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Use a trust fund

Several commenters on the Reddit post suggested the suddenly wealthy individual should tell anyone seeking financial favors that all the money has either been invested with the help of a financial adviser or locked into a trust fund that only pays a fixed distribution monthly.

Both of those suggestions could help you to manage your money and hide your wealth from those closest to you.

For example, you could set up a living trust — commonly referred to as an inter vivos trust — where you park your windfall and mandate that it be invested in a diverse mix of assets. You could then arrange to pay yourself a monthly sum, like a salary, and have peace of mind that your assets are protected from threats like creditors, divorce, lawsuits and judgments.

Most living trusts are revocable, which means that the owner can make any changes to the trust during their lifetime — including dissolving the trust if they’ve decided on making a big life purchase or protecting their money in other ways.

One big benefit to putting your money in a trust is that it can help families avoid the costly probate process by better controlling how heirs receive assets. This could be one way to save face with your family if, like the original poster in the Reddit thread, you’re not too keen on spreading your wealth during your lifetime.

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Stealth wealth

Another way to live a low-key rich life is to practise stealth wealth. Consumer credit reporting company Experian (EXPN) has defined stealth wealth as “the practice of keeping your accumulated assets private.”

There are several ways to achieve this financial ambiguity. Try to avoid conversations with friends and family about income, assets or debt as this may reveal your prime financial standing.

Also, consider living below your means and avoiding lifestyle creep — like suddenly upgrading your tired Toyota Camry to a fully kitted-out Dodge Challenger — because, again, this is a dead giveaway that you may have access to a lot of cash.

By untangling your money — including your income, net worth and assets — from your personal relationships, it becomes easier to dodge awkward situations, like friends and family hitting you up for a loan or “to invest in their startup.”

And remember, stealth wealth is not just for rich Americans. Anyone can choose to live below their means. If you pump any spare money you have into investments, high-yield savings accounts and tax-advantaged retirement accounts like a 401(k) or an IRA, you can can quietly grow your wealth and set yourself up for a rich life and a carefree retirement.

Be frank (and ready to cut ties)

While stealth wealth and tying your money up in trusts and investments are all good ways to keep money seekers at bay, it could be quite mentally draining to hide your good fortune from those closest to you.

Several Reddit users alluded to this when replying to the original post. One said it is “perfectly ok to say no” to people asking you for cash favors and that you shouldn’t have to live a lie in order to avoid that.

“People need to be ok with being genuine and honest to the people around them,” they wrote. “By saying no because they want that money invested in other means provides a more accurate example of building and maintaining wealth to others than lying about it.”

Another person wrote: “I never understand this problem. What's the issue with saying no and cutting contact with those who don't take no for an answer and don't respect your boundaries?

“If having too much (or too little) money would ruin my relationship with someone, I'd consider that a bullet dodged, since they never cared about me in the first place.”

If you’re lucky enough to land a financial windfall and you’re not sure how to structure your finances, consider talking to a professional who can help you come up with a plan and a strategy for how to breach that topic with your friends and family.

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About the Author

Bethan Moorcraft

Bethan Moorcraft

Reporter

Bethan Moorcraft is a reporter for Moneywise with experience in news editing and business reporting across international markets.

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