- How To Become Rich From A Poor Background
How Can a Poor Person Become Rich With No Money in 2023
I believe that anyone can become rich. It's easier for some than others, but we all have a chance.
Can a poor person become rich? Some of the ways you can become rich from a poor background include, starting a business, working a side hustle, creating a sellable product, investing in stocks, bonds, real estate, or alternative investments, and building an emergency fund.
Why Trust Us
Articles on LifeAndMyFinances are written in collaboration with our internal experts, backed by thorough research, scientific literature, and data from government websites and other reliable sources. They're also reviewed by experts in banking, finance, insurance, and others before publication and upon significant updates.
Learn more about our editorial process
Pages on LifeAndMyFinances may contain affiliate links to products for which we receive a commission when a user makes a purchase. When creating content, we adhere to high editorial standards to make sure the information presented remains objective. Our partners don't dictate what we choose to write. We select each product independently.
Learn more about our terms of service
If you want to become wealthy, you must practice smart money management techniques, do away with damaging poverty habits, and have a hunger to get rich. There are many stories of people overcoming adversity and moving from poverty to wealth. But, most didn't become millionaires overnight. It likely took years (or decades) of roadblocks and constant rejection, but they ultimately succeeded and powered their way into the elite, the wealthy, the rich. So how is it actually done? How can a poor person become a millionaire? And what are the steps to become rich?
How to Become Rich From Poor Background: 11 Steps to Take Immediately
I believe that nearly anyone can go from poor to rich if they truly want to make a change. But here's the tough part, everyone's situation is different. The steps below were created to help as many people as possible in as many situations as possible. Unfortunately, your situation might not fit the mold exactly, but hopefully you can take the steps below and become the next poor person to become filthy rich!
1. Be passionate about getting rich
Want to know how a poor person can become rich? First, you've got to get mad.
- Get mad about the situation you're in
- Get mad that your life hasn't been as easy as some others
- And get mad about the future you're tracking toward
If you're not mad, then that means you really don't want change. You won't have the drive to get out of poverty and get rich. But, if you're upset and you truly want to change, then you just accomplished step #1. Congratulations!
2. Understand that success won't happen overnight
Second, when you read about some of these success stories of people getting their big break and suddenly becoming rich, that's all just a lie. The truth is, that poor person was likely working tirelessly, day in and day out, and for years! Then finally, things started to change, started to move in the right direction. What looked like a quick transformation from the outside was actually an exhausting process for the person doing the transforming.
Don't forget that. You're going to get on this road from poor to rich, and it's not an overnight road. It's likely a 10-20 year road, maybe longer if your situation is a tough one. Expect that. Expect your journey to be long, because it will be. And this way (with this mentality), the minor setbacks that will happen along the way might not shake you as much.
You knew they were coming and that the process would take a while. So now, you can just shrug it off, dust yourself off, and keep on heading toward millionaire status!
3. Figure out how to spend less money
Want to know how a poor person can become wealthy? This is one of the most important steps if you want to make this happen. You're living in poverty right now because your bills are more than you earn each month. The first (and quickest) thing you can do to help this situation is to decrease the amount you spend every month.
If you truly want to go from poor to rich, consider reducing your expenses via the following methods:
- Move from a high-cost area to a low cost area (handy cost of living calculator here)
- Need daycare? Do whatever you can to reduce it (while still keeping your child safe). If you need to move near your parents or grandparents so they can help, so be it!
- Don't go out to eat (not even to McDonald's! It's too expensive!)
- Get rid of your car that probably has payments! Instead, select a cheap dependable car.
- Maybe go down from two cars to just one car (tons of families operate like this!)
- If your house payments are too high (higher than 30% of your take-home pay), consider selling it and renting somewhere super-cheap for a while (perhaps an above-garage apartment or something).
- Cut cable/streaming services (you don't need to sit and watch TV when you're fighting your way out of poverty. If your kids need to watch something, download the PBS kids app - it's free!)
- Change your cell provider or ask your current provider how you can reduce your monthly bill
- Do the same with your insurance. Call around, get better rates. You almost ALWAYS can.
- If you have a bunch of debt, call up your creditors and see if you can possibly pay less, or if you could perhaps pay it off with a lump-sum that's far less than the current total (just be sure not to set yourself up for more interest payments over a longer term!)
What else do you spend money on? Look at your bank/credit card statements to find out. Then, do whatever you can to get rid of them all!
