The Priceless Currency: Exploring the True Meaning of Wealth vs. Riches

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17 min read.

Are you looking to get rich?! Have you ever wondered why some people appear to be blessed with both financial success and life purpose while others work hard but never quite seem to reach the same level of satisfaction or income?

When thinking of rich and wealthy, most people immediately equate the two terms. While the concepts are similar, there is an important distinction that needs to be made to understand their true meaning.

Wealth isn’t simply a reflection of material objects - it involves long-term financial stability and emotional security as well.

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In this blog post, we explore a priceless currency that everyone should have: understanding all the differences between being rich vs wealthy.

You'll find out what it takes to build wealth versus just superficial riches; helping you along your journey towards financial freedom.

We also look at why getting rich quickly may not be one's ultimate goal or reality, but instead defining genuine prosperity for yourself will bring lasting satisfaction. Let's get started.

Table of Contents

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Rich vs wealthy: key differences between the two

It is not necessarily money that makes us wealthy – it’s our attitude, experiences, and relationships that make us truly rich.

While the terms "rich" and "wealthy" are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two:

  1. Financial Resources: Being rich typically refers to having a significant amount of money or material assets. It often implies a high salary or substantial net worth.

    On the other hand, being wealthy goes beyond mere financial resources. Wealth includes not just money but also assets, investments, and other valuable resources that contribute to a person's overall financial health.

  2. Longevity: Riches can be acquired and lost relatively quickly. It may come from a sudden windfall, inheritance, or a successful business venture.

    However, wealth is typically accumulated and built over a more extended period, often through strategic financial planning, investments, and diversification. Wealth tends to be more sustainable and can endure economic fluctuations.

  3. Lifestyle and Freedom: While rich people seem to have a luxurious lifestyle and immediate access to material comforts, it does not necessarily guarantee long-term wealth or financial freedom.

    Wealth, on the other hand, provides a more comprehensive foundation for financial independence, enabling individuals to have greater control over their lives and make choices based on personal values rather than financial constraints. Financial Independence eBooks

  4. Mindset and Perspective: Riches are primarily focused on the accumulation of money and possessions. It is often associated with excessive spending and a short-term mindset that prioritizes immediate gains and material success.

    Building wealth encompasses a broader perspective that includes financial stability, long-term growth, and the ability to create opportunities for oneself and others. Wealthy people focus on financial literacy, investment strategies, and sustainable wealth preservation.

  5. Impact and Legacy: While being rich may provide personal comfort and enjoyment, wealth has the potential for creating a lasting impact and leaving a meaningful legacy.

    Wealth allows individuals to invest in ventures beyond themselves, support charitable causes, contribute to the community, and pass down financial safety to future generations.


These distinctions are not set in stone, and the terms "rich" vs "wealthy" can be interpreted differently by different people. However, understanding these differences can help you pursue a more holistic and sustainable approach to financial well-being.


What does it mean to be rich?

A rich person usually has all the money and owns many valuable things. Rich people can sometimes make a lot of money quickly, like getting an inheritance, lottery winners, or starting a successful business. But riches don't always last for long and can be lost quickly too.

Here are a few key aspects that often characterize being rich:

  • Financial abundance: Being considered rich means having more money that exceeds one's basic needs and allows for a high standard of living. It often includes owning valuable assets, properties, and luxury items, and being able to afford expensive experiences or indulgences. Rich people spend; wealthy people save.

  • High income or net worth: A rich person is often associated with a high income or a substantial net worth resulting from successful business ventures, lucrative investments, inheritance, or other sources of cash accumulation.

  • Material possessions: Rich people tend to possess luxurious items, drive fancy cars, and spend money on designer clothing, fine jewelry, and other material objects that are considered symbols of wealth and status.

  • Immediate access to comforts: Those who are rich can enjoy immediate access to a wide range of comforts and conveniences, including upscale housing, gourmet dining, travel to exotic destinations, and exclusive experiences.

  • Affluence and financial security: Being rich typically affords a sense of affluence and financial security. It means having enough money to cover living expenses, emergencies, and unexpected expenses without significant financial strain.

The concept of being rich can be subjective and vary from person to person, as everyone has different financial goals, lifestyles, and perceptions.

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What does it mean to be wealthy?

