9 Surprising Differences Between A Rich vs Poor Mindset

Rich vs Poor Differences Revealed

For those living in the United States, one benefit is that you aren’t stuck in the social class you were born in. Each generation tries to do better for their children.

I’m going to show you the differences between the rich vs poor mindset so that you can change your family tree to one of success and wealth.

But first, a little background.

This desire to do better has been going on since the first colonists arrived to our soil. In fact, being able to be free and make a better life was one of the reasons many people made the journey over in the first place.

Every day you hear about people who have gone after the “American Dream” and succeeded. You’ve also probably heard about many people who HAVEN’T succeeded and say the American Dream is dead.

What is the difference between these two types of people? What makes one succeed and the others fail?

MINDSET and HABITS

While you continue to read, make a mental note to which mindset you’re currently in for each habit.

I’d like to note that this article is generalized to mindset differences that can cause one person to build wealth while another doesn’t, all else being equal. It doesn’t take into account the various socioeconomic struggles or prejudices that certain communities may face.

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Rich Habit #1:  Rich People Make Their Money Work For Them

The rich realize that you won’t build wealth if you’re constrained to hourly pay.  Everyone has the same allotted hours a day, yet the rich maximize those hours.  In fact, according to the IRS, wealthy people have 7 types of income streams.

The rich spend time reading business reports of business they want to invest in.  They purchase real estate smartly so they can have a relatively passive income stream in an appreciating asset.  Their money works FOR them.

Poor People Work For Money

Poor people spend most of their lives working an hourly wage, entirely dependent on their job.  They rely on spending hours in someone else’s company in order to get paid.

If they didn’t work one day, they won’t have any income that day.  This leaves them vulnerable to the needs of corporations which means they don’t have a backup plan if they’re unexpectedly laid off.

Rich Habit #2: Rich People Invest Their Money

When the rich invest their money, their goal is to win.  They want it to grow and are willing to take calculated risks in order for that to happen.

The rich mindset focuses on rewards. With every decision in life, there is a potential downside.

Instead of letting the negative guide their decision, they don’t catastrophize about a potential downturn in the stock market. They let it sit and often purchase more stocks during a downturn.

Rich people think of a downturn as a sale on the stock market while others are bailing and losing fortunes doing so.

Poor People Put All Their Money Into Savings Accounts

Poor people will opt for the safer route.  Their mentality is to not lose any money. By putting their money in a savings account, they ensure they won’t lose it in the stock market. 

What they may not realize is that the majority of savings accounts have an annual percentage yield less than inflation. The average online bank’s APY is around 2%.  The estimated yearly inflation is around 3%.

How Your Savings Account Is Making You Poor

If you have $100,000 sitting in a savings account with 2% APY, you’ll earn around $2,000/year in interest.  This doesn’t factor in compounding which would be around $20 or so.

If annual inflation is 3%, that 1% difference is equivalent to losing $1000 every year by having your money sitting in a high yield savings account.  

What’s even worse, if you compare that to investing in low-cost index funds.  If you average a 5% annual return, that $100,000 earns around $5,000 every year. 

That’s a $3,000 difference every year! Extrapolate that to larger balances and the earnings difference is significant.

Rich Habit #3:  Rich People Are Goal Oriented and Continue To Learn

Warren Buffett reads 5 hours every day. Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. Many other millionaires are said to set aside at least one hour every day for education.

Even if you can only spare 30 minutes every day for continued learning, multiply that by 365. That’s 182.5 hours a year, or similarly a little over 7 1/2 entire days of reading every year.

A typical 3 credit college course is around 45 hours of class time a semester. Reading 30 minutes every day is equivalent to taking 4 college courses.

Choosing books that expand your knowledge has a compounding effect. After a few years of focused reading on a topic, you can be similarly equivalent in knowledge to someone who attended a university.

Poor People Stop Learning As Soon As They’re Out Of School

Poor people will stop learning once they’re done with school. An estimated 24% of adult Americans have said they haven’t read a book the past year, including ebooks and audiobooks.

This number goes up to a staggering 34% when looking at adults who only have a high school degree vs 7% for college graduates.

The opposite of growth is stagnation or decline. Without continued education, there’s nothing to compound. In some fields, not staying up to date with the latest research and practices will make you obsolete.

Rich Habit #4:  Rich People Look For Solutions And Don’t Complain

Rich people know that building wealth isn’t easy. There will be numerous challenges and roadblocks to get there.

People who end up rich, often don’t accept things as status-quo. They shed conventional limiting beliefs in order to find creative solutions to a problem.

They’re too invested and working towards a solution in order to complain. They know that complaining will not move them forward and is where people stall out on their journey.

