20 things poor people do that the rich don’t

Being poor isn’t easy. Sounds pretty obvious right? Have you ever looked at a rich person and wondered, “What are they doing that I’m not?” Or, rather, what are you doing that is keeping you poor? This is not meant to bash anyone or make them feel bad about themselves. It is simply a compilation of advice taken from wealthy people on the “poor habits” that they never incorporate into their lives.

1. Poor People Don’t Read The Right Kinds of Books

Many poor people do not enjoy reading books or learning new things. Or, if they do read books, they only focus on fiction. They would rather be entertained in a world of fantasy, and escape from reality by reading a novel. This is just like watching television or movies. It rarely brings any real value to your life as an adult. You might learn a new bit of history or random trivia. But unless you plan to go on Jeopardy someday, these facts are not going to help you make money.

Most rich people, on the other hand, read a lot of nonfiction books. These are far more valuable in a lot of ways. A nonfiction book could have a lot of valuable insight into starting a new business or learning a new skill that could help your career. A self-help book could also give you a lot of substantial advice on how to succeed, improve your skills or relationships, or raise your kids.

2. Poor People Focus on Obstacles Rather than Opportunities

Poor people will look at a lofty goal and think, “Wow, that’s going to be so difficult.” They begin to think about all of the obstacles that are ahead of them. Sometimes, the anxiety can be overwhelming, and they give up before they even get started. This is why so many poor people never even try to go after their dreams. If they are afraid of failure, they will miss out on opportunities.

Rich people, on the other hand, don’t worry too much about the obstacles. They may say, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.” It’s not necessary to know exactly how every step of the process is going to play out. Think about some of the greatest innovators like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. The ideas of the inventions they wanted to create did not exist yet. But they had a vision and a willingness to keep trying. Every obstacle is just an opportunity in disguise. The opportunity lies in the place where the complaints are. –Quote from Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and one of the richest men in China.

3. Poor People Wake up Late 

For those of you who went to college, you know that there were plenty of kids who decided to wake up at noon. Many of them were partying all night. After all, they could arrange their classes to be at any time of day. So instead of waking up at 6 a.m., they chose to sleep away half of their day.

Young people who choose to wake up at 6 a.m. even when it was not required are far more likely to succeed in life. These are the people who are go-getters, and willing to put in the work necessary to succeed. They want to make the most out of every single day. By waking up early, they can accomplish so much more compared to people who sleep their lives away. Nearly all of the world’s most successful people, including Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Elon Musk, all wake up early.

4. Poor People watch a lot of TV 

One common trait among all poor people is that they watch a lot of TV. They might come home from work and immediately turn on the television. They may also be the same people who are binge-watching a series on Netflix on a regular basis. For a lot of people, watching television and movies is a way for them to escape their reality. This is the key to the difference between the rich and poor. Instead of looking for an escape, rich people are trying to find solutions and keep moving forward. Movies and T.V. shows do not actually educate or add any value to your life. Rich people often work long hours and realize that watching T.V. is simply a waste of time unless the information is somehow relevant

5. Poor People Don’t Save Enough

Poor people have a hard time saving money. Even if you try to save something in your bank account, it may be quickly wiped out as soon as you need a car repair or some other unexpected bill. According to GoBankingRates, 58% of Americans have less than $1,000 saved. They are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Losing your job could mean losing your apartment or declaring bankruptcy.

Rich people, on the other hand, never settled for this lifestyle for very long. Even if they were poor at one point in their lives, they realized that it was not sustainable. They need to earn more money by getting a better job. Or, they needed to dramatically change their lifestyle so that they had savings that could cover at least three months of bills while they look for a new job.

6. Poor People Play The Lottery a lot.

Poor people love to play the lottery to “get rich quick.” In reality, the odds of winning the lottery are 1 in 13,983,816. So, by buying lottery tickets, you are really just contributing towards someone else’s winnings. Instead of spending that money on starting a business or investing in their future, they hope that they will be lucky.

According to a survey by Bankrate, people who make $30,000 or less per year tend to spend 13% of their income on “financial vices,” like lottery tickets, cigarettes, and coffee at Starbucks. And 28% of people who fall into the lowest income bracket in the US play the lottery multiple times a week. But people who make over $70,000 per year spend only 2.6% of their income on financial vices. Higher earning households play the lottery far less often. Even though they earn more money, they choose not to.

7. Poor People Spend Time With the Wrong People

As the saying goes, you are the sum of the five people young hang out with the most. Who are those people? Are they successful, healthy, happy people? If you are hanging out with other poor people, you are destined to continue being poor. In fact, you might feel social pressure to not rise above your friends, for fear of losing their company. After a while, poor friends will begin to feel jealous of your success, and it might ruin a relationship. True friends will be happy for you, and they will still be there in the end.