Wealth goes beyond the simple accumulation of money and material possessions. It encompasses a broader definition of financial well-being and includes various aspects that contribute to long-term prosperity and security. Here are some key characteristics of wealthy people:

  • Financial abundance and independence: Being wealthy means having significant financial resources, including money, investments, and income-producing assets that provide a comfortable and sustainable lifestyle.

  • Diversification and sustainability: Wealthy people understand the importance of diversifying their assets and investments to mitigate risks and ensure long-term growth. They often have a portfolio of investments in different asset classes, such as stocks, real estate, businesses, and other income-generating opportunities.

  • Generational wealth: Wealth often extends beyond an individual's lifetime. A wealthy person strives to create generational wealth by passing down their financial resources and knowledge to future generations. This may involve estate planning, trusts, tax strategies, and careful wealth transfer to ensure the continued prosperity of their family members.

  • Financial literacy and strategic planning: Wealthy individuals typically possess a high level of financial literacy and make informed decisions about their money. The wealthiest people understand investment strategies, tax planning, and wealth management techniques to maximize their financial growth and minimize unnecessary expenses.

  • Freedom and flexibility: Being wealthy provides the freedom and flexibility to make choices based on personal values rather than financial constraints. Wealth allows for greater control over one's time, career decisions, and lifestyle choices. It enables individuals to pursue passions, take risks, and focus on experiences and personal growth beyond financial gains.

  • Philanthropy and social impact: Wealthy people often have a sense of social responsibility. Many wealthy individuals actively engage in philanthropy, donating to charitable causes, and making a positive impact on society. They leverage their resources for a better financial future, creating meaningful change and addressing social issues.

Wealth is not solely measured by the amount of money one has but by the overall financial well-being, security, and ability to create opportunities for oneself and others.

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How to become wealthy: 7 actionable steps

While the journey to wealth may seem daunting, it is achievable with the right mindset. Each step will contribute to your overall wealth-building route.

1) Focus on your goals

Set clear and specific financial goals. Define what wealth means to you and establish milestones along the way.

By having a focused vision, you can align your actions and decisions with your long-term objectives, keeping you motivated and on track.

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2) Pay off debt, starting with high-interest debt

Debt can be a significant obstacle on the path to wealth. Start by prioritizing high-interest rates, such as credit cards or personal loans, as they incur more financial burdens over time.

Develop a strategic repayment plan, allocate extra funds towards debt repayment, and consider debt consolidation or negotiation to accelerate the process. The mental health benefits of being debt free cannot be ignored.

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3) Save more money each month

Saving money is a fundamental step to creating wealth. Review your monthly expenses and identify areas where you can cut back or reduce costs.

Set a realistic budget and commit to saving a certain percentage of your income consistently - 10-15% of your paycheck is a great starting point.

Automating your savings can make it easier to stay disciplined and grow your wealth over time. With most apps, you can have a portion of your salary automatically transferred from your bank account to a high-yield savings account for example. Save money, a dollar at a time.

Warren Buffett, perhaps the most successful wealthy individual in the personal finance world, once said “Do not save what is left after spending; instead spend what is left after saving.”

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4) Don't splurge on unnecessary expenses

Live below your means and avoid impulsive or excessive spending on unnecessary luxuries. Differentiate between wants and needs, and prioritize long-term economic security over short-term gratification.

Be mindful of your spending habits, practice frugality where possible, and focus on value-based purchases that align with your goals. A sustainable lifestyle may lead to having enough money to become debt free.

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5) Invest your income

Investing is a key driver of wealth creation. Allocate a significant portion of your income, ideally 20% or more, towards investment vehicles that align with your risk tolerance and long-term objectives.

Consider diversified options such as stocks, bonds, real estate, or mutual funds. Regularly review and rebalance your investment portfolio to optimize returns.

Start investing today and see your net worth grow, thanks to compound interest! With fractional shares on stock markets, for instance, $10 a month is all you need to get started.

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6) Create passive income

Generating a passive income stream can accelerate your wealth-building journey. Explore opportunities to earn extra cash outside of your primary job, such as rental properties, dividend-paying stocks, peer-to-peer lending, or creating digital products.

