What Is the Difference Between Rich and Wealthy?

difference between rich and wealthyDo you believe there is a difference between rich and wealthy? Have you ever considered it before? We’re going to spend two quick minutes in this article doing just that.

Exploring the Difference Between Rich and Wealthy

What is “Rich?” What is “Wealthy?”

Time to jump back into grade school for a moment. Sometimes the best way to explore a topic is to lay a groundwork. Before we view different opinions from a variety of sources on the difference between rich and wealthy (if there is one), let’s take a look at how a standard dictionary splits these two words.

Rich (according to Merriam-Webster.com): Having abundant possessions and especially material wealth.

Now let’s check in with the same dictionary and find out how things measure up with “wealthy.”

Wealthy: Very affluent. Characterized by abundance.

They sound the same, don’t they? Ah, but if you read them again more closely, you’ll see a subtle difference. I missed it the first time. One word means “having abundance” and the other means “characterized by abundance.”


Let’s hear from a few others who’ve weighed in on this subject. I’m not saying I side with one or the other, but I’d like to present two sides to this argument and ultimately hear your opinion on the matter at the end.

What People Are Saying

When I first introduced this question to a personal finance group on Facebook, I quickly got differing opinions – which was really interesting. Honestly, this wasn’t a question I was even ready to answer, so hearing the results from others was informative.

One member wrote, “Rich people’s hearts are full, and wealthy people’s pockets are full.”

Another member cited “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki saying, “The rich only have a lot of money for a short time because they spend it foolishly. Wealthy comes from knowing how to manage your money to grow and last for generations.”

Recommended Resource: “The 5 Best Personal Finance Books”

Curious to know more, I jumped over to Kiyosaki’s website, RichDad.com. Kiyosaki updates it regularly with his own advice about the economy, starting a business, and educating our children. Let’s take a look at that view in the words of “Rich Dad” – one of Kiyosaki’s greatest influences:

The rich have lots of money but the wealthy don’t worry about money.

Interesting. So it’s like a mindset more than an established volume of wealth. Wouldn’t you say?

In Kiyosaki’s article “The Definition of Wealth,” he explains how the number of days you can live without working equates wealth. He then goes on to say something I highlighted in my copy of his book “The Cash Flow Quadrant”:

Wealth is measured in time, not dollars.

(Curious to learn about the cash flow quadrant? Read my review and download a free infographic here.)

My Conclusion

What I conclude from these collections of insights, definitions, and opinions is that being rich and wealthy are basically the same when it comes to dollar signs. The difference lies in the mindset and quality of life while that wealth is spent.

Would you agree? Disagree? Weigh in with your thoughts on the difference between rich and wealthy below!

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash