes there. We wear a lot of nice name-brand stuff and guess what, it's all second-hand. Why pay full retail?

charis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2011
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2020, 02:22:46 PM »
I've had a few awkward conversations with friends who assume we are hurting for money (old cars, thrift/consignment shopping, public schools, "starter" home). For instance a friend worriedly asked me if we would be able to pay off the 0% credit card I mentioned getting for a home renovation within the year required.  I can only imagine the look on my face when I tried to figure how to respond appropriately.  Technically, I got the card because I want to max our IRAs for the year on Jan. 1, but I knew that would sound insane to this particular person.

We do very well at goodwill, most new or like new brand names and only brand new shoes.

ilsy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 198
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2020, 11:22:27 PM »
1. My tenants have no idea that all my rentals are free and clear (would be very hard to get the rent if they knew). In fact, very few people actually do know that.

2. My neighbors believe that I'm a hardworking poor single mom, who cannot afford to pay services (they all use) to mow my huge lawn, or shovel the driveway. I just think that it's a great way to exercise.

3. My co-workers have no idea that I don't really need to work. One time we got really comfortable with each other and started sharing our FICO scores. My 838 turned some heads, but I quickly explained that it's because I have many CCs and very small balance, and assured that if they applied to more CCs their score will go up too, eventually. I didn't elaborate that I get on average 5 new CC every year just because I cannot pass on the sign up bonuses, get approved to all of them and then sell as TLs. None of them knows how much I make by selling TLs (well, no one talks about TLs anyways). None of them realize that I can buy a brand new car with cash, but I would rather buy another rental that I can renovate and add to the portfolio.

4. I buy second-hand clothes because it's a sure way to know how clothes would look like after the laundry.

5. I grow my own tomatoes.

2sk22

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 478
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2020, 07:41:17 AM »
AS luck would have it, I was listening to the latest Mad Fientist podcast which is an interview with Morgan Housel. Housel made a great point that spending is visible but wealth is hidden. Highly recommend listening to this interview.

SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7117
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2020, 03:00:14 PM »
I was driving a 14 year old car that had been totaled by hail damage, and my wife was driving a 9 year old car (totaled in the same hail storm) with the side stove in because she misjudged where a pole was in a parking lot when we hit the double-comma club.  At that point we owned four houses (3 rentals), all fully paid for.


brooklynmoney

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
  • Location: Crooklyn
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2020, 08:25:48 PM »
Until this year I never owned a car and took the bus or subway or train or mostly walked. Just because I have a lot of financial assets doesnít mean Iím too good for the bus.

MasterStache

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2606
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2020, 06:22:22 AM »
Until this year I never owned a car and took the bus or subway or train or mostly walked. Just because I have a lot of financial assets doesnít mean Iím too good for the bus.
Or a bike ( :

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4175
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2020, 11:47:59 AM »
I'm unclear on something - are we bragging about not spending money on things, though we could? Because that's only really worthwhile if you truly enjoy growing your own beans, or sewing your own clothes, or whatever. If you're doing it because you just can't bring yourself to spend money because spending money is just too painful, then you're really just stuck in some kind of awful poverty mindset and that sucks.

The point of money is to use it as the tool it is to make your life (and the lives of others) better/happier in a reasonably efficient way. Not to have a ton of it and not spend it to prove how frugal you are.

-W

Malcat

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3195
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2020, 01:32:59 PM »
We live much, much more modestly than our peer group with similar incomes, but it's easy to estimate what we make based on our jobs, so there's no stealth here.

People don't assume we're not wealthy, they assume we're bloody weird.

brooklynmoney

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
  • Location: Crooklyn
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2020, 03:24:17 PM »
Until this year I never owned a car and took the bus or subway or train or mostly walked. Just because I have a lot of financial assets doesnít mean Iím too good for the bus.
Or a bike ( :

too scared. Everyone i know who rides a bike has been hit by a car in Brooklyn/Manhattan. See the verb: doored. Although then again almost everyone in my former running club has also been hit by a car haha.

frogstomp81

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 51
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2020, 04:16:41 PM »
My wife enjoys picking up usable items from the curb that people are throwing away. She got me to grab a floor lamp from our neighbors trash they had put out. I thought the neighbors were gone, but was unaware of their ring doorbell... he texted me later that day to tell me the switch on the lamp was broken... Anyhow we used the lamp anyway by plugging it into a switched outlet. Ever since then they've been giving us all kinds of hand-me-downs. We have no debt other than our house and are well on our way to being FIRE as we hit the 2 comma club this year.

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4175
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2020, 06:51:21 PM »
We were debatably 2-comma people (depends on if you count the house) when we trash-picked a broken dog crate (the fabric kind, not metal) for our then 1 year old to sleep in to prevent her from getting up and destroying the house in the nighttime. She slept in the dog crate for over a year.

I have difficulty not taking piles of food home from the town Christian Center where my family volunteers because the director thinks we're destitute due to us taking the bus/riding bikes and wearing secondhand clothes (in my case, with lots of holes burned in them from welding mishaps).

I have been, several times, been mistaken for a homeless person... BY A HOMELESS PERSON.

Beat that.

