Morgan Housel recently wrote a piece that left me in deep thoughts, He wrote(emphasis mine):
“I once did some consulting for a family that’s worth $8 Billion. If you Googled their name, nothing came up. No Forbes list, no gala photos, no profiles, no Wikipedia pages…nothing.
That was intentional. They figured out what so many other people fail to recognize: The way you maximize enjoying your money is by eliminating social debt. They had total freedom, privacy, and independence. They chose their friends carefully, and gave money away anonymously. It may have been their most valuable asset.”
This emphasized the importance of keeping your income, and wealth private. When people don’t know how much you make, or how much you are worth, they don’t remember you when thinking of guests to invite at a harambee, wedding contributions, burial arrangements, campaigns financing and many more.
But when they know how much you make, you will always be the first person they think of whenever they are in a financial need.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against charity, philanthropy, and even helping out the less fortunate in society. The problem comes in when people have high expectations, and a sense of entitlement that you must help them.
Moreover, personal finances aren’t like a company’s extra cash flows that may be easily allocated to charity courses. Our personal finances are limited and we can only help up to a certain level. Beyond that level, we may end up compromising our other goals in life or prioritizing other peoples’ needs.
Moreover, I believe giving should be done from an open heart, where the giver doesn’t feel coerced to give.
That’s why teenagers always rebel when they are asked to do something versus when they actually get themselves to do the thing. No one wants to be forced to do anything.
Rich & Anonymous
“You want to be rich and anonymous, not poor and famous.”
~ Naval Ravikant
Ideally, the more money you make, and the more popular you are, the more you have to deal with social debt.
I don’t consider myself famous, not even close. But with my small community of around 100K followers on Twitter, I get a handful of DMs every week from strangers and people I know asking for financial help. Some want you to help meet their urgent bills and others want you to finance their projects.
I can now imagine the number of requests that politicians and celebrities get.
And one thing people get wrong is equating popularity or fame with wealth.
A subtle problem with money is that we tend to measure wealth by what we see. We look at what clothes people wear, houses they live in, and cars they drive and use that as the standard measurement of wealth.
That’s what we see. But we can’t see people’s bank accounts, debts, savings, and investment accounts.