How to Be Rich... Even If You Don't Have Much Money

I'm not rich.  You probably aren't either.  But did you know that the vast majority of millionaires don't think they're rich?  Studies show that only 13% of affluent Americans classify themselves as wealthy.

Apparently, you're only as rich as you feel, and for many people, having any sort of financial constraint indicates that they don't have enough.  There's also that tendency we all share to compare our assets with what others have, and that makes most of us feel that we're lacking.

So the rich are different.  They have more assets, but they may feel less secure and more discontented.

mother and children in winter forest

A rich mindset

Maybe we should aspire to be rich regardless of how much money we have.  As long as we're above the level of poverty, we can have a life that is full and valuable no matter how much cash we have to spend or invest.

More of us need to measure happiness by something other than the number of our possessions.  It's actually the person who craves more and more (or the millionaire who doesn't think he has enough) who is lacking.  Their mindset makes them poor.

It is not the man who has too little,
but the man who craves more, that is poor.


5 ways to be rich – even without a big bank balance

These assets make our lives better every day.

1.  Rich in relationships

Being rich in relationships is about appreciating the people in our lives and developing our ability to love and show love.

We've all heard the comment that "No one reaches the end of their life wishing they could have worked more or had more money in the bank.  They wish they could spend more time with the people they love."  We know this is true, but do we always make choices that align with that truth?  When we choose people over money or things, life is richer.

2.  Rich in character

Being rich in character is about personal development.  When we nurture resilience, patience, self-control, wisdom, kindness, and more, we're giving ourselves the tools to succeed at life, no matter what circumstances come our way.

3.  Rich in well-being

All the money in the world doesn't make up for bad health.  We can't control everything when it comes to health, but we can make choices that show we appreciate our lives and the bodies we have.  A healthy lifestyle repays us in many ways.

Related article:  Here Are Strategies I'll Use to Help Me Quit My Addiction

golden leaf
4.  Rich in joy

Appreciating what you have, enjoying the beauty around you, and being open to humor and laughter make life rich.  We all know what it's like to slog through a day only paying attention to problems and stressors.  What a difference to a day spent:

  • focusing on the interesting details we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch
  • taking pleasure in tasks we accomplish and problems we solve
  • smiling and interacting with other people in positive ways
  • being thankful

5.  Rich in experience

It's true that some experiences cost a lot of money, such as world travel and higher education (though they may be worth it).  I enjoy attending live theater and symphony performances, and those tickets can get very expensive.  But other experiences don't cost much at all, such as my favorite classical radio station.  Music makes my life rich, regardless of how I experience it.

When we choose to forgo things that matter less, we can make a plan to pay for things that are more important to us.  That certainly fits the minimalist mindset of removing things that clutter our homes, schedules, or budgets to make room, time, and money for what we care about.

Rich lives don't have to be expensive.

We can all enjoy rich lives, even if our incomes are middle class.  Let's remember that during this season when it's so easy to lean toward overindulgence.  We can be happy without being excessive.


  1. Absolutely wonderful article and an important reminder during this holiday season. I highly recommend checking out from the library "Beyond Wealth: The Roadmap to a Rich Life" by Alexander Green, which expands on this sentiment in many small essays.

    1. I love that title - it makes me want to read! Thank you for the suggestion.


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