100 Ways Rich People Think Differently

They say if you want to be rich, you should hang around rich people. The advice sounds reasonable. After all, birds of a feather do flock together. However, this is only half the story. If you really want to be rich, you have to think like the rich.

Steve Siebold spent nearly three decades interviewing rich people around the world to find out what separates them from the 99%. His finding is summed up in a new book, How Rich People Think.

Steve concluded that being rich has little to do with the money itself. Instead, it had everything to do with mentality and how you think about money. The book is a pretty good read, and I recommend you get a copy. In the book, Steve divides people between “World Class” and “Middle Class”. In the interest of better SEO, I will call the groups the 99% and the 1%. 🙂

  1. The 99% focus on saving. The 1% focus on earning.
  2. The 99% thinks about money in linear terms. The 1% think about money in non-linear terms.
  3. The 99% believes hard work creates wealth. The 1% believes leverage creates wealth.
  4. The 99% believes money is the root of all evil. The 1% believes poverty is the root of all evil.
  5. The 99% believes being rich is a privilege. The 1% believes being rich is a right.
  6. The 99% believes money is complicated. The 1% believes money is simple.
  7. The 99% believes rich people are crooks. The 1% believes rich people are ambitious.
  8. The 99% believes building wealth is a solitary effort. The 1% believes building wealth is a team effort.
  9. The 99% worry about money. The 1% dreams about money.
  10. The 99% believes money is negative. The 1% believes money is positive.
  11. The 99% believes rich people are shallow. The 1% believe rich people are strategic.
  12. The 99% believes the road to riches is paved with formal education. The 1% believes the road to riches is paved with specific knowledge.
  13. The 99% believes money is earned through labor. The 1% believes money is earned through thought.
  14. The 99% worries about running out of money. The 1% thinks about how to make more money.
  15. The 99% thinks about spending. The 1% thinks about investing.
  16. The 99% sees money through the eyes of emotion. The 1% sees money through the eyes of logic.
  17. The 99% underestimate the wealth building power of referral marketing. The 1% knows referral marketing creates millionaires.
  18. The 99% focuses on pleasurable activities. The 1% focuses on money making activities.
  19. The 99% sees money as a finite resource. The 1% see money as an infinite resource.
  20. The 99% earns money doing things they don’t like to do. The 1% get rich doing what they love.
  21. The 99% believes rich people are ruthless. The 1% believes rich people are generous.
  22. The 99% has a lottery mentality. The 1% has an action mentality.
  23. The 99% is waiting to be rescued from financial mediocrity. The 1% knows no one is coming to the rescue.
  24. The 99% believes rich people are smarter. The 1% believes rich people are more savvy.
  25. The 99% sees money as controlling. The 1% sees money as liberating.
  26. The 99% believes money changes people. The 1% believes money reveals people.
  27. The 99% believes in working for money. The 1% believes in working for fulfillment.
  28. The 99% believes you have to do something to get rich. The 1% believes you have to be something to get rich.
  29. The 99% plays it safe with money. The 1% takes calculated risks.
  30. The 99% believes you have to have money to make money. The 1% believes in using other people’s money.
  31. The 99% believes jobs are the safest way to earn money. The 1% believes outstanding performance is the safest way to earn money.
  32. The 99% believes in financial scarcity. The 1% believes in financial abundance.
  33. The 99% sees money as a weapon. The 1% sees money as a tool.
  34. The 99% believes they aren’t worthy of great wealth. The 1% believes they deserve to be rich.
  35. The 99% denies the importance of money. The 1% knows money is a critical component of life.
  36. The 99% believes money is their enemy. The 1% believes money is their friend.
  37. The 99% waits for their ship to come in. The 1% builds their own ship.
  38. The 99% believes financial markets are driven by logic an strategy. The 1% believes financial markets are driven by emotion and greed.
  39. The 99% believes money is about status. The 1% believes money is about freedom.
  40. The 99% lives beyond their means. The 1% lives below their means.
  41. The 99% equates money with stress. The 1% equates money with piece of mind.
  42. The 99% thinks small. The 1% thinks big.
  43. The 99% believes people are out to get them. The 1% believes the universe is conspiring to help them.
  44. The 99% believes their thinking is unrelated to their net worth. The 1% knows thinking is the catalyst of all results.
  45. The 99% experiences good fortune and can’t believe it. The 1% experiences good fortune and wonders what took so long.
  46. The 99% believes the more money you earn, the more stress you experience. The 1% believes the more money you earn, the less stress you experience.
  47. The 99% believes the more money you make, the more problems you will have. The 1% believes the more money you make, the fewer problems you will have.
  48. The 99% believes the rich are obsessed with money. The 1% believes the rich are obsessed with success.
  49. The 99% believes the rich are selfish and self-absorbed. The 1% believes the rich are selfish and self-absorbed.
  50. The 99% dreams of having enough money to retire. The 1% dreams of having enough money to impact the world.
  51. The 99% believes it’s shrewd to be cynical. The 1% believes it’s shrewd to be optimistic.
  52. The 99% believes the rich should support the poor. The 1% believes in self-reliance.
  53. The 99% sees the wealthy as oppressors. The 1% sees the wealthy as liberators.
  54. The 99% believes getting rich is outside their control. The 1% knows getting rich is an inside job.
  55. The 99% thinks the rich believe they are more intelligent. The 1% knows intelligence has little to do with getting rich.
  56. The 99% associates with anyone. The 1% carefully monitors their associations.
  57. The 99% embraces advanced degrees. The 1% embraces any form of education that makes them wealthier.
  58. The 99% have loosely defined goals with flexible deadlines. The 1% have highly defined goals with do or die deadlines.
  59. The 99% works as little as possible. The 1% works as smart as possible.
  60. The 99% loves to be comfortable. The 1% is comfortable being uncomfortable.
  61. The 99% is timid and scared. The 1% is aggressive and bold.
  62. The 99% longs for the gold old days. The 1% dreams of the future.
  63. The 99% plays not to lose. The 1% swings for the fences.
  64. The 99% sets their financial expectation low so they’re never disappointed. The 1% sets their financial expectations high so they’re always excited.
  65. The 99% has a financial windfall and worries about losing it. The 1% has a windfall and figures out how to leverage it.
  66. The 99% is externally motivated to make money. The 1% internally motivated to make money.
  67. The 99% suffers from lack consciousness. The 1% enjoy prosperity.
  68. The 99% believes money will make them happier. The 1% knows that money has little to do with happiness.
  69. The 99% believes people seek money for power. The 1% believes people seek money for control.
  70. The 99% never makes the connection between money and health. The 1% knows money can save your life.
  71. The 99% believes ambition is a sin. The 1% believes ambition is a virtue.
  72. The 99% believes rich people are snobs. The 1% believes rich people are guarding their consciousness.
  73. The 99% believes rich people are arrogant. The 1% believes rich people are confident.
  74. The 99% believes self-made millionaires ha an unfair advantage. The 1% knows their advantage was hard work.
  75. The 99% bases their beliefs about the rich on the minority. The 1% bases their beliefs about the rich on the majority.
  76. The 99% believes they’re missing something. The 1% knows it’s beliefs that make the difference.
  77. The 99% believes they lack desire. The 1% knows we all have everything we need to be rich.
  78. The 99% believes they must choose between a great family life and being rich. The 1% knows they can have it all.
  79. The 99% believes having a job gives them security. The 1% knows there’s no such thing.
  80. The 99% believes starting a business is risky. The 1% believes starting a business is the fastest road to wealth.
  81. The 99% believes it’s wrong for a small group of people to possess most of the money. The 1% welcomes the masses to join them.
  82. The 99% believes wealth creates dysfunctional families. The 1% believes unearned wealth creates dysfunctional families.
  83. The 99% believes money creates corruption. The 1% believes the lack of money creates corruption.
  84. The 99% believes the rich are spiritually bankrupt. The 1% believes the rich are among the most spiritual people in society.
  85. The 99% believes if they become wealthy, they will lose their friends. The 1% believes being wealthy will expand your network.
  86. The 99% believes you have to sacrifice your health to get rich. The 1% believes being rich will make you healthier.
  87. The 99% hands down their limited beliefs about money to their children. The 1% hands down their unlimited beliefs about money to their children.
  88. The 99% teaches their children how to survive. The 1% teaches their children how to get rich.
  89. The 99% teaches their kids about money by example. The 1% does the same thing.
  90. The 99% teaches their kids how to save their pennies. The 1% teaches their kids how to invest their pennies.
  91. The 99% encourages their kids to be nice and make friends. The 1% encourages their kids to be smart and build a network.
  92. The 99% teaches their kids to be happy with what they have. The 1% teaches their kids how to go for their dreams.
  93. The 99% minimizes the importance of money with their kids. The 1% teaches their kids the importance of money.
  94. The 99% teaches their children the games of the masses. The 1% teaches their children the games of the wealthy.
  95. The 99% doesn’t believe in personal development of self help. The 1% believes they’re the secret to getting rich.
  96. The 99% doesn’t connect travel with wealth. The 1% knows travel connects them with the wealthy.
  97. The 99% has access to the social skills of the masses. The 1% has access to the social skills of the most refined among us.
  98. The 99% would rather be entertained than educated. The 1% would rather be educated than entertained.
  99. The 99% believes rich people are workaholics. The 1% knows millionaires have a ton of fun.
  100. The 99% only focuses on money when they need it. The 1% focuses on money all the time.

It’s OK To Be Part Of The 1%

The occupy movement made it seem like being part of the 1% is bad, and you should want nothing to do with it. I’m here to tell you that is complete BS. It’s OK to be, or want to be, a member of the 1%. It’s OK to want to be rich. It’s what the American dream was built on. We should be celebrating success, not condemning it.

While I’m sure the list above isn’t all the ways the rich think differently, it offers a pretty wide view. For me, number 5, 20, 43, 44 and 81 are the standout points that I completely believe and relate to. What number on the list stood out for you?

73 thoughts on “100 Ways Rich People Think Differently”

  1. Shabbir says:

    I have just ordered the book but not from Amazon and your list is great as well. ReTweeted.

    I really liked the point of Sin and Virtue the most but I am workaholic as well and trying to make fun now.

  2. Burii says:

    All good points, I especially agree with number 13.

    You can work all you want, but unless you’re earning a ridiculously high wage you still won’t be rich or wealthy.

    Rather than spending more hours laboring, spend some hours investing in yourself. Join a course, read marketing or finance books, learn to invest, think of how you can provide others with value.

    On a side note: It looks like you’re going to rank for the keyword ‘%99’ very soon =D

  3. A great list, John. Very inspiring.

    Is #49 a typo? “The 99% believes the rich are selfish and self-absorbed. The 1% believes the rich are selfish and self-absorbed.”

    Maybe it’s true… it just doesn’t seem like much of a difference to me.

    1. John Chow says:

      Number 49 is correct. One of the two points where the rich and non rich think a like. The other is The 99% teaches their kids about money by example. The 1% does the same thing.

      1. I don’t think the 1% believes that wealthy people are “selfish and self-absorbed.” Selfish perhaps — although almost no one uses that word because of its extreme negative connotations.

        “Self-absorbed” means living in your own mental world. It means being detached from reality, and indifferent toward others.

        Successful people are not self-absorbed. They’re reality-oriented. They are selfish in the sense that they are concerned with their own lives, their own prosperity, and with experiencing happiness.

        A key difference between those who are successful & those who are unsuccessful lies in how they see the pursuit of life, prosperity & happiness. The winners would say it’s a virtue; to the losers, it’s a sin.

        1. George says:

          John Chow is in the 1%. Don’t you think he’d know?

        2. Gemma W. says:

          Unless the rich are acting from a sense of “lack” then they are not acting selfishly. Now, since it’s been established that the 1% is not acting from a sense of “lack” then they cannot be acting selfishly when increasing their own wealth.

          The 99% tend to act from a sense of “lack” so they indeed do act selfishly at times; in fact I’ve experienced a good portion of the 99% being very selfish about money and time as well as other things.

  4. Randy says:

    Might be my favorite post of yours!

