Almost everyone aspires to be rich one day, but very few people ever make it. If you’re reading this now, you are probably someone who is trying to climb their way to the top. But how do you know if you’ll actually get out of poverty?
Every wealthy person has certain traits in common that have helped them surpass their humble beginnings. Others can’t seem to get over their shortcomings in order to make it to the next step. Here are 30 signs that someone will never become rich.
30. Terrified of Failure
If you are afraid of failing, you will never be rich. All of the most successful people in the world have failed. Success stories often focus on how someone rose through humble beginnings and became a millionaire. The reality is that these people have all gone through terrible setbacks but learned to bounce back.
Successful people learn how to overcome failures. They pick themselves up and try again. This is the only difference between someone who makes it to the top of their game versus someone who stays in an average lifestyle. Remember that by playing it safe, you continue a normal life. Only the ones who take risks make it to the top.
29. You Only Work 40 Hours Per Week
Nowadays, you hear a lot about having a “work-life balance.” Most self-made millionaires made their money by working more than 40 hours per week. You may have heard of a book called The 4 Hour Work Week. While this has some amazing advice on how to delegate others to do work for you, the actual 4-hour-work week lifestyle is usually achieved after working 60 to 100 hours per week for years before you can delegate tasks.
Remember that making a lot of money is rarely going to be as easy. It comes from hard work and persistence that has happened over several years. Remember that in the end, it will all be worth it once you have achieved your goals.
28. Public Speaking Makes You Nervous
In today’s world, there are plenty of people who become wealthy behind a computer screen. However, eventually, those people are going to have to speak in front of a crowd. We tend to remember the people who can couple the personality with the product. Most wealthy tech entrepreneurs have to hire coaches to help them with their public speaking.
Being good at public speaking does not come naturally to most people. They have to constantly work on that skill if they want to excel. If you want to move up in the world, you may want to consider taking a public speaking class. You can also watch videos online, but the real skill comes from practicing in front of real people. There is also an organization called ToastMasters International, where successful people meet to practice their speaking skills. Consider reading the book Talk Like TED, where there are tips from some of the most popular TED Talks.
27. You Avoid Talking on the Phone
In the age of the Internet, we have a whole generation of people who almost never have to talk to people on the phone. For whatever reason, getting on a phone call gives some people a lot of anxiety. They use text messages or emails instead. However, in most high-level positions, it becomes completely necessary to have conversations over the phone.
Before you get on the call, just take a deep breath and calm yourself. Remind yourself that you deserve to be on the phone interview or meeting. Truly listen to what the other person is saying, so that you don’t cut them off. Also, practice smiling while you talk. Lastly, remember to say their name at least once so they feel acknowledged.
26. You Refuse to Move
Sometimes, your geographic location could hold you back from succeeding. Imagine living in the middle of farm country in Kansas. Whatever job opportunities you may have in your town may not be anywhere near what you find living in New York City. Maybe it’s just a matter of moving to the next town over. But if you are not willing to make moves to get to where you need to go, you may never be rich.
Digital nomads can work anywhere in the world from their laptop, but very few of them are millionaires since they are often working on a freelance basis. They feel “rich” because they have freedoms that most others don’t. At the end of the day, you need to weigh the pros and cons of what matters most to you in life. Is it money, or the ability to live near your friends and family?
25. Working By the Hour
Earlier we mentioned the fact that people who become rich work more than 40 hours a week. But it is not as simple as having multiple side-hustles. For example, you might have one full-time job that pays you $50,000 per year. Most part-time jobs are given to lower-level positions that do not pay very much. So let’s imagine you decide to work a second job at night working 20 hours per week, and you bring in an additional $12,000 per year. That adds up to $62,000. By the time you get home, you would be way too exhausted to build any sort of wealth.
The only way people truly get rich is to be paid by results, rather than time. Every single human being has the same 24 hours in a day. The rich ones just figure out a way to make money in a short amount of time. They don’t worry about getting paid by the hour. The end result matters much more.
24. A Jack of All Trades, But a Master Of None
It can be great to be skilled in a lot of things because it helps you get ahead in life. But eventually, you may find that you’re spread too thin. Some business owners are forced to do multiple tasks on their own before they hire someone. For example, let’s imagine you open a pizza shop. You may have to do the cooking, the cash register, and all of the administration at the end of the night. That’s three jobs in one. But if you keep doing this forever, you will be totally burned out. At some point, you would probably need to hand over the duties of cooking and running the register to someone else.
People who make a lot of money are the ones who are really good at one thing. If we continue on with the example of a pizza shop, think about the big chains like Pizza Hut and Dominos. Even though their pizza may not be the best you have ever tasted, the founders knew how to market their product very well. No matter what kind of business you run, you need to focus on cultivating just one talent. For more on this, we recommend reading The One Thing by Gary Keller.
