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You probably aren’t rich. Most people aren’t. But, if you are like the majority of people out there, you probably want to be rich (or at least have more money in your bank account than you currently do).
Making more money requires hard work, shrewd planning and, most of all, the luck that it takes to catch that all-important break at just the right time. But what if you simply want to look, and maybe feel, richer than you are? That’s a bit easier to accomplish.
Attitude and confidence go a long way when it comes to projecting an affluent image of yourself. But you have to be careful. Nobody likes aloof wealthy people (commonly referred to as snobs). If you go for “rich and arrogant,” people are probably going to ignore you after a first or second glance, just as they would ignore you if you were a poor dude in a t-shirt and Wranglers. The Rich Guy that everyone likes is a boisterous free-spender who has a kind of swagger, but is also approachable. The swagger is where your attitude and confidence come into play.
But being a “free-spender” means, unfortunately, parting with your hard-earned money. How much of your cash do you have to throw around? If you are savvy, looking more affluent that you are is easy.
If you are buying a a drink for someone, and they opt for a rail drink or something from the lower shelves, insist that they get something better… something middle-shelf or higher. This makes you look like a big spender, but these drinks actually only cost a little bit more than the generic liquor. Also, a simple act like this makes people more likely to reciprocate by buying a drink for you when it’s time for the next round.
Another option: if it is reasonably priced and the bar allows you to, order a bottle and keep it there for subsequent trips. Having the bartender whip our “your bottle,” is impressive, especially if it is something a bit obscure (obscure blended scotches with cool sounding names work well for this, because they are cheaper than single malt scotches, but carry a similar mystique).
How about meals? If you are headed to a nice restaurant, consider going for lunch instead of dinner. Lunch menus are generally cheaper, and there is less variety so you don’t have to worry about your guest ordering something overly-expensive.
Or, for the same price as that fancy lunch, go to a cheaper place and order a lot of extra food. Certain ethnic restaurants work for this (Vietnamese, Indian, Thai, etc). The menu items are cheap, so you can order extra dishes and appear to be “throwing around your money.” At the same time, you don’t look cheap because you can give a good excuse for your non-fancy restaurant choice: “I enjoy eating authentic food instead of Americanized, deep fried versions of international cuisine.” Or something to that effect.
What about clothes and outward appearance? Yes, some people pay attention to brand-names and the karat count of gold and jewelry, but most of the time, when people talk about brands and precious metals, they are just posturing. Anything that looks new, un-wrinkled, and un-frayed, can pass for rich-guy clothing, as long as it is not badly out of style or obviously gotten from the clearance rack at Wal-Mart.
Likewise for shoes. If you need the brand names in order to get your swagger, shop at outlet malls or consignment shops. Even consider Goodwill or other second hand thrift stores. Nobody needs to know where you got your clothes. And they won’t, unless you tell them.
Adopt these habits and you can start looking richer. You might even start feeling more affluent than your checking account balance suggests. But, if you can’t get past the fact that this is all posturing and pretending, maybe it’s time for something a bit more extreme.
Plenty of people move to a different country in order to enjoy a higher standard of living. These expatriates find a place where their money goes further and move there (or at least spend time there often). If you are making a measly hundred dollars per day at home, you’d still be rich in a place where the average person makes a quarter of that, or less. This simple greater-than-less-than equation could give you the ability to live a life that would be beyond your means at home.
Sure, killjoys look at such economic refugees and say they are taking advantage of a poor country the way outsiders did during the colonial age. But that is almost always untrue. Most expats (at least the ones that I know), have an affection for their second homeland and are more-than-respectful to the people who live there. The neocolonial criticism is an un-educated opinion, which is usually held by supposedly educated people.
Living the good life abroad sounds great. So what’s the catch?
If you can’t find a source of income in your adopted homeland, the best you’ll be able to do is enjoy an extended vacation there once or twice per year. That could mean expensive airfares and being stuck at home when your vacation days and sick days run out. An online business, a lucrative seasonal job that allows you to save for a months-long vacation, or some other source of income can make it possible to enjoy a more extended high-life experience. After all, there is plenty of time to worry about getting rich for real, but you won’t ever really be satisfied if you can’t figure out how to enjoy life with the money that you already have.