10 Symptoms of a Poverty Mindset

Look at the photo above.  Do you see the glass as half full or half empty?

Some of you will probably say it is half full while some will say it is half empty. Your answer will depend on your attitude and perception of reality.

It is amazing how a single photo can be perceived in two completely opposite point of views.  This simple test is actually used by psychologists to determine whether a person is an optimist or a pessimist.

Why is our perception so important?  It is important because it will affect how you live your life.

Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. – Gautama Buddha

Our mindset greatly influences our happiness, health, relationships and yes, even our finances. The financial gap between the rich and the poor is not because of the money, neither it is because of level of education, nor any other external factors; but rather it is all because of the difference in mindset.

So, if you feel like you have been working so hard all these years and yet you are being held back, maybe you are suffering from a poverty mindset.

To verify if you really have a poverty mindset, take a look at the following symptoms and ask yourself if you have it in you or not:

1. You Complain a Lot.

You complain, complain, complain and complain. Did you know that complaining is the worst possible thing that you can do to yourself? When you complain, this means you focus on the negative aspects of your life. You focus on your problems when there are in fact a lot of things to be grateful for.

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. – Oprah Winfrey

Your mind is like a magnet. What you focus on expands. If you focus on the negative, more bad things will happen in your life.

2. You Play the Blame Game.

You blame your parents. You blame your siblings. You blame your boss. Your blame your employers. You blame the government. You blame your spouse. You blame your genes. You practically blame anything and everything around you. It is always somebody else’s fault but you. You refuse to take responsibility for the undesirable things. That’s a poverty mindset.

I know people who always blame the government for their situation. I also know people who became very successful. Then how did that happen if they have the same government? The difference lies in the mindset. You can either play the blame game all you want or you can begin to take responsibility in your life and do something to change your situation.

3.  You Believe you are Always Right.

Do you love saying “I told you so“? Do you always have to have the last word? If you answer yes, then you are a narrow-minded person.  A narrow-minded person is a person who is not open to new ideas. They believe that their opinion is always right.  You will never win an argument against this kind of person. If you are this kind of person, then that is another symptom of a poverty mindset.

To become successful, you need to accept that you don’t know everything. You need to be open to new ideas and embrace new ways of thinking.

4.  You Won’t Invest in Yourself.

You have money to spend on travels, gadgets, clothes and entertainment but you don’t have a budget to spend on further studies, seminars or even to buy a book. Some argued that they simply have no time. All those things are just mere excuses. What people do not realise is that the greatest investment that they can do is to invest in themselves. Your future is largely dependent on your willingness and ability to invest in yourself.

For example, if you work in a company and you think that your salary is very small, then ask yourself this question, is there someone else in your organization that is earning more than you do? Then why do you think the company is paying that person more? The answer is simple, most of the time, your compensation is based on your knowledge and skills. You want to earn more?  Then invest in yourself.

5.  You Believe that Money is the Root of all Evil.

If you believe that money is the root of all evil and all rich people are greedy, then you are already unconsciously derailing your way to success. These negative beliefs about money are products of your environment. If people around you believe in this idea, then your belief and value systems were definitely influenced.

For the record the bible verse where this belief system originated did not state that money is the root of all evil.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.(1 Timothy 6:10).

It is not money per se that is evil but rather it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Money is nothing but a tool. Money can also be use for the good of others.

6. You Avoid your Finances.

Do you know your personal net worth?  Your net worth is the amount of everything that you own minus everything that you owe.

People who have a poverty mindset avoid looking at their finances or they simply don’t bother at all. I know of people who are scared of looking at their monthly credit card statements.  If you are also scared to take a closer look and examine your finances, then that’s a symptom that you have a poverty mindset.  You are scared to face reality.  You keep on buying stuffs you do not need and you don’t want to pay attention to where your money is going.

You need to keep track of your personal cash flow.  You can only improve your financial situation if you are fully aware of your present financial situation to begin with.

7. You Focus on the Now.

What are your plans 5 years from now?  How about 10 to 20 years from now?  If you have no idea how to answer these questions, then that is another symptom that you have a poverty mindset.

You put importance on the short-term rather than the long-term.  You want everything now without considering the future consequences.  You have no plan for the future.  A financial goal should be a must for everyone.

8.  You Have all the Latest Trends on Credit.

Take a look at all your possessions? Do you own the latest gadget? Are you a walking advertisement of signature brands?  If you can afford it, then that’s a different story. However, if you have been using your credit card to pay for the purchases in monthly installments, then you have a problem. If you are this person, then that’s a symptom of a poverty mindset.

Spending on things will only make you fell better temporarily. Remember, you have nothing to prove to anyone. Don’t be so concern in showcasing your wealth to people you don’t even like.

9.  Your Focused in Me, Myself and I.

A poverty mentality focuses on getting rather than giving.  If you are not willing to do anything for anybody without receiving anything in return, then it is a sign that you have a poverty mindset.  You always think of yourself first.  You always look into what’s in it for you.

For example, in business, are you more concern about how much profit can you make rather than how much value you can add to your product or service?  In a relationship, are you focus on what your partner can do for you rather than what you can do for your partner?

You need to give first before you can receive.  The most successful businesses in the world gave value to consumers first before their businesses grew.

10.  You are a Consumer Rather than an Investor.

A few days before your salary, you are already thinking on what you will buy.  You prioritise spending rather than investing.  You spend first and save whatever is left behind.  Most of the time, there is nothing left to save.  So basically, you work to spend.  All wealthy people save first before spending.


If you score 0 to 2, congratulations! You have a wealth mindset.  It is just a matter of time before you become wealthy, if you are not one yet.

If you score 3 to 5, you are not yet there but you are on your way to overcoming your poverty mindset. Having the correct mindset is your first step towards financial freedom.

If you score 6 and above, that is a clear indication that you have a poverty mindset. Fortunately, mindset can change. You need to deliberately immerse yourself on a growth mindset on a daily basis.  That’s the only way for you to change your financial situation.

For those who are ready to take the first step towards wealth, find out how to get rid of your poverty mindset.

3 thoughts on “10 Symptoms of a Poverty Mindset

  1. […] Do you want to become wealthy? The key to wealth is to master the wealth mindset.  The difference between the rich and poor has nothing to do with the amount of money that they have in the bank; rather, it is all about their mindset. Your mindset is your set of beliefs and attitudes about certain areas in your life. If money is your concern, then chances are you have symptoms of a poverty mindset. […]

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