3 Bad Behaviors Making People Poor

couple holding piggy bank
December 12, 2022

We all know what a budget is and how to save money. Then why are we still poor? The answer is in our behavior.

To begin, I have a question for you. What percentage of people would you say are born to be wealthy? The answer is not as many as you might think. 

Stanford Business performed a study that explained that only 32% of people on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans came from wealthy families.

That means a whopping 68% of them were self-made. 

So, some are born wealthy, but most are not. Building wealth is not complicated, especially when you live in a first-world country. If it’s entirely possible to make money and be successful, then why do so many of us live beneath our means?

We know what a budget is, how to use credit cards, and what career path will make us more money. It can almost seem that it’s more likely to get struck by lightning than it is we will become wealthy. But this is not true at all!

By the time we finish elementary school, we learned all the math skills needed in order to build wealth. If we know the correct principles behind managing money, then why are we so awful at it? Why is it that almost 80% of Americans end up living paycheck to paycheck? The answer is in our behavior.

We all have innate behaviors which are detrimental to accomplishing long-term goals and financial plans. While we all have our own quirks and bad habits (I know I do), these 3 following behaviors will hinder or completely stop us from building wealth. 


Are you surprised I started with laziness as the number 1 poor behavior?

I’m guessing the majority of us have pretty good lives. Our needs are met, and we have a place to sleep at night.

Basically, we are content. And if that’s the case, then why do we need to push ourselves further? We seem to have everything that we need, at least for the next little while.

If we’ve paid everything off this for the next couple of weeks or months, we should be good to go. We can relax a little and just wait for the next paycheck to pay off next month’s bills again. This should be just fine, right?


Ask yourself, how are your debts coming? Are they still gaining interest while you sleep? What will happen if you lose your job tomorrow? Do you have a 3-6 month emergency fund in place to cover that loss of income? Are you saving 15% or more for your retirement which will eventually one day need to happen? 

Are you saving for your kids’ futures? Who is going to pay for their college? What kind of legacy will you leave them? Will it be a legacy of laziness and living paycheck to paycheck, or a legacy of true, outstanding wealth?

Remember nobody gets rich lazy! You have to work if you want to progress in life. So if this is one of your weaknesses, change it now and you will see a change in your life.

Choose today the legacy you will live out and leave your posterity. 

Distracted by Technology

Have you ever tried going an hour without checking your phone? How about a day? A week? Now you must be thinking that I’m getting into some really crazy talk here.

The invention of cell phones has been one of the most beneficial inventions ever. But it is also an avenue for wasting ridiculous amounts of our precious time. The never-ending distractions of our phones and the media around us make it extremely difficult to stay focused on long-term tasks and goals.

I want to share a little about me, myself, and I if you don’t mind. I have a smartphone, a pretty cool one at that. When I got it, I had most notifications on and would know immediately when I received a new email or when I needed to accomplish a task on my favorite game : ) 

After a couple of months of getting seemingly endless notifications, I finally said, “Enough.” I turned off my phone notifications for everything except for calls, texts, and work messages.

I began to control my phone instead of it controlling me.

And what happened?

I loved it! No longer was I tethered down by my phone and checking it every 15 minutes. I could focus on what really mattered and think with a more long-term perspective.

Watching Netflix and Hulu can be a great way to relax after a long day (I like some Fixer Upper that’s for sure). But if we’re watching it for a couple of hours every day, that’s slowly but surely wasting away our valuable time.

Social media is in a whole other court. I find that 2% of the material on social media is relevant to me. The rest is time-wasting crap. It’s nice to keep up with the lives of others. But, when you go on Facebook to see the pictures of your cousin’s wedding and two hours later are watching a video of “101 Epic Cat Fails”, you know something’s up.

When it comes to social media, it is incredibly easy to be caught in an endless loop of distractions that provide no long-term benefit other than momentary satisfaction and entertainment. We must remember to have moderation in all things, social media included.

There is time for work and time for play. Divide the two and keep them separate. Both are needed for a balanced life.

Always remember, it's good to spend time on things that will help you progress as a person rather than wasting time on useless things on the internet because, in the end, we know that we are the ones who benefit from everything we do.

Commit to yourself to get rid of what is distracting you most and hindering your potential.

Feelings of Hopelessness

If we have poor attitudes when it comes to our financial forecast, we will almost certainly never be wealthy. Are you a Negative Nancy when it comes to your financial future? Have you already consigned yourself to living a life of mediocrity?

This type of defeatist attitude will no doubt stop us from being wealthy. Ask yourself, when you see someone driving down the street in a souped-up sports car, what do you think? You probably think one of two things.

First, “Wouldn’t it be nice to be born into money like that person? Hmmm, that must be nice! That’ll probably never happen to me.”

Or, you think, “Hot dang! Now that’s a sweet ride and I’m going to work my butt off as much as I can so that one day I will be able to own a nice car like that.” This second attitude is obviously the go-getter’s attitude and will overcome the defeatist attitude all day every day. Hands down.

So, which attitude are you?

We must not allow ourselves to be sucked into the black hole of defeatism. There is absolutely nothing stopping us from building a positive attitude and believing in ourselves. 

We must believe we can accomplish our goals and dreams, and then we one day will. We must first envision success in our thoughts and then take consistent, planned action toward our goals.

When we do this, we will have failures. We will have setbacks. But with perseverance, we will succeed.

When you fight these 3 natural behaviors of laziness, distractedness, and having a bad attitude, you will see incredible changes in your life. Not only will you be able to improve your finances and grow wealth faster, but you will feel happier with who you are and what you’re doing with your life.

You will build a legacy, change your future, and ultimately change your family’s future.