Bloomberg Businessweek has an entertaining piece, asserting “Jay-Z is Right: Most Rappers are Lying About Their Money”. It suggests that, amongst others, Pitbull and Nicki Minaj are egregious offenders. Interestingly, Dr. Dre is noted for his humility. 

The piece is clearly in jest. But it prompts an interesting question: are rappers alone in communicating that they have a level of wealth, which they do not in fact have?

I use the term “communicate”, because, with some rare exceptions, very few people explicitly boast about their wealth or financial success. Many people like to convey this in other ways, with varying degrees of subtlety. 

For example, some people use conspicuous consumption to signal that they’ve attained a certain level of wealth. Clothes, cars, gadgets, house, as well as less tangible things like the restaurants and travel. The list goes on.

But how reliable are these signals?  It’s easy (and, it would seem, getting easier) to spend a significant portion of your income on these things and end up in a less-than-desirable financial situation.

Where do you fit in the scheme of things? Are you like Pitbull or Nicki Minaj, and convey a level of wealth far in excess of your own? Or a Jay-Z, who is more or less on the mark? Or are you like Dr. Dre, operating below the radar (with what I like to think of as “stealth wealth”)?

Sonnie Bailey

Sonnie is an Authorised Financial Adviser (AFA) and former lawyer with experience in the financial services and trustee industries. Sonnie operates Fairhaven Wealth (www.fairhavenwealth.co.nz).

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