15 Middle-Class Beliefs That Are Stopping You From Getting Rich

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Are these long-held beliefs about your finances holding you back?
Updated Feb. 21, 2024
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Does it feel like something is holding you back from getting rich? It may be you.

Sure, sometimes it’s just hard to get ahead, but your mindset could also be stunting your path to riches.

See if some of these middle-class beliefs are stopping you from making money and building wealth.

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I need to climb the corporate ladder

Allistair F/peopleimages.com/Adobe frustrated for online mistake

Climbing the corporate ladder is an excellent way to make more money, but it’s not the only way.

If you feel like you’re stuck on the corporate ladder, think about other ways you can get ahead, like switching companies or starting your own business.

I’m too unlucky to get rich

auremar/Adobe young woman stressed at work

Luck can play a part in getting rich when it comes to being in the right place at the right time.

But you can’t rely on luck alone, and there are ways you can earn wealth by being proactive and making sure you’re in the right place to take advantage of any potential luck that comes your way.

More money means more problems

Tetiana/Adobe displeased holding bank credit card

More money could lead to more problems if you don’t know how to handle it. Learn how to save and invest so you don’t spend all of that money and fall into debt. 

Remember to make monetary plans now for your estate so you don’t have others fighting over your cash when you’re gone.

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I’m comfortable where I am

MVProductions/Adobe working on laptop in cafe

It’s great that you’re comfortable financially, but that comfort may only last for so long if you’re unprepared for surprises.

Make sure you have money saved for things like an emergency fund, so you’ll still be comfortable after a health issue or unexpected home repair.

Investing in the stock market is too risky

Liubomir/Adobe frustrated man holding card

Investing in the stock market does come with risks, but you can mitigate those risks and still invest.

The stock market, as measured by the S&P; 500, has historically gone up and bounced back from every steep selloff to make new record highs. Learn to be patient and ride out the downturns to build wealth over the long run.

Starting my own business is complicated

Liubomir/Adobe analyzing documents

It can be daunting to start a business considering all the issues like materials, employees, time and effort, and others.

But it’s still possible to start a business and find success. You just need the right mindset.

Begin by researching to figure out what you need to know about starting a business and factor in issues you’ll have to face in your field to decide if being a business owner is right for you.

I’m already investing enough with a 401(k)

emiliezhang/Adobe savings jar

A 401(k) is a great way to save money for retirement, but it’s not the only way. Find other options that fit into your portfolio, such as real estate, investing in a business, and more.

There may be limits on how much you can invest in a 401(k) or the amount your employer matches, but you can still invest money in places you can earmark as retirement funds.

I just have to worry about the next six months

WESTOCK/Adobe expense management and contract review

Your finances can change from month to month due to market changes or perhaps an unexpected bill.

But it’s important to not only worry about saving money and staying out of debt now but also in the long run.

Sit down and consider your overall financial portfolio and take into account your short-term and long-term goals so you can reward yourself now and in the future.

I have to work too hard to make money

DimaBerlin/Adobe unmotivated female worker

Sometimes, working hard is a solid path to increase wealth, but it’s not always necessary.

Instead, consider working smarter instead of harder. Perhaps you need to rethink your career, ask for a raise, or switch jobs to make more money without putting in the extra hours that could affect your personal and professional happiness.

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I can’t make money without a college degree

fizkes/Adobe thinking of dull monotonous job

A college degree can be a great way to get a well-paying professional job, but it’s not the only way.

Consider trade and vocational schools for jobs like a plumber, electrician, or construction equipment operator that can earn you a good salary without a four-year degree.

I have to look good to my neighbors

fizkes/Adobe young woman feeling jealous

You don’t have to compare your cars, job, or financial portfolio with others to keep up with the Joneses.

The people you compare yourself to may be in debt to make themselves look rich.

Stick with your goals. It may mean driving a car that isn’t as nice as the neighbor’s, but it can help you retire before them or have money saved in an emergency fund that they don’t have.

I don’t want to rock the boat

fizkes/Adobe worrying about bad news notice

You don’t have to go to the extreme, but sometimes, taking a chance could lead to new opportunities.

Changing jobs could net you a better salary or benefits than just sticking to what you have now. Maybe it’s time to try moving out of your comfort zone by moving and trying a city with a lower cost of living or more job opportunities.

It’s overwhelming to handle my finances

DanteVeiil/Adobe reflecting financial strain

It can be hard to balance a retirement plan, financial portfolio, personal taxes, college funds, and more for an entire household, but you don’t have to do it alone.

It’s OK to reach out and ask for help from a financial advisor or accountant who can work with you to find the best way to handle your finances.

You may be surprised that paying a little for financial help can earn you big rewards for your financial future.

I don’t have a big enough income to get rich

SB Arts Media/Adobe stressed woman managing finances

You can save more as you earn more, but a big salary isn’t the only way to get rich.

Find ways to live within your means with your current salary so you can stop living paycheck to paycheck and stay out of debt.

It’s also a good idea to create a budget to help you save and reinforce healthy money habits that you can continue practicing as your salary increases.

I can’t think about the future

Nina/peopleimages.com/Adobe exhausted female worker

It’s good to have realistic goals and focus on your current financial stability. After all, being stable now will mean you’re on sound footing for your financial future.

But it’s good to also think about the future. Think about realistic goals and those pie-in-the-sky ideas you have to retire early. It can help motivate you to reach your financial goals.

Bottom line

Vorda Berge/Adobe woman going over her bills

It’s important to get in a mindset of saving money, investing, and finding other ways to get ahead financially.

One of the most important things to do is get out of your current beliefs and set new goals for your future so you can save money now and for years to come.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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