How Rich People Think

Happy Friday, y’all! Rescued this gem out of my spam emails this morning and thought it would make for some good thought over the weekend… Ended up being a pitch about a new book out there called “How Rich People Think,” and whether it’s good or not (I have no idea), the funny part is that it was published back in 2010!! :) Why it’s getting promoted NOW I have no idea, haha, but it does look interesting nonetheless.

The author (Steve Siebold) pretty much says getting rich isn’t about the highest level of education you completed or your IQ, but rather how you look and think about money. Similar to “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” made popular by T. Harv Eker.  He (Steve) interviewed over 1,200 of the world’s wealthiest people over the past 30 years, and according to him there are more than 100 differences in how rich people look at money compared to the middle class.

Here are 9 of them:

  • Middle class focuses on saving. The wealthy focus on earning.
  • Middle class believes hard work creates wealth. The wealthy believe leverage creates wealth.
  • Middle class believes money is earned through labor. The wealthy believe money is earned through thought.
  • Middle class worries about running out of money. The wealthy think about how to make more money.
  • Middle class operates from a fear based consciousness. The wealthy operate in a consciousness of abundance, freedom, opportunity and possibility.
  • Middle class believes getting rich is outside their control. The wealthy know getting rich is an inside job.
  • Middle class sees money through the eyes of emotion. The wealthy see money through the eyes of logic.
  • Middle class has a lottery mentality about money. The wealthy have an action mentality.
  • Middle class sets their financial expectations low so they’re never disappointed. The wealthy set their financial expectations high and get excited.

Now obviously you can’t generalize *everything* so easily like that, but there’s def. some  merit to it. I know I used to get stuck in many of those “middle class thinkings” time and time again myself, and still do today even though I’ve changed considerably. Not that there’s anything wrong with being middle class, of course :) It only matters if you’re trying to GET RICH. Which also reminds me to ask you if you think there’s a difference between “being rich” and “being wealthy?” You always see them interchanged and never sure if that makes sense or not? I think it’s the same?

Anywho, if you want more comparisons like this, check out a similar post we did three years ago: The Difference Between Wealthy People vs Poor People. You’ll notice there’s a definite theme here :) And I’m sure a billion of others have stated the same stuff too!

But whether you’re poor, middle class, or wealthy, as long as you’re happy all is good in the world. Not everyone’s cut out to become a billionaire, and that’s totally fine unless you dream otherwise! And in which case it’s time to consider a switch in mentality and start re-tweaking that brain of yours :) Always gotta be working towards those dreams!

Photo by ToGa Wanderings

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  1. Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle March 15, 2013 at 6:25 AM

    I just read the list and saw myself in the middle class thinking. I have cut more from the budget. I am saving more and I am reducing debt. I need to focus on my only way to get ahead – earn more income.

    Does the book say HOW you can make more money?

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      Probably not – just that it’s a matter of changing your mentality I’m guessing.

      1. Mario March 18, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        Hey J. Money! “A matter of changing your mentality,” reminded me of a book I just finished; Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

        Hill advocates growing rich by purposefully changing your mindset, partially achieved through daily auto-suggestion and intense visualization of positive outcomes.

        Highly recommended for anyone interested in growing his or her wealth. :)

        1. johnson jr June 22, 2016 at 5:52 PM

          I believe to become rich, we must stop believing in the old ways. They are unconsciously guiding us by the industrial ways of thinking, or even a primitive reptilian thinking. Our thought process is led by the Me generation. In order for us to reach great heights, we must first try things that we’ve never done before, become risky, try to see from different perspectives. The reason that we remain as we are, is simply that we played life safe. The rich are rich, because they never was scared, being scared to them never was a notion. They believed they could do anything and so they did.

  2. Lance @ Money Life and More March 15, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    I definitely have received many pitches about this book but didn’t feel like looking into it. I think many of the generalizations are probably true because if you have a limiting mindset you can’t reach your true potential. The sky is the limit, you just have to find a way to get there when others are stuck on the ground.

  3. John S @ Frugal Rules March 15, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    I got the same pitch myself and do think the generalizations are true to a large extent. I think a lot of it comes down to how you view money and how you’re going to use it in life. I agree that not all of us were meant to be rolling in dough and probably will be. Great point on being happy and what that brings. Contentment is a hugely overlooked virtue in our society, though while not always easy to attain, can be a huge help.

