This is a bit ironic for me to write, isn’t it?
On one hand, I’m a gringo and many assume that I am rich in Latin America.
Well, many of the locals assume so.
But, on the flip side, I have never once been “rich” in Latin America.
I definitely have been richer than plenty of Latin Americans who share the same age as me but, especially in the last 5 years, I haven’t been rich whatsoever.
In fact, I am more familiar with signs of working class or poor people than I am with comfortable people in Latin America.
Though, being a gringo, I have seen some things that make me think are signs of more comfortable folks down here.
In many cases, they are either signs that are the exact opposite of what poor people would do or are just typical signs of more comfortable folks in other countries outside of Latin America.
Either way, that is all just to say that I am not an expert either on “potential signs of a comfortable person” in Latin America.
And, of course, the word “comfortable” is subjective.
In actuality, the title would probably be better if I phrased it as “anyone not working class” but I think that would put me over the 59 character limit that I wish to stay within so the entire title of this article appears in the Google research results.
So let’s just stick to the words “rich” or "comfortable" but please know I’m not talking about Jeff Bezo types. I'm not even talking about millionaires necessarily.
Just those who are comfortable and who might be rich also.
Anyway, let’s get to some signs that either I have seen, that my friends have seen or that I have researched online.
And, just to emphasize, these are only examples that I think are potential signs of someone being comfortable (but not necessarily millionaire rich). I'm not saying there's much evidence to back this up outside of my own observations as a foreigner or what others have noticed.
So let's dive right in.
A Fancier 15th Birthday Party
A few years ago when I lived by Roma Norte and Condesa, it was not an uncommon sight to see limousines driving around the Angel of Independence Statue.
I always assumed that the folks in those vehicles were young kids celebrating the 15th birthday party of someone.
They all looked young again.
For those who don’t know, Latin Americans like their 15th birthday parties.
Some celebrate it more modestly than others.
And you got others who have richer parents who can afford limousines for the occasion.
All the while you got homeless kids begging for change in the same area.
Such is life.
Similar to other countries, those who like winter sports tend to have more money in the pocket.
Take for example those who go to skiing events in Patagonia of Latin America.
Or those who can afford to travel internationally for the Winter Olympic Games in other countries.
In short, it’s an obvious sign of someone who has mor emoney.
Anything Middle Class
Next, you got some Latin Americans who, for whatever reason, just hate using public transportation or visiting neighborhoods that are for the middle class or below.
Like those who refuse to take the metro in Mexico City because they think some AIDS infected homeless dude will stab them.
Perhaps they feel uncomfortable having some homeless person beg them for money.
Or whatever else.
And, on top of that, just seem to think that anywhere outside their gated community is going to result in them getting kidnapped, have their holes gangraped in a warehouse and only released after a million dollar fee is paid by family elsewhere.
For some Latin Americans, there is sometimes a typical look that comes with being wealthier.
Right off the bat, obviously anyone who is lighter skinned tends to be wealthier than those who are not (though not always).
When it comes to clothes?
Well, obviously those who might have an impressive suit on in Roma Norte or something.
But, beyond that, you do got younger Latin Americans (at least in Mexico) who have certain looks also.
In some cases, that might mean having a western, nicer brand jeans with a belt, a hat, some type of coat (or whatever you call that thing) over the western, etc.
Regardless of the coat or whatever it is, it’s basically classic jeans, belt and a tucked, button shirt.
“Cholo con plata” or whatever term you prefer that I can find online.
Taking Pictures of Poor People
Sometimes people bitch and moan about tourist behaviors in Latin America like trying to take pictures with poor people and saying “look how happy they are!”
It’s something I wrote about here.
And, truth be told, that is idiotic.
The same thing is sometimes done by richer Latin Americans who go to touristy areas and engage in the same behavior for their own Instagram photos.
Taking pics of those with less money and so on.
As I wrote in this article here, you do got subtle differences in pronunciation between richer and poorer folks.
Like those who pronounce the letter “x” and also other differences.
In short, it’s my impression that those with more money tend to “speak more clearly” or are more easily understandable with their Spanish if you aren’t used to those from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds.
