5 Reasons Stealth Wealth Is the Best Wealth


Some people who have a lot of money like to show it off. They buy large houses, expensive cars, and all the toys you can imagine. But others keep their affluence on the down low. They don't look any different from anyone else, but they have some serious cash stashed away.

These folks have what is known as stealth wealth. They are worth way more than they appear to be, and they often manage to retire early or follow their dreams in some other way that surprises the people around them — people who never realized they had that kind of money.

Sure, showing off your money is fun. But stealth wealth has its advantages, too.

1. It's real

The biggest advantage of stealth wealth is that it's real. So many people who live extravagant lifestyles are actually broke, living paycheck to paycheck, without savings for retirement or anything else. They are spending all their money maintaining their lifestyle without accumulating much of anything for later. Sure, their things are nice, but that's all they have.

Others are in debt. They don't actually have the wealth to maintain their lifestyle, so they are burdened by loans and all of the stress that comes with spending a lot more money than you make. (See also: 5 "When You're Rich" Dream Buys That Aren't That Great)

2. It lets you fly under the radar

Sometimes it's nice to fly under the radar. If you don't look wealthy, people won't ask you for loans. They won't ask you to support their wild new business scheme. They won't bug you for investment tips. And sometimes, that's what you want.

Most people with stealth wealth have hobbies and interests that go beyond their money, and they just aren't that interested in talking about finance. Sure, they've invested well and made wise choices, but there's not that much more to say about it. So keeping their affluence hidden means fewer question-and-answer sessions about money.

Flying under the radar also means you don't have to keep up with the Joneses. If people don't realize you're wealthy, they won't expect you to buy a bigger house, drive a nicer car, or shop at expensive stores. The pressure is off, so you are free to make whatever financial decisions are best for you.

3. It allows you to aim beyond accumulating stuff

Stealth wealth offers a way to live life focused on experiences, rather than material goods, a strategy that's been proven to make people happier. If you want to give a lot to charity, you can do that. If you want to take a couple of seriously luxurious vacations every year, you can do that, too. Or, you can just focus on micro-experiences, like dinners out with friends, more often.

That's the freedom that comes from not being tied to expensive payments on a home, a car, or a designer wardrobe. (See also: 10 Habits of Financially Happy People)

4. It's empowering

Sometimes, people with showy wealth begin to believe that their happiness is tied to ever greater consumption. They feel like they have to have lots of nice things, and the money to get more, or they will be miserable. It's a spiral of discontent. The more they buy, the more they feel they need to buy. They become slaves to their ostentatious lifestyle.

Folks with stealth wealth don't usually fall into this trap. Instead, they are using their money to achieve a goal. Whether that's early retirement or traveling the world, they aren't distracted by the pursuit of shiny objects. Instead, they know what will make them happy and have chosen to order their lives to attain that. Money is a tool toward happiness, not happiness itself.

5. It offers freedom from work

Many folks with stealth wealth are working toward early retirement. They know that they will be happier not being tied to a desk or an office in a day job. They are accumulating wealth so they can enjoy freedom from the working world.

Chasing ostentatious things, on the other hand, can tie you to a job you don't really want. In order to maintain payments on a mansion and a luxury car, you may have to keep working to pay those bills. While that's a perfectly acceptable way to live, it doesn't offer the same freedom that stealth wealth can give.

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