  4. CashRebel March 15, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    These sound like really insightful notions, but didn’t Thomas Stanley write them in The Millionaire Next Door 20 years ago? Even his survey methodology sounds the same…

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      Haha yeah probably. And I’m sure 200 people before him promoted the same over the years :)

  5. Tiffany @ Extraordinary Reasons March 15, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    Ah awesome post J! I really believe these generalizations are true. It truly is a matter of perspective in a lot of cases. It’s kind of like the saying, don’t work for your money, make your money work for you. That’s done through generating passive income (oftentimes using leverage), investing, etc. rather than just “saving” and letting it sit. Of course everyone’s situation is different, but that seems to really be key.

    I think you can also be rich/wealthy in different ways. I think, if you don’t have to worry about whether you can afford day-to-day things or paying your bills, you’re wealthy. Because you no longer have that burden of survival and can think of other things….

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      Agreed! Having that financial stability of at least knowing your bills will be paid monthly is HUGE in life and in happiness/no stress/etc. I feel like everything on top of that is just extra. It feels great, but it doesn’t add like 10x more happiness ya know?

  6. Leah March 15, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    It’s funny because I grew up with my mom having VERY middle-class mentality, and my father having a VERY wealthy mentality.

    I read through these and I clearly identify with both!

    –Save AND Earn
    –Work hard AND leverage
    –Labor through the day AND invent while you’re at it

    I should probably untangle that web a little, huh?

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      Sounds like an excellent new post for your blog ;)

  7. Matt @ My Coin Blog March 15, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    I think this one sums up everything: “Middle class has a lottery mentality about money. The wealthy have an action mentality.”

    Very insightful. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Jennifer Dunn March 15, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    It’s so funny that you should post this today, J. I recently saw the light and decided to take a step to make more income (through a hopefully smart investment) rather than just continue to work harder and harder and take on more clients. Am I moving from the middle class to the wealthy mind set? I guess we’ll see. Thanks for posting this!

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 11:56 AM

      You just may be! As one person told me lately, “you don’t have to work harder necessarily all the time, just smarter.” I’m trying to work on that constantly myself – makes sense, but not that easy :)

  9. Kevin @ RewardBoost March 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    About two years ago I changed my thought from “saving to retire” to “generate income to retire”. When that happened, I made a lot of thought changes from what this book calls “middle class” to “wealthy”.

    I haven’t made it yet but I’m working on it! This new website I’m building is hopefully my key to generating wealth! :)

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Yeah it is!! Always Be Hustlin’, baby.

  10. Emmy March 15, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    This makes A LOT of sense. Definitely something to think about. Speaking of rich people – I was a total nerd recently and watched a 3 hour documentary on about the Rockefellers and HOLY CRAP it was interesting. Just how the viewed money and business and how they raised their children to deal with money, how they dealt with everyday life… I was surprised how much I liked watching it. Since it was so long I had to divide it up through a few days, but I think you would find it interesting too.

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      Yeah!!! I actually watched something similar on the History Channel too – about how John D. got into business and competing with railroads and what not. Incredibly interesting!!

  11. @pfinMario March 15, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    The wealthy get paid to use their money; the middle class pays to use theirs. Being wealthy also gives them the freedom to have different attitudes about risk. Suppose rolling a die costs you $100,000 for rolling a 1 and pays you $50,000 otherwise; the middle class person would walk away from the opportunity while the wealthy person would roll it 100 times over.

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      Yep! The more money you have the more opps to be risky, try out newer things, fail, get back up and do it again, etc etc. Lots of good you can add to the world too if you wanted.

  12. Ginna March 15, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    This is a great post and I really want to read that book now! Thanks for sharing. I too found myself thinking more like a middle class person, but that puts it into perspective.

    Happy Friday!

  13. Nick @ March 15, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Really interesting stuff J. I meet some of those requirements but definitely not all of them. :) Alas, I am stuck in the middle class for now, but at least I’m happy!

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Being happy is all that matters in the end :)

  14. Retire By 40 March 15, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    I think I’m in between. I don’t feel the need to get rich though. That’s probably my biggest problem – no ambition. :) TGIF!

  15. writing2reality March 15, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Couldn’t agree more with this list! I think understanding that it is your mentality and approach towards wealth and financial security that will dictate how you ultimately fair in the end.

  16. Brian @ Stocks and Cents March 15, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    I really really have to emphasize that first two you put up there: focus on earning and building wealth through leverage. I 100% agree with the first one. Investing your money in various projects, companies, etc in order to have it work for you is MUCH more powerful than just savings.

    With the second, I get it but I don’t agree with it necessarily. I think you can build wealth without leverage. In fact, I think that wealth built without leverage is probably safer and more lasting than wealth with leverage. Just my two cents!

    1. writing2reality March 16, 2013 at 1:03 AM

      I think leverage has a place in every financial picture! Plan on buying a house? You’ve used leverage unless you saved up to pay in cash first. While there can be some specific types of leveraging that would drastically increase your exposure and risk (say margin in equity investing), most everyone has utilized or will utilize some form of leverage to advance their wealth, whether it was the intended reason or not.

  17. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Yeah, I don’t agree with it 100% either, but I do get the gist of where they’re going with it. Been trying to get myself into this mindset more and more each year – changes everything!

  18. Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce March 15, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Very interesting! Thanks for making your point about the shortcomings of generalizing, and qualifying the above characterizations. Great post.

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 9:00 PM

      Even better! Will check out in a few ;)

  19. nGneer March 15, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    My action plan is combining #1 and #3, focusing on earning and earning through thought. I really need to get around to making prototypes for my product ideas. It’s just so hard to work after getting back from work. Blah.

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 9:01 PM

      Totally – very hard…. but if it’s something you REALLY enjoy luckily it’s not *work*!

  20. Slackerjo March 15, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    J you got me good. I fall into middle class mentality big time when I should be inching (baby steps, baby steps) towards thinking wealthy! Thanks for the insight!

  21. My Financial Independence Journey March 15, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    I’ve seen that list or some variation of it before. I think that the biggest difference between the wealthy and the middle class is wealth creation vs wealth destruction. Rich people want to create real wealth that will keep on producing more wealth even after they are gone. The middle class only saves so that they can destroy all of their savings in retirement. The idea of perpetual lasting income just isn’t there.

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      That’s an interesting way of putting it too :) I tend to not think about what happens when I’m gone, but I suppose I do indeed want it to continue too!

  22. Jeremy March 15, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    I think there is more to it than just mentality. Rich folks, and middle class folks (or lower class for that matter), generally start out on different places on the wealth continuum. In other words, a child from a middle class household may have to take on student loans, car loan, etc., just to get a decent job to begin to build wealth, whereas a child from a wealthy family, all other things being equal, generally does not take out consumer debt for these type of purchases, and can afford to “think” differently about money from day one. It would interesting to know home many of the “rich” folks interviewed started off with a leg up compared to those who were self-made, and whether the opinions differed within those subsets.

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 9:03 PM

      Yeah! I’d be interested too! And if you started out super poor as well – great point.

  23. Giddings Plaza FI March 15, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    The first item in your list–•Middle class focuses on saving. The wealthy focus on earning–is one I’m getting better and better at. I began by increasing my salary in the last decade. And, in the last couple of years, I’ve let my $ do the walking by using mutual funds to get cap gain and dividends. I’m now in the process of taking the next steps of 1 buying an investment property and 2. experimenting with P2P lending.

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      sweet. let us know how it goes – I’m not allowed to do the latter (illegal in my state) and too scared to do the former as it stands ;)

  24. Edward Antrobus March 15, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    The problem with lists like this is they cast things in such a negative light. “Middle class focuses on saving. The wealthy focus on earning.” Put that way, it makes it sound like saving is a bad idea. Want to get rich? Ditch saving and make more money!
    I also disagree with the labor vs thought. Thought without action is worthless. If thought alone without work could make us rich, I’m sure all of us here would be on Forbes.

    1. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 9:22 PM

      Haha…. that is true – it does make the middle class look bad doesn’t it? Didn’t even cross my mind! :)

  25. Melinda Gonzalez March 15, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    I could see this being true. When we focus on only saving we are focused on holding onto money, which isn’t always a good thing. You need circulation to keep things going.

    When you are focused on earning money, you are opening yourself up to more and new money, instead of holding onto the old you already earned.