4. Do whatever you can to make more money
Want to become a millionaire with no money? You might think this is impossible...but it's not. Read on. Hopefully I'll make a believer out of you!
If you're in poverty, chances are that you're already stretched too thin on time. You likely have multiple jobs and barely enough time to fit them all in. Most times, you sacrifice sleep to earn a few extra bucks. You're in a vicious cycle of work, taking care of kids, barely getting any sleep, and repeat....again and again and again.
You feel like you have no time to learn anything new, no time to look for a new job, and no time to figure out how to make some more money...let alone millions. Life sucks and you're just trying to power through. But when will it change?
Here's the key. It WON'T, unless you change it.
How do people get rich from poverty? How do they become millionaires with no money? They study their situation, make changes, and earn more.
- Maybe your job doesn't pay you enough. Ask for more - not because you're in a tough situation, but because you bring more value than what you're paid.
- Perhaps you could start a new career without too much effort? Here's a list of jobs that pay $60k a year without a degree!
- Do you have a second job? How much does it pay? Could you earn more doing something else?
- Do you work on the weekends? Maybe you should for a short time to get ahead a little bit
- Finally, tell your friends and family that you're looking for different work that pays more. You'd be amazed how many people will jump up to help you!
To change your situation and move from broke to rich, you're going to have to earn more money. It's a simple fact. Figure it out or stay in poverty forever.
5. Start a mini-emergency fund
Dave Ramsey says you need a $1,000 emergency fund, even before you start paying off debt. The reason? Emergencies will happen, and if you don't have some money set aside, you're just going to go right back into debt...which will take all the wind out of your sails toward becoming wealthy.
I mostly agree with Dave on this point, but I would recommend saving up a bit more for your mini-emergency fund - like $1,500 or $2,000. A simple thousand bucks isn't what it used to be. People just need a little bit more today.
How to save up your mini-emergency fund
- First, sell some stuff that you no longer need/use
- Second, sell stuff for your friends and take a cut of the profits
- Third, cut your budget and put your savings toward your mini-emergency fund
- Finally, learn to buy and sell (ie. learn to flip) for a profit
Between these four ideas, you should be able to come up with an emergency fund pretty quickly!!
6. Get out of consumer debt as fast as you can
How can a poor person become a millionaire? They get out of consumer debt as quickly as possible. This includes:
- credit cards
- student loans
- car loans
- medical debt
- and any other non-mortgage debt that you've got
Why? First, in order to become wealthy, you need to invest your money. If all of it is going toward minimum debt payments each month, then you're not setting yourself up to invest and earn millions.
Second, most debt comes with interest payments, which further compounds the problem of having no money. Not only are you having to make payments on stuff every month (which keeps you from investing), you're also paying MORE money back because that borrowing signed you up for interest payments!
7. Save up a full emergency fund
Can a poor person become rich? Yes they can. But to stay rich, it's best if they set aside a bunch of money for that inevitable rainy day. How much should you set aside?
I recommend people put 6-12 months worth of expenses into a simple savings account. It's only going to earn you 0.3%, but it's safe and it will catch you when you fall down. That major rainy day might not happen tomorrow or even two years from now, but it will happen.
And without an emergency fund, you may no longer see yourself moving from poor to rich. Instead, you'll be heading the opposite direction...from wealthy back to poor! Be sure to protect your current and future wealth. Stash a bunch of money into that emergency fund. It's not sexy, but you'll never regret having that safety net.
8. Invest as much as you can (Hopefully 25% or more of your income)
Here we go. We're finally here. This is how a poor person can become a millionaire in a hurry.
- They're earning more,
- Spending less,
- They have no debts,
- And, they have a big safety net in case something bad happens
Now, there should be a ton of money coming in, and very little going out. By investing HEAVILY, you're giving yourself a chance at millions.
An example of going from poor to rich with investing
Let's say you're no longer earning $26,000 a year. You've landed a new job and now you work a bit on the weekends. You income is $50,000. Nice job! And, you've continued to stay frugal. You share an apartment, you only own one car that you own outright, and you rarely go out to eat.
Your yearly expenses? Just $35,000. That leaves you $15,000 a year to invest! If you invest $15,000 a year and earn 10% per year (which is what the S&P 500 has earned over the last 100 years), how quickly will your investment grow?
- Year 1: $15,000
- Year 2: $33,058
- Year 3: $52,227
- Year 4: $73,403
- Year 5: $96,796
In just 5 years, you'll have nearly $100,000! What about Year 10, 20, 30, 40? Check this out!
