Hope for your financial life and beyond

The One Winning Formula For the Poor (Proverbs 28:11)

Hidden Nuggets Series #88 – “The rich man is wise in his own eyes, but the poor who has understanding searches him out.” – Proverbs 28:11

The winning formula to have success with money involves two things: altering our knowledge and altering our behavior. Of those two, behavior is by far the most important factor in the winning formula. We can have all the knowledge in the world but unless we put it into practice we’ll never win.

winning formulaRich people have figured this out. Their behavior is commensurate with the fact they have money. Somewhere along the way they realized (gained knowledge) what they should and should not do (behavior). They’ve done something (actually a lot of right somethings) to get to where they are.

According to the Bible the rich are “wise in their own eyes.” They understand what they’ve done and know the right path to take. They have chosen to avoid or pursue behaviors that might damage or propel their future respectively.

They don’t need any more advice.

They’ve figured it out.

The poor on the other hand haven’t and could sure use some.

And as we see in the second part of Proverbs 28:11, they would be wise to seek advice from the rich.

Seeking Out the Rich Is a Winning Formula

Why do people accumulate wealth? Because they make wise financial decisions. In fact, in his book “The Millionaire Next Door” author Thomas Stanley describes it this way:

“Usually the wealthy individual is a businessman who has lived in the same town for all of his adult life. This person owns a small factory, a chain of stores or a service company. He has married once and remains married. He lives next door to people with a fraction of his wealth. He is a compulsive saver and investor. And he has made his own money…”

He goes on to say that wealthy people live in a way that is conducive to accumulating money. In the study, Stanley identified seven common factors that cause people to build wealth:

  • The live well below their means.
  • They don’t waste their time, energy and money
  • They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status.
  • Their parents don’t support them financially in any way.
  • Their adult children can support themselves.
  • They identify and target the right opportunities.
  • They chose the right occupation.

So if you want to be rich (or even have just a little more money) the winning formula seems clear…start doing rich people stuff.

In other words, follow their example.

What’s that formula look like in the real world? It looks like doing these things:

Staying out of debt…

Following a budget…

Driving a used car…

Saving money each month…

Investing money each month…

Eating out less…

Working hard…

Insuring yourself properly…

Avoiding school loans…

Growing professionally…

Growing personally, spiritually and emotionally…

Reading, reading and reading…

Tuning out distractions like TV, social media or video games

Sticking to your plan and staying the course…

Sacrificing, sacrificing, sacrificing.

If you are in a difficult financial situation right now, know and believe there is hope. However, your situation won’t change until you decide to change.

To that end, do this one thing – find people around you who are doing better than you, who are winning and pick their brain.

Don’t take advice from your broke neighbor. Search out the rich and copy them.

The only way out is to alter your behavior.

Questions: What was the biggest behavior you had to change in order to have success with money? Who has been an inspiration to you in regards to setting a positive example or giving you sound advice?

Original image courtesy of GollyGForce at Flickr Creative Commons

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  1. “The rich man is wise in his own eyes, but the poor who has understanding searches him out.” – I am obsessed with this quote.

  2. The biggest behavior I had to change was the constant eating out. Granted, I I had a dining out budget, but even that was too much. I do appreciate your reference to the Bible… my hope is that for those who are poor reach out to the rich who sought The Lord’s council and established financial freedom through wisdom…not an alternative route (gambling, thievery, drug paraphernalia, etc).

    My pastor back home in California always gave sound advice regarding investing/saving, etc. He’s been debt free for years now and has not even hit retirement age. He owns several properties that he rents out and buys houses in cash. It’s that type of wealth I want to reach.

  3. Great post as usual, Brian! I think it’s also interesting to point out that those who are rich don’t “look” rich. A lot of people are poor because they spend so much money trying to “look rich”.

  4. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says

    So this what it is why rich men became who they are now today. We poor men should really be like them and make our way similar to theirs. One day, we’ll for sure find our way and be one of them. Just achieve the right knowledge and behavior. Nice article Brian.

  5. It is proverbs 28:11, not psalms. Also I am a bit skeptical of your interpretation of the text. If somebody were to say that I am wise in my own eyes, I would not take it as a compliment. Simarily the bible saying the rich are wise in their own eyes would suggest that they relied overly much on their own wisdom. My two cents…

    • Thanks for pointing that out Brandon…how embarrassing. Guess that’s what I get for working on these posts so late at night. 🙂

      I think your point is valid and one I considered when reading this verse. I couldn’t get past the idea that the poor who get it are seeking them out though. Seems to suggest the rich know something the poor don’t.

      • I think the intent of the proverb is made clearer in the NIV

        11 The rich are wise in their own eyes;one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are.

        Proverbs 28:11 | NIV

        I think what it means is if you are rich you need to thank God because it is only by his grace that you are rich. Sure, you might be clever, but a poor man can also be clever. To me, this is a warning to the rich that thinking high of your own opinion will eventually lead to your own ruin. It might also be a warning of basically slimey sales tactics (eg wolf of wall street style).

  6. Educating ourselves about money and then changing our bad behavior was what turn things around for us. Now it’s a goal to spread and share the knowledge.

  7. Yes! Well said, Brian. Love the book reference and your tips. Reminds me of “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” too. I have to say getting around people who are rich is helpful because you can learn first hand how to implement the skill set that rich people use to become rich. It’s true that you are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time — why not have some of them be rich?

    • “…you are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time…” I’ve heard that principle said a couple different ways and it’s a great point.

  8. I totally love this one! We need to live below our means, some us forget on how to do that and even buy expensive latest gadgets because their friends have it.

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