Riches vs. Wealth

Everybody wants to be rich. Most want to get rich quick. Most fail, and fail miserably.


Because what they are really after is becoming wealthy, not rich.

There is a big difference between riches and wealth. Unfortunately, most people do not realize it. Instead of becoming rich they concentrate on becoming wealthy. And they fail.

They fail in two ways:

  • Most wealth seekers simply fail to obtain the wealth they seek.

    Thus, they never achieve what they want.

    In a way, these are the lucky ones. At least they have never gotten out of their misery. So they are used to it.

  • The others succeed in obtaining their wealth.

    Then they lose it. They suffer more than the first group. They have experienced the “easy life”. And they miss it. They ache for it painfully but cannot regain it.

    That hurts. It hurts very much.

Wealth is fleeting. Wealth comes and goes. Riches are forever.

There is an abundance of wealth building programs. There is an abundance of books on building your wealth. But there is very little information about what it entails to be rich.

The Difference Between Wealth and Riches

The key to economic and financial independence is in understanding the difference between wealth and riches.


Wealth is simply the state of your wallet. It is how much you have:

  • Money in the bank;
  • The value of your stock certificates;
  • The real estate you own.

Things like that.

All of these have one thing in common: They are external to you. They are not who or what you are.

All of these are subject to change. Their value may increase, and it may decrease.

Most importantly: You can lose them all.


Riches are a state of mind. Riches are an attitude. You either are rich or you are not rich. No one can change that, except you.

Being rich has nothing to do with what you have.

Being rich has nothing to do with how much you own.

Being rich has nothing to do with what or whom you control.

Being rich has everything to do with how you look at the world. Being rich has everything to do with how you look at yourself. Being rich is an attitude. Being rich is a state of mind.

Being rich is the ability of seeing opportunity where no one else sees one.

Being rich is the ability of taking a risk where no one else wants to take one.

And yes, being rich is the willingness to put all of your eggs into the same basket when everyone else is diversifying. The willingness to buy when everyone else is selling, and to sell when everyone else is buying. The willingness and ability not to go with the crowd.

It takes guts to be rich.


The opposite of rich is poor. The opposite of wealthy is broke. Just as rich is not the same as wealthy, poor is not the same as broke.

Broke, like wealthy, is a state of your wallet: If it is full, you are wealthy. If it is empty, you are broke.

Poor, like rich, is an attitude and state of mind, the way you look at the world and yourself.

No one can force poverty on a rich person. And certainly no one can give riches to a poor. Wealth yes, riches no.

Poverty, like riches, is forever. Unless the poor changes his attitude, nothing in the world can make him rich. Not fame, not fortune, not government help, not education, not his job.

How many people have obtained stardom, and the wealth that usually comes with it: Famous signers, actors, ball players. Many earned millions. Yet several years later, most of them are struggling to barely survive.


Because they are poor, that’s why. Not even money can turn a poor person into a rich one.

Does that mean that a poor person cannot become rich?

Of course not. But he has to change his attitude, not his wealth. And few do. Not because they are stupid, but because they do not realize the difference between riches and wealth. They confuse wealth for riches, and that hurts them.

Unfortunately in our modern society, there are many wealth building programs, but very few ways to learn how to be rich.

The Rich Attract Wealth, the Poor Do Not

It is true: Rich people attract wealth, poor do not.

It is certainly possible for a rich person to be broke. Heck, most are at some point in their lives. But wealth seems to pour to them. It seems to find them, even if they are not looking for it.

It is equally possible for a poor person to be wealthy. Just like the stars I mentioned. Or he can win the lottery, unlikely as that may be. Or inherit money. But the poor will inevitably lose their wealth.

I like to play a little game. I watch the TV show Wheel of Fortune. At the beginning of the show I try to indentify which of the players are rich and which are poor. Not wealthy and broke. Rich and poor.

I watch their attitude. With some people it is quite obvious, at least to me (I have been doing it for a while, so I got quite good at it). With others, it is not that obvious, but I can find the rich and poor ones in maybe 80% of the cases right at the beginning of the show.

Inevitably, the poor players get unlucky: They spin the wheel and hit bankrupt or losse-a-turn every single time. Statistically, this is supposed to be impossible. Yet, it happens all the time. Or they do get to choose a letter, but the letter is wrong.

The rich players, on the other hand, seem to be very lucky. Sometimes, there is one rich player in the game, and two poor ones. The rich player wins all rounds, the poor win absolutely nothing.

The rich attract wealth. The poor do not.

How to Get Rich

Remember, you either are rich, or you are not. You cannot be somewhat rich any more than you can be somewhat pregnant. Nor can you be “on your way to riches” (though you can be on your way to wealth, since the rich attract wealth, but not necessarily overnight).

So, you actually can get rich quick. Not just quick but instantly. The moment you change your attitude, you turn rich. Instantly. Not wealthy yet, but that will follow. After all, the rich attract wealth.

So, work on your attitude.

Here are some characteristics of rich people. If you have them, you are rich already, even if you are not wealthy (yet). If not, change. That’s all it takes.

  • Detachment. Yes, the rich are detached. They do not seek wealth, wealth seeks them. They are not stingy. They are generous. They are willing to give. That is not to say they waste money (the poor do), only that they are not attached to it.

  • The rich are willing to take risk. This has something to do with their detachment.

    The poor always look for safety. For example, they put their money in a bank because it is insured by the government so they cannot lose. They cannot win either, but they do not see that.

    The rich, on the other hand, are willing to take risk. They may lose. They do lose. But they also win. In the long run they win more than they lose.

  • The rich do not look for handouts. They do not seek a career or a safe job that will “take care” of them. They like to take care of themselves, and often of others as well.

    Again, that is not to say the rich will not accept handouts in the time of need. Since most of the rich are broke at some point in their lives, they do work for others, or even accept government welfare when they need it. But it is always a temporary thing for them.

    Indeed, a rich person may take a job that does not pay them as much as another job they might get. They take the job because it allows them to acquire a skill, not because it takes care of them.

  • The rich are independent minded. They do not accept things because “everyone knows they are true.” They like to try things out on their own and find their own answers. They are willing to go against the grain.

  • The rich are not afraid of failure. They see it as an opportunity to learn, rather than as an embarassing mistake to avoid.

  • The rich learn from other rich. While they are still broke, they do not hate and resent those who are successful.

    Instead, they study their success and see how they can succeed as well.

  • The rich always look for new ways of doing things. They know that once something has been done, well, it has been done. Something else has to be done now, something no one has done before.

  • The rich are producers, not consumers. They create things for others instead of expecting others to create things for them.

  • The rich are movers, not participants. They do not accept things as they are. They change things and improve them.

There is more, but this should get you started. Work on getting these qualities, work on changing yourself. Once you have, you will be rich. Wealth will follow naturally. And no one will be able to take it away from you.

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Copyright © 2001 G. Adam Stanislav
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