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  • Writer's pictureRick Martin

15 Differences Between The Rich Mindset vs The Poor Mindset

In real estate investing, people will tell you it is 90% mindset, 10% execution. The 90/10 ratio should be applied to life in general, whether you are a successful athlete, entrepreneur, or even parent. There is no such thing as a free lunch in life, and if we truly want the life we dream of, it will require hard work to build up one's net worth.

The first step to achieving financial success is building a wealth mindset. And just as there is wealth or rich mindset, there is also a poor mindset, and if we allow our minds to fall into the latter, then that is the path that we will take in life. Allow me to clarify something straight out of the gate. "Kicking a guy when he is down" is not what this article is. Many come into this world incredibly less fortunate and have, in many cases, impossible odds to overcome. It is about the great many of us who have a choice in life - to have the proper mindset to choose the life we want. Given a choice, would you rather be rich, or would you rather be poor?

Mindset is the key to everything, and you can have the right mindset or choose to have the wrong mindset. In this article, we will compare and contrast the key differences between successful people - those with the rich mindset, with those who are not successful - those with the poor mindset.

1. Rich people create their own life. Poor people allow Life to Happen to Them.

We've all heard the phrase, "make it happen." We can make it happen every day in our lives. Poor mindset people will wake up in the morning, check their email, turn on the news, and have already let life take them on a path they didn't choose. They are allowing life to happen to them. Such people blame their financial situation on circumstances, believing that these were the cards they were dealt.

Conversely, those with a wealthy mindset will already have clear goals set the night before. These smaller, tactical goals fit into their grand master plan for the life they want. They are creating a life that includes their financial goals and their lifestyle goals as well. If you feel like life is taking you for a ride, start making some time for yourself, first thing in the morning or the night before. Take some quiet time to focus on what you want, and shut out all of life's distractions.

2. People with a wealthy mindset play to win. Poor people play not to lose.

To borrow a sports analogy, what if we only put our team out on defense and chose to ignore the offense altogether. Would we ever score? Maybe if we defended well, we could tie. We could give ourselves a chance not to lose, but we could never win. We would never get ahead. If your highest goal in life is to tie, you will never enjoy the victories in life.

3. The Wealthy minded think, "How can I afford this? The poor-minded think, "I can't afford this."

Above is one of the critical takeaways from Rich Dad Poor Dad, the book by Robert Kiyosaki. The wealthy will decide on what they want and determine the resources they need to achieve that. On the other hand, the poor think that is too much money, I can't afford that, and they immediately write it off. The rich think, what it will take to accomplish this, while the poor don't consider what it will take; they decide they do not have enough money to afford it.

4. Rich people think big. The poor think small.

Another common misconception is that the rich are evil and think only of themselves. The truth is, while there may be a few bad apples, the majority of the wealthy consider a reach well beyond themselves. They tend to be philanthropic, creating charities and helping those less fortunate. Their plan goes well beyond their inner circle, and it can have a positive ripple effect on society. I think of my uncle, who handed over one million dollars to his church. I only discovered this during his eulogy, and it had me wondering how many others he had helped.

I hate to say it, but the poor-minded think small, and they may think only of themselves. It is not that they are selfish, but instead that this is all they are capable of. Unfortunately, they have limited resources because they are limited by thinking small. They plan to get a job to pay their bills - nothing more, nothing less. Conversely, the wealthy-minded have a surplus of resources to help others since they do not limit themselves.

Rather than thinking about what job they might qualify for, the rich-minded thinks bigger picture. The wealthy are playing in the big leagues, not the minor league.

5. The rich overcome, while the poor succumb.

In sports, we witness the best becoming more significant than any obstacle they face in competition. They have the "heart of a champion," or what matters is "the size of their heart." They have worked so hard on their mindset that they do not fear those moments late in the game. As the screams of the opposing fans are loud, they overcome the pressure, while others wilt under pressure.

Some might be born with this mindset, but probably for most, it requires a tremendous amount of work. In our comparison, those with the wealthy mindset will say, "Bring it on!" Unfortunately, the poor will cower and hide from those moments, and they will succumb to the pressure.

Contrary to the myth that life was handed to the wealthy on a silver platter, they actually may have come from very humble beginnings. In many cases, this develops the proverbial chip on the shoulder and allows them to overcome.

6. Rich mindset people focus on opportunities. The poor focus on problems

Getting rich is not easy. Contrary to popular belief, it is not handed over to you on a silver spoon. The poor mind rationalizes that most rich are trust fund babies, and their wealth was handed to them. Success was not handed over to Bill Gates and Elon Musk, and their paths have been full of obstacles, twists, and detours. The simple fact is, success is a bumpy road, and it is fraught with pitfalls, and that's why most people don't take it. They don't want the problems.

This is one of the biggest differences between rich people and poor people. Wealthy and successful people focus on opportunities so they can overcome their problems. Poor and unsuccessful people allow their problems to become more prominent than they are, and therefore become discouraged to the point of being defeated.

Poor people will do almost anything to avoid anything that looks like a problem and back away from challenges. The irony is that their quest to make sure they don't have problems may lead to them never accomplishing much, and therefore, being poor. The secret to success is not to try to avoid or shrink your problems; it's to grow yourself, so you're bigger than any problem.

