Why Are So Many Very Intelligent People Not Rich?

Very smart but definitely not very rich!

Very smart but definitely not very rich!


Lots of seemingly middle of the road type people get rich and even very rich, whereas many very smart and very intelligent people, many of whom have lots of talent too, remain poor.

Why is that?

Is it just a question of ‘luck’ or is it something else?


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6 Responses to Why Are So Many Very Intelligent People Not Rich?

  1. peterson says:

    It would seem to me that very smart and very intelligent people have figured out that money doesn’t bring happiness. Comfort “Yes”, but happiness, “No”.

    There is a saying which says, “It’s easy to get rich if all you want to do is get rich” and I take this as meaning that if you make getting rich the most important thing in your life then you’ll achieve it.

    But it might mean having no children because they cost so much money, or raising children like the Williams sisters who will make you a lot of money; and it might mean never going to a nice restaurant unless it’s for business and living in a cheap apartment when you can afford a better one.

    I don’t believe in luck and my definition of it would be, “Luck is when opportunity meets readiness”.

    We all have opportunities all the time but if we’re not ready for them, then we miss them, and we then describe ourselves as never having any luck etc.

  2. big-believer says:

    “Who is rich? He who is satisfied with his lot”.

    Chapter 4, Mishna 1(b)

    Ben Zoma’s point in a word is that true satisfaction does not derive from having. Wealth does not ensure happiness. It is an important means towards many other things — comfort, self-sufficiency, tranquility, peace of mind. But if we make it an ends — if its pursuit consumes us and occupies all our waking hours — we will find nothing but stress and anxiety. King Solomon, wisest — as well as wealthiest — of all men, wrote, “…the satiety of the rich man does not let him sleep” (Koheles 5:11).

  3. RegSpragg says:

    I’d say that a great many intelligent and very intelligent people came to the decision that the rewards that money brings are not worth the effort that it takes to gain them.

    Someone like Einstein would most likely not have made his most important discoveries if he’d been preoccupied with getting rich.

    The list of talented musicians, artists, writers and scientists etc that devoted their lives to their work and not to making money is almost endless and just imagine how much poorer we’d all be if they dedicated their lives to making money instead.

    BTW – Einstein didn’t give all of his Nobel Prize money to his first wife, Mileva Marić, (in compliance with their 1919 divorce settlement) but invested a large amount of it in the United States, and then saw much of it wiped out in the Great Depression.

  4. Jeannie says:

    Part of it is childhood training. How one is taught or not taught about money, budgeting, saving, etc. Part of it is the feelings, attitudes and beliefs the person holds (much set up in childhood, and unconciously still referenced). These can propel or hold back.

  5. Annette says:

    Maybe we should not expect people that are intelligent to be rich. Some are some are not. There may be many circumstances and beliefs that come into play.

    There are a lot of people that are are not bright and some of them are rich and some are not. Same thing.

  6. Jean says:

    Personally, I value several things higher than I do money, or getting rich.

    Ones intelligence might be channeled into doing something that does not bring in a shower of riches, but a comfortable living, and that is good enough for many people.

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