For all that our future president loves to show off, the vast majority of people who are super wealthy are people you probably have never heard of. Know why? Because most rich people know that it’s better not to be a dam* loudmouth about their money. The fact is that while there are plenty of very showy people who have lots of money, most are people you have never heard of.
George Soros and Influence
Okay, so if you’re a political and news junky like me, you’ve probably heard of George Soros. For the rest of you though, you’re probably asking who? Soros is one of the wealthiest men in the United States and he was basically trying to buy the recent presidential election. He’s a multi-billionaire who supported Hillary Clinton during the recent election. Guess money can’t buy everything, can it George?
The thing is, while Soros is well known in the business and political world, he’s not really a household name for the rest of us. If you ask the average Joe on the street about Soros, you’d get blank stares.
Then again, when idiots at college can’t seem to figure out who Ronald Reagan was but they recognize Kim Kardashian in a second, it’s no wonder that most people have never heard of someone who truly does operate in the shadows. For the record, I recognized everyone except Kim Kardashian in that video.
The thing is, Soros is a billionaire who isn’t flashy like Donald Trump. Most people wouldn’t recognize him in a crowd even though almost everyone would recognize The Donald. He understands that the real way to wield power is behind the scenes – he’s the man who makes presidents and who tells presidents what to do instead of being president and that’s a pretty good way to live.
Doing things this way is also smart because it means that you get to speak to the people who matter most but those who don’t matter at all are people who don’t even know who you are.
Getting Hit Up for Money
Years ago, I worked for a summer camp and did a door to door campaign trying to raise money to build a library in the camp (hey, I like books and I like to encourage kids to read. I know – kinda stupid to be building a library in a camp where kids go to be outdoors but whatever). I remember knocking on the door of some really rich person’s home. His kid answered.
This kid was everything you’d expect from a privileged kid – obnoxious to a fault. He didn’t care about me or what I was there for. He handed me a dollar and told me to get lost. I was pissed off. The thing is though, his dad was asking for people to come around knocking at his door because he was ostentatiously rich.
They say that if you win big in the lottery, the first thing to do is to keep a low profile (kinda hard when the lottery wants to plaster your face everywhere in order to encourage other people to waste their money but whatever). The reason is that all kinds of crazies will come out of the woodwork begging for money for everything and anything.
Getting back to that spoiled rich kid, I understand where he was coming from. He was tired of people hitting up his dad for money (not that being a rude SOB is okay). The thing is, if his dad kept a lower profile about being rich, he wouldn’t have this kind of problem to begin with.
Being a Target
Along the same vein, there is another big downside to having lots of money – you become a target. I don’t mean the kind who gets called by every idiot with a sob story either. I mean the kind who gets hit by very scary people with guns.
The fact is that being super wealthy means that other people envy your money and want what you have. So they are willing to do whatever it takes to get their hands on some or all of your cash, even kidnapping and killing. Oh and don’t worry – it’s not likely to be you that gets kidnapped. It’s your kids or your wife.
Bottom line, if you’re super wealthy, keeping a lower profile means that you don’t have to be as worried about people wanting to take little Suzie from her school and hold you hostage for $10 million.
The truth is, we’ve all been targeted by a scam artist at one point or another in our lives. It’s just part of being human that someone is going to be a jerk and try to rip us off. Most times, we can figure it out and we get out of it without anything but a boring story to share at dinner. Once in a while, most people get burned at least a little bit but it’s part of life.
The thing is, the ostentatiously wealthy are the targets of very, very sophisticated scammers. They are not the people who are getting the emails from Nigerian princes asking to transfer $10,000,000 (and if they are getting such emails, it’s usually because they really do have dealings with such people. Instead, the people who are known to be rich are targeted by sophisticated scammers.
Let’s face it – grift is a business like any other one. You have startup expenses and you need to have employees to pull it off. No really – a sophisticated scam artist treats his or her scam like a business. They invest.
Now let’s be honest – if you’re investing time and money, are you really going to try to waste time ripping off old ladies who have $200 in the bank or do you want to target the super rich? I don’t know about you but if I’m risking jail time anyway, I’m going for the big money.
Finally, let’s talk about friends. The truth of the matter is that if you show off your money, you’re never going to know who is a true friend and who is just trying to be a leech. Super wealthy people who show off their money to everyone have lots of ‘friends.’ Just not real ones – the kind they can count on in a crisis. To me, that’s worth keeping your mouth shut all on its own.