Quiet Luxury — What is It and Could It Help You Manage Your Money?

Quiet luxury or stealth wealth is the internet’s newest trend. It could teach you a thing or two about managing your money.

Wide shot of woman standing in luxury hotel suite looking at view with curtains blowing in wind
(Image credit: Getty)

What do you think of when it comes to wealth? Perhaps an image of ostentatious bling comes to mind, complete with luxury cars and huge jewels flaunted on social media. But there's another side to what it means to be wealthy — one of subtlety, refinement and constraint — and while this may not embody the more traditional, material allure of wealth, it may teach you a thing or two about how to manage your own money.

Stealth wealth and quiet luxury are terms used to describe a trend that's back in the headlines, triggered by the hit TV show Succession and the main characters' elite view of the world, due to their shared family fortune. Snide comments about the functionality and practicality of a handbag — carried by one character’s date — illuminate the rarified world they live in. There is no need for a handbag, after all, when you have a chauffeur to hold your car keys and a housekeeper to open the front door.

But there are lessons to be learned from the ultra-wealthy’s attitude to money. The idea is simple — don’t look wealthy, be wealthy.

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While the recent coronation of King Charles III performatively paraded the family collection of crown jewels, ancient fur robes and diamond-encrusted swords, the current trend of stealth wealth acts as a rebuttal to how some of those high-net-worth individuals wish to be seen by society 

Why Live a Quiet Luxury Lifestyle?

Take Meta (META) boss Mark Zuckerberg as an example. Despite being one of the wealthiest people on the planet, he is routinely seen in the same gray t-shirt — a staple that he says helps him do his job better.

“I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community,” said Zuckerberg in a 2014 Q&A session.

“I'm in this really lucky position, where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than a billion people. And I feel like I'm not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life.”

The “lucky position” of being a billionaire could offer the means to adopt a wardrobe of extravagance but, by opting for a consistently neutral tone, Zuckerberg is able to subvert what we assume to be true about the ultra-rich — that having the means to spend wildly means you need to demonstrate it to the world.

That’s not to say Zuckerberg’s wardrobe comes cheaply — Business Insider reported each t-shirt costs between $300 and $400 — but seemingly, the ability to go under the radar is priceless to the tech CEO. 

 How Quiet Luxury Helps You to Manage Your Money 

The same can be said when it comes to managing your money. By keeping your accumulated assets and cash hidden, you can protect yourself from the assumptions many may make about your money.

It can also shelter you and your money from lifestyle creep - the idea that your spending goes up in parallel to your income. By making an effort to restrain your spending on luxury goods, you can afford additional income into savings or investments, allowing you to reach your financial goals more quickly.

And the best part? You don’t even have to be wealthy. By living below your means and maintaining your financial privacy, you afford yourself the luxury of not worrying about your money and how it is perceived by others. 

Here are some tips for adopting a stealth wealth approach to managing your money.

  • Live within your means
    By allocating a proportion of your income on investments and savings in place of spending, you are helping to futureproof your finances in an inconspicuous way.
  • Avoid becoming a piggybank
    While it is important to support those close to us, becoming a routine source of money can put a strain on personal relationships and your finances. After all, not all support needs to be financial.
  • Keep documents safe
    By keeping financial documents like tax returns safe from prying eyes, you are protecting yourself from judgment from your peers. This allows you as a person to shine through, as opposed to your money doing the talking.
  • Don’t boast online
    While it may be tempting to post pictures of your latest purchase or vacation online, remember how it may be perceived by others. Consider switching your accounts to private mode.
  • Adopt a simple style
    Living a luxurious life doesn’t need to scream wealth. Our colleagues at Homes & Gardens have put together a guide on how to adopt stealth wealth into your interior design plans.

Read more

Tom Higgins

Tom is a journalist and writer with an interest in sustainability, economic policy and pensions, looking into how personal finances can be used to make a positive impact. He graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a BA in journalism before moving to a financial content agency. His work has appeared in titles Investment Week and Money Marketing, as well as social media copy for Reuters and Bloomberg in addition to corporate content for financial giants including Mercer, State Street Global Advisors and the PLSA. He has also written for the  Financial Times Group.

When not working out of the Future’s Cardiff office, Tom can be found exploring the hills and coasts of South Wales but is sometimes east of the border supporting Bristol Rovers.