23. All Talk, No Action
There are so many people out there who will talk about how they are going to become rich and yet never take action. Most successful people are too busy working towards their goals to brag or talk about what they are doing behind the scenes. The next time you find yourself bragging about how you are going to succeed, ask yourself why you are doing this. Most of the time, people feel a sense of satisfaction telling people they are going to be rich.
It is the same mindset as telling someone they are going on a diet. The praise or congratulations you get from someone is often enough to satisfy that urge to praise, and you go back to old habits immediately. So instead of seeking approval or praise, simply do the things that are necessary for you to get ahead in life. Then, once the task is done, feel free to talk about it once it’s actually complete. For example, instead of saying, “I am going to build a website,” just go make the thing. Once it’s done, you can say, “I built a website,” and it feels so much more satisfying to do so.
22. Never Reading
All of the most successful people in the world read multiple books per year. Most of these books are nonfiction and they focus on self-improvement. Every year, Bill Gates comes out with a list of all of the books he read that year. Oprah Winfrey is also famous for her book club. People who read a lot are always looking to learn something new. They are willing to open up their mind to information that they have never known before, and it just might help them on their journey to success.
If you are open to reading more but you’re not sure where to start, check out our list of 40 Business Books Everyone Must Read to Be Successful. Even if you are not a business owner, a lot of these books are great for self-improvement, no matter what your goal is in life. In college, you had to read books to get better at a certain subject, but the same goes for life in general. The more you read, the more you succeed.
21. Being Chronically Late
Most people who are type-A personalities need to be on time for a meeting. They get somewhere early, and they may even wait until their time rolls around so that they can be there exactly when they are supposed to show up. For most people, this is a sign of respect. You are showing the other person you value their time, so you are making an effort to show up at the agreed-upon time. But then, there are people who are the polar opposite. They show up late and don’t seem to care if they keep the other person waiting. In many cases, these people may have been fired from their job over their chronic tardiness.
According to Psychology Today, people who are chronically late want to avoid being early. It makes them feel awkward to sit around and wait for the meeting to start. Remember that time is the most valuable resource in the world. Most CEOs don’t have that luxury of being late because time is money. Forcing others to wait may lose profits.
20. Waiting For a Miracle
For anyone who has read The Secret, you might believe that by thinking about your goals and creating a vision board, you might eventually manifest them into reality. While faith in yourself and in a higher power can sometimes help to move you forward, it is not the only thing that is going to make you rich. You have to pair manifestation together with action in order for it to actually work. Statistically speaking, poor people tend to be religious, and rich people are more likely to be agnostic or atheist.
People who hope for a miracle are the ones who are playing the lottery, entering contests, and saying their prayers to God every night with the hope that a million dollars will fall into their lap. And yet they are not doing anything to actually change their circumstances.
19. Not Having Financial Goals
There are plenty of people out there who want to be rich someday, and yet they refuse to write down their financial goals. That’s like trying to build a house without blueprints. If you want to make more money in the future and feel financially secure, you have to create a plan for how it’s actually going to happen. Always start out with goals that are actually achievable for your current situation. For example, a financial goal may be, “I will pay off one credit card in full by the end of the year.”
Even if you fall short of your goals, you are making progress. Instead of measuring your own success against other people your age, try to compare your current situation with your past self. If you are making more than you were last year, it means you are making progress, and that’s what counts.
18. Never Trying New Things
There is a famous quote by Albert Einstein that goes; “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This definitely goes hand-in-hand with building success. If you want to be rich someday, you’re going to have to try new things. After all, you are not going to become a millionaire if you stay at a minimum wage job forever. If you are never willing to try new things, you are destined to remain poor.
Keep in mind that the odds of you striking gold the first time you try to do something new is very slim. So you might have to try a lot of new things before you find the right path that fits what you are trying to do. If you aren’t sure where to start, begin with something you feel passionate about. Or find something you have always felt curious to try but you were too afraid to do it.
17. Hating Your Job
More poor people hate their job. Lower-wage jobs are typically very difficult and people feel unappreciated by their bosses. They might stare at the clock and wish that time would go by faster so that they can go home to watch a movie and spend time with their family. Most poor people associate work with pain and want to avoid it like the plague.
In order to be successful, you have to feel passionate about your career. You need to feel excited to go to work or get started on the task at hand. If you truly hate what you are doing, it is a sign that you need to switch careers. You will probably never get rich doing something you hate. For example, think about all of your favorite musicians. If you took Taylor Swift out of her normal life and put her into an office job, do you think they would flourish? Maybe, but probably not. It was her destiny to sing, play guitar, and make music.
