101 Thoughts About Money From People Who’ve Made a Lot of It
Quotes about money may not seem to fit here, but a good quotation can change the way you think — and also inspire you to take to take action.
And — in a possibly vain attempt at immortality through words — I introduce each category with a thought of my own.
Wealth and Becoming Rich
How do you define “rich?”
Merriam Webster says it’s “having a lot of money and possessions.” But the dictionary also define it as “having high value or quality.”
My thought: “A rich life is more about how your money is spent than how much you have.”
1. Robert Kiyosaki: “People say ‘I want to be rich.’ The question is, ‘Are you willing to do what it takes?’”
2. Henry David Thoreau: “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”
3. Epictetus: “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
4. Andrew Carnegie: “Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community.”
5. W. C. Fields: “A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.”
6. David Bailey: “To get rich, you have to be making money while you’re asleep.”
7. Tommy Lee: “The best thing about being rich is the freedom; freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want. It doesn’t suck.”
8. Felix Dennis: “You’ll never get rich by working for your boss.”
What do you think about money?
Is it one of the most important things in your life? What are you willing to do for it? How do you use it?
These and other questions are addressed in the following quotes.
My own thought: “Most people value money for the things it can buy, but it’s even more valuable when used to buy situations, time and freedom.”
9. Marsha Sinetar: “Do what you love and the money will follow.”
10. Ayn Rand: “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”
11. Jonathan Swift: “A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.”
12. George Bernard Shaw: “Lack of money is the root of all evil.”
13. Ann Richards: “There is a lot more to life than just struggling to make money.”
14. Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money. It lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
15. Henry Fielding: “Make money your god and it will plague you like the devil.”
16. Anna Lappe: “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”
17. Francois Rabelais: “It is a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money.”
18. Henry Ford: “The highest use of capital is not to make more money, but to make money do more for the betterment of life.”
19. Pope Francis: “Money has to serve, not to rule.”
20. Robert Collier: “All riches have their origin in mind. Wealth is in ideas — not money.”
21. Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Money often costs too much.”
22. Kevin O’Leary: “Money equals freedom.”
Debt and Lending
For households with credit card debt, the average is $15,706.
That’s in addition to cars, homes and education debt. Is it all worth it?
It depends on why you borrow. Burdening your future self with credit card debt for consumer items is not the same as borrowing to start a business or buy a house.
My thought: “Debt either builds your future or cannibalizes it.”
23. Bob Hope: “A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.”
24. Thomas Jefferson: “Never spend your money before you have it.”
25. Jesse H. Jones: “One of the greatest disservices you can do to a man is to lend him money that he can’t pay back.”
26. Benjamin Franklin: “Creditors have better memories than debtors.”
27. William Shakespeare: “He that dies pays all debts.”
28. Andrew Tobias: “You want 21% risk free? Pay off your credit cards.”
29. John Dewey: “No man’s credit is as good as his money.”
30. Joyce Brothers: “Credit buying is much like being drunk. The buzz happens immediately and gives you a lift… The hangover comes the day after.”
31. Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A man in debt is so far a slave.”
Frugality and Saving
Do you clip coupons, shop sales and negotiate lower prices?
Or do you impulsively buy what you want, when you want it?
Do you set aside money for future purchases or run up credit card debt to have it all now? A credit shopping spree may be fun, but it’s also a way to buy a poor future.
My thought: “Saving money and shopping wisely is a way to buy an ever richer future.”
32. Chuck Feeney: “It’s the intelligent thing to be frugal.”
33. Ezra Taft Benson: “Do not leave yourself or your family unprotected against financial storms… Build up savings.”
34. Sir Henry Taylor: “The art of living easily as to money is to pitch your scale of living one degree below your means.”
35. Joe Moore: “A simple fact that is hard to learn is that the time to save money is when you have some.”
36. William Shatner: “If saving money is wrong, I don’t want to be right!”
37. Jeff Bezos: “I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.”
38. John Ray: “Industry is fortune’s right hand, and frugality its left.”
39. Paula Poundstone: “I’m thankful for the 3-ounce Ziploc bag, so that I have somewhere to put my savings.”
Business is a game to some people, a way to pay the bills for others and, for some lucky souls, a way to pursue their passions.
If you don’t own a business, you might not relate to some of the following quotes.
On the other hand, maybe you’re in business, and just don’t know it.
My thought: “A job is the business of selling your labor, and the profits can be reinvested into a better business.”
40. Donald Trump: “Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.”
41. Andy Warhol: “Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art of all.”
42. Alexandre Dumas: “Business? It’s quite simple. It’s other people’s money.”
43. Benjamin Franklin: “Drive thy business or it will drive thee.”
44. Sam Walton: “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
45. Earl Warren: “Ben Franklin may have discovered electricity — but it is the man who invented the meter who made the money.”
46. Francis Ford Coppola: “As long as I can make lots of money in other businesses, I’ll continue to subsidize my own work.”
The idea is simple enough: After you work for money, you save some, so it can work for you.
Of course, in these days of low interest rates, your bank accounts won’t work too hard for you — and many other investments involve risking losing that hard-earned capital.
My thought: “They say you can make your money work for you, but my money seems a bit lazy lately.”
47. Robert Kiyosaki: “We go to school to learn to work hard for money. I write books and create products that teach people how to have money work hard for them.”
48. Ron Chernow: “One of the very nice things about investing in the stock market is that you learn about all different aspects of the economy. It’s your window into a very large world.”
49. Paul Samuelson: “Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.”
50. John Maynard Keynes: “Successful investing is anticipating the anticipations of others.”
51. Bill Ackman: “Investing is a business where you can look very silly for a long period of time before you are proven right.”
