Wealthy People vs Poor People

millionaire statusHappy Friday y’all!

Fellow sexy budgets reader, Andy Hausmann, emailed me this gem last night and thought it was too good to pass up.  Kinda a lot to take in, but if you really think about these one by one they def. make sense!

T. Harv Eker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth, believes wealthy people inherently think differently about money. We each have a unique “financial blueprint,” which is created over a lifetime of our exposure to money messages. Here are 17 ways he says that wealthy people behave and think about money:

  1. Wealthy people believe, “I create my life.” Poor people believe, “Life happens to me.”
  2. Wealthy people play the money game to win. Poor people play the money game to not lose.
  3. Wealthy people are committed to being rich. Poor people want to be rich.
  4. Wealthy people think big. Poor people think small.
  5. Wealthy people focus on opportunities. Poor people focus on obstacles.
  6. Wealthy people admire other rich and successful people. Poor people resent rich and successful people.
  7. Wealthy people associate with positive, successful people. Poor people associate with negative or unsuccessful people.
  8. Wealthy people are willing to promote themselves and their value. Poor people think negatively about selling and promotion.
  9. Wealthy people are bigger than their problems. Poor people are smaller than their problems.
  10. Wealthy people are excellent receivers. Poor people are poor receivers.
  11. Wealthy people choose to get paid based on results. Poor people choose to get paid based on time.
  12. Wealthy people think “both”. Poor people think “either/or”.
  13. Wealthy people focus on their net worth. Poor people focus on their working income.
  14. Wealthy people manage their money well. Poor people mismanage their money well.
  15. Wealthy people have their money work hard for them. Poor people work hard for their money.
  16. Wealthy people act in spite of fear. Poor people let fear stop them.
  17. Wealthy people constantly learn and grow. Poor people think they already know.

Kinda overgeneralized, but you get the meat and potatoes of it. Obviously there are tons of people who are poor due to unfortunate circumstances out of their control, but this is more in terms of “mind sets” and ways of thinking.

#13 and #15 are my faves: Wealthy people don’t focus on working income, but rather their net worth! (like this – bam!) And then the whole mentality of your money working for YOU, rather than you working hard for your money! Smart investments are key here, over more hours spent at the job! Which end as soon as you clock out (Unlike the investments which continually grow and grow (hopefully) over time).

What do you think? Any stand out and really HIT YOU?

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  1. Kevin @ Thousandaire.com November 19, 2010 at 8:36 AM

    I like #1. “I create my life” is not only the source of wealth, but also happiness. There’s nothing more depressing than thinking you are trapped in a situation and don’t have any way to make it better.

  2. C November 19, 2010 at 9:22 AM

    I like #1 and #16. So legit!

    This was a really cool list– thanks for sharing!

  3. StackingCash November 19, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    I’m a #6, poor people resent rich and successful people. From my experience most of the wealthy people I know are crooks and thieves. They will lie, cheat, and steal to get rich. Or they are lucky bastards who happen to be born to rich parents. Man, I’m pretty angry right now…maybe I just had the misfortune of losing money to the “rich” compared to others.

  4. tom November 19, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    I think #6: Wealthy people admire other rich and successful people. Poor people resent rich and successful people, describes the US right now.

    ESPECIALLY when it comes to Taxes and entitlements.

  5. tom November 19, 2010 at 10:49 AM


    “They will lie, cheat, and steal to get rich.” Can’t that be turned around on the poor?

    I’m just sayin’.

  6. Sandy @yesiamcheap November 19, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    I have some ambivalence towards lists like this that make such huge generalities, but let’s tackle #13. “Wealthy people focus on their net worth. Poor people focus on their working income.” To some extent, this might be true, but let’s see why.

    If you are poor, you tend to worry more about fulfilling basic human necessities such as food, clothing and shelter. There probably is no room to worry about net worth when you are worrying about feeding and clothing your kids or paying the next bill. There are enough people in the country right now that made bad decisions such as buying homes that they could not afford, thinking that the inflated value would add to their net worth and now find themselves foreclosed on because they could not afford it.

    Just giving the flip side.

  7. Dain November 19, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Great book. Haven’t read it in a while, but it was definitely a mental game changer. Can’t wait til #15 become mores of a reality for me :)

  8. Brian Drolet November 19, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    I especially like this one

    11. Wealthy people choose to get paid based on results. Poor people choose to get paid based on time

  9. Tom November 19, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    Caution: just because you act out the behaviors doesn’t necessarily mean you’re wealthy (or poor). It’s unidirectional.

  10. WR November 19, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Great list. My fave is # 17 (kinda has a nice ring to it):

    Wealthy people constantly learn and grow. Poor people think they already know.

    I would add (shameless link to one of my blog posts: Curios? http://worthwild.net/blog/?p=192 ) one:

    18. Wealthy people are insanely curious. Poor people watch a lot of TV.


  11. WR November 19, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    I have been poor and I have been wealthy. Wealthy is better.