You'd be surprised how much extra income a side hustle could bring. Starting your own business online may bring enough money to allow you to quit your job. This requires time and effort, but earning money for yourself is absolutely worth it!

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Building multiple streams of income can provide financial stability and contribute to long-term wealth accumulation.

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7) Get professional advice

Seeking professional advice from financial planners, advisors, or wealth management experts can provide valuable insights and guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.

They can help you optimize your investment strategies, tax affairs, and overall financial planning. Their expertise can save you time, mitigate risks, and maximize your wealth-building potential. There's always an advisor behind rich and wealthy people!

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Remember, building wealth requires patience, discipline, and a long-term mindset. Stay committed to your goals, continuously educate yourself on financial matters, and adapt your strategies as needed.

With consistent effort and the right approach, you can set yourself on the path to wealth and financial independence.

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Spotting a wealthy person

Spotting a wealthy person can be challenging as wealth can manifest in various ways. While appearances can be deceiving, here are some general indicators that might suggest someone is wealthy:

  • Lifestyle and possessions: Wealthy people often enjoy a higher standard of living. They may live in upscale neighborhoods, own luxurious properties, drive expensive cars, wear high-end clothing and accessories, and travel frequently. It is harder to differentiate between rich vs wealthy here.

  • Business ownership and success: Many individuals considered wealthy are entrepreneurs or business owners. They may have built successful companies, have multiple business ventures, or hold prominent positions in established organizations.

  • Investments and assets: A wealthy focus tends to lead to diverse investment portfolios and significant assets. This includes stocks, bonds, real estate properties, commodities, precious metals, or fine art.

  • Philanthropic involvement: Wealthy individuals often engage in philanthropy and donate substantial amounts to charitable causes. They may be involved in foundations, and charitable organizations, or actively support community initiatives.

  • Social connections: A wealthy person may have connections with other influential people in their community or industry. They may attend exclusive events, be members of elite clubs or organizations, or have a strong presence in social circles.

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However, wealth doesn't always manifest visibly, and many wealthy individuals live modestly and choose not to display their financial status. Therefore, avoid making assumptions based solely on appearances!

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What are the 5 levels of wealth?

Tony Robbins, a renowned motivational speaker, and self-help author, has outlined a framework known as the Five Levels of Wealth in his book "Money Master the Game".

These levels are part of his strategies to build wealth and are based on the concept of financial mastery:

  1. Financial Security: This level focuses on achieving stability and security in one's financial life. It involves ensuring that basic needs are met, such as having a steady income, emergency savings, long-term accounts, and adequate insurance coverage.

  2. Financial Vitality: The second level emphasizes growth and abundance. It involves expanding income streams, increasing savings, and developing investment strategies to generate extra money. The goal is to move beyond mere security and start building wealth.

  3. Financial Independence: At this level, the focus shifts to accumulating enough money, assets, and passive income to cover living expenses without relying on a traditional job or active work. Financial independence provides the flexibility to pursue passions and interests.

  4. Financial Freedom: The fourth level indicates a significant increase in wealth and the ability to enjoy a lifestyle of choice and abundance. It involves creating diverse investment portfolios and leveraging assets. Financial freedom allows for a high degree of personal and financial flexibility.

  5. Absolute Financial Freedom: The highest level, according to Robbins, is absolute financial freedom. It represents an extraordinary level of wealth and influence where individuals can make a significant impact in the world through philanthropy and other ventures. This enables individuals to leave a lasting legacy and create positive change on a grand scale.

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These levels are conceptual and not universally defined or endorsed by financial experts. They reflect Tony Robbins' perspective on the progressive stages of wealth accumulation and financial mastery. Rich vs wealthy, where are you at? Let us know in the comments down below!

Rich vs wealthy: being rich is limited to living a rich lifestyle

Rich people are often associated with a luxurious lifestyle filled with extravagant possessions and indulgences. However, the concept of being rich is limited to the accumulation of material wealth and the ability to afford opulent experiences.

While it may provide temporary satisfaction and comfort, living a rich lifestyle alone fails to encompass the broader aspects of true wealth. True wealth extends beyond monetary measures and encompasses various dimensions such as personal fulfillment, meaningful relationships, good health, personal growth, and a sense of purpose.

