“The problem with quotations is that most of them are not true.”―Albert Einstein.
Sorry to disappoint, but I’ve just made that one up.
Quotes can spice up your writing or add authority to your arguments. All those leading experts, entrepreneurs, and famous writers had a lot of wisdom to share for sure. If only so much of it wasn’t fake—
Here’s a list of more than a hundred money quotes you can fearlessly share with others looking for (genuine) inspiration.
In this collection, you’ll find:
- Empowering words about personal finance.
- Money humor and funny quotes.
- The sources ranging from Greek philosophers to the Bible to Joe Biden.
- Quotes about people’s greed when you’re in the mood to “eat the rich”.
- Explanations for some famous misquotes. Never end your stories with “and that boy was Albert Einstein” again!
Top 110 Inspirational Quotes on Money and Wealth
1. “A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.”―Jonathan Swift
2. “Money makes the man.”―Aristodemus
3. “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”―Dave Ramsey
4. “Money is like muck, not good except it be spread.”―Francis Bacon
If you were to believe all the (mis)quotations on the internet, Francis Bacon said more witty things than Einstein and Wilde combined. This one comes from his 1625 collection of essays. A modernized version by Carl Sandburg, “Money is like manure—good only when spread around.” is often attributed to Bacon.
5. “You can be young without money, but you can’t be old without it.”―Tennessee Williams
6. “A penny saved is a penny earned.”―Anonymous
Everybody thinks Benjamin Franklin when reading these words, but no one has a clue who actually said that. Franklin put it differently, “A penny saved is two pence clear.” The earliest record of this sentiment (“A penny spar’d is twice got”) by the poet George Herbert comes from 1640.
7. “When money realizes that it is in good hands, it wants to stay and multiply in those hands.”―Idowu Koyenikan
8. “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”―Ayn Rand
9. “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.”―Bob Dylan
10. “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget—and I’ll tell you what you value.”—Joe Biden
Quoting his father, Joseph Robinette Biden Sr.
11. “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”―Epicurus
Misattributed to another Greek philosopher, Epictetus—a stoic with an almost opposite worldview to the hedonist Epicurus.
12. “The rich aren’t like us―they pay less taxes.”―Peter De Vries
13. “Always try to rub up against money, for if you rub up against money long enough, some of it may rub off on you.”―Damon Runyon
14. “Making money isn’t hard in itself. […] What’s hard is to earn it doing something worth devoting one’s life to.”―Carlos Ruiz Zafón
15. “I try not to borrow. First you borrow. Then you beg.”―Ernest Hemingway
16. “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.”―recorded by Robert Quillen
This one is often wrongly attributed to Will Rogers—it was Robert Quillen who first wrote it down as “Americanism” in 1928.
17. “If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.”―George Monbiot
18. “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.”―Woody Allen
19. “Money does not buy you experiential happiness, but lack of money certainly buys you misery.”―Daniel Kahneman“Experiential” is usually omitted when quoting these words.
20. “Money often costs too much.”―Ralph Waldo Emerson
21. “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”―Albert Einstein
In a shocking turn of events, this one seems to actually come from Einstein (as recorded by his friend Leo Mattersdorf). The quote in the original anecdote was, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes.”
22. “Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame.”―Arthur Schopenhauer
23. “Never spend your money before you have it.”—Thomas Jefferson
24. “Money can always be traced. It leaves a trail of slime behind it wherever it goes.”―Michael Swanwick
25. “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”―The Color of Money (1986)
26. “Rule number one: never lose money. Rule number two: never forget rule number one.”―Warren Buffett.
The wording of this one is sometimes disputed. Buffet’s former daughter-in-law, Mary Buffet, attributed it to him in The Tao of Warren Buffett. Another version, which Steve Forbes recalls from his meeting with Buffet, is, “The first rule is don’t lose, and the second rule is never forget the first rule.”
27. “Businesspeople are like sharks, not just because we’re gray and slightly oily, or because our teeth trail the innards of those we have eviscerated, but because we must move forward or die.”―Stanley Bing
28. “Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.”—Donald Trump
29. “Money is the source of the greatest vice, and that nation which is most rich, is most wicked.”―Frances Burney
30. “What’s the good of money? It can’t buy happiness.”―Agatha Christie
31. “Anyone who says money can’t buy happiness doesn’t know where to shop.”―Joanna Lee
Falsely attributed to everyone and anyone—most notably to Gertrude Stein and Bo Derek. In reality, it first appeared in an episode of Gilligan’s Island by Joanna Lee.
32. “America does not know the difference between money and sex. It treats sex like money because it treats sex as a medium of exchange, and it treats money like sex because it expects its money to get pregnant and reproduce.”―Peter Kreeft
33. “There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else. That is the misery of being poor.” Oscar Wilde
34. “Where large sums of money are concerned it is advisable to trust nobody.”―Agatha Christie
35. “It’s easy to say you don’t care about money when you have plenty of it.”―Ransom Riggs
36. “Within certain limits, it is actually true that the less money you have, the less you worry.”―George Orwell
37. “I define a recession as when your neighbor loses his job, but a depression is when you lose your own.”―Dave Beck
You might know this one as Harry S. Truman’s or Ronald Reagan’s joke. In fact, it came out in The Daily News in 1954 as a quote from Teamsters Union President Dave Beck. The wordplay between recession and depression has been in use since at least the 1930s.