Making rich friends is easier said than done. If you don’t know anyone outside of your socio-economic status, the idea can seem impossible. But if you work hard and begin to really go after your dreams, you will suddenly begin to meet all sorts of successful people. Rich people like to surround themselves with friends who are interesting and equally as motivated as they are.

8. Poor People Have More Kids

Statistically speaking, poor people tend to have children at an earlier age compared to rich people. Poor people begin having children in their teens and 20’s. They also usually have multiple children. Because of poor education, they don’t seem to mind that these kids share a bedroom, wear hand-me-downs, and may not be able to afford to go to college when they get older.

Rich people are more concerned about waiting for the moment when they are ready to raise children in the right conditions. They want to make sure they are financially stable or are on the path to success. They want to be sure that their kids are living in an area with the best schools. This is why you will see many successful people wait until their 30s to start having kids. Many wealthy people have only one or two kids because they want to make sure they can afford to send them to college.

9. Poor People Spend Money Before They Get It

Poor people tend to spend money before they get it. Leading up to their paycheck, they are thinking about everything they want to buy. After all of the bills are paid and the weekend is over, the bank account balance has suddenly dropped. Poor people also immediately begin taking out loans as soon as they get a new job or promotion. By living this way, they can never escape poverty.

Rich people, on the other hand, have mastered the art of saving. They will wait until they have actually earned enough cash to make a purchase. Borrowing money on a credit card would only cost more with interest, so they know that it would be a waste of money. And if they cannot afford what they want, they try to figure out how to earn more money so they can afford those luxuries.

10. Poor People Believe Other People Should Help Them

Poor people think that someone owes them something. They often believe that they deserve a handout simply because they were born. Many poor people assume that the rich were handed a “big break” from someone else. This is one of the reasons why poor people fall for pyramid schemes. They assume that the person who is willing to give them the help they “deserve” has finally showed up in their life. In reality, no one offers you help or mentorship unless they see you are already putting in the work.

Rich people understand they are not entitled to anything. They know that when it comes to starting a business, they are the only person they can expect to do the work. Even if they grew up in a wealthy family, they realize that you need to earn what you have. In fact, growing up with successful parents makes many people push themselves very hard. And if someone comes along promising to help them in some way, they are cautious to accept it. No one usually offers you help unless they want something out of it.

11. Poor People Are More Religious.

It is just a statistical fact that poor people tend to be more religious than rich people. Many people who believe in the power of prayer choose to surrender their problems to God. This is more common in most parts of Africa where people spend most of their time in church praying for miracles rather than solving their problems. Rich people, on the other hand, might be an Atheist or Agnostic. They believe that their problems are up to them to solve, and not God. By knowing that God is not going to rescue them from their misery, they are more proactive about finding solutions and moving forward to success.

Faith and success are not mutually exclusive, though. You can be a spiritual person and still come out on top. Rich people may not subscribe to a particular religion, but they often believe in their intuition and other spiritual terms. Most importantly, rich people have faith in themselves.


12. Poor People Blame Others for Their Problems

Poor people tend to blame the government or other people for their failures. Suddenly, they are a victim in their own life. By putting blame on others, it takes away your responsibility for your own destiny. At the end of the day, you are the only person who has control over your life.

An amazing example of someone who never used his circumstances as an excuse was Chris Gardner. He grew up in foster care and was abused as a child. When he grew older, he enlisted in the Navy so that he could enter the medical field. Even though he tried his best, he became a homeless single father after his wife left him. Chris made it through the dark times living on the street and became a stockbroker. He eventually became a multi-millionaire. His life story was turned into the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness.

13. Poor People Watch Tons of Sports

Similar to watching a lot of television, poor people tend to be huge sports fans. They even go as far as betting or buy team gear. It often becomes a party with family and friends. Some people will even go as far as to fight with one another in a bar, simply because they like a different team. When you think about it, the whole thing is a bit silly. There is very little benefit people get from watching sports, aside from the fact that it is an escape from their day-to-day reality.

Rich people know that they have far better things to do than follow a sport. The only people who truly have a real reason to watch sports are people who also play the game themselves. For example, if you play tennis every weekend as a means of networking, then it may pay off. Or if you are on the basketball team because you earned an athletic scholarship that is paying for your tuition, it would make sense. Even then, they may just watch the highlights rather than wasting hours watching every game.

14. Poor People Don’t Fully Understand Assets and Liabilities 

Poor people do not fully understand the real definition of an “asset.” They might think that their car is an asset because it is an item that holds value. However, it is actually a liability, because it continues to depreciate in value year after year. It also needs money to keep up with repairs. Same goes with owning a house. Poor people continue to buy luxury items thinking that it somehow holds value, when it really becomes worthless over time.

