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Stealth Wealth Tactics

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  • Avatar Dr_JB 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 21
    Joined: 01/10/2016

    I’m hoping for some insight from any of you who might be a bit uncomfortable demonstrating, discussing, or otherwise divulging your wealth and/or income.

    Right now, I’m able to practice stealth wealth fairly easily, as I play the poor resident card: I ride my bike to the hospital, pack my own lunches, take modest vacations, usually by car.  (I am a resident physician, by the way.)

    However, as I look to complete residency training in a well-paying specialty in a couple of years and relocate to another part of the country, I am looking for ideas how to conceal my level of wealth and income from all but the closest friends.  Okay, I’d not even want my close friends knowing about my abundant wealth and income.  What ideas or alternate side-jobs could I use as an attention-diverting story?

    How do you answer these kinds of questions without letting the cat out of the bag:

    Why did you move to town?

    Where do you work?

    What did you do back in your old town?

    I’d appreciate any stories you might have about your transition out of residency.

    Thanks,

    JB

    #17024 Reply
    The White Coat Investor The White Coat Investor 
    Keymaster
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 4293
    Joined: 05/13/2011

    I’m hoping for some insight from any of you who might be a bit uncomfortable demonstrating, discussing, or otherwise divulging your wealth and/or income.

    Right now, I’m able to practice stealth wealth fairly easily, as I play the poor resident card: I ride my bike to the hospital, pack my own lunches, take modest vacations, usually by car.  (I am a resident physician, by the way.)

    However, as I look to complete residency training in a well-paying specialty in a couple of years and relocate to another part of the country, I am looking for ideas how to conceal my level of wealth and income from all but the closest friends.  Okay, I’d not even want my close friends knowing about my abundant wealth and income.  What ideas or alternate side-jobs could I use as an attention-diverting story?

    How do you answer these kinds of questions without letting the cat out of the bag:

    Why did you move to town?

    Where do you work?

    What did you do back in your old town?

    I’d appreciate any stories you might have about your transition out of residency.

    Thanks,

    JB

    Click to expand…

    I used to play this game, but then decided to go ahead and post my blog income on the internet for all to see, and now it’s a lot harder to be “Stealth Wealth.” That said, I feel like I still run into lots of people with a higher income than mine. You’re always poor compared to someone.

    In your situation, this is really easy, since you aren’t even close to being wealthy. You are probably worse than broke. Shouldn’t be tough to pretend you’re poor. All you have to do is hide the fact that you have an MD/DO behind your name so they don’t make false assumptions.

    Why did you move to town? – I just took a job in customer service down at the hospital. What do you do for a living?

    Where do you work? – Down at the hospital. What do you do for a living?

    What did you do back in your old town? – I was in customer service at a hospital there too. What do you do for a living?

    But seriously, this never works. People used to ask me what I did and I said, “I’m in the Air Force.” But they’d dig deeper. “I work at the hospital”…..”I work in the emergency department”…..”I help take care of the patients”……Then they say, “You’re a doctor, aren’t you?”

    At least now I can say, “I’m a professional blogger.” That seems to work better and believe it or not, most people don’t connect “professional blogger” with a six figure income.

    Site/Forum Owner, Emergency Physician, Blogger, and author of The White Coat Investor: A Doctor's Guide to Personal Finance and Investing
    Helping Those Who Wear The White Coat Get A "Fair Shake" on Wall Street since 2011

    #17025 Reply
    ACN ACN 
    Moderator
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 571
    Joined: 01/08/2016

    I’m a professional bloggers forum moderator.  😛

    If you're ever having a bad day, just remember in 1976 Ronald Wayne sold his 10% stake in Apple for $2,300.

    #17030 Reply
    Liked by Craigy, Ivy, Docbeans
    Avatar Dr_JB 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 21
    Joined: 01/10/2016

    I suppose I’m a professional blog writers forum contributor.

    #17032 Reply
    Liked by Craigy, Docbeans
    PhysicianOnFIRE PhysicianOnFIRE 
    Moderator
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1516
    Joined: 01/08/2016

    I do my best to avoid talk of profession when meeting new people, but it generally comes up pretty quick.  10+ years ago as a resident, I might have said I was an orderly or something similar, to someone I’d never see again.  These days, I just say what I do (anesthesiologist) and move on.

    Anyone who knows what you do will have an idea that you have a good income.  Your options are to accept that or tell small lies.  I think if you continue to live and act in a modest way, people will judge you positively when they learn you are a physician.  By not fitting their stereotype of a doctor (ego, luxury car, etcetera), you can make a good impression.

     

     

    40-something anesthesiologist and personal finance blogger @ https://physicianonfire.com [Part of the WCI Network] Find me on Twitter: @physicianonfire

    FIRE. Financial Independence. Retire Early.

    #17033 Reply
    Liked by IMDoc, Zaphod
    Avatar Dicast 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 406
    Joined: 01/09/2016

    I don’t think it is worth the effort to hide your profession.  When people ask I just rip it off like a bandaid and move on.  I tried hiding it for awhile but people just aren’t satisfied with vague descriptions of your occupation and I don’t have the time to craft up believable lies.

    Get outside of your bubble.