16. Seeking Approval From Others
Like most things in life, you should work towards a goal because it is what you want, rather than what your parents, friends, or partner want. Most people who live a normal life are not going to understand if you tell them that you are trying to go down an unconventional path. They might completely disapprove of your choices because they cannot fathom it working out. But you cannot get your motivation from the praise and approval of others. It needs to come from within.
Even if your friends support your decision to change your life, you still might have to do things they wouldn’t like. For example, maybe all of your friends like to go out for drinks after work. But if you want time to work on your business, you might have to start saying “no” to hanging out. Your friends or partner might feel disappointed in you, but you need to ask yourself what is more important. Unfortunately, this is a sacrifice that people have to make if they want to make a lot of money. But if you care more about what your friends think, you might never get started on the journey to self-discovery and success.
15. Taking Care of Others Instead of Yourself
It is admirable to take care of other people. However, if you do nothing but think of others, you will likely remain poor for the rest of your life. Stay-at-home moms are a great example of this. From the time they wake up to the time they go to bed, they are working nonstop to take care of their children and household. They don’t get paid for their work, and they sacrifice all of the time they could have been spending building a career.
If you want to make more money, you must focus on yourself. It’s not selfish to do this. In fact, if you make more money, you will probably have more to give to your family. We aren’t saying that you should abandon your responsibilities. But if you want to move forward with your career, figure out how to spend more time on your own working on your goals instead of devoting your energy to others 24/7.
14. Starting Projects and Never Finishing Them
Poor people might feel inspired to start a business, but they never follow through. For example, maybe they thought they could make crafts and sell them on Etsy. They got as far as buying a sewing machine and fabric, but never actually got to the point where they were listing things online. Someone could have a lot of these ideas, but if they never execute them and make it a reality, nothing will ever come of it.
Rich people have an idea and see it through until the end. They will either keep going when they know it’s worth holding onto or pivot when they know something is not going to work out. But at least they tried and saw their idea through to the finish line.
13. Focusing Too Much On Saving
Saving is great, but if you are constantly worried about cutting corners, you are probably not thinking as much about growing your wealth. Poor people might focus on trying to find the cheapest version of whatever they want. They might go to the Dollar Tree or try to buy things off of the clearance rack. While it’s great to save money, it’s not going to make you rich.
People who rise out of poverty have figured out a way to increase their income every year. They may not care about going to a Black Friday sale or pinching pennies because they are too focused on their financial goals.
12. You Don’t Have Investments
Poor people almost never have investments. This is most likely because they are not educated on how to invest properly, or they are afraid of making a mistake. Even if you never learned it in school, all of the information you could ever need to know is available online. Check out websites like Investopedia, or search for YouTube videos. You could also read the Investing Quick Start Guide, which gives you an easy-to-understand breakdown of how investing works.
Nearly every rich person out there made their fortunes by investing in something like stocks, cryptocurrency, businesses, or real estate. By investing, it’s like making your money work for you. Millionaires often have a diverse investment portfolio where their money is divided up into various places. This ensures that even if one investment does poorly that year, others are likely to do well.
11. Taking Advice From Other Poor People
When you begin your journey to making more money, your first reaction might be to tell your family and friends. They will probably want to give you some advice and insert their own opinion into the situation. If they are poor, they might have a pessimistic mindset when it comes to getting out of a bad situation. They might tell you that your dreams are impossible or give you advice that doesn’t make a lot of sense.
While we love and appreciate the people who care about us, you need to take this advice with a grain of salt. Do they really know what they are talking about? Probably not. It’s best to find someone who has already succeeded in the field you want to be in and ask them to be your mentor.
10. Not Believing In Yourself
Sadly, poor people do not usually believe in their own abilities. They imagine attempting to get out of their bad situation and think they will fail. A lack of confidence in yourself is really at the core of never moving on past some of your life’s biggest challenges. It may sound simple, but you really just need to believe in yourself.
Rich people have the mindset that they can handle almost anything. They believe that even if something is challenging, they have the ability to learn how to adapt and overcome. They are willing to learn, work, and do whatever it takes to get over any challenge.
9. Lacking Discipline
Everything worth having in life takes hard work and discipline. Think about athletes. Do they wake up one morning with the ability to lift hundreds of pounds, run for several miles, or throw across a football field? Of course not. They went to the gym, ate the right foods, and worked incredibly hard to achieve their goal. The same goes for working towards your goal to be financially successful.
If you lack discipline in your life, you might give up when things get too difficult. These are the kinds of people who are never going to break out of poverty. Making more money is hard. And it may take a lot of work to find the right job, build a business, or create a professional reputation for a freelance portfolio.
8. Commuting Over an Hour to Work
How long does it take for you to commute to work? One of the common traits among the poor is that they are often “super commuters” who have to spend more than an hour getting to work each way. The further away you are from your job, the more time you’re wasting in traffic. This time adds up to a lot of wasted potential where you could be doing something more productive.
