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5 Reasons Why Most Don’t Become Wealthy

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“Why is it that people don’t become wealthy?”  In a country like ours, with the opportunities that we have, why is it that so few people retire financially independent?  And I eventually found the answers. Here are what I consider to be the five reasons why people don’t become wealthy.

Who Me?

First, at the top of the list, is that it never occurs to them.  The average person has grown up in a family where he has never met or known anyone who was wealthy.  He goes to school and socializes with people who are not wealthy.  He works with people who are not wealthy.  He has a reference group or a social circle outside of work who are not wealthy. He has no role models who are wealthy. If this has happened to you throughout your formative years, up to the age of twenty, you can grow up and become a fully mature adult in our society, and it may never occur to you that it’s just as possible for you to become wealthy as for anyone else.

This is why people who grow up in homes where their parents are wealthy are much more likely to become wealthy as adults then people who grew up in homes where their parents are not.  So the first reason why people don’t become wealthy is it never occurs to them that it is possible for them.  And of course, if it never occurs to them, then they never take any of the steps necessary to make it a reality.

Make a Decision!

The second reason that people don’t become wealthy is that they never decide to.  Even if a person reads a book, attends a lecture, or associates with people who are financially successful, nothing changes until he makes a decision to do something different. Even if it occurs to a person that he could become wealthy if he just did certain things in a specific way, if he doesn’t decide to take the first step, he ends up staying as he is. If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got.

The primary reason for underachievement and failure is that the great majority of people don’t decide to be successful. They never make a firm, unequivocal commitment or definite decision that they are going to become wealthy. They mean to, and they intend to, and they hope to and they’re going to, someday. They  wish and hope and pray that they will make a lot of money, but they never decide, “I am going to do it!” This decision is an essential first step to becoming financially independent.

Maybe Tomorrow

The third reason that people don’t become wealthy is procrastination.  People always have a good reason not to begin doing what they know they need to do to achieve financial independence.  It is always the wrong month, the wrong season, or the wrong year.  Business conditions in their industry are no good, or they may be too good. The market isn’t right. They may have to take a risk, or give up their security. Maybe next year.

There always seems to be a reason to procrastinate. As a result, they keep putting it off, month by month, year by year, until it’s too late.  Even if it has occurred to a person that they can become wealthy, and they have made a decision to change, procrastination will push all their plans into the indefinite future.

Pay the Price

The fourth reason that people retire poor is what economists call the inability to delay gratification.  The great majority of people have an irresistible temptation to spend every single penny they make and whatever else they can borrow or buy on credit.  If you cannot delay gratification, and discipline yourself to refrain from spending everything you make, you cannot become wealthy. If you cannot practice budgeting as a lifelong habit, it will be impossible for you to achieve financial independence. As W.Clement Stone said, “If you cannot save money, the seeds of greatness are not in you.”

Take the Long View

The fifth reason that people retire poor is perhaps as important, if not more important, than all the others. It is lack of time perspective.  In a longitudinal study conducted by Dr Edward Banfield at Harvard University in the 1950s and published in 1964 as The Unheavenly City, he studied the reasons for upward socio-economic mobility.  He wanted to know how you could predict whether an individual or a family was going to move upward one or more socio-economic groupings and be wealthier in the next generation than they were this generation.

All his research brought him to a single factor that he concluded was more accurate than any other in predicting success in America. They called it time perspective.  This was defined as the amount of time that you take into consideration when planning your day-to-day activities and when making important decisions in your life.  Time perspective referred to how far you projected into the future when you decided what you were going to do or not do in the present.

An example of long time perspective is the common habit of upper class families in England to register their children at Oxford or Cambridge as soon as the child is born, even though he or she will not be attending for eighteen or nineteen years. This is long time perspective in action.  The young couple that begins putting $50 dollars a month aside in a scholarship fund so that their newborn child can go to the college or university of his or her choice is a couple with long time perspective. They are willing to sacrifice in the short term to assure better results and outcomes in the long term. People with long time perspective almost invariably move up economically in the course of their lifetimes.

If you enjoyed this article, “5 Reasons Why Most Don’t Become Wealthy” and want to watch my video on this topic, please click here!

