In Discussions, Money, Wealth

Why do we want to show off when we don’t have money, but stay hidden when we do?

I’ve always found it rather odd in human behaviour that people who don’t have millions are dying to show it off with high-status goods, but people who HAVE millions, even billions, tend to keep quietly to themselves.

Of course, there are always those (outliers?) who don’t want to show off without millions, and those who have a lot of money and feel the need to buy a superyacht, McMansion x 100 and all the cars they can afford.

It’s just an interesting thing to think about:

When we don’t have money, we feel the need to pretend like we do.

When we do have money, we don’t feel the need to show it.

In fact, as humans, we may actively go to hide it.

A timely post popped up from Yahoo Finance on this: Ultra-rich in Canada ($30M net worth or more) actively fly under the radar.

Think of all the ordinary millionaires next door who basically wear shorts and flip flops rather than thousand-dollar suits everyday just because it’s more comfortable.

It’s almost like the trappings of being rich (suits, high heels, fitted, tailored clothing), are a prison for them and a sign of NOT being rich.

Just as I think that someone who wears a rather uncomfortable-looking formal suit and tie in my profession is really just trying to compensate for his or her lack of skills and knowledge.

Or how about the billionaires like Ingvar Kamprad, Warren Buffett, or even Mark Zuckerberg who have never felt the need to buy a massive castle, a Rolls Royce in every colour, or any other rich trapping?

They’re comfortable with who they are, and don’t feel the need to shove their wealth and net worth in other people’s faces.

In fact, they’re probably very careful to avoid showing off as much as possible to not get accosted for charities, or because they’re already very rich and famous to begin with, and would probably value a little privacy.


(I personally would like the riches, but not the fame. Can you imagine not being able to go to the grocery store and shop for mundane items?)

So why can’t we (who probably don’t have millions and billions) have the same attitude today?

We should be happy with what we already have, not show off how much we have or don’t have, and live without the goal of showing off or impressing others.

There’s no real benefit in showing off, in my opinion. I don’t see what I would gain from such an interaction other than emotions fired up on either side — jealousy and pride … neither of which are attractive qualities.

Prime example:

most-expensive-burger-douche-burger-nyc

So let’s just all act like millionaires and billionaires in our life, shall we?

Live simply, comfortably and without the pressing need to wave big fat wads of cash in other people’s faces.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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Posted on July 29, 2015

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15 Comments

  1. Tim liang

    Hallo Me an a mysterious 26 old Chinese multi millionaire
    who probably is joining the billion $ club in a few years thanks to daddy.
    The thing is , those rich old men who doesn’t show off doesn’t mean that they don’t buy good stuffs
    in fact at least 9 out of 10 gets good stuffs and gets young secret girlfriends
    And yes of course they love to show off !
    Who doesn’t?
    But as most of them r born leaders they feel that is not the way to gain respects , so they don’t
    Many sports star/celebrities/ lottery winners / bad boys who has lots of muscles and not as much brain would just love to show off , which is fine , it will get u a lot of girls , and it feels good
    Of course there r rich rich people like warren buffet out there who lives in a trailer but I think he’s an alien
    Btw I do wear flip flops and shorts everyday at work and dating models!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      LOL well as long as you’re secure.

      Reply
  2. Chris

    28 yr old multi-million stepping in. Goals of reaching a billion, no joke. It’s a long road I hear, and very few make it.

    We are a product of our environment, and we’re all so very unique. I know billionaires who keep quiet (Warren Buffet) comes to mind. But Warren can’t function in society. Honestly I don’t think he’d know how to make KD or cereal. Again, no joke. Warren loves business, going to the office and reading, reading, thinking and reading more. A car is just a tool for him. A to B.

    Whereas there’s a billionaire in Toronto who owns a 7 million dollar condo, has a 15 car garage, stacked with beautiful exotic cars. He also owns several other properties, vacation homes etc. He enjoys cars, he enjoys the feeling of driving a Ferrari, and likely the attention that goes with it. He enjoys spending his money on materials that bring happiness to him, and family/friends.

    There’s no set rule for us, but we all share one thing in common – we do whatever the fuck we want, whenever the fuck we want.

    What happens is you hit a point and money does not matter. Paying $1000 for a bottle of wine is like paying $50 bucks for it, so it all blends in. You then focus on your passions, and invest time and money into them.

    Mark zuckerberg may not drive a Ferrari, but he’s invested millions into passion projects. Some that have failed miserably, and you don’t see or hear about it because it doesn’t stick out like driving and crashing a Ferrari does.

    What I’m saying is, we’re all different, fuck money, chase dreams!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      LOL.. “Honestly I don’t think he’d know how to make KD or cereal.” .. that part is true, he doesn’t seem like a normal person. Gifted for sure, but not “normal”.

      I like your last line and frankly, as long as we are happy, forget the money and just make sure you cover the basics.

      Reply
  3. Jaime

    I imagine its because they have nothing to prove anymore. There’s a certain satisfaction they have now that they’re no longer broke and are able to save, spend, give away as they wish. They also don’t want to attract moochers and the wrong people into their lives.
    I imagine people who are showy like the Kardashians and Hiltons only interact with people of their social status. Most people interact with others that have similar incomes, it’s easier to fit in when your friends can do the same things with you.

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      That’s a perfect answer: They have nothing to prove.

      Reply
  4. PK

    Can you get me two of those burgers?

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Better yet I’ll make them for you for $6666 each.

      Reply
  5. MakintheBacon

    I find a lot of people who make a lot of money like to show off just because they can and they want to make other people jealous. Like the Shania Twain song, “That don’t impress me much.” Just keep it simple.

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      My post was more that rich people don’t like to show off. The truly rich I mean, not the fake, flashy celebrity rich. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Liquid_Independence

    Some rich people like to show off like the Kardashians lol. I like the idea of showing others I live a plain, modest lifestyle even when I become a million one day. The problem with telling people you have money sometimes it’s difficult to tell if your friends like you for who you are or for your nice car and pool table ;0) That douche burger looks pretty good actually, but NOT worth that price tag.

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      I’d agree with not telling people you have money. Your (fake) friends start to think they can take advantage of you, or even real friends could feel resentful and jealous.

      I tend to keep mum, unless asked. Or if they know me through my blog.

      That burger did look really good… but I think I could make it myself. It’d just cost a lot.

      Reply
  7. Cassie

    I don’t think it’s a case of showing off or hiding so much as it is a case of cause and effect. The people who don’t spend their money on flashy stuff have more of it to save and invest, therefore ending up with comparatively more money in the end. I’d be willing to bet if Warren Buffet shopped and acted like your typical middle class guy when he started out investing, he wouldn’t be where he is today. At least not to the same degree.

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      True. But I also feel that people with money actively do (to some extent) avoid being conspicuous.

      Reply

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