- Year 10: $256,056
- Year 20: $949,211 (in year 21, you reach a million bucks!!)
- Year 30: $2,825,610
- Year 40: $7,905,100
Whoa! Not only do you go from poor to millionaire in 21 years, you could be worth nearly $8 million in 40 years! Sure, it's a long ways out, but $8 million?? C'mon!! That's awesome!
9. Continue to earn more per hour
Once you start to earn some more money in step #4 and get rid of all your debts in step #6, you can actually start to breathe a little. Your stress level is way lower and you can actually start to think about a potential career - something that will earn you far more money per hour (and then you don't need to work a 2nd job or side hustle anymore!).
How do people get rich from poverty? They get through step #6, then they build up a cash cushion, invest, and then they strategize and figure out how to earn even more money! You know how all these students are getting out of college and they have absolutely no idea how to pay off their student debt? Don't do life like that. But I DO want you to think about getting some education to earn more money. And, do it with an ROI (return on investment) in mind!
Go from poor to wealthy by increasing your income dramatically...with the least amount of up-front spend.
Let's say you're earning $50k a year now.
- You could go to school for 4 years,
- spend $100,000,
- and earn $60,000 a year instead of just $50k a year.
Is the investment worth it? Let's see, you'd increase your income by $10k a year, and you paid $100k, so you break even on your money after 10 years. That's not a great return. I'd much rather you spend $20,000 to increase your income by $10,000 a year, which would mean a 2 year return!
If you're going to get rich from poverty, then you've got to start thinking like this. How much are you spending? And what is it getting you in return?
10. Consistently invest and never take money out of your retirement fund
Investing is great....but not if you stop. And ESPECIALLY NOT if you pull money out of it. Too many people do this on their route to financial success. They see their retirement account growing and they start to dream about what they could do with the money if it weren't in that account (and in their hands instead...).
So then they take a loan against their own money! Stupid stupid stupid! Don't do that! Let it grow! Keep adding to it and ignore the total! That money is for retirement. Don't mess with it and do everything you can to keep juicing it up with fresh dollars.
11. Add more income streams
Now, for the final step for "how to get rich with no money"...is getting even more money. Not by asking for a raise, and not by switching jobs. At this time, you should increase your wealth by adding income streams. In other words, buying assets that will make you more money. Things like:
- real estate
- starting businesses
- buying businesses
- lending money (instead of borrowing money!)
On average, rich people have 7 income sources. And, most of those sources of income are passive. So, they earn more money while protecting their most valuable asset, their time.
How Can I Get Rich With No Money? My Story...
My wife and I, we're millionaires, and we're still in our 30s. While I never profess to be a rags to riches story, our beginnings were certainly humble when compared to most. My dad worked in a woodworking factory and my mom was a janitor at our church. My wife's dad was a roofer and her mom worked as a tech at the hospital. Our families weren't quite poor, but we certainly weren't rich! Honestly, I'd say that we were both slightly below middle-class growing up.
Our Beginnings, Our Journey, Our Present
Probably the best thing that my wife and I both did - we went to college. And, we did it with minimal debt. I think my wife got through her program debt free, and I came out with a $12,000 debt for my piece of paper (which I paid off in just a couple of years).
Then, we simply started to save! And then, when that savings account got super huge, we decided to buy a rental property. Then we continued to save and bought another one. And then we saved a little more and found a great price on our primary home. All the while, we were socking money away into our retirement accounts.
Today, 14 years after our college graduation, we own real estate that's valued over $600k, and we have retirement accounts and savings that put us into millionaire status! It's crazy to think that we're millionaires at such a young age, but it just shows you that it's possible! And, it's even possible for a son and daughter of simple tradesmen!
Can a Poor Person Become a Millionaire?
Now, I already admitted that my wife nor I were poor growing up. We may have been lower middle-class, but I don't think either of us every really wondered where our next meal was coming from. And, we definitely never had parents with jobless stints or were worried about where we were going to live.
To be poor is an entirely different category than what we saw growing up. So sure, we made our way up to millionaire status, but what if we were poor? Can a poor person become rich? Is it actually possible?
What Does It Mean to Be Poor?
What does it really mean to be poor? According to the U.S. Federal Poverty Guidelines you are considered poor if:
- You're single and earning less than $12,880 a year
- Two person family, earning less than $17,420 a year
- Three person family, earning less than $21,960 a year
- Family of four, earning less than $26,500 a year
...and the table goes on from there. On average, I'd say the family size of four is the most common. You're either a husband and wife with two kids, or a single parent with three kids.
