Do These 6 Things—If You Want to Be Poor

UPDATED: May 15, 2023
PUBLISHED: August 28, 2015

Rolling in money picked from your money tree in the backyard of your mansion? Then you don’t need to read this. X out. Move on. See ya later.

Related: 16 Rich Habits

OK, for those of you still with me, I’m sorry to hear that you’re not already rich. But don’t worry. Do not worry. The longer you read stuff I write, the quicker you can stop needing to read stuff I write.

So let’s get right to the point: There are three types of people in this world when it comes to money. And the purpose of you reading this is to see clearly which one you are and make any necessary adjustments.

There are…

1. Those who say money doesn’t matter and scorn the world.

I don’t know if I would go so far as to say these people are fools, but… I’d come close. Maybe more like fool-ish.

They’re definitely broke. And they’re probably not reading this article, so let’s not bother trying to help enlighten them right now. There’s not much hope anyway. People like this are pretty stubborn, I’ve found. They think they’re better than everyone else, when in fact, they’re simply scared to take responsibility for their life and face reality in its entirety.

2. Those who say they want to be financially free and truly mean it.

So long as money doesn’t consume your life? Kudos. You’re smart. And rare. Keep pushing, and you’ll arrive at your destination shortly.

3. Those who say they want to be successful and think they mean it—but actually don’t.

You, my friend, are the majority. The good news is you’re probably not lonely. The bad news is you’re surrounded by idiots.

Never fear! I am here to set you free from your shackles of ignorance with my firey sword of truth that I carry with me at all times for just such an occasion! This post is for you.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, How do I know if I’m a #3? I’m glad I knew you’d think that. I’ll try to make this as painless as possible.

If you are financially unstable (meaning anything from being deep in debt to not having at least six months expenses in savings) while simultaneously doing two or three or one or more of the following things, you’re a 3’er…

• Watching TV more than two hours a week (the average American watches five a day)

• Working less than 10-12 hours a day

Sound like a lot? Google “who invented the 8 hour work day?”  I’ll give you a hint: His political affiliation rhymes with shmommunist.

People have been working 12+ hour work days since the beginning of time. More like 16 hours. I’m reading a biography of Billy Graham right now, and as a kid, he used to wake up at 2:30 a.m., milk the cows, do other chores, go to school, come home and do chores, do homework, and go to bed at 10 p.m. And it’s not like this was the stone ages. It was the 1930’s.

• Working less than six days a week

• Reading/studying less than 2-4 hours every day of every week of foreveruntilyourerich.

Wait… reading?!? You think I have time to read??? You don’t know my life, Preston. I’ve got kids, I’ve got a job, I’ve … Let me stop you right there. You’re a #3. Super-sized.

Related: The 5 Best but Unheard-Of Success Books (I’ll Bet You $1 You Don’t Know Them)

• Consumer shopping ever

• Going on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram more than once at night after a long productive day of serious work and progress (the average American spends over two hours a day on their cell phone’s apps and Internet)

The point is almost everyone says they want to have a better life, and almost everyone sincerely believes they’re doing their best to make that happen… but they’re not. They’re kidding themselves. You’re not on Facebook every five seconds because you enjoy it. You’re on Facebook every five seconds because you’re avoiding reality.

The truth is, nine times out of 10 (there are exceptions), you have exactly what you want. You’re comfortable right where you are. You’re scared to change. You’re not willing to pay the price that freedom requires. You value comfort over growth and prosperity. You say you want to change, and you make what seems to you like valiant efforts, but when it comes right down to it? You’re not serious. You don’t really want it. Because I can promise you this with all my powers of promising: The people in this world who really want something get it. Nothing can stop them.

Where is your faith? Faith is nothing without action—not just any action. MASSIVE action. Sure you may want it a little bit. But not enough. You don’t want it at the level life requires you to want it at in order to actually get it.

You have to want it like a UFC fighter wants that belt. Like an NFL player wants that Super Bowl ring. Like an Olympic synchronized swimmer wants that gold medal. Do you know how bad those synchronized swimmers want that gold medal? Neither do I, but it’s more than you want financial freedom probably!

Am I saying your life has to be all work and no play? Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying. Until you have at least a normal stabilized financial situation. Then you can start dialing it down. We need rest and play for our health. But our bodies can handle six months without much of it. And that’s all it should take for you to get up and running.

You can do it. So do it already. Stop playing around.

Related: 6 Common Motivations for Money Guaranteed to Make You Fail (Hint: You’re Doing At Least One of These)

Preston Ely is founder and CEO of, an Inc. magazine "Fastest Growing Company." He has built and sold multiple businesses and was recently voted one of Fast Company's "Most Influential People On The Internet." He makes $0 a year teaching success principles; he makes millions of dollars a year applying them to his own life and businesses. He writes articles for for the fun of it. Follow him at, on Facebook and on Twitter.