Why you should look poor
If I asked you if you’d like to look rich or poor, what would you say? Think about it.
Ok you probably didn’t have to think about it, you thought I’d like to look rich.
Well, of course you would, because why would we want other people to think we are poor? But bear with me now, I’m not crazy and, yeah, maybe “poor” sounds like an exaggeration, it’s not like you need to wear broken clothes or no clothes at all, but the truth is, looking poor has a lot of advantages in life and they are much more than simply saving more money.
Looking rich, on the other hand, is something most of us want but still, it always gets in the way of becoming rich – which is much better. And happy of course!
My Youtube Channel is about personal finance and investing, so it’s not like I’m pretending I want to be poor or people should be poor. But I thought a lot about how your demeanor affects you, and well, this is something we always underestimate.
Using your demeanor like a tool.
First of all, you can really use your demeanor like a tool.
And look, I’m not here to condemn every attempt to show off wealth. In some situations looking rich can even help you achieve something. Take for example if you are a real estate businessman. You can go to a bank and ask for a loan dressed as the wolf of wall street, or you can go begging with a 100$ suit like Ray Croc in “The founder“, or even worse maybe in Jeans and T-Shirt. Of course you’re going to get your loan if you give the bank the impression that you are a successful person. Because they want their money back! With interest!
Or maybe you just graduated and you go to an interview. I wouldn’t really suggest you go dressed like a painter because, most likely, you’re not going to get the job. Yeah, movie stories don’t usually work in real life.
Sometimes you can even get some fringe benefits. For example if you go to an airline counter and you’re in coach class, but you dress business and you’re very polite and friendly, you might get an upgrade to business class.
However, in most situations in life dressing poorer is going to be an advantage.
The first one that comes to my mind might be trivial but: nobody is going to try to mug you. There are tens of thousands of cases of robbery and mugging in the US every year and being mugged is definitely not a nice experience. Still, it happens much more than you think.
Maybe the chance of that happening to you is not so high, and you probably don’t necessarily walk around dressed in gold and diamonds like a rapper
But flying under the radar is never a bad idea, because good people are attracted to money, but also bad people. And we don’t want them buzzing around like a wasp at a picnic.
This of course can happen also when you’re traveling for vacation. When I went to visit my uncle in Brazil, the first thing he told me is to never dress fancy. I gotta say, Bazilians are amongst the most pleasant and beautiful people I know, but in big cities there are many poor people, and when you are desperate, you do what you can to survive.
The Effect on Others
So, these were maybe trivial reasons for looking poor, but I think that what really matters about looking poorer is the effect you have on others and the effect you have on yourself.
When I was 18 years old, I wanted to look rich. It’s not like I liked shiny things like, rapper style, but I was crazy for designer clothes and I thought that, if I didn’t, I would be judged by the way I looked by the society.
And in fact in some way I was.
When you are a teenager you want to fit in with your friends, and appearance usually works pretty well.
If you are a teenager I’d love to tell you that you shouldn’t care at all about appearances, but it’s not really that easy. But what about if you are 20? What about if you are 30? Or even older?
If you break it down, there are two kinds of people: people that like to be flashy, and people that don’t. So these two kinds of people are going to be the ones seeing you and judging you by the way you look.
So ask yourself, if you try to look rich by wearing designer brands, expensive watches, or even just by bragging about money, what kind of response are you going to get from them?
People that love flashy things are probably going to envy you. So there’s nothing to gain there. Maybe they wouldn’t do it on purpose, but they’d probably try to use you or your position. Maybe a friend who goes out with you just to be seen in a different way, or a girl that might even think she’s attracted to you but instead is attracted to your appearances..
And what about the people that instead don’t put any value in luxury stuff? Best case scenario, you’re not going to get any better impression by being flashy. Worst case scenario they are going to understand that you’re not as rich as you show because, the truth is, in most cases, poor is flashy, rich is loud, and wealth is quiet.
Poor is flashy
You may have noticed this. People with poorer financial conditions don’t dress worse than rich people.
In fact, they often are the ones that wear fashion labels.
A poor way of looking at money is that it buys you stuff. But if you want to have money because you want to buy stuff, you will never be wealthy. The challenge with flashy is that best case scenario you stay poor, worst case scenario it puts you in debt.
And don’t get me wrong: I’m not criticizing someone for being poor, I would be crazy if I did, and not all people that are not wealthy spend money on useless things. But the ones that do, they are actually damaging themselves.
I got a friend that is, really, the ultimate example of a flashy person. I’m going to call him Roger, just for the sake of anonimity. Roger is over 30 years old and lives in a flat with 3 other flatmates, he lives in a poor part of the city and works in the assembly line for a famous car manufacturer.
So far, nothing wrong.