-W

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8154
  • Location: United States
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2020, 07:54:00 AM »
Until this year I never owned a car and took the bus or subway or train or mostly walked. Just because I have a lot of financial assets doesnít mean Iím too good for the bus.
Or a bike ( :

too scared. Everyone i know who rides a bike has been hit by a car in Brooklyn/Manhattan. See the verb: doored. Although then again almost everyone in my former running club has also been hit by a car haha.

I'm terrified to ride a bike for this reason too. My husband was hit by a car that ran a red light.  He was lucky it was a car and he bounced over the roof and not an SUV that would have gone over him. The resulting damage to his ankle means we will probably have to move when we get older because the cold weather is so painful.

Now he won't pull a trailer with our kids. And he's someone whose life has revolved around bikes- mountain biking, road racing, time trials.  He doesn't think streets are safe. 

(He does still occasionally ride his bike to work, but it's had to phase out with the need to occasionally take the kids to daycare and be available for an emergency pickup.  It scares me every single time.)

joe189man

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 82
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2020, 08:34:06 AM »
I'm unclear on something - are we bragging about not spending money on things, though we could? Because that's only really worthwhile if you truly enjoy growing your own beans, or sewing your own clothes, or whatever. If you're doing it because you just can't bring yourself to spend money because spending money is just too painful, then you're really just stuck in some kind of awful poverty mindset and that sucks.

The point of money is to use it as the tool it is to make your life (and the lives of others) better/happier in a reasonably efficient way. Not to have a ton of it and not spend it to prove how frugal you are.

-W

This,

bmjohnson35

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 171
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2020, 10:02:52 AM »
 
I remember attending my first project meeting in Atlanta about 10-12 years ago.  My manager introduced me to the group and I sat down at the large table.  I always wore a technician uniform and looked more like a janitor than middle management.  I sat there and listened to the discussion. About 20 minutes into the meeting, my manager asked me to comment on the contract language being discussed. When I finished providing my input, one of the city consultants politely asked me who I was again.  It was clear he had judged me based on my appearance.  Something he never did again.

Now that I am FIRED, I certainly don't appear wealthy. All of our vehicles are older, but none of them are "beaters."  I live in shorts and flip flops most of the time.  My spouse also prefers to dress casual.  We live this way by preference. Of course, since we no longer have a traditional income, we do have to be reasonable about how we spend our money.  Our largest expense bucket by a large margin is our annual vacation spending.  We simply prefer to spend our money on traveling than on shiny new things. 


Ockhamist

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 69
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2020, 12:06:25 PM »
AS luck would have it, I was listening to the latest Mad Fientist podcast which is an interview with Morgan Housel. Housel made a great point that spending is visible but wealth is hidden. Highly recommend listening to this interview.

That was a great interview.   

Particularly liked the quote (not quoted 100% to the letter but basically the same):  "People say they want to have a million dollars, but what they mean is that they want to spend a million dollars."

2sk22

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 478
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2020, 04:06:23 PM »
That was a great interview.   

Particularly liked the quote (not quoted 100% to the letter but basically the same):  "People say they want to have a million dollars, but what they mean is that they want to spend a million dollars."

I'm reading his book The Psychology of Money that he talked about in this interview. Very relevant to this topic and a great read.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1819
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2020, 08:21:31 PM »
I think part of it is that most of us donít abandon the habits that helped us get to this point.  When you develop habits of not wanting things, you donít suddenly change your view and priorities.  Some of it is worldview also.  We live simply, yet I reflect a lot on how abundant our life feels.

Being a consumer also consumes time that I simply want to spend in other ways.  I do not enjoy going clothes shopping at all, for instance.

billy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 140
  • Age: 38
  • Location: CA
  • tech + mmm = lot's of savings
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2020, 01:25:13 PM »
I think part of it is that most of us donít abandon the habits that helped us get to this point.  When you develop habits of not wanting things, you donít suddenly change your view and priorities.  Some of it is worldview also.  We live simply, yet I reflect a lot on how abundant our life feels.

Being a consumer also consumes time that I simply want to spend in other ways.  I do not enjoy going clothes shopping at all, for instance.

Yup, that's a very mustachian view.......I like it. This mustache forum is really outspoken minimalism, it's not about depreciation, just finding value   

ctuser1

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1218
Re: Stealth wealth -- If they only knew (stories)
« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2020, 02:56:04 PM »
I live in a distinctly working class neighborhood in an otherwise affluent city in one of the most affluent states in the country. Most of our neighbors don't quite know (or care) where we work and what we do. Some of them have sometimes taken my help to fix their computer troubles - and they probably think I do Geek Squad or something.

Anyway, my next door neighbors, an elderly couple, regularly gives us hand-me-downs that we graciously accept and use. They also often give us loads of fruits and veggies they firm in their backyard.

They have kids older than us who are financially struggling and regularly receive generous amounts of Financial Outpatient Care from the parents. So, by extension, they also think that just like most other people in our generation, we are struggling as well and need help!! They have told me as much. I just complained how expensive everything really is, in response!!

I really appreciate the hand-me-down's that save us a lot of money and veggies that taste fantastic, however!!

I have no idea how they would respond if they knew our net-worth. Or, maybe they themselves have stealth wealth - the do seem very frugal!

One time when they gave particularly expensive Christmas gifts to our kids, I had to request them to not give so expensive things as gifts as I do not want the kids to get the wrong kind of consumerist ideas!!