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Why I Want to be Rich (Also, Why Do People Want to Be Rich)?

Why do I want to be rich? Clarify what “rich” means to you, plus unlock a key to happiness most rich people never get.

Why do people want to be rich? Why do I want to be rich?

young blonde woman with cup of coffee at desk smiling big, text overlay "want to be rich? 5 questions to answer first - skip these? and you might just become one of those miserable rich people"

I've never actually said the words “I want to be rich” out loud (much less confessed it to a large audience).

But it's been on my mind – perhaps some leftover childhood fantasy of mine when I linked a certain lifestyle with having lots of money.

I even have an entry in my kindergarten diary where I write in crayon that I want to have a million dollars when I grow up so that I can give it away to needy people.

With my money habits – we declared debt freedom in 2010, we've got daily frugal habits that we save consistently each month, we've increased our income, etc. – we're headed on the road to becoming wealthy.

But I have started to ask myself “Why”? Why do I want to continue making present-day sacrifices in order to be rich someday?

What's my motivation to save money?

Why Do People Want to Be Rich?

We're going to get into the reasons why YOU want to be rich.

But first, let me lay out a few common reasons why people want to get rich (whether these will actually result from being rich is another story we'll get into in a bit):

  • To have to rely on no one else for the rest of their lives.
  • To help people, like donating to a cause, or opening a foundation.
  • To solve all their problems, or at least the ones they think will be solved.
  • To buy that beach home they only get to spend one week at a year right now.
  • To get people to do the things that they want them to do.
  • To feel like they have “enough”.
  • To show their friends and family that they're “worth” something.
  • To feel famous and important.
  • To quit a job they hate.
  • To never work again.

Getting “rich” will not necessarily yield the results people are looking for or the results they think they'll get. That's an important thing to remember, and one I don't want YOU to fall for.

Which is why we're going to go through figuring out a REAL reason for why you and I want to be rich.

If You Want to Be Rich, It's Important to Figure Out the Real “Why”

Why do I want to be rich? Honestly, I didn't know for the longest time.

Which means at some point, my reality was: sacrificing a lot in the name of saving up money to become rich, for no particular reason.

Not a good way to go about your finances. I mean, at some point, you'll begin to question the whole thing and maybe just stop (haha – hence, this article!).

Yeah, maybe I started with a reason for scrimping and saving as much as I could.

But it was more out of necessity and circumstances, not always a conscious choice:

  • In college, you basically have to scrimp and cobble two federal-minimum-wage paychecks together just to buy Christmas gifts for everyone.
  • In your first, second, and third apartment, the spending sacrifices seem worth it because you can work towards buying a home in the future.
  • In debt, there's always the motivation (and necessity) of paying it off as quickly as possible – which we did, in September 2010.

But…now what?

When I came to the realization that I didn't really know why I want to be rich, but that I just set that quest back when I was living on a dairy farm in my teens, I began asking myself questions.

I suggest you do the same.

The Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Figure Out Why You Want to Be Rich

Your current happiness + future happiness both depend on you figuring out both WHY you want to be rich, as well as WHEN you'll get there.

And your current happiness?

Well, part of that lies in understanding that many of the things we think we have to wait to be “rich” to have, be, or do…we can actually have right now.

<truth bomb>.

Let's break this down a bit further.

Question #1: Why Do I Want to Become Rich?

Understanding what motivates you is a very important step in any type of goal that you have. It will give you purpose – a fire in your belly – and help you actually attain your goal.

And you'll need that to continue on your pursuit.

Something else that could happen when you dig deep and figure this one out? Well, you might find out you don't really want to be “rich”, or that you are already rich per your Quality of Life Rich Definition (see Question #3).

In my case, analyzing my own motivations has brought me more purpose for the seemingly repetitive decisions and sacrifices that I make each day and for the money that I put into my accounts each month.

It's why I automatically deposit into an IRA retirement account, why I diligently pay off my entire credit card balance each month, and why I wing my arm around like a vertical carousel to get the last bit of ketchup out of the bottle (this does work!).

Hint: I'll be sharing my own answers to these questions below. So keep reading!

Question #2: What is My Definition of “Rich”?

Everyone's definition of “rich” is different. I think you should both figure out a digit definition – as in, “rich to me is having $2,000,000 in the bank – as well as a quality-of-life definition (we'll discuss this one below).

And guess what? Knowing this is CRITICAL for your future happiness.

