The Difference Between the Rich, the Middle Class, and the Poor Is Not Just The Money

Updated: April 17, 2022

Society is basically made up of the rich, the middle class, and the poor. And between these groups, the most obvious difference is the amount of money they have.

Personally, I believe that the gap between the rich and the poor is NOT just their monthly incomes. To think that the only difference between the haves and the have-nots is their cash flow is short-sighted.

Because in reality, the amount of money one has is a consequence of various factors – dumb luck, access to opportunities, government policies, academic education, mindset, financial habits, and many more.

However, among these numerous factors, I believe a person’s mindset and financial habits have a strong influence in determining whether a person will eventually end up rich, middle class, or poor in the future.

For instance, despite being born into poverty and lacking access to opportunities, there are a few who have managed to grow their wealth and become a rags-to-riches success story. I believe this wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t have a growth mindset.

Meanwhile, some have been lucky to be born into wealth, but would, later on, squander everything and descend into poverty, all because of bad financial habits.

And lastly, there’s the middle class, who more often than not, would end up stuck in their place and never really progress into wealth. And if you look at the reason why so — the culprit would often be a fixed mindset and bad financial habits.

Below are more examples of mindsets and habits that are signs of whether a person has the potential to be financially successful, or if they will experience life-long financial struggles.

Life is about…

  • Poor mindset: Survival; thinks from day to day
  • Middle Class mindset: Comfort; thinks from paycheck to paycheck
  • Rich mindset: Freedom; thinks from year to year and far beyond

Spending and Debt

  • Poor financial habit: Pays in cash or debts
  • Middle Class financial habit: Pays through credit cards and revolves debt
  • Rich financial habit: Pays through credit cards but pays in full monthly, knows how to leverage debt

Thoughts and Conversations

  • Poor habit: Talks about people
  • Middle Class habit: Talks about material things
  • Rich habit: Talks about ideas

Work Attitude and Mindset

  • Poor and Middle Class financial habit: Plays it safe, works just enough, satisfied with mediocre results
  • Rich financial habit: Takes calculated risks, challenges oneself to excel and be the best

Money and Opportunities

  • Poor and Middle Class mindset: Scarcity; opportunities are few and money is hard to come by
  • Rich mindset: Abundance; there are a lot of opportunities out there for me to make money

Attitudes and Motivation

  • Poor and Middle Class mindset: Impatient; I want to live in comfort today
  • Rich mindset: Delays gratification; I sacrifice today, so I can live in comfort for many days in the future

Luxuries and Obstacles

  • Poor and Middle Class mindset: I cannot afford it. I cannot do it.
  • Rich mindset: How can I afford it? How can I learn to do it?

Success and Wealth

  • Poor mindset: Lottery, marry someone rich
  • Middle Class mindset: Inheritance, advancement of career
  • Rich mindset: Frugality, business and investments

Recreation and Fulfillment

  • Poor and Middle Class habit: Distractions and escapes (television, gossip, etc.), surrounds oneself with material things
  • Rich habit: Life enrichment, self-growth, helps and provides value to others

Ask yourself, what kind of mindset and financial habits do you have today? The answer may point to the direction where you eventually end up in the future.

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy


  1. That’s deep, but true. I have a short attention span with complainers and limited thinkers. Why be poor or even rich why not be wealthy? Great post.

  2. As an avid follower of your blog, I just want to say this is a great article. I actually re-posted it on my facebook wall so that my friends can read it. Thanks Fitz! Keep ’em coming. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Another excellent post Fitz, thanks! I totally agree especially with what you wrote about having distractions/escapes like television, etc. It really is crazy for someone to wonder why his/her life is going nowhere if all he/she does is watch TV all day… tsk tsk.

  4. This is, so far, my favorite article amongst all your articles. Thank you for sharing this! You don’t how much I always look forward to reading your next article ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Hey,
    I like the bit about thoughts and conversations.
    I think there’s a quote by Eleanor Rosevelt about that saying the same thing, but referring to small minds and great minds. The great minds, as you might guess, are the ones that talk about ideas.

    Thanks for the illustrations,

  6. So true…money mindset separates the rich from the poor and middle class. Thanks for this article Sir Fitz. This blog is among the resources that helped me changed my “employee mindset” to “entrepreneur and investor mindset.” Keep it up!

  7. it’s nice to know I have the characteristics of the rich, except for the money. but hey I can wait… nice post.

  8. wow, i just realized i have most of the characteristics of the rich. its just a matter of time. thanks for sharing Fitz!

  9. “Poor and Middle Class: I cannot afford it. I cannot do it. Rich: How can I afford it? How can I learn to do it?” -very true. We should learn from this one. nice post! ๐Ÿ™‚ very same principle from “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.”

  10. Great post, reading it, it appears I have more in common with the Rich class than the middle class.

    Perhaps I’m approaching the upper middle class faster than I thought after all…

  11. Thanks for the always inspiring post Fritz. Can I post this in my blog, so I can also share? Please let me know before I post. Thanks again.

  12. @Randy, sure you can share it in your blog. Please just put a link back to the original article. Thanks!

  13. @Fitz, done. Please let me know if I need to change anything. This is my first time to just copy and paste an article. Yours is just inspiring, hehe!

  14. The monetary system has to simply go, it has created these social stratifications, elite, rich, middle class, poor.

  15. Very nice insight. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I haven’t read about these yet. But I always remember my mentor saying that lucky are those kids raised by either poor or rich families, in terms of life experiences – which is an advantage.

    Life is a school. Experience teaches us. Without experience one will find it hard to get the desired results in life. Middle class people are raised in comfort. And there’s not much life-experience within the comfort zone, thus, the saying “Get out of the comfort zone”.

  16. […] The Real Gap Between The Rich and The Poor Is Not The Money […]

  17. Hey Fitz Great and Inspiring Post here…I definitely agree with you..I guess Im also on the right track same with Tyrone =) Cheers Bro!!!

  18. very inspiring po.
    your article, retiring rich in working mom magazine has led me here.
    thanks again for sharing your thoughts and ideas to persons like me who’s somewhat ‘lost’ in finance, in life..
    keep it up sir fritz!

  19. Some poor people, are richer than the very rich and die a lot happier too, just saying!

  20. Never in my life would I have thought a poor person decided to be poor. When I think about it from the perspective of mind-set as written above, yes, I can see that some folks embrace and almost enjoy a life of just enough to get by. That would be considered poverty by many people. I am retired now here in the Philippines but actually as busy as I have ever been in my whole life. Property to repair & remodel, charity work, generating steady income from my “night job” selling option contracts on the US exchanges and helping Beautiful Bride launch her ideas into new business ventures. I simply can not see myself sitting back relaxing if we were surrounded by problems a little hard work would cure. NO, with a Red Horse in hand swimming in debts, I could never declare things are great. You are correct, a lot of the poverty issue is, in fact, mindset.

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