How the Wealthy Think Differently Than the Poor

How the Wealthy Think Differently Than the Poor

The wealthy of this world are different than most people.  Well, heck yeah, they have more money than most people, right??  Worded more correctly, the wealthy think differently than most people.  “How the Wealthy Think Differently Than the Poor” breaks down not only how rich people think, but also how they behave and how that keeps money in their pockets.

First, let’s define “wealthy”.

The words “rich” and “wealthy” aren’t words that I’m fond of.

Words that I prefer to use to describe someone who is financially independent don’t include “rich” or “wealthy”.  I prefer terms like “independently wealthy”, “resilient”, “affluent” or “well off”.

For the sake of simplicity, I’ll refer to those with copious amounts of disposable income, along with purchasing options that far exceed the average person as “wealthy”.

14 characteristics of the rich

Dedicated Habits and Schedule

Wealthy people have specific habits and regimens that are part of their every day lives.

They don’t let daily circumstances dictate what they will do during any given day.

Schedule and habits are paramount to the wealthy.

The rich are often early-risers, as they wouldn’t want to sleep away a day of opportunity.  Wealthy folks understand the benefit of good sleep, but they never over-do it.

Affluent people usually have specific periodicals for their industry that they keep up with daily, as well as inspiration writings from authors that keep them motivated.

Other disciplines of the rich might include exercise, prayer and meditation.

Whatever they choose to do, the wealthy know that they must seize the day early and set the trajectory themselves.

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long term thinking vs short term thinking

Rich People are Long-term Thinkers

Another characteristic of how rich people think is that they are long-term thinkers.

Every decision they make is balanced by how it will influence the future.

Not to say that “well-to-d0” folks don’t ever have bad habits that need to be overcome.  However, by and large, rich people want to be in control of their lives and bodies and often shy away from habits that compromise their health or billfolds.

Most rich people will not make impulsive decisions or purchases.

Once again, they look to the future and ask themselves how this purchase or decision will affect themselves or their billfold.

Now, not to say that the rich won’t splurge on a long-coveted item from time to time.

However, the difference between the rich and the “not so rich” is that the wealthy already have an “exit strategy” for these types of purchases, if it becomes necessary to liquidate.

“Exit Strategy” is a pre-planned method of getting rid of or out of a situation before it becomes too costly or unpleasant.

If an investment doesn’t work out, the rich have already thought about how to sell it or liquidate.


Because rich people don’t like to get stuck with things they don’t want anymore.

Unwanted items or investments tie up money that could be used for better endeavors!

learn and grow to be wealthy

The Wealthy Invest in Themselves

Self-improvement is one of the most important and consistent characteristics of rich people.

Wealthy folks are life-long learners and stay current with everything going on in their field.

They read books, go to seminars and coaching programs, research and look for those more successful than themselves to glean from.

Rich people rarely sit back and rest on their laurels.


Because they won’t be counted as the wealthy for very long if they do!

the wealthy don't care about trends


Rich people are not known for following trends, unless those trends can make them money. (see next point)

The wealthy are much less concerned about what sort of image they project than most people.

Well-off folks tend to reject “what everyone else is doing”, citing that following trends make sheep out of people.

This is why many well-to-do folks are entrepreneurs and are unable to work for someone else, although this is not always the case.

However, one strong characteristic of how the rich think is that they don’t really care what other people think about their clothing, homes, cars or lifestyles.

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Capitalize on Trends

If you want to get a rich person’s attention regarding “trends”, show them how they can make money from them.

I find it to be very interesting how the rich will capitalize on current trends in order to generate huge amounts of income, while not allowing those trends into their personal lives.

Steve Jobs was said to have never let his children play with computers.

I’ve heard about movie stars and hugely successful rock bands not allowing their children to see their movies or listen to their music.

Right or wrong, the rich know how to capitalize on the current trends.

is college necessary

Formal Education

It’s no secret that many of today’s millionaires and billionaires are college drop-outs.

While this isn’t always the case, it goes to show that a college degree only goes as far as the person takes it.

College used to mean a “secure career” awaited you after graduation, but not anymore.