If I can understand you more easily, I’ll assume you are more likely to be more comfortable than not.
Hiding the Wealth
Like elsewhere, you got those who are from families with more wealth that prefer not to show it off to the whole world.
In Latin America, I think this is more common out of fear of those who might kidnap you or your family members.
Given the extra degree of insecurity in the region, extra precautions need to be made to protect your family if you happen to have more wealth.
And while those precautions could include more security at home, private transportation and so forth, they would also mean not showing the whole world that you got shit to steal.
Having an Actual Maid
In the US, having a cook or a maid would be quite weird.
You’d have to be wealthy in the US, at least from my perspective, to have one.
In Latin America, locals might say the same thing but I’m not entirely certain.
I’ve lived in areas of Latin America where we had a cleaning lady who would visit once a week and the cost to me personally was 10 bucks a week.
I wouldn’t say that you are richer if you can afford 10 bucks a week for a simple cleaning service.
However, there is a degree to which this could be seen as a sign of someone who is richer (at least compared to most locals) or, at the very least, is comfortable.
And that being if your chef and/or cook is working for you most days of the week.
Or, even more importantly, if said maid is actually LIVING in your residence.
Like those who have a maid living separately in her own room in your apartment or house and you all call her “part of the family.”
If you can afford that, you are not necessarily Jeff Bezos rich but you are definitely more comfortable without question.
For gringos who have never been to Latin America, you do hear some of them joke around about “nazis to Argentina” or wonder to what degree you’ll see German influence in that part of South America (Patagonia basically with Chile included).
Truth be told, while that is overblown as most Argentines and Chileans are not of German ancestry and don’t have any nazis in the family, it can be a sign of wealth anyhow.
At the end of the day, you did have German communities set up in Latin America – not just Argentina or Chile – where the descendants of those German immigrants are relatively wealthy.
In the end, speaking German can be a sign in some specific parts of Latin America that you might be comfortable.
Not as Masculine?
At least in Mexico City (and maybe it’s just this city) but the richer Latin American men that I have met who were around my age range in this city tended to come across as less masculine.
They just tend to come across like they’d shit themselves if you confronted them over ANYTHING.
Like they don’t know how to handle conflict and disagreement man to man.
Not only that but their mannerisms, way of speaking (like when they say o seaaaaaaa) and everything else screams “womanly” behavior.
It’s honestly one reason why I don’t vibe as well with richer folks in Mexico City (at least the dudes anyway) because they tend to be limp dick as shit.
Even when I think about richer Latinos I’ve met in other cities like Pachuca in Mexico, at least the dudes there seemed normal and cool to hang with.
Like actual dudes.
Maybe it’s just a Mexico City thing.
I’ll leave it at that.
There’s certain phrases or words you might hear among richer or comfortable folks in Latin America.
Just more common expressions among them.
Things like “o sea” for example being used over and over again unnecessarily.
That and also their way of speaking (accent) as I said before that can give it away.
Being Part of a Club
My last girlfriend in Mexico – whose name was Brenda – came from a relatively nicer background.
Her family had a decent amount of money.
And, in their case, she had access to some private pool club that not every Mexican family can afford.
It’s one sign anyway – having access to certain clubs like country clubs, pool clubs perhaps in some cases, etc.
Neighborhoods, Schools, English & Vacations
I already wrote this in the other article about “signs of poor people” so I won’t go on too much here.
But basically those who can afford to send their kids to nicer private schools, live in more private or gated neighborhoods and whose kids (or themselves) speak English much better than your typical local.
Oh and also having more international vacations frequently to parts of the US or Europe.
The Vaping Latino
My sister vapes.
Or I think so anyway – she smokes some weird electronic thing that shoots out smoke.
I’m not into smoking so I’m just guessing that it’s a vape that she forced me to cough me lungs out on the afternoon before her wedding outside a restaurant in Iowa City years ago.
Anyway, if you see a local Latin American vaping, I’m going to guess that the dude is comfortable.
