Lawyers belong to that industry where looks and perceived success mean everything (well, for most people). Clients are always eager to judge a law firm based on its ranking, office interiors and lawyers’ outward appearance. And who wouldn’t? What you wear shows a little bit of what you are. A well-dressed person shows basic competence. I wouldn’t want to be represented by a lawyer who looks like a hobo. And courts would hold you in contempt if you come to court looking like a hobo.
What is stealth wealth anyway
So for lawyers, stealth wealth is a challenge to live by. I first read about stealth wealth from Financial Samurai, who essentially defines it as staying in the shadows while being covertly wealthy (are you wealthy?). He goes on to list suggested ways to remain stealthily wealthy.
Yes it’s possible to be a covertly rich lawyer
The most popular icon of stealth wealth (not really since everyone knows he’s rich) is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. He dresses in the same color shirt every work day. This just wasn’t possible for me. I’m a woman who likes color and variety and fashion are one of my very few creative outlets (other than this blog, physical fitness and finance). This would also be hard to do for most lawyers in corporate or litigation law practice, which requires costuming (see above).
So for apparel, stealth wealth may be hard to do. However there are other ways for lawyers to practice stealth wealth such as:
I drive a basic Toyota car–the brand of choice for most millionaires. Even if I have a car, I still take the occasional jeepney (public transport) for close places without parking / inconvenient parking. I also take cabs, Uber, grab, to the office, where there’s just no parking. It helps that I live only five minutes away. Our doorman often asks me why I don’t bring my car! In Manila I love taking the MRT to skip the traffic. So the next time you’re on public transport, you just might be seated next to a stealth millionaire!
I blog in relative anonymity about being a millionaire before 30. Most friends and colleagues just have no idea. Haha.
I brown bag it to lunch. Yes, I eat my baon for lunch. Brown bagging ensures you clean and healthy food (because food is home-cooked). I always have a piece of fruit, veggies, protein and carbohydrates. Aka a balanced diet.
I’m a busy woman so I often cook food in advance and freeze them. Frugal husband and I try to eat at home as much as possible. I’m not afraid of eating at street eateries / carenderia. I’m just more discerning now on cleanliness.
I’m a millionaire who still often shops at the wet market / palengke / carbon. I’ve already written about what a huge bargain it is to buy fresh vegetables and fruits at CARBON. I Iove carbon there’s so much cheap stuff there. I’m also not iffy about wearing vintage / ukay ukay / second-hand clothes.
I’m a millionaire who’s low maintenance on entertainment. Frugal husband and I live a simple life. On Sundays we just go to church, buy grocery then head home. A nice afternoon could be spent just staying in, just sipping instant iced coffee while watching a movie with the sunshine bathing our home with natural light. We don’t go out a lot.
I’m a millionaire who doesn’t live in a mansion. Our home is small but feels huge to the both of us! I live in a centrally located area close to everything though.
I do my best everyday to live a simple life, free from frivolous expenses. I don’t live the life of a flashy millionaire but I love keeping my saving rate at a rate of at least 50% and above. I enjoy the challenge of keeping costs down. Most of all, I enjoy watching my net worth grow as a result, which is now close to the second million. I love the feeling of financial security and having F#ck You money in case of job loss. These are things that are just beyond the comprehension of financially illiterate individuals (majority of pinoys evidently). You reader, are not among those as you’re reading this site. Hehe.
Stealth wealth ensures that people are friends with you not for your money but for you. It helps you evade the typical Pinoy envy-driven response to money: you got that money by dirty means; you made money your God, Lord will provide (even if you do nothing); money doesn’t ensure happiness. These are just not productive thoughts to live by. I’ve already written how financial literacy and religion don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Stealth wealth is easier to practice in the Philippines, where most pinoys are still blinded by outward appearance of wealth. Join the club!
I issue you this challenge: Can you do stealth wealth?