    #17036 Reply
    Liked by Zaphod
    Avatar Megalops 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 27
    Joined: 02/05/2016

    It’s probably not as big of a deal as you are making it. Most of it boils down to how you carry yourself. I live in the same small city I grew up in. Most people know I’m a doctor. They also know I live in a modest home, drive very average cars and don’t sport a Rolex (or any watch for that matter). I don’t talk about how much I’m saving each month with non-MD friends. I’d be willing to divulge a 15 year mortgage if it ever came up but probably not much more.

    #17039 Reply
    hatton1 hatton1 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2981
    Joined: 01/11/2016

    I was lucky.  Being female new people assumed that I was a nurse.  If you want to be stealthy watch the auto

    #17052 Reply
    Avatar jhwkr542 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1151
    Joined: 02/15/2016

    This is sadly so true. If I tell people I work at a hospital, they assume I’m a doctor. My peds wife is always thought to be a nurse.
    If I’m making small talk with somebody, as a pathologist, I just tell them I work in the lab, doing all sorts of things. I could tell them I’m a pathologist, and I guess lots of people still wouldn’t know I’m a doctor. I agree it’s about how you live with people making assumptions about your income. Big house, fancy car? You must be wealthy. Average house, average car? He/she must not be making that much.

    #17058 Reply
    Liked by Craigy, Zaphod, hatton1
    Avatar Dru 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 51
    Joined: 01/09/2016

    I just tell people I’m a pediatrician (which is true). I think that causes most people to underestimate my income compared to if I said Doctor. I once saw an ad for a telehealth company: reach a doctor or pediatrician 24/7. Wtf?

    Of course you won’t have that card, so buy a nice but reasonable car.

    #17079 Reply
    Liked by jfoxcpacfp
    NaOH NaOH 
    Participant
    Status: Pharmacist, Spouse
    Posts: 112
    Joined: 01/09/2016

    .

    "Don't fear failure - not failure, but low aim, is the crime.
    In great attempts it is glorious even to fail."

    #17112 Reply
    Avatar asmallchild 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 58
    Joined: 01/09/2016
    comfortable demonstrating, discussing, or otherwise divulging your wealth and/or income. Right now, I’m able to practice stealth wealth fairly easily, as I play the poor resident card: I ride my bike to the hospital, pack my own lunches, take modest vacations, usually by car.  (I am a resident physician, by the way.) However, as I look to complete residency training in a well-paying specialty in a couple of years and relocate to another part of the country, I am looking for ideas how to conceal my level of wealth and income from all but the closest friends.  Okay, I’d not even want my close friends knowing about my abundant wealth and income.  What ideas or alternate side-jobs could I use as an attention-diverting story? How do you answer these kinds of questions without letting the cat out of the bag: Why did you move to town? Where do you work? What did you do back in your old town? I’d appreciate any stories you might have about your transition out of residency. Thanks, JB

    Click to expand…

    “Why did you move to town?” For work reasons.

    “Where do you work?” I work at XYZ (the practice I work for happens to be the same name of a big local bank in town as well).

    “Oh so you’re a banker?” Sure.

    I also live in a house that’s worth <40% of what I make annually (gotta love high pay and low cost of living) and drive the same midsize sedan that I’ve had since residency.

    #17113 Reply
    Avatar Bob K 
    Participant
    Status: Dentist
    Posts: 2
    Joined: 01/27/2016

    IMO, you are too concerned with this.  Most people don’t care all that much, and the ones who do really aren’t worth worrying about.  Live how you want to live, and don’t spend your life worrying about what other people think.

    #17135 Reply
    Liked by Craigy, hatton1
    Zaphod Zaphod 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 5758
    Joined: 01/12/2016

    IMO, you are too concerned with this.  Most people don’t care all that much, and the ones who do really aren’t worth worrying about.  Live how you want to live, and don’t spend your life worrying about what other people think.

    Click to expand…

    I agree. This rarely comes up. Dont go to the store in a Ferrari and sparkly suit, dont strike up random conversations, and as long as you dont act like a tool, no one will care at all. I would never lie about what I do, I mean whats the point in that? Be overly vague or awkward, at times, if I’ll never see you again and dont really want to chat deeper, but the concerns are unfounded.

    The only people that will randomly come up to you are yahoos trying to get you into their pyramid schemes (amway, hlf, etc…).

    #17137 Reply
    Liked by Craigy, hatton1
    Rando Rando 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 202
    Joined: 01/08/2016

    IMO, you are too concerned with this.  Most people don’t care all that much, and the ones who do really aren’t worth worrying about.  Live how you want to live, and don’t spend your life worrying about what other people think.

    Click to expand…

    I agree. This rarely comes up. Dont go to the store in a Ferrari and sparkly suit, dont strike up random conversations, and as long as you dont act like a tool, no one will care at all. I would never lie about what I do, I mean whats the point in that? Be overly vague or awkward, at times, if I’ll never see you again and dont really want to chat deeper, but the concerns are unfounded.

    The only people that will randomly come up to you are yahoos trying to get you into their pyramid schemes (amway, hlf, etc…).

    Click to expand…

    I also concur.  The biggest thing is don’t flaunt your wealth and don’t be a jerk.  No one has asked me how much I make in 15 years or so and I wouldn’t tell them anyway, just say you don’t like to talk about that.

     

    If people ask me what I do I tell them and it’s usually no big deal.

    #17139 Reply
    Liked by hatton1, Zaphod

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