If you want to be rich, you need to spend every moment of your day wisely and not waste time. Let’s just assume you commute one hour to work each way. That’s two hours per day or 10 hours per week where you are not getting paid for your time. Even making just $10 per hour, those 10 hours are still worth $100 per week, or $5,200 per year. Now, imagine a CEO whose time is far more valuable than just minimum wage. There is no way they would ever live an hour away from their office. No one is going to pay you for your commute, so it only makes sense to live close to where you work.
7. Buying Things You Can’t Afford
We all want things in life, but there are some people who are far more materialistic than others. People who spend money on things that they don’t actually need are wasting money. And to make matters worse, people spend money they don’t have and getting into credit card debt. In the United States, our society makes us feel as though we need a new car, clothes, sneakers, and so much more.
People who become rich understand that it is far more important to use their extra money on investments instead of wasting it on material things. And when they treat themselves to something, it is only after setting aside the cash to buy them.
6. Pursuing Someone Else’s Dreams Instead of Your Own
Sometimes, parents pressure their kids to follow a certain career path. Maybe you grew up being encouraged to become a doctor or a lawyer, and you decided to study those subjects because you wanted to make your parents happy. Some kids were forced to go to college when they did not want to go at all, because their parents believed it would be the best thing for them. Now, they are shackled with student loan debt.
If you are living someone else’s dream, you will never actually go far enough to be rich. It might be okay for the first few years, but you will eventually find that you are unhappy and unfulfilled. Gaining wealth takes a lot of passion and drive. So if you feel like you are forcing yourself to do your job, then it can be difficult to show up at all, let alone excel at your career.
5. Content with a Paycheck
Some people feel content with going to their 9-5 job and knowing that they will have a paycheck every Friday. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, most people cannot raise a family or pay their mortgage if they don’t know how much is coming in every month. But people who become rich often sacrifice the security of a steady paycheck in order to pursue something bigger than an hourly wage. They realize that they may be taking a risk, but they feel that it’s worth trying.
When you start a business, income can be completely unpredictable. There may be several months where you do not make any money at all. For some businesses, it can take several years before they are actually profitable. But for those who take that risk and come out on the other end, they are often very glad that they tried to get out of their comfort zone.
4. Imagining that Getting Rich is Impossible
It might sound like common sense, but the only way you can become rich is if you believe you can be rich. So many people love daydreaming about what life would be like with a lot of money, but then they become complacent. They ultimately decide that being rich is a pipe dream, and it would never happen for someone like them. They think it sounds like a nice idea, but they don’t actually have any plans to make it a reality.
People who are rich and famous usually say that they knew from an early age that they were destined for greatness. They believed in themselves so much that they kept going until they achieved their goals. It may be difficult for you to have the same confidence, but it is necessary for achieving the things you want in life.
3. Accepting Wrong Kinds Of Feedback
When you start your journey to success, you will naturally want to tell your friends and family about the positive changes you are making in your life. Once you do this, be prepared to receive an onslaught of unsolicited opinions and advice. You will either receive a lot of negative feedback from people who failed in the past, and they don’t think you can do it, either. There may also be people who give you advice with the best intention of helping you, but it’s simply wrong because they have absolutely no experience in the field.
Asking other poor people for their feedback will get you nowhere. Like their advice, it is rarely valuable. If they knew how to succeed, they would already be doing it themselves. When you see your friends and family, there should be plenty of other things to talk about instead of work.
2. Unable to Adapt
The world is always changing, especially with new technology coming out almost every day. If you are not willing to adapt to change, you are going to fall behind very quickly. For example, think about how online shopping changed the retail landscape in the past few years. Companies like Sears were so confident in their legacy and did not think it was necessary to put their products online. They believed that their customers would be so loyal, that they would continue to shop at Sears stores. Obviously, this was a huge mistake and they declared bankruptcy.
Even if you do not run a company, you still need to adapt to change if you want to succeed. Think about all of the office workers who hesitated to learn Microsoft Word, because they preferred to use a typewriter. Or the people who still refuse to buy a smartphone. If you want to keep up with the working world, always be willing adapt to change.
1. A Lack of Motivation
Successful people are usually excited to wake up in the morning, and they feel motivated to get to work. They are not forced to get up by an alarm clock or the fear of getting fired. They truly want to work, because it gets them closer to their goals. If you still feel as though you are dragging yourself out of bed each morning, it might be that you have a lack of motivation. Without a spark of joy, you are destined to stay in a situation where you may be poor.
Ask yourself what motivates you the most to get something done. Whatever it is, you need to channel that energy into your goal. For example, maybe you feel motivated to never have to commute to your job again. So, you really don’t need to be a millionaire to do that. All you really need is to find a work-from-home job. Once you figure out what your personal definition of success is, you should begin to feel motivated to get started.