    There are plenty of really good excuses to cite for why we are not doing well financially. Some of them are completely airtight. Problem is that, platitudes aside, focusing on the bruises, losses and unfairness only makes us bitter and less prepared to move forward.

    Many of the T. Harvey Eker ideas listed in the post are mirrored in “The Millionaire Next Door”.

    Wealth is not an amount of money, it is a state of mind. An expectation of winning helps you actually win.

    Everyone gets knocked down. Life is hard.

    Feeling like you are 100% responsible for your success (even if not technically true) is a huge indicator of your propensity to get up and try again after being knocked down hard.

    Many of the ideas are just different ways of saying the same thing. “I create my life”, I Think big, I prefer getting paid on results are all ways of saying “I feel certain that I can influence my outcomes”


  12. Nathan November 19, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    Great list. It begs the question “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”
    #18: Wealthy people believe they can pay people to do things to allow them to get more money. Poor people believe they cannot get their way because they have no money. Silly Attitudes.

  13. Kelly November 19, 2010 at 10:42 PM

    I agree with Kevin and C – I like #1 the best. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I do create my own life to put things back in perspective!

  14. Shaun November 19, 2010 at 11:36 PM

    Great list! Hard to choose a favourite, but it all really starts with #1…. Take action, believe in yourself and it will happen :)


  15. Chet November 20, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    I really like 13 through 15, that is so true that poor folks mis-manage their money well. Great post, ordering the book now.

    Thanks for all of the great posts.

  16. Bret @ Hope to Prosper November 20, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    Most of these 17 items have the same basic theme of having control vs. being at the mercy of fate. I believe this attitude is useful for many things, not just accumulating wealth. For example, most people who are genuinely happy believe they are in control of their lives.

    I was raised blue collar and I had most of these negative thoughts attributed to poor people. And, I was barely scrapping by when I started out. Luckily, I read a lot of motivational books and listened to motivational tapes and I developed the belief that “I’m in control of my destiny”. I am definitely wealthier and happer because of it.

    Regarding the comment from StackingCash:

    There are a lot of wealthy people who are crooks and thieves. And, there are a lot of wealthy people who are honest, thoughful and generous. The reality is that the majority of crime is perpetrated by the impoverished.

  17. UHNW November 21, 2010 at 2:23 AM

    @Nathan – so true. I’m always a bit cautious of lists like this.

    I bet that there are lots of poor people who meet all the attributes on the list and are still poor. Just because all rich people have these traits does not mean if you follow the list you too will be rich. If you read Millionaire Next Door you find that most of their rich people are white, old to older and have been professionals / ran their own business. That does not mean if you are young or a women or not white that you will never be rich.

    The rich people I know work hard at what they enjoy and what they are good at. Some of them who tick some of the boxes. There are also lots who never think about their money – they are too engrossed in building something to think about it.
    Be careful thinking that a list like this will make you rich – It won’t.

  18. StackingCash November 21, 2010 at 2:49 AM

    Absolutely, the poor are lazy criminals and many of them stand on the street with a sign that says “Will work for food.” What a straight up lie!

    The rich are rarely punished unless they cause harm to another who is richer than them. Also the rich can evade the law easily, whereas the poor cannot.

    Another point regarding #6, the rich do not admire other rich and successful people, they are jealous and will do whatever it takes to become richer. I think it should be illegal to have more than 50 million dollars :) I would think that would be enough money for anyone.

    Right now is there not a great divide between the rich and poor? Even though I’m far from poor, I’m a billion miles from rich.

  19. WR November 21, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    There is a difference between wealthy and rich. There is a difference between poor and impoverished.

    Wealth is made up of the things that make life worthwhile. Money is usually a component of that, but not the primary one by a long shot.

    There are lots of people in the world who live a wealthy lifestyle yet could easily be called impoverished. They are happy, productive and have rich relationships, ust not a ton of money.

    It is the comparison with other people who you feel are your peers that make you feel rich or poor. There are lots of millionaires who are the poorest blokes at their country club and feel ashamed of that fact. When all you chase is money, someone will always have more.

    If you focus on your net worth, how it will solve problems, help others and enable you to follow your personal bliss then you are wealthy, regardless of current income or bank balance.
    That said, In our society, having money greases the skids so we can spend more time doing the important things.

    If all of this seems pollyanna or indifferent to the plight of the poor then I must have missed my point. Some people will have difficulty coping and competing in our society. These people need our help. If you are reading this then you, more than likely, have capacity to help the most disadvantaged among us.

    If you focus too much on the inequities between you and Bill Gates, you will feel poor. If you look at your life and count your blessings, you will feel wealthy. Yes, it is that simple.

    Helping others is the first step:

    My favorite quote ever:
    “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one”
    -Mother Theresa


  20. Christian November 21, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    There is probably truth here for people who earned their riches honestly. It is not applicable to people who were born rich or became rich(er) by cheating others. So, how many rich people does this list really apply to?