38. “Wealth is far away, poverty is close at hand.”—Ancient Sumerian proverbIn another translation, “Wealth is hard to come by, but poverty is always at hand.”
39. “Love can do much, but money can do everything.”―French proverb
40. “Greedy folk have long arms.”—English proverb
41. “Money can move the Gods.”―Chinese proverb
42. “With money you would not know yourself; without it, no one would know you.”―Spanish proverb.
43. “Bad money drives out good.”―Ancient proverb.
This quote has a rich history in both its metaphorical and literal meaning. You can find the former in various European and Islamic medieval texts. One of the earliest recorded usages goes back to a comedy in Ancient Greece.
It’s also a real economic phenomenon, known as Gresham’s Law. If there are two types of money in circulation (for example, coins of the same value, but made of different metals), the more valuable kind will gradually disappear due to hoarding.
44. “Money is power, and you ought to be reasonably ambitious to have it.”―Russell H. Conwell
45. “People who want to make a million borrow a million first.”―Sophie Kinsella
46. “Even when money’s just an idea, it has power. Only it’s not real power. Just the promise of power. But that promise is enough so long as everyone keeps pretending it’s real. Stop pretending and it all falls apart.”―Steven Erikson
47. “Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.”―P.T. Barnum.
It’s sometimes misquoted as “Money is a great servant but a bad master” and falsely attributed to Francis Bacon.
48. “A man wants to earn money in order to be happy, and his whole effort and the best of a life are devoted to the earning of that money. Happiness is forgotten; the means are taken for the end.”―Albert Camus
49. “Unfortunately most ways of making big money take a long time. By the time one has made the money one is too old to enjoy it.”―Ian Fleming
50. “Money is like an iron ring we’ve put through our noses. We’ve forgotten that we designed it, and it’s now leading us around. I think it’s time to figure out where we want to go―in my opinion toward sustainability and community―and then design a money system that gets us there.”―Bernard Lietaer
51. “If you make money your god, it will plague you like the devil.”―Anonymous proverb
Thomas Fielding wrote this one down in his work, Select Proverbs of All Nations. It’s often mistakenly attributed to Henry Fielding because of the same last name.
52. “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”—Maya Angelou
53. “If money is all that a man makes, then he will be poor—poor in happiness, poor in all that makes life worth living.”―Herbert N. Casson
54. “There’s nothing in the world so demoralizing as money.”―Sophocles
55. “Money, n. A blessing that is of no advantage to us excepting when we part with it. An evidence of culture and a passport to polite society. Supportable property.”―Ambrose Bierce
The entry for “money” in Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary, a satirical collection of humorous definitions of common words.
56. “That money talks,
I’ll not deny.
I heard it once.
It said, ‘Goodbye’.”―Richard Armour
57. “Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”―Franklin D. Roosevelt
58. “Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.”―Zig Ziglar
Misattributed in the form of “Money isn’t everything, but it’s right up there with oxygen” to Rita Davenport, C. Peter Wagner, and others.
59. “It’s amazing. The moment you show cash, everyone knows your language.”―Aravind Adiga
60. “Money speaks sense in a language all nations understand.”―Aphra Behn
61. “When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.”―Voltaire
62. “If your riches are yours, why don’t you take them with you to t’other world?”—Benjamin Franklin
63. “Make all you can,
Save all you can,
Give all you can.”―a popular paraphrase of a quote from John Wesley’s sermon.
The correct version is, “Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then give all you can.”
64. “Money withers if you don’t know how to nurse it along: money flies away if you don’t know where to put it.”—Carl Sandburg
65. “Money is a dangerous subject. Polite conversation avoids it. You may talk about economics, but not raw money.”―Max Plowman
66. “Empty pockets never held anyone back. It’s only empty heads and empty hearts that do that.”―Norman Vincent Peale
67. “To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lovely labor, to be given the chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.”―Bette Davis
“Lonely labor” replaced “lovely labor” almost entirely in the reproductions of this quote over time.
68. “Money couldn’t buy friends, but you got a better class of enemy.”―Spike Milligan
69. “Money isn’t everything, but it’s way ahead of whatever’s in second place.”—recorded by Frank Finch
Finch allegedly saw this quote on a sign in a bar and grill in Philadelphia.
70. “A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry, and money is the answer for everything.”—The Holy Bible
Ecclesiastes 10:19, as translated in the New International Version.
71. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”―The Holy Bible
Mark 8:36 in the King James Version. A more contemporary translation from New King James Version updates this passage like this:
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”
72. “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”―The Holy Bible
Luke 16:13 and Matthew 6:24 from the Berean Standard Bible.
73. “Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.”―The Holy Bible
Book of Proverbs 21:13 (New International Version).
