Don’t Act Rich. Be Rich.

September 21, 2017

This is a rocking guest post by friend and fellow blogger Andrew. Leave him a comment after you read.

I used to work in Housing Court and dealt with people who were unable to pay rent. However, many of them had expensive smartphones, name-brand clothing, flashy jewelry, and high-end handbags.

As part of my job, I even visited their homes and I would see that they had huge flat screen TVs, the latest tech gadgets and sometimes even an expensive car parked in the driveway. One person even said that he would not be able to make it to the Court date regarding his non-payment of rent because he was going on a cruise.

Of course, many people who couldn’t afford to pay their rent may have had legitimate reasons such as loss of job or medical bills, but there were also many who couldn’t afford to pay rent because they spent it on something else.

Many strive to be rich, and there is nothing wrong with such ambition. However, it seems that many choose to purchase the material possessions of what they observe the “rich” have rather than work to become truly rich. Watching reality television shows us that “rich” people drive fancy cars, live in extravagant houses, take exotic vacations and wear high-end designer clothes.

So to feel rich, we buy and finance expensive cars when an older model used car would accomplish the same task of taking us from point A to point B. We buy huge McMansions to live in and pay to maintain it, even though a much smaller house would fit our needs better. We buy overpriced designer clothes that we will probably barely wear, even though there are much cheaper clothing options that perform just as well. We do this in the hopes of appearing and feeling rich.

But do you want to act like you’re rich or do you want to actually be rich?

While we spend so much time reading magazines and watching television to see what the rich have, we often fail to take the steps to actually build wealth. Now of course we aren’t talking about the wealth some celebrities have gained from their athletic prowess or from leaking a sex tape. No, the media likes to glamorize those types of rich people.

More often than not, those who suddenly come into a lot of money will spend that money extravagantly. However, the majority of millionaires in this country are normal, humble and hard-working people. Read The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley if you’re interested in learning more about how most millionaires live.

These normal millionaires don’t make frivolous purchases or buy things to try and show off their wealth. Instead, they live below their means and buy only what they need. They don’t buy expensive cars, but instead buy reliable used vehicles with cash. Rather than trying to keep up with the Joneses by buying luxury goods, they prefer to save and invest the money they earn. These millionaires might not have reality television shows about their lives and they don’t have the trappings of the celebrity rich, but many are financially free and have few worries about money.

So would you rather be rich or just act like you’re rich?

Author Bio: Andrew lives with his wife and little baby boy in one of the highest cost of living areas in the world: New York City (Queens). He wants to live frugally while enjoying life in the big city. He wants to have his cake and eat it too! Follow him on his financial journey on his blog Living Rich Cheaply.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

37 Comments on "Don’t Act Rich. Be Rich."

avatar
Amanda @ Passionately Simple Life
Amanda @ Passionately Simple Life

Ever since reading the Millionaire Next Door, I realized that the true millionaires are those who can’t really be spotted. It made me really look at people and their spending habits, and realize that my friends who spent money willy nilly really did not have the money to spend.

Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

I know, it is an eye-opening book. I used to think the same thing that those with nice things meant that they were wealthy…not always true.

Thomas @ i need money ASAP!
Thomas @ i need money ASAP!

Hey Andrew, I remember someone once told me that the only thing you could really tell about someone’s finances is how much they spend. Not how much their worth. Not how much they make. We have a bit of a social stigma around sharing personal financial info. But maybe sharing this info would help us identify the people who are truly rich. We could then raise them up as examples rather than those who just spend a lot and look rich. I bet it would help prevent a lot of people from getting into silly consumer debt.

Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

Yes that would be a good idea. But I guess living a frugal life isn’t exciting so the examples of the truly rich who live that lifestyle never make it into the media.

Done by Forty
Done by Forty

I really enjoyed this post, Andrew. There’s something really powerful in that dichotomy: showing vs. being. In the case of money, sometimes you have to pick. Outward displays of wealth often, and ironically, lessen that wealth…sometimes dramatically. But we’re social creatures, too. It’s unrealistic to think we can just rise above the need for status.

Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

Good point…I try to rise above the need for status as best I can. I’m pretty good at it, but there are times it is hard when it seems that EVERYONE is doing it. You’re right, we are social creatures and we don’t want to be the one left out of the group.

Dr Bongo
Dr Bongo

I actually am considered rich. I have enough money to retire with an annual income of $150,000 in perpetuity with the principal of my investments still growing, given a decent stock market.
I got there slowly. Never drove the BMWs, etc. Hit a million in investments at age 44.
I love my Rolex -which I bought used- and a small boat, but ostentatious displays of wealth shows bad taste.
I like giving money away to people who are struggling- the working poor not on welfare- and to charities.
That is fun …..

Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

Wow that’s very impressive Dr. Bongo. I absolutely agree that ostentatious displays of wealth show bad taste. Unfortunately, many feel the opposite…they seem to strive for that.

E.M.
E.M.

I see this quite often, too. People will come in to our animal shelter saying that they can’t afford to take care of their pets, meanwhile they’re driving some expensive car, and they have name-brand clothing on. I guess people just have different priorities…obviously, taking a cruise is much more important than paying rent!

Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

I know…it really seems a lot people have their priorities out of whack!

