The Fake Wealth Epidemic That's Infecting Our Culture
The scary thing is — we can see it coming
The scary thing is — we can see it coming
There are a lot of posers out there with designer clothes and missed child-support payments. Driving the flashiest car, but they still live at home rent-free, unable to move out.
Some of the people you aspire to be are less financially secure than you. Their wealth is fake. It’s propped up by credit cards, fake branded-clothing and AirBnB rentals. They’re living a champagne lifestyle on lemonade money.
This story, however, isn’t about them, it’s about helping those who idolize them. People who aspire to be like their hero, who in real life, is dead broke.
“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.”- Seneca
The fake wealth problem
Social media has made it easy to fake your wealth. I see people writing books on success from their parent’s house. I see people decked out in Supreme, Gucci (and other big brands) that owe child support… Yes, you’d be surprised what someone would do for a ‘like’.
As Instagram followings grow and YouTube channels soar in subscribers, it’s easy to assume that each member of that person’s tribe equals money… This is not the case.
Like that rule in Friends about how many women a man has truly slept with, you need to divide their claimed wealth by 3 — at least.
They say they got $30,000 for a brand deal. Let’s call it $5,000 and a free pair of sunglasses. I know this because I’m the guy making these deals with influencers. Either in my current capacity or in previous roles I’ve had at companies.
I know popular influencers that have lied about their salary or the number of sales a product has made.
The problem is, it’s pushing a narrative that’s not true. So the audience who look up to these moguls are ‘mugged-off’ at every turn. Not only are they sold items that the influencer doesn’t even use, but their career projections and sense of self-worth is massively deflated.
These kinds of people need you to think they’re better than you so you:
buy their products
hire them for their service
put them on a pedestal
It’s the same with a lot of these success gurus and ‘make money online’ tutors. They’re not making money by the secrets they’re selling. They’re making money selling that ‘secret’ to you.
These aren’t idols. They shouldn’t be revered and they’re lulling you into a wealth-trap that you’re unlikely to ever get out of.
Have you fallen for it before? I have…
You see them get 1,000 likes for their photo with a watch and think “Wow, people really like this guy now that he has this watch. If I had this nice watch, maybe they’d like me too? I want to be liked.”
So you buy the same watch on a credit card, even though you can’t afford the repayments. For a short while, you feel as good of a person as they appear to be… but you may have been a better person anyway.
The thing is, I personally know influencers flaunting their apparent wealth online that cheat on their wife. Proof that nice things don’t make you a good person deep down.
It’s not the watch that makes someone great. They probably didn’t even buy it anyway… It was likely sent to them for free, to promote to real buyers like you.
It seems like these people’s priorities are misaligned. They’re putting on a show for you and would hate it if you ever got a peek behind the curtain.
The appearance of success grows their audience/customer-base, which begets success when they sell you something. You only need a small number of people to buy into your lie before it starts to morph into the truth. It’s a modern-day pyramid scheme.
How to be rich on a budget
People with real wealth don’t need you to think they’re rich. They know they’re rich. However, it’s not what you earn, it’s who you are that makes you valuable.
Rich needs to be redefined. As you probably know it now, it means having lots of expensive things and lots of money. But rich can be so much more than that. You can be rich in time, morality, character, joy and gratitude.
Listen, I’m not going to tell you to do yoga now and visualise the secret… I promised no B.S. — I’m simply saying that most people associate ‘rich’ with materialistic things. It’s about what makes you happy deep down, with no audience watching.
When is the last time you went out with a friend and didn’t tag them in your Instagram story?
When is the last time you got into the VIP section of a club and didn’t post about it on Facebook?
When is the last time you made a donation to charity and left your name as ‘anonymous’?
It’s worth asking the question about some of these people who live their entire life online… Who are they really living life for?
Seeing some of this behaviour in others and myself has recently turned me away from social media. I used to post every day, now It’s more about quality of content than quantity.
Style does not equal substance.
The unintended positive outcome
Once you realize that you don’t need to impress strangers with stuff, you’ll buy less stuff. You’ll have more money in the long run. That’s the ironic cycle. Stop pretending to look wealthy and you’ll probably end up becoming wealthy — and by that point, it won’t even be that important to you.
Redefine ’rich’ in your mind to encapsulate freedom, experience and self-development as wealth and pity those who need to mask their insecurities by flaunting expensive items they can’t truly afford.
As I said, a lot of these people you think are doing well online are worse off than you, trust me… and if you hate me after reading this piece, it’s because you are one of those posers.
I’ve exposed a faction of false fame that you’ve been exploiting – and I’m not even sorry.