5 Reasons Why Most Don’t Become Wealthy

Written By | Financial Success, General | December 19th, 2011 | 41 Comments »

save money and become wealthy

“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 Tracy 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+, facebook, and twitter.


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  1. Arun says on July 11, 2013 at 9:24 am:


    Absolute logic

    Brian Tracy books must be syllabus in schools.

  2. Lyman Kristof says on June 3, 2013 at 12:58 am:

    I would like to retire in San Raphael, France on the Mediterranean Sea. It is so wonderful! I’d also get the job done on learning French since extremely few people there speak English.

  3. Shancha Lei says on May 23, 2013 at 5:50 pm:

    Hi, Brian. I’m posting your article in my newsletter. Ok?

  4. sms lan says on May 10, 2013 at 1:06 am:

    Magnificent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just too fantastic. I actually like what you have acquired here, really like what you’re stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a terrific web site.

  5. Ed Sails says on February 12, 2013 at 10:30 pm:

    No Ball-top? Its a shame Razer!

  6. Paul Akpomukai says on January 31, 2013 at 4:38 am:

    What if you want it very bad (financial freedom), however due to your circumstances in life which are so messed up- you just can’t move left or right finacially? There are those who really want it, but just happen to be really stuck. Tell me Brian Tracey; how do we change all the bad luck in our life into good luck, even when we are thinking positive? taking positive actions? believing in positive results, not giving up time after time- and still our situation is crap..! Tell me, how to change this?

  7. Chris says on December 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm:

    Insightful. I particularly found 5th reason interesting.

  8. Keith says on September 26, 2012 at 12:30 am:

    One thing I know is you have to be persistence if you want to become wealthy! I am working on my second million, here is how I received my first one!> http://milliondollarleases.com/.

  9. Ron F says on September 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm:

    The reason most people don’t become wealthy is because they don’t think like the wealthy think. There’s a mindset necessary to earn that kind of money, and it goes far beyond just saving and investing. For example, the truly wealthy, with the notable exception of hedge fund managers and bankers, typically don’t become wealthy by investing their savings. They generate their wealth by creating and owning a business that generates a lot of revenue. They PRESERVE their wealth by investing it so that they don’t have to spend down the principal, and can therefore leave an inheritance to future generations.

  10. www.fashionsunglassescool.org says on July 25, 2012 at 9:04 pm:

    My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on several websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform. I have heard good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!



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