Poor People Find Excuses And Give Up

Building wealth is hard. There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t agree with your ideas or strategies.

Poor people will let the naysayers keep them down. Often times these people who aren’t supportive are also people who have given up or never even tried.

This is commonly referred to as the “crab mentality.” If crabs in a bucket worked together, they could easily escape. Instead, they hinder each other’s progress. If they can’t succeed, neither can you.

Those who are unsupportive and who complain may be stuck in this mentality where they are jealous and don’t want you to succeed because they didn’t.

Rich Habit #5:  Rich People Take Calculated Action And Use Logic

When making financial and business decisions, rich people will use logic. They weigh the pros and cons of a situation before making a decision.

Taking calculated actions gives them confidence in their decisions because they’ve done the background work. They’ve thought through the various scenarios and weighed the potential outcomes.

By having this confidence in decision making, they’re able to take larger calculated risks with better payoff potential.

Poor People Make Financial Decisions Impulsively And Without Thinking Through The Scenario

Poor people will often make decisions impulsively and without forethought. They may invest in a business venture because their friend asked them to, without looking at the business’ financials.

These impulsive financial choices are based on feelings rather than sound financial practices. The financial outcomes in these scenarios are often negative with huge losses.

Rich Habit #6: Rich People Think Long Term

Rich people are thinking 20 years into the future and not looking for instant success. They know that it takes time and consistency in order to build true sustainable wealth.

That’s why they’re purchasing stocks when the market downturns or buying up property when the housing bubble burst.

They understand the power of compounding interest, stock market fluctuations, and how to build a successful real estate portfolio. You may not see wealth in 5 years but will see huge growth further in the distance.

Poor People Are Short Term Thinkers

Poor people get caught up in instant success. They want to “hit it big” with one good deal which is about as effective as playing the lottery.

They often live paycheck to paycheck because they “need” to satisfy their wants NOW instead of preparing for their future.

Rich Habit #7: Rich People Are Clear In Their Goals

Rich people know what they want. They have a clearly laid out path towards their goals. They see obstacles as opportunities instead of roadblocks.

They can map out the steps needed to reach their goals and have a clear plan of attack. There is no guessing or hoping that things work out for them.

This enables rich people to take on more calculated risks that have higher payouts.

Poor People Don’t Know What They Want

Poor people don’t have a clearly defined goal of what they want. They tend to focus on what they don’t want.

This fear-based mentality is limiting and keeps them focusing on the risks.

Without having clear goals, they have nothing they’re working towards. This doesn’t lend itself to wealth building since there’s no reason to save.

Rich Habit #8: Rich People Take On Challenges

Being pushed from your comfort zone and taking on challenges is how all great advancements are made. Rich people understand this and will tackle a challenge even if they are afraid.

Poor People Run From Things That Are Out Of Their Comfort Zones

Poor people don’t like the unfamiliar. They are soothed by staying in their comfort zone and see no reason to leave it.

If an opportunity presents itself that is a little different or something they hadn’t considered before, they most likely will not take on that challenge.

Rich Habit #9:  Rich People Are Innovators And Creators

Rich people are the entrepreneurs and innovators of our world. They are creative and constantly looking to create valuable products.

Most of their time is spent on innovation and learning which pays more dividends than constantly consuming.

Poor People Are Consumers

If you haven’t created anything and shy away from challenging yourself, the only other thing to do with your money is to consume.

Instead of becoming an entrepreneur or learning about the stock market, poor people will spend their time trying to acquire the latest status symbol.

Inevitably, poor people spend most of their money on items created by rich people.

Do You Have A Rich Or Poor Mindset?

Now that you know the main differences in the mindsets of the rich and poor, take the time to reflect upon your own life.

Which habits sound more like you?

If you currently relate more to the habits of the poor, don’t fret! Recognizing behavioral patterns is the first step in changing them.

If you want to change your habits to those of the rich, make a concentrated effort to make small changes in the rich direction daily.

Let me know in the comments which mindset you currently have.

What’s your current net worth? Use this FREE calculator to find out!

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Steffa Mantilla

Budgeting & Debt Payoff Expert

Steffa is the founder behind Money Tamer. After paying off over $80,000 in debt through budgeting, she now teaches families how to get their own finances in order. Steffa’s background in operant conditioning and behavioral husbandry has given her an understanding of motivation and motivators. She uses this training to help people understand the reasons “why” behind their money behaviors and how to successfully change them. You can learn more about her here.

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The Habits Of The Rich And Poor

1 thought on “9 Surprising Differences Between A Rich vs Poor Mindset”

  1. I think I must have been really lucky because my default mindset was the one labeled rich here. I guess that makes sense why I am a millionaire now and continue to make millions. The other mindset of being stagnant and a consumer frightens me.

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