Wealth and Poverty Are Just Two Different Game Plans


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My family was once very rich. We lived in a big home, on two acres, in the wealthiest community on Staten Island, known as Todt Hill.

It’s a much more complicated story, but when I was nine years old, my father’s business was intentionally burned to the ground. And just like that, we were poor.

Not homeless poor, but still poor. How my father was able to fight off the ongoing threats of foreclosure and keep all eleven of us in our home, is a story in itself.

We were literally the poorest family living on Todt Hill.

Our sudden poverty devastated our family and not a day went by without money worries. Financial stress hung over our heads like storm clouds, following us wherever we went.

I forged a very negative belief about the rich, as a poor child living among the wealthy. They seemed to flaunt their wealth in our faces. It was emasculating just being around them everyday.

I grew up feeling self conscious and inferior.

To deal with this inferiority complex, I rationalized that poor people were simply victims of bad luck.

That belief, that poor people were just victims of their circumstances, stayed with me into my adulthood.

But that all changed in 2009. That’s when I completed my analysis of the data I had gathered over five years in studying the rich and the poor. That data opened my eyes for the first time. I realized that wealth and poverty were simply two different systems, or game plans.

There’s a Wealth Game Plan and there’s a Poverty Game Plan.

Those who follow the Wealth Game Plan become rich and, if they continue to follow this Wealth Game Plan their entire lives, they stay rich.

Those who follow the Poverty Game Plan become poor, and if they continue to follow this Poverty Game Plan their entire lives, they stay poor.

My family, I realized, had just been following the wrong game plan. Unfortunately, out of habit, I continued to follow my family’s Poverty Game Plan until my Rich Habits research opened my eyes and forced me to change my game plan.

In 2009, I embraced the Wealth Game Plan and, after following it for eight years, my income has nearly tripled, my debt has gone down by 50% and I feel like I finally have some say in the financial outcome of my life.

The Wealth Game Plan

  • Take responsibility for your financial circumstances.
  • Improve every day – engage in perpetual, daily self-improvement. Read to learn, not to entertain.
  • Pursue your dreams and your goals – do not put your ladder on someone else’s wall.
  • Set good goals and avoid bad goals – good goals are tied to your dreams and your vision of the ideal person you want to become in the future. Bad goals are goals designed to increase the stuff you own.
  • Never quit on your dreams and goals.
  • Forge good habits and avoid bad habits – good habits help you become better and move you forward. Bad habits do the opposite.
  • Associate with upbeat, happy, enthusiastic, success-minded people and limit your exposure to negative, toxic people.
  • Never gamble.
  • Save 20% or more of your income first, before spending anything.
  • Control your thoughts and emotions.
  • Never say what is on your mind – control the words that come out of your mouth.
  • Never gossip.
  • Seek out mentors who have done what you want to do.
  • Never criticize, condemn or complain.
  • Exercise every day, aerobically and anaerobically.
  • Eat healthy every day.
  • Moderate the bad (eating junk food, watching TV, Internet, drinking alcohol, etc.).
  • Live for tomorrow – delay gratification in the pursuit of your dreams and goals.
  • Create a clear vision of your ideal, future life – this becomes your new identity and your new behaviors, thinking and habits will become the behaviors, thinking and habits of the future you.
  • Never lie, cheat or steal.
  • Be faithful to your spouse, friends, co-workers, customers, and mentors.
  • Meet or exceed expectations others have in you.
  • Take educated risks and avoid uneducated risks.
  • Experiment until you find your inner talents and devote the rest of your life practicing and perfecting those talents.
  • Like or love what you do for a living.
  • Provide superior, value-added service or products to others.
  • Be a cheerleader not a booleader.
  • Become a virtuoso in whatever it is you do for a living.
  • Have multiple sources of income – never depend on one source of income.
  • Have a positive, optimistic, success-minded mental outlook.
  • Sleep at least 7 hours a day.
  • Embrace mistakes/failures – they are your teachers.
  • Be frugal with your money.
  • Avoid spontaneous or emotional spending.
  • Avoid want spending.
  • Never supersize your life – don’t increase your spending as your income increases.
  • Seek happiness in events, not stuff.
  • Focus on one task at a time – don’t make multi-tasking a habit.
  • See wealth as good and poverty as bad.
  • Ask for what you want in life.
  • Seek feedback from others.
  • Never make decisions out of fear.
  • Obey and follow laws and rules – there is no shortcut to success.
  • Minimize or avoid “do-nothing” habits – these are time-wasting habits that do not help you improve or move you forward in life.
  • Patiently pursue your dreams and goals – success takes a long time.
  • Treat everyone you meet with respect until they prove they do not deserve it.

The Poverty Game Plan

  • Take no responsibility for your life circumstances. Blame everyone but yourself.
  • Do not read to learn or for self-improvement – read for entertainment.
  • Seek instant gratification.
  • Gamble.
  • Forge bad habits. and “do nothing” habits.
  • Spend 100% or more of what you make for a living.
  • Overextend yourself (i.e. buying or renting a home/car you can’t afford)
  • Criticize, condemn and complain.
  • Make decisions out of fear.
  • Do not seek out mentors.
  • Be afraid to ask for what you want.
  • Avoid or ignore feedback.
  • Do not challenge yourself –  stay within your comfort zone.
  • Do not control your thoughts and emotions.
  • Say whatever is on your mind – do not control the words that come out of your mouth.
  • Associate with negative, toxic people.
  • No clear vision of who you want to be.
  • Do not pursue dreams and goals.
  • Set bad goals – buying stuff, expensive vacations, etc.
  • Quit when the going gets tough.
  • Be negative, pessimistic and cynical about everything.
  • Trust no one.
  • Gossip.
  • Belittle others.
  • Be untrustworthy – cheat on your spouse or significant other, backstab friends, colleagues and co-workers.
  • Eat in excess
  • Drink alcohol in excess.
  • Take recreational drugs.
  • Don’t exercise or exercise sporadically.
  • Buy whatever you feel like buying immediately and without thinking about the consequences – engage in spontaneous or emotional spending.
  • Supersize your life – increase your spending as your income increases.
  • Live for today and never plan for your future.
  • Fail to meet the expectations of others.
  • Ignore laws and rules – lie, cheat and steal in order to shortcut success.

If you were born or raised in poverty, you must change your game plan when you become an adult. Otherwise, poverty will follow you wherever you go.

The Wealth Game Plan does not guarantee that you will become a multi-millionaire, but it does guarantee that you will cease being poor.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. If you follow the “Wealth Game Plan” some small percentage will become rich because there are still life circumstances you can’t overcome. It’s like the MLM pitch, most people that follow the plan still don’t end up as a triple platinum gold or whatever title they give.

    • I find the “Wealth Game Plan” a way of creating a fulfilling life, a mindset that leads to inner happiness. If it leads to financial “super” abundance, then this is a huge bonus! I’m in!

  2. My American no very good but i undestend that words about bad and good then want transform you life.Then translate in laibrary,say more.

  3. If you follow the wealth game plan, there is no guaranty that you will become rich but chances are strong that you are not going to end up poor, especially because you will be a trustable person wherever you live.

  4. eka surya candra says:

    Love this article, great

  5. Great article i look forward to reading these everyday.

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