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How Come I’m Not Wealthy?

how come i'm not wealthyYou blame it on your parents, your educators, your employers, your children…but these responses have very little to do with answering the question, “How Come I’m Not Wealthy?” Sure, your parents might have been dysfunctional, your formal education might have ranked poorly when compared to the average, your employer might not have the best progression plan, and your children do certainly cost money, but are any of these “reasons” really keeping you from being wealthy? I don’t think so. The only thing that’s keeping you from being wealthy is you.

How Come I’m Not Wealthy?

It sounds kind of like a cliche message – something like, “Only you can prevent forest fires…” but it’s absolutely true. The only thing keeping you from being wealthy is you. If you don’t intentionally work to become wealthy, then you will never be wealthy. What will you do instead? Naturally, you’ll do exactly the opposite of what The Millionaire Next Door teaches and instinctively do what the rest of the nation does – which is to pretty much be below average and broke.

1) You Live Above Your Means

If you are making payments on a car, have credit card debt, or have a 30 year mortgage, then you are living above your means. Some of you might be upset by this, but think about it for a minute. If you have a car payment, what are you really doing? You took a car from the dealership, promising to pay them with your future money that you’ll hopefully earn (and not get fired before it’s paid off)! Does this sound like living within your means? Certainly not!

The same thing goes for that credit card and the 30 year mortgage. You couldn’t afford what you bought, so you’re making future payments on all of it, just so you can have it today. In my opinion, if you have any debt or have a mortgage with repayment terms greater than 15 years, then you’re living above your means and will likely never be wealthy.

how come i'm not wealthy2) You Waste Time, Energy, and Money

People pose the question, “How come I’m not wealthy?” and then they watch TV, play every rec league under the sun, and spend like there’s no tomorrow. If you want to be wealthy, then you’re going to have to start thinking like the wealthy do. Instead of watching TV in the afternoons, start a side-business. Rather than pretending you’re having fun in life on those rec leagues, go to a Young Professionals meeting or Toastmasters. And, when you’ve actually got some money, learn to hold onto it and invest it instead of spending it on material goods that will eventually find their way into the garbage.

3) You Enjoy Flashing Cash

I work with so many people that like to flash their cash. Of course, they aren’t literally running up to me, swooshing benjamins in my face, but they’re wearing designer clothing, sporting an expensive watch, and talking about the boat that they love taking out on the weekends.

Understand, these things aren’t bad or evil, but the more of them that they have, the farther away from wealth they get.

4) Your Parents Help You Get Out of Jambs

Have you ever read the book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” Basically, there were two test mice that went through the same routine each day. They got up, went through their maze, and then found a tasty dinner of cheese in the same spot each day. Life was simple, life was easy, and the cheese was always there to fill their bellies.

For many people, they are the mice and their parents are the cheese. Whenever life gets tough and resources are slim, they head over to their parents house, explain their sad story, and then their parents satisfy their “hunger” by shelling out some cash. It might only be a hundred bucks or it could be thousands. Either way, if you depend on your parents’ help once in a while, the cycle will likely never change. You’ll keep making the same dumb choices, and they’ll keep bailing you out – keeping you far away from knocking at wealth’s door.

5) Your Kids Can’t Make it on Their Own

Sadly, the shoe can move to the other foot as well. If you raise your children poorly and don’t teach them about the difficulties of life in the real world, then they’ll probably keep wrapping at your door looking for cheese. The more you help them financially, the worse off you become. If you fail as a parent, you’ll likely be sucked dry financially in the long run.

build wealth6) You Are Oblivious to Opportunities

“How come I’m not wealthy?” you might ask. And I’ll probably pose the question, “What has been your most recent opportunity?” More than likely, you’ll tell me that there haven’t been any. And, of course, you’d be wrong. I certainly wouldn’t point my finger in your face and call you a liar. You legitimately think that life’s not presenting opportunities, but truthfully you just aren’t looking for them.

These opportunities could be free education, an invitation to a seminar, or a simple conversation with a wealthy gentleman at church. All of these things could lead to that next big opportunity, which then may lead to another huge opportunity.

Approximately 4 years ago, I was working in a dead-end job that was going nowhere. I was doing it well, and was helping the company with my work, but I knew that if I stayed in that department, my position on the corporate ladder had no chance of moving. During that time, my coworker signed up for a mentorship program and coaxed me to put my name into the hat as well. I was hesitant, but I realized that this might just be my opportunity to move up in the company. Sure enough, within just 3 months of starting that mentorship program, I had an opportunity to take on a new role. Then, just three years later, I accepted another promotion within the same company. Taking hold of that one opportunity has changed my life tremendously.

7) You Chose a Dumb Occupation

It’s great for kids to follow their dreams, but sometimes those dreams are irrational and will likely end in failure. Instead of just sitting back and cheering them on, let them know that the real world is a tough place and that they should have a plan B in place.

For instance, if I had a son that really wanted to be an actor in Hollywood, I wouldn’t tell him that he’s an idiot and he’ll never make it. That would be pretty lousy parenting. But, I also shouldn’t add to his delusions and feed his imagination with visions of future stardom. Based on the probabilities, becoming a movie star just isn’t going to happen. Instead, I would suggest that he pursue his dream, but to also train himself in a useful life skill as well – perhaps to get a degree in accounting, marketing, or engineering – something solid that could land him a steady job if his dreams don’t work out.

For those that choose dumb occupations that take them nowhere, they will almost certainly never be wealthy.

“How come I’m not wealthy?”, you ask? Basically, you never stopped to think about how you could set yourself up for wealth. If you continually let the breeze of life blow you around, you’ll likely be disgusted with where you land.

Have you ever asked yourself, “How come I’m not wealthy?” What are you going to do about it?

Battle of the Mind Money


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. This reminds me of two people I know. A cousin and a coworker.

    The cousin– every time my cousin says something about a person buying a new car or something fairly expensive, her husband always says “but dear, they’ve got money”. And I immediately think to myself, yes, but you have horses, horse stables, horse trailers and you spend money entering your daughter in horse shows and sent her to college OUT OF STATE to learn how to ride horses. Could explain why you don’t have money.

    Coworker– when talking about retirement and retirement savings claims she will never be able to retire because they can’t afford to. One time she complained about her oven door falling off every time she opened it but couldn’t afford to get a new one. But she has a pool with all the required maintenance, she has a time-share for vacations, and she spent $10,000 on her daughter’s wedding (borrowed, of course)and the daughter was divorced before the $10K was paid off.

    And these people wonder why I have money.

    • It’s so crazy how blind people are to their own insanity! Love your comment. Thanks Kathy!

  2. We are clearly making too many mistakes as well. Some we’re trying to right, some are gonna stay with us more. I like to take responsibility for my mistakes though, so, finding excuses is not a good thing, if you do want to make any progress. 🙂

    • Good point Ramona. Excuses certainly won’t help anything, so I’m glad you didn’t make any in your comment!

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