The Blonde Latina with Fake Tits
Next, you got the young Latina gal (almost always a gal) who has fake blonde hair.
These types do tend to be usually more comfortable than the average Mexican.
And, if they got fake tits, maybe a sugar baby on top of it with extra money coming in from “daddy.”
Well, she’s not starving anyway!
Plenty of cock to eat to pay for those tits!
Some might say that speaking in some form of “Spanglish” is a sign that one comes from a more comfortable background.
Honestly, I’d agree and disagree.
If said Latin American comes from an area where Spanglish is more common, then not at all.
An old girlfriend of mine named Marcela from Barranquilla of Colombia had some Spanglish going for her but so did a lot of people in that city from what I noticed.
And she wasn’t rich at all. Her family came from a bad neighborhood of the city.
Having said that, in areas of Latin America where you don’t have more natural Spanglish in the common person accent, I’d say that using Spanglish is then either a sign of maybe the person being a deported illegal immigrant from the US or someone who is comfortable financially.
Maybe they spent time visiting in the US, have family there, are comfortable, etc.
Either way, I don’t agree with the idea that Spanglish means that they are comfortable but, in some contexts, it could be a sign.
The Law Can’t Harm You: Do You Know Who My Dad Is?!?!
If you are able to get around the law more easily than the average local bribing a cop for simple infractions with just 5 bucks, you might be comfortable.
Someone like this dude here having strong vibes of “DO YOU KNOW WHO MY DAD IS?!!?”
Who? El Marica del Barrio, wey?
No Fear for Your Cellphone
In Mexico City, this wouldn’t be as common to notice.
But, during my time living in Barranquilla and other Latin cities, I remembered being more careful of being outside showing my phone in hand.
You’d just be more careful not to show it around.
Though it depended on what area of the city you were in, I guess.
Anyway, if you are someone who isn’t afraid of using your cellphone in the street – perhaps because you can afford a new one – then maybe you’re in an area where you don’t fear someone will steal it you can genuinely afford a new one.
No Arroz Con Huevo
Like I wrote here, some poorer folks tend to eat “arroz con huevo” for meals in Latin America.
If you aren’t eating that, you aren’t necessarily rich nor comfortable but I’m guessing you aren’t poor either.
Though who knows!
Maybe you’re a rich man with millions who genuinely enjoys that meal.
It honestly isn’t the worst meal in the world to be fair.
As I’ve said in the “signs of a poor person” article here, there are some signs more common in some Latin countries than others.
In Mexico, I wouldn’t say having foreign citizenship is necessarily a sign that you are richer given all the folks with family tied to the US.
Having said that, in most of Latin America, I’d say having foreign citizenship is a good sign that you might be richer or at least comfortable.
Maybe one of your parents is a foreigner, you married a richer foreigner or whatever it might it be.
Telling Other Foreigners That Latin America Isn’t Dangerous
This is one sign that the Latin American you are talking with is of more comfortable background.
It is the type who likes to connect with other foreigners but gets insecure whenever negatives are brought up about their country.
One of those negatives being insecurity.
Said Latin American has little knowledge of insecurity given they lived in a gated community or some other comfortable background.
And will tell you “just stay away from dangerous areas.”
While this isn’t always a sign of someone who is richer or comfortable, I think many would say it’s a potential sign.
That being of a Latin American who chooses to be picky of what he eats.
Like he only eats vegan for example.
As anyone knows, most gringos who are vegan that come to Latin America find it difficult to keep up with their lifestyle down here.
Plenty resort to “breaking their rule” eventually.
So for a Latin American – someone born and raised here – to commit to that and rarely break it is impressive.
What money and/or time are they spending to make it happen?
Any chef around to make their meals?
Like I said, it’s not always a sign that the person is “comfortable” but, if you were to ask if to guess if a specific Latin American vegan is comfortable or poor, I’d guess comfortable always.
The Colombian Stratification System
For Colombia specifically, you have a stratification system based on numbers 1-6 for different neighborhoods you can live in.
And, for those who don’t know, those living in neighborhoods with a higher stratification number are better off socioeconomically.