With the crazy cost of college tuition, it’s prudent to reconsider the cost vs. benefits of a college degree.

How the Wealthy Think Differently Than the Poor

Take Calculated Risks

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

The rich know that taking risks is part of earning money, but the risks that they choose to take are well-thought out.

What may seem odd to most of us is that it can take 99 failures before you can achieve 1 success.

This is a strong characteristic of the rich and how they think.

Thomas Edison said “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.


Emotionally Stable

In “The Millionaire Next Door”, the authors describe what I find to be some of the most fascinating characteristics of the rich I’ve ever read.

They include:

  1. Staying married.
  2. Live in homes far below their means.
  3. Drive older cars.
  4. Leary of consumer debt.
  5. Rich people resist change in their personal lives.

All of these traits can be attributed to someone who isn’t hung up on their image.

Smart folks stay married for many reasons.

The rich understand that divorce is not only expensive and emotionally damaging, but it takes a lot of time.

Whenever possible, emotionally stable folks will look for ways to stay together rather than separate.

Living in a home and neighborhood that you’re familiar with and secure in is important if you are running a successful business.

Notice I didn’t say “living in a mansion”.

The well-off of the world understand that they only have so much energy to give each day.

If they are planning to continue to stay wealthy, they need to have stable home lives so that they can focus on their businesses.

Further, another characteristic of rich people is that once they find a car they really love, they tend to drive it until the wheels fall off.

Change always brings a certain amount of stress, even good change.

But change is always a distraction.

Distraction diverts time and attention away from money-making endeavors.

surround themselves with smart people

Associate with Like-Minded People

The rich of the world choose to associate with people who are headed in the same direction as they are., or have already reached the pinnacle.

Super-wealthy folks of the world understand the power, and limitations, of their own personal energy and emotions.

This is why it’s so critical to guard and preserve your mind and your time!

Besides philanthropic endeavours, the rich can’t afford to be

Ever wonder why Steve Jobs and Mark Z wear the same thing every single day?

There’s a great reason for it.

What these two successful men understand is that they have a limited amount of energy each day to make decisions with.

Why would they waste their time and energy deciding upon what clothing they should wear every morning?

Rather, Jobs and Zuckerberg have wardrobes consistently of the same items that they simply put on and wear, without any thought.

No deciding if something matches, or if it’s the right color.

These minor decisions of their lives have already been made, reserving their time and energy for more important decisions.

wealthy people set goals

Set Goals and Re-Examine Frequently

Another characteristic of the rich is that they have well thought out goals and plans.

Again, they don’t leave their time and schedules to chance.

Rather, they take the time to not only set goals, but to map them out and continually re-evaluate where they are in terms of meeting those goals.

Rich people don’t set goals only to disregard them in their every day lives.

Wealthy folks know that all of the small decisions they make each day have tremendous influence on their goals.

avoid social media

Don’t Waste Time on Social Media

Wealthy people completely depend upon their ability to sort through mental clutter and get down to business.

Social media is one of the best ways I know of to distract oneself.

Rich people concern themselves with facts, not opinions and small talk.


Live Far Below Their Means

Living below their means is perhaps one of the best kept secrets of the wealthy.

Keeping up with Jones’ will keep most people busy and broke.

But not busy with wealth accumulation – busy with envy.

Warren Buffet, one of the world’s wealthiest men, still lives in the same house he purchased back in 1958 for $31,500, which would equate to about $250,000 in today’s dollars.  Warren’s home is valued at somewhere in the $600-700,000 range, which is .001% of his total wealth.

He says he’s happy there.

Happy and content people can focus on running their businesses, that’s the point, right?

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parents teaching children

Teach Their Children to Be Rich

Parents teach their children every day, on purpose or by default.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Children About Money that the Poor and Middle Class Do Not” by Robert Kiyosaki, is an amazing book that I can strongly recommend.

Habits and thought processes are passed down within families.  Children pick these up and will usually repeat them when they are grown.

Beside love, teaching your children to think big and to be financially secure is one of the best gifts you can give them!

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