The Rise of Stealth Wealth is here to stay as long as there’s an ever growing government and widening income inequality. It’s only a matter of time before enormous social unrest wipes the country clean of the wealthy like a tsunami. “Be rich, act poor,” is a mantra to protect our families and our finances.
The people who are ruining it for the rest of us with their “look at me” attitudes all have one thing in common: insecurity. Psychiatrists point to the need for people to overcompensate in order to prove they are not failures based on educational or socioeconomic “deficiencies.” There’s always a story behind each target-basking person. We should reach out to help, which in turn helps others survive.
I’ve provided specific reasons for why you want to join the Stealth Wealth movement along with 15 suggestions on how to blend in better. Now I’d like to propose some common phrases we can use in every day conversation to help deflect attention away from the curious and envious.
There’s a fine line between being modest, and being obsequiously modest. If people can tell your false modesty, you’re no better off than telling them you are the bomb shit.
USEFUL PHRASES TO DEFLECT YOUR WEALTH AND SUCCESS
In A Work Setting
“It was a team effort. I couldn’t have done it without Bob, Jane, and the support of my boss, Mary.” – In response to a big account win from a colleague.
“Just trying to survive and live the dream.” - In response to a promotion.
“I’m just taking things one day at a time. I hope I can make it out alive.” - In response to building a successful business.
“Maybe teamwork does make the dream work?” – A joking way to deflect work success.
“I think I’ve sprouted several new gray hairs and shortened my life by several years.” – In response to winning a new project.
“I’m not sure how it happened. I got really lucky and don’t deserve it, but I’ll take it while it’s here.” – In response to an inquiry on how you built a lifestyle business and escaped the rat race.
Talking About Consumption
“Costco has some great deals on ramen noodles.” - When someone asks how often you go out to eat or your grocery budget.
“There are so many electrical gremlins I wish I didn’t buy the car.” - In response to buying a luxury automobile.
“I haven’t taken a vacation in forever! I figure I might as well live it up a little until it’s back to the salt mines.” – In response to a friend asking how you can afford a two week Banyan Tree Resort vacation in Phuket.
“I’ve been saving for this trip for years. It’s too bad it’ll be over in a blink of an eye.” – Also in response to how you get to afford another international vacation.
“The bus is my favorite mode of transportation. It’s so freeing to not have to worry about parking.” - When someone asks how you get around even if you have a stable of vehicles.
“It’s a cheap knockoff. I can’t afford the real thing.” - In response to a brand name watch, purse, or accessory.
“Apple has this great trade-in program to make things more affordable now.” – In response to why you’ve always got a brand new iPhone.
Talking About Your Home
“I’m just house sitting for my parents. I’m helping pay their mortgage and all associated expenses” - In response to how you could live in a nice home of your own just a couple years out of college.
“I leveraged everything I owned back then to buy and just got lucky.” – In response to how you were so fortunate to have bought so long ago.
“There’s so much maintenance costs. My house is a money pit. It’s often times better to be a renter.” – In response to a renter who may be envious that you own your home.
“Ouch, my back hurts so much from spending all afternoon gardening and mowing the lawn.” – In response to a smaller home owner.
“Landlords are greedy and evil.” - In response to renters bashing landlords for raising the rent.
Talking About Early Retirement
“I’m unemployed and looking for work.” - In response to someone asking why you never seem to work even though you saved up enough so you don’t have to.
“I’m a consultant who also moonlights as a (tennis, language, music, etc) instructor in the afternoons.” – In response to someone asking why you always get to take so much vacation.
“I just got lucky with this one stock investment. I’m sure to pick loser after loser if you ask me to now.” – In response to how you were able to amass so much money so quickly.
“I sacrificed a lot of free time with my friends and family to be able to retire early.” – In response to a disbeliever who hates you for all your freedom.
“I missed out on a lot of life in order to save and invest. Now I can never get that time back, so I’m doing my best to make up for things now.” – To get them on your side.