  5. John Doe says:

    Funny how you aren’t even qualified to write this though… I suppose you might be in the 3% Mr. Chow?

    1. John Chow says:

      According to Bankrate.com, you would have to make only $343,927 or more per year to be in the Top 1%. I am fully qualified to write this article. 🙂

      1. Abhik says:

        Only 1% makes that much?
        Okay, lesser competition for me then 🙂

      2. Victoria says:

        I was under the impression that being part of the 1% is more about mindset than actual income. I believe you can be a rich person who hasn’t become rich yet…

        1. George says:

          LOL. To be in the 1% club, you must have mindset AND bankroll. Otherwise, you’re just a wannabe.

          1. that is the whole point, one doesn’t need the bank roll to be in the 1%, although it helps.

  6. Paul says:

    Thanks John for taking the time to write this post. We have to be reminded to think and believe like the 1%. It’s easy to just go with the flow and believe like everyone else. If we have the right mindset we will have success.

  7. Junnel Animo says:

    The best article I’ve ever seen here in johnchow.com Thank you for this information about freedom! Which is money 🙂

  8. Michael says:

    I guess it is all in the mind, once you got the mind set, you switch to the 1%

  9. What an awesome list John! I especially like #99 (The 99% believes rich people are workaholics. The 1% knows millionaires have a ton of fun).

    This is true. Millionaires truly have a ton of fun like you always do. That’s my goal, to attain financial freedom and live the life I envisage. I’m sure this post took you years to prepare. Thank you so much.

    1. mentioned this in another comment but you are helping to reinforce the wrong message. One does not have to be a millionaire or earn the kind of money that gets you in the 1% to be financial free. That is patently false and reinforces the wrong message.

      The number 1 reason why the 99% are so poor off they focus on trying to earn more rather than managing their money better. I’ve had many conversations with my sister in law about that point. She keeps thinking earn more spend more, I keep saying earn less spend better.

      It was that kind of thinking that allowed me to start taking the summers off (freelance English teacher) and reduce my working hours when I do work and much more . Not only am I earning less but we are saving more and finally able to “tithe” 10% of our income.

      And again don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with wealth, it’s just the wrong thing to focus on if you want financial independence.


  10. Thanks for the article!
    It is a sad thing that our educational systems don’t teach us how to be rich in every aspect of our lives.
    They don’t teach us how to set up goal, how to organize and how to have a proper mindset for success. Fortunately we have internet so we can learn about this essential knowledge here.

  11. Balaji G S says:

    “Its always the odd one that stands out and makes an impact”. Thank you for this article John.

  12. Living Thai says:

    Number 99: The 99% believes rich people are workaholics. The 1% knows millionaires have a ton of fun.

    This one is my favourite

  13. JamesW says:

    Amazing amazing post, no one is here to rescue you from financial mediocrity, you need to fight. Thanks for sharing, number 23 is the best.

  14. Susane says:

    Great article, John! I like all of your list and 50 . It puts me in mind of a saying I like. The only different between me and someone who is successful, is the size of our dreams and time.

  15. dan says:

    Wow! this is a great list. Very insightful.

    God bless.

    Best Regards

  16. Roberto says:

    Great article, really makes me reflect on the difference between thought (worry) and attitude to wealth. Thank you very much!

  17. shungui says:

    Very nice post! still in the process of reading it, but spotted a typo in #1 earniing.

  18. Awesome Post. This needs to be Posted in every classroom in America! Now that could start to change the America.

  19. Oscar says:

    Brilliant, I need to show this to some of my 1% friends that still live like the 99%

  20. Oscar says:

    Just re-read it. Love this one: The 99% believes the rich are selfish and self-absorbed. The 1% believes the rich are selfish and self-absorbed.

  21. Benjamin says:

    You have some great points written here, John. The only thing that separates the broke from the wealthy is their thoughts.

    Thanks for sharing!

  22. Earl says:

    In the last couple of days I’ve been reading stuffs like this, but this is very revealing. Great post

  23. faisal says:

    That is what makes the difference now doesnt it.