Assets, on the other hand, are investments that actually earn an income. This could be a healthy stock portfolio that is earning returns, a valuable antique, or a rental property that is making a profit. Rich people are focused on growing their collection of assets so that they can continue to make more money. More often than not, rich people live a modest lifestyle until they are earning a healthy income from their assets. Then, and only then, do they begin splurging on luxuries.

15. Poor People Don’t Invest in Themselves

Nowadays, we hear a lot about self-care. People think that by getting a manicure or styling their hair, it means that they are investing in themselves. While your outward appearance is surely part of it, there is so much more to investing in yourself if you want to be rich. The rich go deeper with learning new skills and increasing their value as a person.

Ask yourself, “Do I hold value?” As in, are you the type of employee that is so good at their job, that they are indispensable to a company? Or are you just one of the many people who could easily be replaced overnight? If you feel like you are just one of the crowd, start to invest in yourself be spending time to learn new skills. Be the best you can be, and continue to grow as a person, no matter what age you are.

16. Their College Major Was Frivolous

Anyone who majored in art, philosophy, or religious studies was not thinking about how they were going to become rich after college. Unfortunately, the American college system allows young people to take out loans for subjects that are not going to help them find a job in the real world. Many schools will even lie to their students about their career options when they are signing up for courses. At the end of the day, a college degree is an investment in your future. If it doesn’t make you a profit, it’s just weighing you down with debt.

Rich people never major in subjects that are frivolous. It is still possible to study subjects that you are interested in. They also realize that some people just aren’t cut out for college, and there is nothing wrong with that. For example, if you want to be an actor, why get a college degree in theater arts when you can spend that money to move to Los Angeles and start going on auditions? The second option would help you achieve your goals a lot faster.

17. Poor People Don’t Go to the Doctor Regularly

Rich people care about themselves in every aspect of their lives. They don’t just want to be wealthy. Their body is their temple. Health and wellness is incredibly important, because without a healthy body, you can’t work or enjoy life. So, therefore, they go to the doctor for a regular checkup. In the United States, this is a touchy subject, because health care can be incredibly expensive and many people may not have insurance at all.

If you don’t think that you can afford to go to the doctor regularly, think about how it will save your money in the long run. Going once a year or once every few months, your doctor will be able to spot any signs of cancer early on. This way, the treatment can happen quickly and will be far less expensive. Your odds of survival are significantly higher. Compare that to only going to the doctor every five years. By the time you realize you have cancer, it might already be too late. The same goes with spotting high blood pressure early before you have a heart attack.

18. Poor People Think Rich People Are “Evil”

Majority of poor people have this stereotype in their mind and that rich are snobby, evil people. This comes from the belief that they must have done something wrong or illegal in order to get the money that they have. In reality, people who became self-made millionaires worked incredibly hard for their money. Many of them started from the bottom and are actually very humble people.

Rich people are also responsible for a lot of society’s biggest accomplishments. When you think about medical breakthroughs, space travel, or improved housing, it is all because a rich person put their money into a project. If everyone was poor, nothing would get done in society, because there wouldn’t be enough money to fund everything.

19. Poor People Think About Themselves

Last is that poor people only think about themselves instead of looking at the big picture. If you want to be rich, you need to think about what you can do for the world. Think about some of the most wealthy and powerful people. How did they get that way? By thinking about the big picture, they were able to create wealth.

Poor people will usually make their own desires their number one priority. They are so focused on their own problems that they cannot see past themselves in order to launch a successful venture. This is one of the many reasons why many businesses fail. They are launching a product or service that would be great for them, and not necessarily for the customer or audience. If you want to be rich, ask yourself how you can use your skills to help the world. Once you are on this trajectory, you just might find success.

20. Poor People Stay at the Wrong Job

If you are poor, it is more than likely that you have had at least one experience working at a terrible job. Unfortunately, far too many people stay at a bad job for years, even though they know it makes them miserable. People usually do this when they feel desperate or that they can’t get anything better. People who eventually become rich never settle for being treated poorly by their boss or being underpaid. They decided to find a new place to work.

Remember that whatever job you choose should be in line with your career goals. And during an interview, you should be asking questions just as much as they are asking you. Try to think about where you want to be in the next five years. We are not suggesting that you quit your job immediately. It is much better to send out your resume and go on interviews while you are still employed. Once you get a new job, then you can put in your two-week notice to the job that you hate. Remember that successful people never settle for less. They go after their dreams.

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Written by Bobe Nkwain Chiambah

I love to teach anything about Tech, Secretes of Sucess People, Digital Marketing, and Filmmaking. I am the C.E.O. of CHILLEN MEDIA Group where we leverage the power of media and technology to empower Africans.

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