Either way, living on a $26,500 income per year is nearly impossible. How can a poor person become a millionaire if they're only earning $26,500 a year? Most likely...you can't. That doesn't mean you can't become a millionaire. It just means you can't do it without doing something different in your life!
How to Become Rich With a Normal Job
If you've been researching how a poor person can become a millionaire, you've likely seen this phrase pop up as well, "How to become rich with a normal job". I don't love the question, because it's already so limiting.
- Why stick with the normal job?
- Why not do something different that earns you more and puts you on a better track?
But anyway, let's stick with the question.
Could you become a millionaire with a normal job?
Let's say you have very little education and no specific skills that help you earn more in the workplace. If I'm describing you, I would recommend that you look for a job in production. Around me in the Michigan area, there are production jobs EVERYWHERE! And their starting wage? Typically $15-$18 an hour.
- If you work 40 hours a week at $18 an hour, that's $37,440 a year.
- If you work an extra 5 hours of overtime each week, you could ramp your income up to $43,680 a year.
- And, if you have a spouse and you can BOTH work, that total could be $87,360 a year.
Whoa, now we're talking! That's a solid yearly income for a family of four! Even the $43k a year is far better than the poverty line of $26,500! And, with that $43,680, you could scrimp and save and invest roughly $6,000 of those dollars, right? I would think so. Invest $6,000 a year into S&P 500 index funds (and hopefully earn the average 10% on your investment), and in 29 years, you'd be a millionaire. Boom, simple as that! So, without really diving in too deeply (because everyone's situation is different), we've already discovered how to get rich with a normal job. Woot woot!
So Can a Poor Person Become a Millionaire?
Yup! A poor person can become a millionaire. They just need to work a simple job that pays well ($18 an hour would be great!), and then invest roughly 15% of their paycheck into their retirement savings account. That's it! But...life is rarely that simple, right? There are so many other factors at play if you're poor. Factors like:
- Not having a stable housing situation
- Not having a stable food source
- Already being severely in debt
- The high cost of childcare if you have young children
- The cost of other people in your family that depend on you (brothers, sisters, mom, dad, etc.)
Getting out of poverty isn't as simple as getting a decent job and saving money. There's often way more to it than that. We'll dive into this more deeply in a later section of this article. We'll also walk through the steps of how to get out of poverty and into millionaire status. And, we'll even explore how to do it incredibly fast!
Story of Poor Man Who Became Rich - A Real Life Success Story
There are many stories of famous men and women who were poor growing up and then became multi-millionaires (or even billionaires) with acting, singing, or writing. Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Dolly Parton, and J.K. Rowling are all examples of these. But...most of us aren't destined to become famous singer or actors, so advising you to follow that same path would be asinine. Instead, let's explore a path that almost all of us can get on.
The Janitor Who Was Worth Millions When He Died
I love this story. One, because it's one we can all relate with. And two, because the steps he took are super simple and repeatable. Ronald Reed was a gas station attendant for much of his life. In his later years, he worked as a janitor. Obviously, his salary each year was pretty minimal, but he still became extremely wealthy.
Would you believe it if I told you that Mr. Reed was worth $8 million when he died at 92 years of age? Believe it. Can a poor person become a millionaire...? Uhhhh, yup! But how is this possible?
How is it possible to become rich from nothing?
The answer is pretty simple actually.
- He was super frugal and always lived far below his means (even though his income wasn't much to speak of)
- He consistently invested his extra money into the stock market
- And, he was patient, rarely withdrawing money out of his retirement.
In the end, he was able to leave $5 million to his local library, and another $3 million to other charities of his choice. So, can a man or woman go from poverty to wealth? Can poor people become millionaires? Absolutely. Let's dive more into the details to see exactly how you can make this a reality!
How a Poor Person Can Become Rich
We already read about famous people that have become wealthy via a big break, and a janitor that became rich via long slow investing and frugal living. But what other ways are there for a poor person to become rich? How do other people get rich from poverty? It's time to take a look at the steps to become rich!
How to Become Wealthy in 5 Years
We've covered how a poor person can become rich, but it took between 20-25 years. Maybe you want to do it faster. And let's be honest, who wouldn't want to get out of poverty as quickly as possible?! Becoming wealthy in 5 years is certainly a challenge, but it IS possible. But first, let's be sure you don't get caught in these get rich quick traps along the way.
How NOT to Become Rich If You Are Poor
If you're trying to get rich fast, you might get caught in some of these lies. Most of the time, they don't work. Just avoid them!