  24. Eva Papp says:

    Love it! Not only wealth, but all good things, happiness, creativity, confidence seems to follow our thinking. Good to be reminded. Thanks John!

  25. Manu says:

    Awesome list, I printed it out.
    Everything was an OK check. 76 stood out specially for me.

  26. Greg Hunter says:

    Good stuff…I’ve read similar books with those stats and thoughts. It’s all about what you want. “Help enough people get what they want, so you can get what you want” Zig Ziglar

  27. I think you misunderstand the Occupy Movement that raised legitimate concerns with massive, structural corruption on Wall Street.

    1. John Chow says:

      I understood it fine. Unfortunately, their message got lost with the actions of many of their protestors. Also, instead of building sympathy with the general population, you pissed them off by killing the grass on their parks.

  28. Noble says:

    Epic post! I had to bookmark this one. It aligns with Robert Kiyosaki’s ‘Rich Dad’ series. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  29. Pery says:

    I will go one further and say the point 1 percent the very very top love change and innovation over spending more money on the same old same old – in education business and enviroment. Jobs Buffet Branson and Cuba.

  30. Insiya Hussain says:

    Spot-on, hands-down, brilliant post. Thanks, John!

  31. AZ Media Guy says:


  32. Everyone should read this, especially the 99%. They’d be stupid not do everything they can to be the 1%. Aloha, John!

  33. Mike says:

    Number 20 is the 1 in my book. )

  34. Ehsan Ullah says:

    I can’t believe it. Is it really true that 99% thinks that If you make more money, more problems you’ll have? :O

  35. Great and Inspiring post. The thing that stops 99% to be 1% is their self created belief. Change your belief ,change your life.

  36. dice8up says:

    the top 5 on the list that I feel I really can relate to according to how I have been taught (not necessarily in order of importance) would be #1, 11, 65, 35 and 97.

    Great piece you got here! I am buying the book.

  37. Neo says:

    Hi John C,
    First time to your blog and i am impressed that you are making $40k a month with 1/4 mil visitors a day !. That is simply awesome. Will come again and again to find out what make your blog tick.

    1. Susan says:

      He makes money off of other peoples greed and desires to become rich. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.

  38. Brian Freed says:

    Great post. I enjoyed reading it

  39. adper27 says:

    genuis!!! 99% inspiration for this post and 1% perspiration of reading your post..

  40. Brian says:

    thanks for the list. I will try and think more like a rich person. They seem to have it figured out.

  41. NP says:

    I am still in 99%
    Thank you for sharing then.

  42. This is in my opinion one of your best posts ever!
    #87 is the root to getting rich I think.

  43. crockoshit detector says:

    Great — another bunch of rightwing propaganda B.S. — reinforces the great american myth (created by the rich & powerful) that anyone & everyone can be rich (ignoring math & reality) — woo hoo! And if you’re not’ it’s all your own damn fault.

    And if you really believe $350K per year puts you in the top 1%, I’ve got some real estate on a melting polar ice cap for you.

    Since when is regurgitating a list from a book ‘brilliant’ writing?

    P.S your avatar sucks.

    1. John Chow says:

      The $350K figure didn’t came from me. It came from Bankrate.com, which pulled the figure from the IRS based on the tax returns.

      And it is your own damn fault if you can’t get rich in America. There’s more opportunity here than anyplace in the world. You’re just too lazy to look.

  44. Clarentino says:

    No. 54. Getting rich is an inside job. Very true.

    1. Neil says:

      LOL, exactly, Clarentino. 🙂 That’s why abolishing the estate tax (a.k.a. the “death tax”) would be a horrible idea.

  45. Jack Vidal says:

    The best article I read for a long time! I shared it on FB.

    One of my favorites was number 80 – The 99% believes starting a business is risky. The 1% believes starting a business is the fastest road to wealth.

    One of my best decisions in life was to open my own business, instead of continuing making other people rich.


  46. Johny Chan says:

    What’s funny is that 99% of the people reading this blog will never be a part of the 1%.

  47. Neil says:

    I’m sure there’s plenty of people among 6,930,000,000 who think like Kim Kardashian.

