1. Money
  2. Money Quotes

100+ Best Money Quotes: Funny and Motivational Musings about Finance

“Money often costs too much.”―Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jane Tumar - Finance Writer
Written by
Finance Writer
Derek Sall - Personal Finance Expert
Reviewed by
Personal Finance Expert
15 min
As seen on:
Table of contents:

“The problem with quotations is that most of them are not true.”―Albert Einstein.

Why Trust Us
Advertiser Disclosure

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&nbsp

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

Editorial team

Meet the team
Jane Tumar - Finance Writer

Finance Writer

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!).

Kacper Kozicki - Editor


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.

Derek Sall - Personal Finance Expert

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.

Deepti Nickam - Finance Writer

Finance Writer

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.

Save time and money with LifeAndMyFinances

Explore personal finance step by step

Read more
Related articles
Recommended Reading

Mar, 06

Recommended Reading

The best articles about personal finance, money, and optimizing life from all around the Internet.

400+ Bucket List Ideas: Unique Crazy Things to Do Before You Die

Feb, 27

Ultimate Bucket List Ideas: 400+ Fun, Unique & Summer Ideas

Explore our ultimate bucket list and discover the unique things to do before you die.

How Long Will My Money Last With Systematic Withdrawals?

Feb, 08

How Long Will My Money Last? (Retirement Spending Calculator)

Thinking about retirement? Don't want to run out of money? This free tool is for you.