It hit me the other day that none of the people I know in the top 1% have ever revealed their incomes to me. I’ve got a good idea of how much they make and what their assets look like. But beyond some vagaries, details have never been disclosed. Contrast a top income earner’s desire for privacy to those who make less than $380,000 a year and income revelation is much more common.
In the post, “Never Tell Anybody Your Income” I highlight all the downsides of revelation. Most agree, but some don’t because they say it “inspires others” or simply don’t care. There may be some sort of inspiration involved, but what about those who get inspired to rob you for having more? It’s dangerous to hover outside of the middle class in today’s society. During the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, the wealthy Chinese were often flogged and publicly ridiculed.
If you read The Millionaire Next Door by Dr. Stanley, you will see the constant theme of being discreet with one’s wealth – drive old cars, wear discount clothing, live in a modest house and so forth. At the same time, it’s no fun being so parsimonious that you miss out on all the spoils of wealth. The large majority of surveyed participants are also older than the median American age of 35. Such millionaires spent their lifetimes building wealth. They aren’t about to have some stranger or the government try and take it away.
There are two main goals for this post. The first goal is to better understand why some people enjoy talking about their incomes. The second goal is to find a balance on this site for my own income revelations to be used as examples in future posts. It’s much more useful to see actual figures in an example rather than talk in percentages. At the same time, I don’t want to come across sounding like an arrogant bastard.