Debt and the Girl
Debt and the Girl

Lifestyle inflation can be a very dangerous thing. I am making more money but I need to check myself so I don’t end up broke in the end. It can be a tricky thing. It is so easy to fall in that trap.

Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

It definitely can be a dangerous thing if we don’t pay attention to our spending habits. All too often people will think…I’m making more now so I can afford to spend more. I try to increase my automated savings contributions so I don’t think I actually have more money each paycheck.

Mrs Y
Mrs Y

When I read the tile, The Millionaire Next Door automatically came across my mind. You are more than 100% correct about the rich acting like they are not rich. The true millionaires next door drives that old car and brings lunch to work. They are well aware of their net worth by not spending money on the luxuries, but creating more wealth by spending smartly and investing.

Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

It’s a great book and it definitely inspired me to think way about money.

Meghan
Meghan
I agree with the premise of the post and that we should live in a way to get wealthy, not show off fake wealth. I just want to point out that the TV may have been bought by someone else (my ex boyfriend bought mine while I was paying off debt because I didn’t care to purchase a TV and he wanted to be able to watch it), my brother is on food stamps while he goes to school and works full time at Target (he’s been there 9 years) but I have him on my cell phone plan and… Read more »
Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

You’re right Meghan, we shouldn’t just judge somebody by those possessions because we don’t necessarily know them and their circumstances. Although there are definitely people I know who are living this lifestyle and they can’t afford to keep it up. Glad to hear that you have great financial habits.

Kendal @HassleFreeSaver
Kendal @HassleFreeSaver

Great post, Andrew. It’s so true that many people are more concerned about looking rich than working toward financial wealth. I loathe reality TV about silly celebrities for many reasons, including the frivolous way in which they treat their millions. Ridic!

Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

Thanks Kendal! Yea I’m with you on that…the way those celebrities spend money drives me nuts. All that money can do so much good, yet it’s just wasted.

Addison @ Cashville Skyline
Addison @ Cashville Skyline

‘The Millionaire Next Door’ was a real eye-opener for me. Fortunately, I already live in a reasonably priced neighborhood, drive an affordable car, and hardly ever buy expensive clothes. The exceptions are when I really need something new. In that case, I prefer to purchase a quality product that I’ll have for several years. I hope that as I grow older I continue to care less and less about material possessions.

Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

Buying a quality product is a good idea since it lasts longer…sometimes the “name brand” products that people buy aren’t necessarily better quality…they just are trendy or popular.

Heidi @ Thriftytricks
Heidi @ Thriftytricks

This post was shared all over Twitter so I had to come check 🙂 An great point in this article. I know so many people who say they can’t afford to ‘go to school’ or to ‘move out on their own’, but they still own expensive cars, phones, etc.

Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

Pretty cool to hear it’s been shared all over Twitter! Yes, there’s a reason why they can’t afford it!

Kathy
Kathy
Hey, don’t dish my designer handbags. I have some that are over 15 years old and I still carry them from time to time! But truthfully, what you describe is the “Big Hat = No Cattle” syndrome the Texans talk about. Nothing wrong with having that stuff if you can afford it. But if they can’t pay the rent…..well they got big problems my friend. The person going on the cruise reminded me about a former co-worker who complained one day she didn’t have money for groceries. I suggested she take some money out of her vacation fund to buy… Read more »
Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

Never heard of that saying…you learn something new everyday. Hey nothing wrong with designer handbags if they make you happy…I mean you’re retired…you should enjoy it. I’ve made similar suggestions to people to cut expenses when they are in financial trouble. Usually they aren’t too receptive to those suggestions so I just keep them to myself…and on my blog!

Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

I 100% agree with your “a” and “b,” and it is the same reason why I don’t inflate my lifestyle even though I have more money now. Cars seem to be a big expense for most people and they often spend more than they can afford on them. It’s as if a car payment is normal. I’ve also noticed people who earn more than me who seem to have a lot less disposable cash than I do. Don’t know where that extra money goes…but they’re surely not saving it.

Income Surfer
Income Surfer

It’s very true. There is a huge difference between acting rich and being rich. I volunteer at a soup kitchen every week in my home town. Many of the patrons, some of whom really are homeless, have top notch smart phones and hundreds of dollars worth of gold jewelry (and teeth). My wife and I try to strike a balance, and have just what we NEED. I think we do a pretty good job, but it’s clear not everyone is trying to do the same thing.
-Bryan

Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

I’ve had the same experience. While it isn’t true for the everyone, but when I’ve volunteered at a soup kitchen, I’ve seen people with fur coats and other expensive accessories. I guess it could have been donated or something, I don’t know. It is very odd to see that though.

FrugalityMagazine.com
FrugalityMagazine.com
I agree with this sentiment. Over the last few years I’ve paid off a sizable amount of debt, while increasing my income thanks to a few side-hustles and a couple of pay raises at work. I’ve got more “disposable” cash than ever before yet outwardly I still look and behave like the same old me. I don’t drive an expensive car. I don’t live in a large house. I don’t take expensive vacations. I *could* do, but I choose not to because I know that: a) The pleasure of these items would likely be fleeting b) I’d rather “invest” my… Read more »
wpDiscuz