- Don't play the lottery
- Don't gamble at the casino
- Do NOT start a network marketing business (some can work, but there's just too many scams out there. Avoid this one.)
- Don't invest in your friend's "brilliant" idea. It's going to fail.
- And, don't invest in highly volatile investments (like crypto). This is a gamble, and it might blow up in your face.
Instead, follow the steps outlined earlier in this post, and heed the advice below.
How to Become Rich in Just 5 Years
Alright, so you want to become wealthy in just 5 years. From poverty to millionaire in 5 years... This is going to be tough. But crazily enough, it is possible. Here's what I would do if this was my goal.
- Go through steps #1-7 as quickly as possible (so fully out of consumer debt with a full emergency fund) - done in a year
- Then, at the beginning of year #2, start your own business as a side hustle with the plan of expanding it quickly (could be a blog, a lawn service, a YouTube channel, whatever)
- And then, simply WORK IT! Devote your life to it. Day and night, night and day. Think about how you can improve it, earn more, reach more people, and repeat.
I know it sounds simple, but they key here is starting your own business. If you work for someone else, you're not going to dramatically increase your income over the course of 5 years. But, if you work for yourself, you could go from $0 an hour to $1,000 an hour in a matter of years. It's crazy, but possible!
How much do I need to invest to become a millionaire in 5 years?
Maybe you don't want to grind your way to millionaire status by working yourself to the bone. Perhaps you want to scale back a little, but invest heavily instead. How much would you need to invest to become a millionaire in 5 years? With a growth rate of 10%, you'd need to invest $156,000 per year to reach a million bucks at the end of year five. It's a lot of money to invest quickly, but again, if you work it, it's possible!
How to Become a Millionaire in a Year
Want to know how to make a million dollars in one year? To do this, you'll need to earn $2,740 a day. The jobs below will likely earn you 1 million dollars a year:
- Writer (a super popular one!)
- Law firm partner
....But, if you're currently fighting your way out of poverty, chances are that you're not in line for any of the above jobs any time soon. So what can you do? How to become a millionaire in a year. As you may have guessed, there aren't a ton of options for earning a whopping million dollars a year.
Thankfully, there's an entire post dedicated to this topic on FinancialSamurai.com. It's lengthy and informative, but unfortunately, most suggestions are high-profile jobs that most of us aren't qualified for and will never get. But, he did mention online business, and I believe that's your best bet if you want to become a millionaire in just one year.
- Start a blog,
- a YouTube channel,
- a Tik Tok account...
Do whatever you can to get as many eyeballs on your page as possible. And keep the momentum going each and every day! Each and every hour if you can! You certainly won't earn much money initially (it often takes time to start earning money via social media or with an online page, but with forward momentum, it is absolutely possible to earn thousands of dollars a day. And, if you don't happen to earn a million dollars in that first year, if you keep clawing and fighting, it could much more easily become a reality in year 2 or 3. Still not too shabby if you ask me!
Can a Poor Person Become a Millionaire? Absolutely! It's Your Turn.
This whole post started with the question of how a poor person can become a millionaire. It expanded into how to earn a million bucks in just one year. Whatever you're looking to do, just know that it's possible! It's your turn!
Are you trying to go from broke to rich? Will you become the next example of becoming a millionaire with no money?
Why not?! Let's get started! The worst that can happen is you don't earn a million! What if you only half succeed and earn $500,000? Well that'd be alright, wouldn't it? Stop overthinking it and get started. That million dollars has your name on it. You've just got to press forward and take it.
2021 Poverty Guidelines. (n.d.). ASPE. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://aspe.hhs.gov/2021-poverty-guidelines
S&P 500 Average Return. (n.d.). Investopedia. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/042415/what-average-annual-return-sp-500.asp
Editorial teamMeet the team
Personal Finance Expert
Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially—one email, one article, one person at a time.
Editor, copywriter, and multilingual translator with expertise in producing tailored content for global online brands. When not editing articles for LifeAndMyFinances.com, he enjoys rummaging through paper dictionaries, walking in nature, and making travel plans.
Content writing and marketing professional with 4+ years of experience in the B2B and B2C sectors. Deepti has written about several subjects, including finance, project management, human resources, and more.
The best articles about personal finance, money, and optimizing life from all around the Internet.
Explore our ultimate bucket list and discover the unique things to do before you die.
Thinking about retirement? Don't want to run out of money? This free tool is for you.