  21. Debt Free Daniel November 21, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    I believe most are true except for number 6 which Poor people do not resent rich people. In fact poor people admire rich people and even envy them. But this does not translate for poor people to do well for their own enrichment. Number 11 did hit me on the spot. Most employees of do think of time while CEO do think and expect results from their employees. And from that I see the difference on their status.

  22. FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com November 22, 2010 at 8:56 AM

    You can also feel rich without having a lot of money or being a millionaire. :) Just depends on what you consider luxurious and rich.

  23. J. Money November 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    Oooooh lovin’ the discussions going on here guys! One of my favorite parts about blogging ;) Seeing how this stuff affects everyone and bring out all the differing opinions. Especially good for me to hear so I don’t get stuck in my own stubborn way of thinking all the time, so thanks guys! Really interesting to read.

  24. WR November 24, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    Money does not buy happiness.

    Money can buy things that support your perception of happiness. Things like:

    Health Insurance
    A House
    A Car
    Dog Food
    Braces for your granddaughter
    Nike Air Jordans
    AAA auto insurance

    Everyone derives a feeling of happiness differently. Money will not buy happiness but it can enable happiness to exist. Most of the time, even the immediate sense of happiness that ‘things’ give you will fade. Quickly.

    That said, having a certain amount of money gives you more choices. Choice is better than no choice. With more money you can choose:
    to do nothing
    to go to school
    to read a book
    to say “go to hell” to a boss that is unbearable. (having FU money is a great reason to decide to be wealthy)

    The point is that happiness is elusive and is far bigger a concept than money can address. A better way to look at it is asking “What makes up a fulfilling life”.

    Personally, I think the answer is not money, but curiosity: http://worthwild.net/blog/?p=192


    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  25. J. Money November 26, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    I like having FU Money…. hoping to exercise that one day ;)

  26. Debt Hater December 7, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    #1 and #5 because they’re the ones I had to learn to overcome my debt and my own fear of dealing (responsibly with money). Once I got those two down, the rest seemed to come naturally.

    And WR (“If you focus on your net worth, how it will solve problems, help others and enable you to follow your personal bliss then you are wealthy, regardless of current income or bank balance.”) I’m with you!

  27. J. Money December 8, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    Hey Debt Hater! Long time no chat :) Glad to see you’re around the blogosphere these days – we miss you down here in DC.

  28. Tiara February 1, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    This post has given me a new perspective on how I choose to live… It seems that my thoughts about becoming successful directly lines up with the beliefs and thoughts of the wealthy. I can no longer get angry when I have naysayers who gives unsolicited career and finance advice when Im asked what I do for a living and I respond “Whatever I want”. The naysayers are members of the Poor community, and although I am currently a member of the disenfranchised myself, I choose to take charge of my life and finances… 9 to 5 are for suckers! FREELANCE NATION!

  29. J. Money February 2, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Freelance Nation! Represent, what what! Haha… love it.

  30. Tony Rons March 28, 2012 at 6:11 AM

    It’s really good sharing,
    I would like to say 75% of rich people could’t sleep well in the knight, but 75% of poor people have well sleep in the knight.
    Rich people heart on the money, Poor people heart on Happynes,

  31. J. Money March 28, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Well, that’s kind of a generalization, but yeah – I’m sure to some degree that’s true. I know a lot of rich people that give back to the poor and are beautiful-hearted people too ;) You can still be a good overall person and rich at the same time.

  32. MakintheBacon$ July 4, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    I really liked this post. It makes you think. To me, #5- focusing on opportunities and #14-managing their money well stood out. It has definitely changed my mindset on how to grow my wealth.

  33. J. Money July 6, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Glad you liked it! Those two are def. biggies for sure. Going over now to check out your blog :)

  34. Matthew Insardi October 2, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    #15 … work smarter not harder and let your money do the grinding while you have fun building your business

  35. J. Money October 3, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    No doubt about it! An excellent way to go for sure.

  36. StacknBills November 27, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
    ― Epictetus

  37. StacknBills November 27, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    “When you’ve had money and lost it, it can be much worse than never having had it at all!”
    ― Wall Street (1987)

  38. J. Money November 28, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    Yes yes yes! Great quotes indeed. Totally going to tweet them out later, thanks :)

  39. Steven Vicari June 11, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    This list is ridiculously stupid and simplistic. It’s another list praising the wealthy for their superior way of thinking and living when it couldn’t be further from the truth. Do you have any idea how many wealthy people inherit their wealth and simply maintain and grow their money with their inherited leverage. Entrepreneurs are the exception to the rule. Billions of poor people can apply these traits and die in the dirt.

    1. J. Money June 12, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      For sure – there are always exceptions to the rule. I’m not aware of the % of those who inherit vs those who earn it on their own accord, but I’d guess way more earn it than the opposite. But the point really here is that your mindset can make a big difference when it comes to earning and keeping money (at least if you then take action). I feel like this stuff helps people more than it hurts them, but that’s just me.