52. Kevin Rose: “The key to making money in angel investing is saying no. You meet with 100 companies and say no to 99 of them.”
53. Donald Trump: “Sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make.”
Money and Ethics
There’s an old joke in which a shop owner explains ethics to his son: “Today a customer gave me a $20 bill thinking it was $5, so I gave him change for $5. Ethics, my son, is about whether I should split the $15 profit with my partner or keep it myself.”
But seriously, where do we draw the ethical lines when it comes to money?
My thought: “I figure that before I try any unethical ways to make money, I’ll work my way through all of the ethical ways — and that should take a lifetime.”
54. Benjamin Franklin: “He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.”
55. Will Smith: “Money and success don’t change people; they merely amplify what is already there.”
56. Muhammad Ali: “My principles are more important than the money or my title.”
57. W. C. Fields: “It’s morally wrong to allow a sucker to keep his money.”
58. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: “A man is usually more careful of his money than of his principles.”
Money and Success
How do you define success?
Is it a big home and fancy car, or a job you love? How will you know when you’re successful?
My thought: “People have no idea what would really make them happy, so they seek the things that will make them successful according to the standards of the culture around them.”
59. Henry Ford: “If money is your hope for independence, you will never have it. The only real security that a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.”
60. Oprah Winfrey: “How do I define success? Let me tell you, money’s pretty nice. But having a lot of money does not automatically make you a successful person.
“What you want is money and meaning. You want your work to be meaningful, because meaning is what brings the real richness to your life.”
61. Bob Dylan: “What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”
62. Al Pacino: “Money makes your life easier. If you’re lucky to have it, you’re lucky.”
63. Nelson Mandela: “Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.”
Employment and Paychecks
Do you like your current job, or is it just a way to pay the bills?
Is it taking you in the right direction? If not, can you use it to get where you want to go?
My thought: “A job can be a way toward your important goals or a detour away from them; it’s all in how you use it.”
64. Julianna Margulies: “I love making money, but you can’t live your life waiting to get rich in a job that no longer feeds you artistically.”
65. Byron Dorgan: “Working hard and working smart sometimes can be two different things.”
66. Henry Ford: “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”
67. J. Paul Getty: “The employer generally gets the employees he deserves.”
68. Marlon Brando: “Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent.”
69. Joan Rivers: “I’ve learned from doing my own show with Fox that people are not your partners if they’re signing the checks. Whoever signs your paycheck is the boss — no matter what they tell you.”
70. Drew Carey: “I don’t miss the economic insecurity, the living paycheck to paycheck.”
Personal Money Thoughts
In addition to general philosophical beliefs about money, many famous people have expressed personal feelings and ideas.
Which of the following can you relate to?
My thought: “If I won millions in a lottery, there is nothing special I would buy, except for investments to provide a permanent income.”
71. Francis Ford Coppola: “I was never sloppy with other people’s money. Only my own. Because I figure, well, you can be.”
72. Salvador Dali: “Liking money like I like it, is nothing less than mysticism. Money is a glory.”
73. Paris Hilton: “I’ve made all my money on my own without my family and I work very hard.”
74. Joan Crawford: “I, Joan Crawford, I believe in the dollar. Everything I earn, I spend.”
75. Anna Nicole Smith: “Marrying into money was not a good thing for me.”
76. Kid Rock: “I am happy to make money. I want to make more money, make more music, eat Big Macs and drink Budweisers.”
77. Antonio Banderas: “It was an honor and privilege to arrive to this country 16 years ago with almost no money in my pocket. A lot has happened since then.”
78. Cher: “I’m scared to death of being poor. It’s like a fat girl who loses 500 pounds but is always fat inside. I grew up poor and will always feel poor inside. It’s my pet paranoia.”
79. Pablo Picasso: “I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.”
80. Warren Buffett: “I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me.”
81. Steven Spielberg: “I’m not really interested in making money.”
Random Thoughts About Money
Some humor, philosophy and a bit of insight can be found in the following quotes about money.
My thought: “People often talk about how much things cost, but with one exception: They rarely talk about how much they pay for money.”
82. Steven Tyler: “You have no idea how expensive it is to look this cheap.”
83. Gene Simmons: “I also learned that I love making money. Anyone who is not afraid of work will be happy with the money they make.”
84. Scott Alexander: “Making money is a hobby that will complement any other hobbies you have, beautifully.”
85. John D. Rockefeller: “I have ways of making money that you know nothing of.”
86. Muhammad Yunus: “Human beings are much bigger than just making money.”
87. Irving Paul Lazar: “The whole point of having money, and working and making money, is to enjoy and spend it.”
88. H. L. Mencken: “The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.”
89. Felix Dennis: “Making money is certainly the one addiction I cannot shake.”
Sometimes a quote is just funny.
Other times there’s also a lesson in the humor. Both types of quotations are included here.
My thought: “They say I should find a job I can be passionate about, but what if my passion is to avoid all jobs?”
90. Woody Allen: “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.”
91. Yogi Berra: “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
92. Jackie Mason: “I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.”
93. Groucho Marx: “Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.”
94. David Richerby: “The tooth fairy teaches children that they can sell body parts for money.”
95. Jack Handey: “I hope that when I die, people say about me, ‘Boy, that guy sure owed me a lot of money.’”
96. Edith Wharton: “The only way not to think about money is to have a great deal of it.”
97. Oscar Wilde: “When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.”
98. George Carlin: “Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.”
99. Spike Milligan: “All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.”
100. George Bernard Shaw: “Very few people can afford to be poor.”
101. Elizabeth Taylor: “Money is the best deodorant.”
Your Turn: Which are your favorite quotes about money?
Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).