8 Things Holding You Back From Being Rich (And How to Start)

It’s time to get out of your own way and start building serious wealth.

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Updated July 11, 2024
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Building wealth doesn’t happen overnight. But if you have the wrong habits or beliefs, getting rich might never be within your reach. 

Identifying the things holding you back can help you develop a new mindset and habits that will propel you toward a richer life.

We explore some common things that hold people back from becoming rich.

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Relying solely on your 9-5 job

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When you land a 9 to 5 with a steady paycheck, it can be easy to sit back and relax after work. After all, you are already working 40 hours a week. The paycheck is likely enough to cover your bills. But most paychecks aren’t enough to help you build wealth.

Instead of taking it easy after work, it’s a good idea to build a side hustle. As you build new income streams, you can propel yourself toward your financial goals. 

Ideally, your side hustle will offer a fun and lucrative way to boost your income and investment opportunities. But if you can’t have both, focusing on a lucrative skill can help you make the most of your time.

Want to learn how to build wealth like the 1%? Sign up for Worthy to get ideas and advice delivered to your inbox.

Not learning about investing

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While saving money is important, investing can take your financial situation to the next level. Investing comes with some risk, but with the right strategy and patience, the returns can put your money to work and grow your net worth faster.

Unfortunately, school can only teach you so much, and it usually leaves out lessons on investing. To build wealth and riches, you need to understand money and how to make it work for you.

Take the time to invest in your education. Get comfortable with investing terms and build a portfolio that suits your goals.

Believing you don’t have enough time

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The earlier you begin building wealth, the easier it is due to compounding returns. Make the time to learn. Even one hour a week can greatly improve your understanding of money and investing.

If you don’t think you have enough time, commit to a time audit. Start by tracking how much time you spend on social media or watching TV each week. Most of us will be surprised to find hours available to increase our financial know-how.

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Thinking that money changes people for the worse

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If you believe that a higher net worth makes people behave badly, then you secretly might not want to build wealth. Depending on the situation, you might be sabotaging your efforts to grow your net worth.

It’s time to face the fact that money doesn’t necessarily change people for the worse. Take some time to consider how much good you could do for the world with more money in your bank account.

You haven’t defined what success looks like to you

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While society at large is happy to provide an image of what success should look like, everyone has to decide for themselves what it means to be successful. 

If you haven’t taken the time to dig into what you truly value, you could be chasing a version of success that doesn’t make you feel rich.

For example, you might think that having a particular car is the ticket to success. But once you are driving that financed vehicle, the payments could be leaching away your ability to build long-term wealth. Get honest about what metrics will make you feel rich.

You play it too safe with money

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If you have no tolerance for risk, you’ll likely tuck your funds into a savings account and leave it at that. While saving money is great, saving money alone won’t push you toward long-term financial success. 

Instead, you’ll likely need to invest to build wealth so you may earn higher returns.

You want to get rich quick

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The idea of getting rich quickly is undeniably enticing. But most get-rich-quick schemes aren’t going to make you rich. Instead, they will drag your finances down.

For example, signing up for a risky investment opportunity through an unknown advisor often leads to losses. Rather than seeking instantaneous results, opt for a tried-and-true approach like investing for the long term in low-cost index funds.

You live above your means

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If you spend more than you make, it’s difficult to build wealth. Instead of spending more than you should now, try to spend less than you make and invest the difference. Eventually, your investments should grow, and the sacrifice will be worth the effort.

Bottom line

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If you’ve nailed down what is holding you back from being rich, now is the time to change your ways. Take action to start down the path toward wealth. 

For example, you might make some cuts to your budget and start investing immediately.

Author Details

Sarah Sharkey

Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer who enjoys diving into the details to help readers make more informed decisions. She covers mortgages, insurance, money management, travel, and more.