It involves finding balance, contentment, and joy in life's simple pleasures, rather than solely relying on external displays of affluence. Ultimately, being rich in life goes beyond material possessions and embraces a holistic perspective that encompasses all areas of well-being. You can be rich but not wealthy...

difference between rich and wealthy

Rich or wealthy: which is better?

The comparison between rich and wealthy ultimately depends on your values and goals. While being considered rich is typically associated with having substantial financial resources and the ability to afford a lavish lifestyle, wealth goes beyond mere material abundance.

Being wealthy encompasses a broader sense of financial safety, stability, and long-term prosperity. It involves the accumulation of assets, investments, and passive revenue streams that can provide financial freedom to support your desired lifestyle.

Wealth allows individuals to have a solid foundation for the future, providing opportunities for growth, philanthropy, and generational wealth transfer.

On the other hand, a rich person may get immediate gratification and access to luxurious experiences, but they may lack the stability and long-term sustainability that comes with wealth. Sudden wealth without proper financial management can be fleeting and may not guarantee long-term financial solidity.

Ultimately, the preference between rich and wealthy is subjective and dependent on individual priorities. Some may prioritize immediate money and enjoy the benefits it brings, while others may focus on building long-term wealth for greater security and lasting impact.

At some point in their lives, a finite amount of famous billionaires have gone bankrupt either personally or with their companies. Some have even claimed to be without any money left. Numerous reasons led to their downfall, including economic downfalls, poor investments, and even major fraud scandals. Despite this, some billionaires were able to make a comeback and now have the same net worth they had before, whereas some were unable to recover much of their original wealth.

What comes first, wealth or riches?

Typically, wealth comes before becoming rich.

Gathering wealth involves a long-term process of accumulating assets, investments, and financial resources that grow over time. It often requires consistent saving, disciplined spending habits, strategic investments, and smart financial planning.

On the other hand, a rich person is often referred to as having a significant amount of money or material possessions at a particular point in time. It can be achieved through various means such as inheritance, lottery winnings, or sudden financial windfalls. However, rich people who lack proper financial management and wealth-building strategies may not enjoy their net worth for long.

In general, wealth is built gradually over time through consistent efforts and wise financial decisions, while being rich means it can happen suddenly or temporarily. Wealth is often seen as a more sustainable and secure path to long-term financial prosperity, whereas being rich may not guarantee the same level of stability and financial well-being in the long run.

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Focus on contentment more than your bank account

Focusing on contentment rather than money involves recognizing that true happiness and fulfillment are not solely derived from financial wealth.

It entails appreciating the simple joys of life, cultivating gratitude for what one already has, and finding satisfaction in non-material aspects such as relationships, personal growth, and meaningful experiences.

By prioritizing contentment, you can break free from the never-ending pursuit of wealth and material possessions, allowing you to live a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Invest in personal growth

Investing in personal growth is one of the most valuable and rewarding decisions you can make. By dedicating time and resources to self-improvement, you can unlock your full potential, develop new skills, broaden your knowledge, and enhance your overall well-being.

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Personal growth opens doors to new opportunities, empowers individuals to overcome challenges, and fosters resilience and adaptability in an ever-changing world.

Whether it's pursuing education, honing talents, seeking mentorship, or engaging in self-reflection, investing in personal growth cultivates self-confidence, boosts self-awareness, and equips people with the tools needed to achieve their goals and lead a purposeful and fulfilling life.

The returns on investing in personal growth are not only seen in individual success but also positively impact relationships, career prospects, and overall happiness.

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Don't ignore the stock market

Investing in the stock market has long been recognized as an effective way to build wealth. By purchasing shares of publicly traded companies, you have the potential to generate substantial returns over the long term.

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Shares allow investors to participate in the growth of successful businesses and benefit from their profitability. Through careful research, diversification, and a long-term investment mindset, you can take advantage of earning money with the power of compounding returns.

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How to calculate your net worth

Calculating your net worth involves assessing your financial assets (what you own) and liabilities (what you owe). Here's a step-by-step process:

  1. Gather your financial information: Collect statements and documents related to all your assets and liabilities.

  2. Determine your assets: List all your assets and assign them an estimated value. This can include cash and savings, investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds), retirement accounts (401(k), IRA), real estate properties, vehicles, valuable possessions (jewelry, artwork), and any other significant assets you own.