“Stay at home men of the world, UNITE!“ – When anybody makes fun of you for living off your wife.
“Looks like Ray Allen really lucked out in the end, winning his second championship with Miami. Can’t believe Doc went to the Clippers and KJ and Pierce fled to Brooklyn.” – When talking about how the Boston Celtics completely detonated their lineup.
“How on Earth does Jason Kidd get to be head coach on his first go around? Do you think he is legally allowed to play point if enough teammates get injured?” – When talking about how people get to be head coaches in the league.
“NFL players get treated like pieces of meat – thrown out with no long term guaranteed contracts. No wonder why so many ex players struggle financially into their 30s and beyond.” – When comparing NBA, NFL, and MLB contracts.
“I wonder if MLS will ever take off? Maybe if they made the pitch smaller or the goal twice as wide the game would be more exciting.” – When talking to a parent or any soccer fan about the survival of Major League Soccer in the US and how we are still so far behind the rest of the world in interest.
“It’s a toss up between being a major leaguer and a pro golfer. If you can shoot even par on average at every tournament you enter you’ll earn a million bucks a year until forever! In MLB, those 8-10 year guaranteed contracts are sick!” – When fantasizing with a buddy which professional athlete you’d be if you had your wish.
“Raiders baby, Raiders!” – When watching a game at Oakland Coliseum.
“Russell Wilson is 5′ 10″ and plays QB for the Seahawks. Jamarcus Russell is 6’6″ with a canon arm and was out in five years. WTF?” – Venting with a Raiders fan.
“Are they going to change the name to the Santa Clara 49ers once the stadium is done?” – Venting with a 49ers fan about the one hour move south.
“Can’t believe the Patriots surrounded Brady with a bunch of rookie receivers.” – Venting with a Patriots fan.
“I wonder how much David Stern really makes? He’s like the untouchable Godfather.” – Small talk with any NBA fan.
“What’s up with $100 blood nose tickets?! I’d rather just watch the game at home.” – Venting with diehard sports fans who come out to support their team no matter how bad they are.
“Lob City is disrespectful. I hope DeAndre and Blake twist their ankles the next time they land.” – Venting with any team playing against the Clippers.
Talking About Wealthy People In General
“I would never want a trust fund. It would make me feel lazy, entitled, and useless.” - In response to a conversation bashing rich, spoiled kids even if you have one yourself.
“Kids of wealthy parents don’t know how good they have it. They try to pretend like they are one of us when they know they’ll always be taken care of no matter what.” – When venting with another about Gen Y.
“It’s easy for them to say we should all pay more taxes since they have so much money already!” – In discussion with Republicans who oppose Limousine Liberals who want to raise taxes on the rich working class.
“The rich should pay more of their fair share. Who needs so much money anyway?” – In discussion with those Democrats who support raising taxes on the rich even if they don’t have to pay more taxes themselves.
“I don’t see what’s so amazing about inheriting her wealth. It’s like being born pretty.” – In a discussion bashing wealthy people for being famous just because their parents or grandparents are wealthy.
“Rich people just don’t understand what the rest of us have to go through. They are living in a bubble.” – When you’re trying to empathize with someone who is so frustrated by a wealthier person’s success.
NEVER ATTRIBUTE YOUR WEALTH TO YOUR OWN DOING
If you have somehow been identified as an evil rich person you must do your best to denounce your status before backup arrives. If you cannot remember any of the lines above to help deflect your wealth, remember this line, “I know my luck will eventually run out.” It’s vital to always attribute your wealth to luck and never to your own hard work or risk taking.
You may secretly continue pursuing your wealth accumulation, but definitely do so through dummy corporations that make it hard to link the true owner. Reveal enough income and net worth to prove you are normal. Just keep total figures under wraps. Good luck!
Readers, any other phrases you’d like to include in the Stealth Wealth Compendium? I’d like to make this post as comprehensive as possible.
Photo: Ralph Ellison Memorial, Sculptor Elizabeth Catlett, 2003. Riverside Park, Manhattan.