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

  • Tatung

    If you want to became rich couple things you need to know. First step think deep and analyze it how you can became rich. Secondly have a game plan what you do for your life, nothing will happen over night unless you are lucky. Last have a commitment for what you do and have passion for it.

  • Eval Rexson

    This is very true and so important to me.I really have learnt so much.Thanks Brian.

  • Alexandrea McClure

    The main theory of this article is ” people are not rich because they do not try hard enough” helping over privledged members of society sleep better at night with the false notion that they have become rich because of effort as opposed to nepotism . Get real . Realize that some people have a higher socioeconomic status that allows them to excel in life because of the support system and connections they have gained living in an upper class community. Of course there are outliers but it few and far between .

  • Paul

    Poor people do not have the connections and money to start with and are frustrated at every turn.We get criticized and put down unlike the fake build up the rich get. They could fart and their rich clique would congratulate them on the new aroma they have discovered. Get real.

  • CharlesMabe

    The reason most people aren’t rich is because they’re not math-minded, don’t have a good support system, and aren’t– in one of many different ways– really, really lucky. Also your race, gender, IQ, parents, birth order, base wealth, and even your name have a lot to do with determining your ability to develop the right traits and get otherwise lucky enough to have a shot at getting wealthy.

    So yeah, no. Rich people tend to think that the only reason other people aren’t rich is because they don’t want to be. That’s incredibly inaccurate AND insulting.

    Also, I noticed you’re a white man with white hair who has a classic American name and a classic American look. You have no idea how much even that kind of stuff makes a difference.

    • HuskyIce

      This is what I call the loser’s perspective. Blaming others, luck, fate, and so on. While you have been making excuses, I have been making seven figure results. LoL luck? I make my own luck. You can complain it’s all about luck all you want. Rich people like me make our own luck and do things to increase our odds of success. People like you give up. And no I didn’t have a rich uncle. No support system? Make one. No luck? Make your own. Low IQ? Educate yourself. Tried and failed? Learn why and keep trying. While you have cowered before fate, I told fate to suck it. I went from poor to middle class to rich. That’s why I am rich and you aren’t. I think Brian Tracy should add a sixth reason: loser cry baby attitudes. If Eminem can do it then so can anyone else. Hell, Chris Gardner went from HOMELESS to rich. Don’t tell me that someone like you with a home and Internet access can’t get rich but that this homeless man can. Oh and by the way, he is black. What was that you were saying about whites having it easier? So why did Chris succeed and others not? Because he knew his goal and NEVER gave up. Well typing this has resulted in me wasting several minutes that I won’t get back, though for a rich guy like me that is a mere pittance. I can’t lie to you about your attitude but, you have my sympathies :)

      • CharlesMabe

        You’re a bigot and an uneducated moron. Also, yeah, he’s white. It shows his author info and pic right there. Fuck you.

        • HuskyIce

          Another keyboard warrior who can’t read.

        • HuskyIce

          Butt hurt much?

      • Guest

        Also I saw the way you talk to other people on Disqus. You’re a jackass. Stop talking to people or go drown yourself.

        • HuskyIce

          I will keep talking how ever I wish. I can’t help it if you and so many others are L O S E R S.

      • CharlesMabe

        I’m not even going to engage with your bigotry except to tell you that, yeah, he’s fucking white. It shows his author info and picture right there. And yes, I do know that’s him. I’m a web designer and I know how blogs work.

        • HuskyIce

          You didn’t eveb read my comment. I said Chris was black, not Brian. You can’t even read. No wonder you are such a loser. A bigot? LOL keep your loser life. It’s yours. You earned it.

          • CharlesMabe

            Your response was so poorly formatted, what can I say? And my mistake is hardly even the point now. You are one of the lowest pieces of scum I’ve ever had the honor of talking to. Go drown yourself, asshole.

          • CharlesMabe

            I was trying to mute your replies before, but Disqus is such a fucking horrible system that they don’t let you. Most anyone with a substantial online community who once used them has long stopped using them.

  • reza

    Hi brian and thanks!

  • Arun


    Absolute logic

    Brian Tracy books must be syllabus in schools.

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