Without a doubt, one of the first thoughts that comes to a layperson’s mind when she thinks of ‘doctor’ is “wealth”. With doctors being historically stereotyped in well-dressed in professional attire, driving fancy cars, living in fancy houses, and large bill statements sent to patients, it is expected that doctors belong in the top 1% of America’s wealth. After all, would you want your doctor to be wearing Tevas (socks optional), a loud Aloha shirt, and driving a 20 year old Ford truck? Little do people know that doctors are not paid enough for their services, are at least a decade in financial health behind their peers, and also are unlikely have significant wealth.
Landscaping business owners, software developers, and plumbers—all of whom may have a sizable net worth—are not “expected” to portray wealth. Neither does the guy who wears torn jeans, a t-shirt, and a Hublot watch but owns several factories in Asia. Stealth wealth is easier to pull off in these scenarios.
The only thing worse than being viewed as a wealthy doctor is to actually be poor while appearing wealthy. For this reason alone, it may be worthwhile as a doctor to consider walking in the shadows for once. Below are some pros for doing so:
- Service industries will take advantage of you less. I was once at a chain brake repair garage having the brake pads on my 9 year old Impreza replaced. Another customer came in with a sub-3 year old Infiniti SUV to have an oil change was offered a “free” brake inspection and was talked into an urgent replacement of his timing belt. For those of you unfamiliar with vehicle maintenance, the likelihood of a timing belt needing replacement before year 5 is exceeding low. My timing belt at 9 years is nearing replacement, but still thick enough to function.
- Jealousy from friends and even family can manifest when money is involved. Do you really deserve being wealthy? Oh of course she can afford that, she’s a doctor. You will be judged and criticized even more if you’re rich.
- Solicitors will find you no matter what. If you make yourself a bigger target go ahead.
Comments or anecdotes on reasons why you keep your wealth invisible or tips to do so? Shout it out below!
2 thoughts on “Stealth Wealth: Keeping Your Money Invisible”
This was so short! I kept refreshing to see if my screen had frozen halfway through loading! I could think of a few other pro’s of being stealthily wealthy:
1. People think you’re NOT doing as well off as you are, so they are less likely to judge you for your more frugal choices if it’s a consistent pattern of behaviour.
2. You’re likely to actually get bargains when you ask for discounts or show that you’re not happy with the price you’re being quoted. I have frowned more than a few times where I thought I wasn’t getting the best deal–and got a better one! People are more willing to negotiate with you if they don’t believe you have money pouring out of your ears.
3. Your generosity is never taken for granted. I try (and struggle!) not to let my family and friends get into the habit of thinking I will bail them out of sticky financial situations, or foot the bill for special occasions. Because I don’t go around acting like I have money to burn, nobody expects me to bankroll everything so there is no (or hardly any) resentment when I don’t. And when I do, it’s actually appreciated that much more.
Just a few thoughts, but I’m sure there are plenty more.
Thanks for stopping by!
I like #2. I was playing the type of Mr. Frugal at one of the local car dealerships until one of the workers recognized me as one of their doctors. I was looking into a Ford Focus at the time. I ended up not buying that car for other reasons, but there was a moment of looking like a miser in the face of public perception.