Roger spends around 10h per day, with really uncomfortable shifts, mounting together pieces of car breaks. Basically like Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin, if you are old and lucky enough to know him. And since his job is so frustrating and hard, he gets quite a lot of money for having no qualification.
Now, the problem is this: Roger drives a Porsche 911 and spends more than half of his salary for it. He has a girlfriend that is as flashy as he is and, since he got her used to this lifestyle, he always needs to buy her branded things every month.
So basically every cent he works for, 10 hard hours every day, goes to fueling this lifestyle. And for what? Just to show people a wealth he doesn’t possess.
And the crazy thing is, when I talk to him about it, his solution is working extra hours.
Taking it down a notch with the expenses? No way.
So if you want to be like my friend Roger, this is the formula: Work hard and give away your valuable time to be able to afford something you don’t need just to show people you don’t know something you don’t really have. And if your money is not enough, don’t worry, get a credit to lease your car or pay for everything in installments. Because, who needs compound interest, we want compound debt!
So if you like to be flashy and look rich, I think you really need to think about “how are people really going to see me?”. Am I going to fool them? Am I going to get an advantage out of that? Or is it only going to create stress, problems and suck my paycheck dry every month?
Rich is loud
And look, this is valid also for rich people. Poor might be flashy sometimes, but rich is loud. And this is the difference between poor, rich and wealthy mentality. People with a poor mentality buy flashy things to show they have money, but rich people love to scream about it.
So even if you do have a lot of money, maybe you have a good month with your business or your employer gave you a fat bonus this year, don’t be loud.
You see it every day on television. Rappers, boxers, entertainment personalities… television is full of rich people that scream how rich they are.
The trouble with having money and being loud about it is it pisses people off. Instead of people falling in love with the person you are, they envy you, and if they know you they try to use you.
The effect on Yourself (Wealth is quiet)
So this takes us to the most important reason for looking poor, and this is not how it’s going to affect the others, but how it’s going to affect you.
Some of the richest people I’ve met look incredibly poor.
I’ve got a friend that has around $50 Million in his portfolio and he’s the coolest, simplest person in the world. You could never know how rich he is if you’d judge him by the car he drives or the way he dresses. Still, everybody loves him, respects him and never tries to use him.
I think that this is because the very fact that he has so much to brag about, but he doesn’t, is what elevates him.
I could give you millions of examples from famous people. Look at Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg. Notice that the most influential, intelligent and brilliant people all know that being flashy or loud is wrong.
This is real financial wealth. Real wealth is not about how much money you have to waste on dumb stuff. It’s not about making people jealous and having fake friendships and people trying to use you. Real wealth is about using your time to do the work you enjoy, without financial worries.
If you realize that focusing less on your appearances and more on yourself is the best way to become wealthy, you start seeing thousands of possibilities to achieve what you want.
Because think about it: money is not supposed to give you trouble, but to free you from it. And the more luxury and appearance you put into the mix, the less time, money and energy you’re going to have to focus on what can really make you wealthy.
So how do you get Wealthy?
Well, there are many ways to become wealthy and none of them includes wasting money.
- You can invest in yourself by taking on a new qualification or a seminar.
- You can start a side hustle like I did with youtube, or even better a side hustle that gives you Cash Flow right away.
- You can invest in assets. It might be a flat you buy and rent, or some stocks or ETFs.
Whatever you do to make your money productive takes you one step closer to being financially free. But each dollar spent on showing off how rich you are takes you further away from it and closer to debts.
So you can choose to own less stuff so you can have less debt. With less debt you have more choices. With more choices you can choose life, family, and things that give you true meaning, like a business or a work that makes you happy.
So next time you see a young guy with a luxury car, or a girl with a $2,000 purse, think of them differently. Maybe, the guy got into debt to get that car. Maybe the girl had to waste a whole paycheck for that purse.
Next time you see someone being loud about how much money they make, notice if you actually enjoy that attitude, or actually he just pisses you off. I think you can tell fairly quickly in someone’s demeanor if they are actually wealthy or not. When they are, they don’t have the need to tell everyone.
So this is why I believe that the most important positive effect you get by looking poor is the effect you create on yourself. You are going to realize how many possibilities life offers to become happier, wealthier and also have better relationships with people that are not there because of the money they think you have.
How wealthy people think
There is a book I’ve read which is called The Millionaire next door and, in a few words, this book talks about wealthy people who seem like they weren’t.
They are quiet.
You don’t hear about them, you don’t see them flashing a $200,000 car but still they can afford to live on vacation their whole life, travel the world, without having to worry about anything because they can buy whatever they need, whenever they need.
It’s a great book, read it if you have the chance.
As a last message, if you really want to become wealthy, focus on building wealth instead of appearances. Looking poor and also living below your means is going to be an important ingredient for success
If you are interested in learning finance and investing in an easy way, don’t forget to check out and subscribe to my channel. I wish you a great day!