Have you ever noticed how many rich people keep hustling and bustling as if they were still poor and had things to prove to the world? It's like they can't shut it off.

They can't ever say,

“5 houses, 16 cars, and $10 million in the bank is pretty dang good. Why don't I just enjoy my family and life now?”

It's like they need to spend some time doing money mindset exercises to shift their thinking from lack to abundance.

But you're going to be different. So am I!

If you know your definition of “rich”, then you'll know when you've arrived at it. You'll know that it is enough and that you can go on living your life, not hustling to get more money.

Make sense? So, let's figure out the digits portion of your rich definition.

For your digit definition, will you feel rich when you have a certain amount of money in the bank? In assets (like investments or your home)? When you're out of debt? When your passive income flow is higher than your bills each month?

There are all sorts of ways to define “rich”, and your definition needs to FEEL right to you.

Pssst: A great way to know when you actually get to that number you just figured out? Is by tracking your net worth. I use Empower – it's free. Once you upload all of your information and accounts, they automatically track it for you. It's a beautiful thing!

Question #3: What do I think my life and lifestyle will be like if I become rich?

When you are “rich”, what will that look like? What's your “Rich Lifestyle”?

What kinds of Quality-of-Life signs are you looking for that will tell you when you finally reach the stage of “rich”?

By the way, these can be silly as well. Like, in my teenage mind, I thought, “When I'm rich, I'm going to have a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.”

But you know what? I could easily go buy one of those right now if I really wanted to (oddly enough, now that I'm nearing 36, I don't feel the need for one anymore).

Have you met any of your Quality-of-Life signals for being “rich” yet?

Why I Want to Be Rich – My Personal Answers

After thinking about these questions for quite a while, here’s what I came up with for myself.

Being rich to me is still hitting that $1 million mark in the bank, but I admit $300,000 looks good, $500,000 looks good (heck right now $100,000 looks good!).

To me, reaching the million-dollar mark means that I will have the freedom to live however I choose.

And what does “however I choose” mean? Right now, and for the first 27 years of my life, my choices have basically revolved around money, with all other decision filters in the background.

In fact, I don’t even know that I would be able to switch off the “can you afford this” or “should you buy this” filter even if I were “rich”!

I'd like some breathing room to make decisions not based on money. And to me, being “rich” would mean I could do that much more.

I'm already tracking my net worth through Empower (have been for at least 5 years now), so I can quickly check in once a year or so and see how far away from that $1,000,000 mark I am.

And, well, that's as far as I've gotten. And that's okay.

I certainly have some more analyzing to do on this goal, like what choices will I make once I am rich? Are they choices I can choose now, but am simply putting them off because I feel I cannot attain them without wealth?

Perhaps my next step is to make a list of specific things I feel that I can do once I attain this goal…and then to actually GO DO THEM, whether I reach “rich” status or not.

See how important going through these questions is to putting some context and purpose around why I want to be rich? They can do the same for you, too, if you just take a little time to work through them. I'd love to hear more in the comments below about what sort of financial goals you have, and your motivation for choosing them. What will keep you going, and why do you want to be rich?

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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.

Amanda L Grossman

Friday 30th of April 2010

Hey Sophie!

Thanks for the comment. That would be great for you!

Sophie Sanders

Friday 30th of April 2010

i am hopping that with very hard work on Affiliate marketing, maybe i would be able to achieve Financial Freedom in 2 years time.'~:

Amanda L. Grossman

Saturday 30th of January 2010

Hello Crystal!

Thank you for sharing your list with me!


Friday 29th of January 2010

My hubby and I enjoy taking comfortable vacations. We want enough to take a few cruises a year or visit bed and breakfasts in interesting places.

I want to volunteer for Meals on Wheels as well as my normal charities.

My husband wants to be a college sports official when he retires.

We want to be able to visit all our family and friends on a regular basis (they're spread out).

That is what financial freedom will buy us. :-)


Friday 22nd of July 2022

@Crystal, Put those wishes next to the dollar amount it will take. If you know the exact amount you'll need you'll focus more on making it happen


Friday 29th of January 2010

You hit the nail on the head with "... means that I will have the freedom to live however I choose". I believe the goal is not so much "being rich", but more like having total freedom to choose how you spend your time - traveling, visiting family, helping others, learning a new skill... all those things that we enjoy but can't do as often as we want because we spend most waking hours working to keep a roof over our heads and our family fed :)