Using English in Social Media
Then you have Latin Americans who post stuff to Instagram, Twitter or whatever social media with their photos of some trip to the beach or to another country.
And it’ll usually come posted with a phrase in English like “amazing” or whatever else.
Not something poorer folks do ever really.
While you do got plenty of poor or middle class leftists in Latin America, I have noticed this specific type of Latin American leftist that comes from a comfortable background and whose brain is basically connected to that of a woke leftist in the US.
Everything they say is directly translated – as if through Google Translate – from English to Spanish and they just reiterate it all.
It’s almost always a woman who is like this.
And especially more common among those few Latin Americans who studied in some liberal arts college in the US before returning home.
Or those who work with “foreign activists in solidarity” from abroad to engage in activism that doesn't change much.
In some cases, their actions (in solidarity with those abroad or not) also ironically hurt the poorer class sometimes whenever they destroy the metro.
Then, after doing whatever type of activism that may or may not have damaged public transportation that normal people use, can be seen going home to where their parents will be waiting for them with a hot meal in a nice neighborhood.
Denys Their Socioeconomic Status
You got richer folks like this in any country.
Those who came from richer backgrounds, feel uncomfortable for doing so, tend to be young and want to have a “Rocky struggle story” where they tell you “no, no, I WORKED for what I have! I’m not rich at all!”
But they are indeed rich and objectively had much help from family money throughout their entire life.
That isn’t to take away from whatever hard work they did growing up.
Nobody isn’t saying that they didn’t kick ass in their current job or make solid grades in school.
It’s just this weird “I want to have a struggle story so I can say I did it all on my own.”
Reminds me of this funny image here.
Leaving the Country
For some Latin Americans – especially those like Venezuelans, Cubans or Argentines – leaving the country and not coming back can be a sign of wealth.
But it can also be a sign of poverty.
The poor black Venezuelan who couldn’t afford to go anywhere else but Colombia or Peru to find a better life elsewhere versus the richer white Venezuelan who could afford a good life in Miami or Spain.
Sometimes living outside of Latin America can be a sign that you are a wealthier Latin American but it depends on if you were able to legally immigrate to a wealthier country outside of Latin America in plenty of cases.
Like the poor black Venezuelan struggling to travel to the US illegally versus the rich, white Venezuelan who got into Miami legally and with relative ease.
Knows the Name of the DJ in the Club
Are you a Latin American who knows the name of a bouncer or DJ in a nice club of the city?
You probably are doing OK.
The Bryans & Karens
While you do got Latin Americans who name their kids or themselves foreign sounding names so they can sound like they are more upper class when they really live in poverty, you also have other common names among richer and younger Mexicans specifically.
Those Bryans, Kevins and Karens out there.
The Hipster “Bro” Joint of Roma Norte
In Mexico City, where do you get your Mexican food?
Do you get it at some nicer looking establishment in Roma Norte that has English phrases plastered on the walls, a restaurant name in English and some US music playing?
Or do you go for something like this here?
Right off the bat, my money is on something like in the video above.
Regardless, you do got this type of upper class Latin American (a young man or woman usually around my age) with some family money setting up their own gentrifying restaurants, bars, cafes, apartment buildings or whatever else.
Mostly trying to appeal to a younger and richer Mexican crowd and foreigners.
Often speaks English perfectly.
Can usually be chill to talk to though and easy to be friends with.
The Mexican food isn't as tasty though.
Still, this type of Mexican (and maybe it exists in other Latin countries) is common to see in some areas.
Anything to Add?
Got anything to add?
As I said, I’m just another foreigner to Latin America and there are likely many things that went over my head regarding signs that someone is “rich” or at least “comfortable.”
And, as I said, I’m a little more knowledgeable, to some degree, of signs of those who are poor or not so comfortable down here in Latin America.
Perhaps because I’ve never really been “rich” down here ever.
Anyway, if you got anything to add or anything to clarify/expand upon what I said in this article, drop a comment below.
Always appreciate insight from others.
And check out this article I wrote on signs of "poor" folks in Latin America here.
Follow my Twitter here.
And thanks for reading.