City thinking, local knowledge

Would You Disguise Your Wealth?

By Questa Chartered

Here’s a fascinating story.  A couple in the UK have revealed that they have hidden their £3 million fortune from their family by driving a cheap car and even cutting their own hair. They have been living a frugal lifestyle for many years, and they even pretend to be poor when they are around their family. 


The couple, who are both in their 60s, say they do not want to share their money with their relatives, who they believe are “not good with money.” The couple says they are happy with their decision and believe it is the best way to protect their retirement savings.

We’ve had a chat about the story here in the office at Questa. We discovered there’s a lot to consider!

Reasons to Disguise Your Wealth


When it comes to disguising your wealth, there are some upsides and downsides to consider. 


On the bright side, it allows you to maintain your privacy and shield yourself from unnecessary attention or financial demands from family and friends. By keeping your true financial situation under wraps, you create a barrier against those who might see your prosperity as an opportunity to ask for money.


As we saw in this case of the couple in their 60s with £3 million tucked away, their decision to pretend to be modest with their appearance and lifestyle was a strategy to safeguard their retirement savings. It grants them control over their finances without outside interference, and they seem content with the outcome.


Another advantage is that disguising wealth can foster more authentic relationships. By keeping your affluence secret, people around you will be less motivated by your financial status and more inclined to connect with you based on shared interests and personalities. 


This can lead to more meaningful connections, where people appreciate each other for who they are rather than what they have.


Moreover, psychologically, concealing wealth can act as a defence against the temptation of frivolous spending. When others don’t perceive you as wealthy, there’s less pressure to indulge in extravagant purchases, enabling you to focus on what truly matters in life.


However, it’s not all smooth going.


Reasons to be Open About Your Financial Status 


Keeping your wealth hidden might strain relationships with family members who feel deceived or left out of important financial matters. The couple’s decision to hide their £3 million fortune from their relatives could lead to feelings of betrayal or mistrust when the truth eventually surfaces.


Additionally, living frugally and pretending to be poor could mean missing out on enjoyable experiences and opportunities to give back to the community. While sensible financial decisions are commendable, excessively denying yourself certain pleasures might lead to regrets later on.


Furthermore, when it comes to estate planning and inheritance, disguising wealth may complicate matters. Ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes could be challenging if your true financial status remains undisclosed, possibly resulting in legal disputes or confusion.


So, What’s the Answer?


At the risk of sounding like a politician, it depends! 


Concealing wealth has its advantages, offering privacy and protection from financial pressures. It can also encourage genuine connections and responsible spending. 


However, we believe most people are comfortable with transparent relationships with family and friends. It’s essential to weigh these benefits against potential strains on family relationships and missed opportunities for personal fulfilment and legacy planning. 


Ultimately, the decision to disguise wealth or otherwise should align with your individual circumstances and values. 


And wherever your opinion lies, Questa takes a holistic approach to wealth management to help you take real-life dilemmas in your stride.

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