  48. I just have something to say about #4. I don’t think money is evil. Let;s compare it with a hammer. You can build a house using a hammer, which is good and you can use it also to hurt somebody, and that is evil. I think a better sentence would be “the love of money is the root of all evil”. Nevertheless, this is a good post!

    1. Nick Chehreh says:

      I agree… Money, in and of itself is neutral. It what you do with it that makes it “Good” or “Bad.”

  49. Nick Chehreh says:


    I think that your summary is completely on point. Since when did it become a crime to be wealthy? Capitalism, Free Markets, and the entrepreneurial spirit have been the driving forces of uplifting society over the last 100 years. Recently, however, Capitalism has been replaced with Corporatism and that, IMHO is where the problem lies. The items that really resonated with me are 2,3,4,12, & 19. At the end of the day, I believe that one’s perspective on the finite and the infinite is a large factor in determining their wealth.

    Peace & Blessings…

  50. J says:

    It is unfortunately but the truth is not everyone knows how to use money or about it other than it buys things. There needs to be more education from our schools to teach kids about money because more than likely the parents are ignorant, and so forth and it is due to no one educating them. Yes there is enough now to educate yourself but how many people can comprehend these text book financial guides and then apply what they say in real life.

  51. John great article and please don’t take this wrong but you’re reinforcing the wrong message. Change “rich” to “financially independent” and you’re right on the mark.

    By saying rich or wealthy you reinforce the message that success is measured by dollars and that isn’t true. I follow quite a few bloggers who are far from rich but have all retired at very early ages and I can’t think of a better life than retiring super early to do what you love.

    Very very few people can be wealthy but anyone including my disabled niece can be financially independent.

    Other than that minor point great list!!!!

  52. Tom says:

    43 gets my vote

  53. bisi says:

    very inspiring cant wait to go over it again and again.till its me.

  54. Whoa!!! Great list…I am sad that I fit in the 99% category for most of the points here. I wish I could be in 1%. All the points in the list are real, true and perfectly accurate and picking up a few would be incorrect. Still if you ask I would like to mentions 1, 39, 41, 43, 67, 83 OMG i liked all…

  55. Peter Wolfe says:

    My favorite of the bulleted list is 95 in total because it reveals something about the mindset of rich vs poor people in general. This is that wealthier individuals that I’ve known and interacted with appreciate uniqueness and individuality bu poor people copy and believe in relating with the masses. Essentially being a disabled first generation student that the whole proposition is all ordinal and linear in nature like the beginning doesn’t starrt with money or end with education but its not set in a particular formula either. For example, my uncle Bruce in Texas won the lottery had a divorce soon after and then blew threw the money wih drugs and women not saving a dime of it. In conclusion, I think working at being rarier, self-sufficient and trusting nobody are essential with plenty of saving goes a long way towards success in the modern world economy to become the 1%.

    The other flaws for the 99% of people that I’ve seen is that the 99% focus on others not themselves like self-improvement and financial well being not living up to popular standards in popular culture. The 1% create and the 99% consume and with that means that the masses being the 99% don’t think for themselves on average. The masses abroad or here in the states believe in short-term short-sightedness not with the rich 1% with investments to business creation. Poor people are reactive the rich are proactive and engaged and on average rich people realize that the power of hope over hopelessness. Rich people live with what they have the poor person wishes in imaginary land with religion being a crux just my opinion though of things no added to this 100 list. Lastly, I’m blind plan on being a 1%er by not random luck e.g. lottery but with any and all methods whether ethical or not to become financially solvent without allowing help vampires sink me in the process with excuses. note: exploit the system, break the rules, bend the laws and twists some wrist like I’ve done and you would be better off!

    1. Rob says:

      Excellent comment, except I would change rich to financially independant, for the simple reason while one needs millions to be “rich” one can be financially independant on less than a 7 figure in liquid assets and less than 50 grand in income, kind of money that is a poverty wage to the average american

      BTW I love nr 15 and especially 59 about working smarter

      That allowed my wife and to manage our money better so I could quit my job and we live one one income, while we’ll never be rich we are well on our way to being financially independant.

Comments are closed.