Smart Reasons to Save, Use and Invest Money

People That Are Rich But Act Poor

Do you know people that are rich but act poor?

Why do they do that?  I often wondered that myself.  At first, I thought maybe they were acting poor to fool people.  That way, when they do business they can play the “I’m just like you” card, “I’m just trying to feed my family”…

Next, I thought maybe they were trying to blend in with their friends, kind of like a chameleon.  Perhaps they are afraid what their friends will think, knowing that they are rich.  Or perhaps, they want to fit in with their family, and avoid brother “Billy” from asking for money to borrow.

The two reasons above might ring true, but personally, I think they act poor because that is how they were raised and it’s the habits that they are use to.

Ironicially, it works out well for them, because they still fit in with their middle class background and even save more money.  Of course, this enables them to become richer and richer since they don’t have to support a highfalutin lifestyle.  

I often wonder if I would be the same way or not.  I always thought that if I were rich, I would definitely travel more (and I still do think this), but maybe to fit in, I wouldn’t do it as much as I initially believed.

What do you think of people like this, and would you do the same?


17 Responses to People That Are Rich But Act Poor

  1. I think it is a part of who they are. Some people are not flashy and don’t have the need to get a self-esteem boost from flaunting what they have. That may also be how they got rich in the first place – by not focusing on image.

    I also know plenty of people who are not rich but act like they are. As a matter of fact, I will probably get a big dose of that soon at my 25 year class reunion! 🙂

  2. @Everyday Tips
    I agree, it must be nice to have that kind of control! I’m not rich, but I feel a lessened level of stress by being debt free.

    I wonder what it’s like to be financially independent and live a modest lifestyle so that you are continually getting richer? I wonder if everyday is a stress free paridise…

  3. Let’s see if this play on words makes sense:

    People who act poor get rich.
    People who act rich get poor.

    Like you mentioned, it has more to do with what their beliefs are & how they were raised. The getting rich part was a consequence of that lifestyle.

    I don’t think there’s anyone who amasses great wealth then decides – alright time to live like a pauper!

  4. @FinEngr
    Nice play on works!

    I know I didn’t mention it above (it was 1:00am when I wrote it), but I even know people that are well off that will try to get free things designated for the poor. But then again, even Warren Buffett uses McDonald’s coupons to buy meals there…

  5. What’s “rich” and “poor” depends on your surroundings, and people’s perception of how you “act” in relations to your wealth depends on THEIR wealth. If you’re a hedge fund manager making $1 million a year, and your friends are all in finance making similar amounts, and you are driving a BMW 5-series instead of a Maserati, well, some might think you’re acting “poor.”

    On the flip side, if you make a modest income and your friends all make modest incomes, but you have a BMW 3-series when everyone else drives Civics, you might be considered acting “rich”.

    Of course, real friends would not care what car you drive. 😉

  6. I have definitely learned more about what matters most while getting out of debt. When I think of rich acting poor ie not driving the best cars, or living in the biggest house, I think of a person who really understands what life really is about, family, loving each other, and giving. It really beats having all the STUFF the world has to offer.

    as for me I do believe I will be among the wealthy when I am in my 40’s but I won’t have a lot of stuff. Maybe a house in the burbs paid for in full, a paid for 10-15 car and a little paid for boat. a million dollar net worth isn’t as much as it use to be so while I will be among the wealthy folk it still won’t mean I can just go buy random big ticket items. Instead I will be funding college for kids, investing in my community, and giving stuff away. I mean you really aren’t living until you are giving and I can stand by that quote 100%

  7. @WellHeeledBlog
    I was thinking rich as being at, the minimum, financially independent. Meaning that they “the Rich”, could stop working if they wanted and still be able to survive just fine.

    But they act poor, meaning that if there is a free handout, they’ll be the first in line, even though they don’t need to.

    I know people like this, so I guess the definitions in my case relate to the basic definitions of rich and poor. Rich being FI and poor being below the poverty level in wealth and income.

  8. I’ve seen the rich eat like their poorer than dirt, and I won’t go into much details. Just very measly snacks are considered a meal. I’ve never seen them subconsciously cook a meal in the kitchen as what normally people would think as, dinnertime, like anybody else would.

    I mean, it’s like this: 5pm rolls around at YOUR house, and all of a sudden you smell something good in the kitchen. It’s whatever your mother is cooking. There’s meat, and vegetables, and rolls. Perhaps tea or water or carbonated beverages. Either way, that’s usually a dinner scene. For these folks, it’s what would usually be considered a snack, like a single bag of M&M’s or whatever.

  9. I do this and I can tell that you are right. I was raised as poor and I still have the habits from the past.
    Sometimes I think it’s better to save more, while sometimes I think I should spend more, because in the end, rich or poor, we will all leave this world. Will then matter how much money we had?

  10. Old money is conservative. Most people who live in big houses and drive flashy cars, and own big yachts are not rich they are just deep in debt.

    My father was a banker and I have known many people who were worth hundreds of millions of dollars. They lived in nice but modest homes and usually drove Ford and GM cars. These people don’t want to stand out because many fear being kidnapped. They generally keep a pretty low profile.

    I know a guy who is worth nearly a quarter of billion dollars. He lives in a 1960s brick rancher and drives a Chevy Impala. If you saw him you would have no idea that he is one of the wealthiest people in the state…and that is exactly the way he wants it.

  11. I am this person!! I’ve been searching the web looking for other people who treat wealth the same way I do. I am young and very wealthy for my age and I act poorer than all of my friends. I inherited most of my wealth, and am starting to manage my own portfolio. The way I’ve always thought about it is that saving money (being frugal) is like income to me because it’s more that gets reinvested. And at 23 with no wife, kids or mortgage I know that every dollar saved now is going to go much further than income later.

    It is awkward though. But I think I’ll help my buddies manage their wealth too as I get more knowledgable and they acquire it. In a way it’s also like I’m establishing myself as a conservative, far-sighted advisor. I do splurge on some things when I just can’t help myself. When I do they’re shocked a bit. But frugality has kept me out of the workforce my whole life, and I don’t want to start now. And I totally get the cheap eating comment; I’m having a can of soup for dinner (like always). I also get the traveling comment (I’m writing from New Zealand).

  12. I personaly act like if I were poor cuz I was raised like that, those are my habits, last year my parents got GREAT jobs that they deserved and now we have money and everything changed but I still act like if I were poor cuz that’s how I lived for 13 years. I know im just 14 and the person who’s reading this doesn’t care but that’s just how I act.