74. “The love of money is the root of all evil.”―The Holy Bible
Timothy 6:10 as presented in the King James Bible.
It’s almost exclusively used as “money is the root of all evil” these days, but it’s a misinterpretation of the original meaning. All translations highlight that it’s the “love of money”—and not the currency itself—that is the problem.
75. “If the love of money is the root of all evil, the need of money is most certainly the root of all despair.”―Isaac Asimov, Half-Breed
76. “Poverty is an anomaly to rich people. It is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.”―Walter Bagehot
77. “Few rich men own their property. The property owns them.”―Robert Ingersoll
78. “I know of nothing more despicable and pathetic than a man who devotes all the hours of the waking day to the making of money for money’s sake.”―John D. Rockefeller
79. “Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of its filling a vacuum, it makes one. If it satisfies one want, it doubles and trebles that want another way.”―David Alfred Doudney
80. “The rich man […] is always sold to the institution which makes him rich.”―Henry David Thoreau
As every other quote about money and wealth, this one is also misattributed to Benjamin Franklin.
81. “Of course, it is not the employer who pays wages. He only handles the money. It is the product that pays wages and it is the management that arranges the production so that the product may pay the wages.”―Henry Ford
Often shortened to something like: “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”
82. “Wealth, my son, should never be your goal in life. Your words are eloquent but they are mere words. True wealth is of the heart, not of the purse.”―Og Mandino
83. “Possession[s] make you rich? I don’t have that type of richness. My richness is life, forever.”―Bob Marley
84. “When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.”―Alanis Obomsawin
A shorter version of this quote is often credited as a Native American saying, even though it first appeared in a collection of essays published in 1972.
85. “Nothing incites to money-crimes like great poverty or great wealth.”―Mark Twain
86. “What power has law where only money rules?”—Petronius
87. “Who profits by a sin has done the sin.”―Seneca the Younger
88. “Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting.”―Billy Rose
Quoted in The New York Post in 1957. (Billy Rose’s original advice was, “Never buy anything that eats”—but it didn’t stick).
89. “When buying shares, ask yourself, would you buy the whole company?”—Rene Rivkin
90. “I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.”―Warren Buffet
91. “Opulence is always the result of theft, if not committed by the actual possessor, then by his predecessor.”—Saint Jerome
92. “Anyone whose needs are small seems threatening to the rich, because he’s always ready to escape their control.”—Nicolas Chamfort
93. “Wealth changes hands—that is one of its peculiarities.”—Elbert Hubbard
94. “No man can be a good citizen unless he has a wage more than sufficient to cover the bare cost of living, and hours of labor short enough so after his day’s work is done he will have time and energy to bear his share in the management of the community, to help in carrying the general load.”—Theodore Roosevelt
95. “The best way to rob a bank is to own one.”—William K. Black
96. “Wealth, after all, is a relative thing, since he that has little and wants less, is richer than he that has much and wants more.”—Charles Caleb Colton
97. “If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free: if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.”―Edmund Burke
98. “I say no wealth is worth my life.”―Homer, The Iliad
99. “If all the economists were laid end to end, they’d never reach a conclusion.”―Anonymous
An expression popular in the 1930s—attributed to George Bernard Shaw, but should likely be considered anonymous.
100. “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”―Henry David Thoreau
101. “Never stand begging for that which you have the power to earn.”―Miguel de Cervantes.
A popular misquote from Cervantes’s Don Quixote. The literal translation would be, “Do not ask for what you can take by force.” (“No pidas de grado lo que puedes tomar por fuerza.” in Spanish).
102. “You need money, so you don’t have to think about money.”―Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
103. “Fidelity purchased with money, money can destroy.”―Seneca
104. “There’s no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can’t do any business from there.”―Colonel Sanders
105. “When they say it’s not about the money. Just remember, it is about the money.”―Kin Hubbard
This quote (with variations) has been linked to many notable people, including Jim Courier and Shannon Sharpe. Kin Hubbard was the first person to use it—though his early 1916 variant is almost unrecognizable today (“When a feller says: “It hain’t th’ money, but th’ principle o’ th’ thing,” it’s th’ money.”)
106. “I don’t trust a bank […] that would lend money to such a poor risk.”―Robert Benchley, as described by Marc Connelly.
107. “Money cannot buy love, but it places one in an excellent bargaining position.”―Anonymous
This one first appeared in an Iowa newspaper, The Elgin Echo, in 1954 (no author was provided). It’s sometimes mistakenly attributed to Christopher Marlowe.
108. “Salary is no object; I want only enough to keep body and soul apart.”―Dorothy Parker
109. “Money talk is bigger than talk talk. No ear is deaf to the song that gold sings.”—Carl Sandburg
110. “It’s all about the money.”―Anonymous
AUTHOR Jane Tumar
Storyteller by day, data enthusiast when I have free time, meticulous researcher—always. I’ve been working as a content writer for the past 3 years. With my degree in Computer Science and Literature, I am a breathing and walking juxtaposition. I love metaphors, SQL, and round brackets (duh!).