  26. J. Money March 15, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Ooooh I like that! “You need circulation to keep things going.” – that’s a new one!

  27. stephanie March 15, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    @Jeremy, very interesting perspective. I think it would be proved out, if such a study were done. Hey! A possible side-gig for us! I really do believe that one who is born into wealth has a completely different view, whereas I come from good (what used to be considered) middle-class. I learned the value of a dollar and what a gamble meant to my bottom line. Safe ways to earn included putting money away every single paycheck, and not withdrawing it for any reason. Paying bills on time to not have any interest payments. Buying on sale. Buying quality when appropriate.

    J, again, you’ve done it; I am really forced to consider my attitude toward money because of your blog. I really appreciate the time and attitude you put into your site – I don’t miss a single day because you always present a new twist on an old topic. We all think about money, to me it’s the fact that you give me a completely different view and force me to consider whether I’m comfortable with my current thought process, or if I need to make changes. Thank you many times over!

    1. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      No problem!! That’s the only reason I can write and read similar blogs myself – the rest is usually to boring for me to read, nonetheless ACT on. So I’m thrilled you’re enjoying my articles so far – that really means a lot. Thank you for saying so!!

  28. Econowiser March 16, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    I have been shifting paradigms as well. I just know and feel that early retirement will happen for me, and therefore I know I will be rich! It takes time…but I’ll get there.

  29. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Great things usually do :)

  30. Shafi March 17, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    How rich people think depends on individual thinking. There is no one standard that people can follow. Everyone is different so is everyone’s thinking.

  31. Cassi March 17, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    Interesting article. I personally think some wealthy thoughts and some middle class thoughts. I’m going to work to start thinking wealth thoughts now!

  32. debtgirl March 18, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    I am def. a middle class thinker!

  33. Jay Aspenwood March 26, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    I so agree, J, what should really drive us is our dreams and what makes us happy. While I personally think most people have the capability of becoming rich, and while I even believe most would also enjoy both the effort and the end-result, for some reason only few do the necessary to really get there. Most people I know don’t really dream of becoming wealthy and they don’t believe it would even make them that happy.

    To me it seems that most people don’t seriously believe they could ever become wealthy, so even the thought of actually taking specific steps towards this type of financial goals feels ridiculous, maybe even embarrassing. The “it wouldn’t make me happy” part is probably then a good supporting justification to keep people from longing for something that they (think they can’t) get anyhow.

    I’d love everyone to see the potential they have in themselves, and maybe “thinking like rich people” can help in this. Yet, if you are driven by and dreaming of totally other things than financial success, then go for those – you only have one life to live so why not spend it doing things that make you happy!

  34. J. Money March 27, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Best comment of the day, good sir. So very very true – I believe we all have the potential to do big things too! Even outside of the wealth we can all make a much bigger impact in this world if we align ourselves right and just kill it.

    Thanks for stopping by, bro :)

    1. J. Money June 26, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      Will go and check it out – thx :)

  35. sandy August 30, 2013 at 6:50 AM

    I always new I will never be middle class
    Coming from a family where every one was money saving mentality, I always loved to spend and look for opportunity to earn more.
    Despite a fixed income jobs, I used to have extra side income in my early days doing deals.
    Finally when I started business, I never kept and still never do budgets, spend as much as I feel am worthy of the product of my need.
    A rich man mind believes he will always be winner and will always earn. He becomes more focused on his competencies which will result in performance and performance will ensure competitiveness which is a $ sign.
    Good luck to all who wants to be millionaire and good luck to all who wish to sleep well.

    1. J. Money August 31, 2013 at 7:52 AM

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing :)

  36. mike February 2, 2015 at 4:06 PM

    This post should be a prerequisite that kids should have to read at a young age. It’s simple enough anyone can understand and it’s brief enough that a child can finish it before getting distracted. It’s important for adults too. :) The fact is accomplishment in any field towards any intended goal is about becoming a certain person with certain values and certain habits. You do enough of the right things for a long enough period of time and the law of cause and effect will take over. If you live congruently with your values and habits and beliefs, and you do enough things right for long enough, I believe success is inevitable. Thanks for the insights, Steve Siebold is on my radar of authors to potentially read so it’s a good reminder to put him on my list.

    1. J. Money June 23, 2016 at 6:39 AM