  3. Calculate your liabilities: Make a comprehensive list of your liabilities, including mortgages, car loans, student loans, credit card debt, personal loans, and any other outstanding debts.

  4. Assign values to your liabilities: Note the outstanding balances on each liability. Be sure to use the current balances rather than the original loan amounts.

  5. Assets minus liabilities: Subtract the total value of your liabilities from the total value of your assets. The result is your net worth:

    Net Worth = (Total Value of Assets) - (Total Value of Liabilities)

  6. Analyze and track your net worth: Regularly update and monitor your net worth by reassessing your assets and liabilities. This will help you track your financial progress over time and make informed decisions about your financial goals.

You can also use this net worth calculator.

Remember, calculating your net worth is an important snapshot of your financial standing, but it is just one aspect of your overall financial picture. It's also beneficial to evaluate and consider your income, expenses, and financial goals in conjunction with your net worth.

What does the Bible say about riches and wealth?

The Bible provides various teachings and perspectives on the rich vs wealthy. Here are a few key principles:

  • Contentment and Prioritizing God: The Bible encourages believers to find contentment regardless of their financial situation. It emphasizes that one's focus should be on seeking and prioritizing a relationship with God rather than pursuing material wealth (Matthew 6:24, Philippians 4:11-13).

  • Stewardship and Generosity: The Bible teaches about responsible stewardship of wealth and resources. Believers are encouraged to manage their finances wisely, avoid greed, and be generous in helping those in need (Proverbs 11:24-25, 1 Timothy 6:17-19).

  • Warning Against the Love of Money: The Bible warns against the love of money as it can lead to spiritual harm. It emphasizes that the pursuit of wealth should not overshadow one's devotion to God and should not be an object of ultimate trust or security (1 Timothy 6:9-10, Matthew 6:19-21).

  • Blessings and Prosperity: The Bible acknowledges that God can bless individuals with wealth and prosperity. However, it emphasizes that such blessings should be received with gratitude and used responsibly for the benefit of others and the kingdom of God (Deuteronomy 8:18, 1 Chronicle 29:11-12).

  • Eternal Perspective: The Bible highlights the temporary nature of earthly wealth and encourages believers to focus on laying up treasures in heaven rather than accumulating material possessions on earth (Matthew 6:19-20, Luke 12:33-34).


The Bible does not condemn wealth in itself but rather addresses the attitudes, priorities, and responsibilities associated with it. The interpretation and application of these teachings may vary among different Christian denominations and individual believers.


Best books about wealthy people

Here are five books that focus on wealthy individuals and their journeys:

  1. "The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy" by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko - This book explores the habits, behaviors, and lifestyles of self-made millionaires in America.

  2. "Rich Dad Poor Dad" by Robert T. Kiyosaki - This personal finance classic shares the author's experiences growing up with two influential figures in his life, his real dad (poor dad) and his best friend's dad (rich dad), highlighting the contrasting approaches to money and wealth.

  3. "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill - A timeless classic, this book delves into the mindset and principles necessary for achieving success and wealth. It draws from interviews with some of the most successful individuals of the early 20th century.

  4. "The Richest Man in Babylon" by George S. Clason - Set in ancient Babylon, this book presents a collection of parables that offer timeless lessons on personal finance and wealth-building.

  5. "Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr." by Ron Chernow - This biography chronicles the life of John D. Rockefeller, one of the wealthiest individuals in history. It offers insights into his business strategies, wealth accumulation, and philanthropic endeavors.

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The bottom line: rich vs wealthy

In conclusion, there is a key difference between rich and wealthy – something many people are not aware of.

Successfully developing wealth over time requires dedication, planning, and an understanding of the differences between short-term financial gains and long-term stability.

Having a more holistic view of prosperity that includes emotional security along with financial stability can help you create a solid foundation for lasting success. Start investing in yourself, take advantage of the current economic opportunities, create multiple streams of income, and learn sound financial habits.

So now that you know the key difference between rich vs wealthy, what is your take on them? Let us know in the comments below!

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No Investment Advice. This article does not provide financial advice and has been prepared without taking into account any person’s investment objectives, financial situation, or particular needs.

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