7. The rich have a positive attitude. The poor have a negative attitude.

How do you feel in the morning when you wake up? Are you like, "Zip a Dee Doo Da!" Some refer to it as being on your high disk. You start the day feeling happy, feeling optimistic. Have you ever tried the 24 hours without complaining challenge? Some will push this challenge to a week, and those that truly enjoy the fruits of life make it a life habit. Your body, your mind, and your mood are all listening. When "they" collectively hear you complain, it leaves you feeling miserable. Can we have a positive attitude if we are feeling miserable? Will we feel hope?

If you possess a lack of hope in life, you won't have the courage to overcome. One remarkable trait of the rich is the belief even after they may have gone broke, they can pick up the pieces and get back to the top of the mountain. The poor believe they are doomed to a life of poverty and are oppressed and held down by the rich - they are victims.

Remember the quote by Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich. "Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive and Believe, It Can Achieve." Poor people say I can't to themselves, and they possess beliefs that produce negative thoughts.

8. The mindset of rich people focuses on the rewards, while the poor mindset focuses on the risks.

While the wealthy-minded are thinking about potential, the poor are focusing on potential loss. The rich-minded allow themselves to be excited and inspired by how life could look and how the risks they take could reward them. The poor-minded focus on the obstacles and how they might lose what little they have. They don't dare to dream, whereas the wealthy-minded only dream big.

9. A wealthy person will think about what will go right if I do this, whereas the poor person will think about what might go wrong.

The wealthy focus on the opportunities that will present themselves if they take something on, whether entrepreneurial or an investment. They think about how it will improve their situation and make life better. The poor allow doubt to creep into their minds instantly and have a running checklist of worst-case scenarios that could drain any positive energy. That negativity talks them out of any possible opportunity. One should be careful in their analysis and education of any opportunity. Options and contingency plans are paramount, but this is quite different from focusing on the negative.

10. Those with the wealthy mindset will focus on solutions, while people with the poor mindset will focus on the problems.

Everyone is faced with problems daily. Some take each problem head-on as challenges, while a lot of people refuse to leave their comfort zone and forego the rewards of taking some risks. Since everyone faces problems each day in their lives, the difference is how wealthy people find solutions. On the other hand, poor people surrender to the problems and allow the energy to overtake and defeat them.

11. The rich continue to educate themselves throughout life. When school stops for the poor, their education stops.

Another significant difference between the rich and poor is their focus on education. I am not saying that one needs to be an Ivy league student to become wealthy. It is more about continuing self-education throughout life by reading books, listening to podcasts, attending seminars, and networking with like-minded people. The poor tend to put down the books once finished with school, which cyclically prevents them from ever discovering opportunities.

12. The wealthy-minded do not fear taking risks, whereas the poor-minded lives in fear.

While the poor are just looking to survive, the rich are looking to thrive—the poor limit themselves to having enough to cover the bills. The rich are thinking about how to create massive wealth. Think about the power of intention. If one's objective is to have enough to pay the bills, that's exactly how much you'll get; just enough to pay the bills.

13. The rich make their money work for them. The poor work for their money

Rich people make their money work with multiple income streams, while poor people work one job that may pay them an hourly wage. They stop earning that wage the moment they clock out. Think how exhausting and labor-intensive this sounds. The key in life is not to work harder but to work smarter. For instance, it would be wiser to invest some time analyzing an investment that would yield passive income to supplement one's salary. Once the initial research is complete, the work is done, but payment is not. The wealthy-minded will build upon these passive investments one by one and reach a point where their passive income replaces their salary. Now they have the free time to spend with the people they love and accomplish things they deem more important.

Of course, the poor-minded will read that and think that it is only for the rich.

14. The Rich put their money into investments. The poor put their money into savings accounts.

If all you know and plan in life is saving your money in a bank account, you will not have enough in that nest egg to make through your golden years. I know several people personally who have such a fear of losing their money. They dare not let their money travel anywhere else, other than their paycheck to their saving account. It is one step forward and two steps back with this approach. While they earn maybe 1% of their money in their saving account, inflation erodes 3% of their savings, giving themselves an effective growth rate of -2%. Thus, if you placed $100,000 into a savings account, you may think your money will be worth $101,000 when it is worth $98,000.

15. The Rich are proactive. The poor are reactive.

Having a vision and laying out goals is a key to having the life you desire. If you get out in front of anything, you can win the race. If you are constantly reacting to what life throws at you, you have probably already lost.


Life is about choices, and we do have the option to be rich or poor. Choosing to be poor is a cop-out, and it is the easy way out because you will constantly avoid any challenge that may come your way. As alluded to before, becoming rich presents many challenges, and while it may not be easy, the rewards more than makeup for it. One of the first mindset shifts one will need to make is to disassociate rich with greed. We can aspire to do good and positively impact social issues as we become masters of personal finance. Before we can accomplish any of this, we must work on creating a rich mindset.

If your mindset is right and you are ready to start building wealth, Let's have a chat and get you started.

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