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.
“I’m a CAK. There’s definitely no way I deserve this job!” – A humorous, self-effacing answer about how you got your great position.
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.
“My parents actually bought my house for me.” – When a colleague finds out you live in a sweet pad.
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.
“Early retirement can get very lonely since all your friends are at work.” – When someone asks what early retirement is really like?
“Stay at home men of the world, UNITE!“ – When anybody makes fun of you for living off your wife.
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.
“No wonder why Millennials don’t give a damn about money!” – Highlighting a great study you read on Financial Samurai where the typical millennial expects to inherit over $1M!
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.
Updated for 2020 and beyond.