For Richer or For Poorer

For Richer or For Poorer
If you want to know why there are rich and there are the poor, you have to start with their mindset
By Chinkee Tan

The year 2008 was a great year for me. Ever since I made a decision to transition myself to public speaking as a profession, I had been exposed to different types of people of all walks of life – from the average Juan de la Cruz who earns minimum wage to business owners and CEOs of companies who earn a six-digit monthly income. I had tried my best to really understand the mindset of rich people from poor people by observing how they react, respond, and talk during my live seminars.

The rich, middle class, or poor all have one thing in common and that is to make more money and to be more successful in life. They are pretty much open to anything they can get hold on to to improve themselves and the way they do things.
But one glaring thing that caught my attention is that rich people put value in educating themselves more than they entertaining themselves while poor people entertain themselves more than they educate themselves.

How can I prove that? If you invite poor people to a seminar or learning event, the first question they ask is “May bayad ba?” If you say yes, they start to change the topic and pretend they never asked. Other people will respond “Ang mahal naman!”

But rich people will ask a question like “Ano ang topic? Ano ang matutunan ko?” They will respond with “Kahit mahal, gagawa ako ng paraan!”

Some people are willing to save money and buy a concert ticket for P5,000 to watch their favorite International artist to perform and entertain them only for a few hours. During the last UAAP season, people were willing to buy from scalpers P3,500 bleacher seat tickets located all the way to the roof of Araneta Coliseum just to witness the championship game of Ateneo versus La Salle.

But invite the same people to attend a half-day training that will cost them around P1,000 to P2,000 to improve and add value to them, they will say it is too much, it’s too expensive, I don’t think I need that.

They are willing to buy expensive clothes, shoes, and perfumes and go to expensive salons to have their hair done. Investing more on their outside appearance makes them look and feel good.

While I have nothing against that (I also put value in that and groom myself well), I also strike a balance by not only investing on the outside but also in the inside. I bought a lot of books and attended every learning event that I can in order to improve my inside. Because rich people know when they invest in the inside they will naturally shine in the outside. Being confident on the outside is just a by-product of what was deposited in the inside.

What!? P7,500 for a seminar! Are you crazy?
I really thank God for my parents who taught me the value of education and to do whatever it takes to learn. I can still remember I attended a seminar in 1996 for P7,500 when Zig Ziglar and his team flew in here for a two-day learning event. I did not have much and P7,500 was a lot of money during those times.

But I knew for a fact that the seminar will add value to me as an individual and it will help me grow. The decision to make it to the seminar is one of the best decisions I ever made. During the training, I learned on how to speak effectively in public. I understood the things that are hindering me from achieving my fullest potential.

In other words, the things that I had learned from the P7,500 Zig Ziglar learning event became the very foundation of my speaking career, and the reason why I am now an effective communicator. Because I invested in the training, I am now reaping the benefits of what I had learned from the past.

Some people complain about the high cost of learning events and seminars but there is the higher cost of ignorance. How many people have I counseled who lost millions of their hard earned savings because they were scammed by get-rich-quick schemes? But all it takes is just attending a Finance 101 seminar that can educate and empower you to be a wise investor.

That is what really separates the rich from the poor. Rich people put value more on education rather than entertainment while poor people put value more on entertainment rather than educating themselves.

Do not stay poor by thinking poor.
Be rich by thinking rich.
Invest in yourself; you deserve the best in life.

“Rich people educate themselves more than they entertain themselves. Poor people entertain themselves more than they educate themselves.”
Chinkee Tan is the best selling author of the book “Till Debt Do Us Part”; a lifestyle trainer, speaker, and a Registered Financial Planner. For speaking engagements, please contact or log on to

3 thoughts on “For Richer or For Poorer

  • Andy Amarado

    Totoo talaga yan kahit na sa filled of educators.

  • cesar reyes

    Power yan ptr. chinkee, thanks for that Clear Point of view

  • Wintersnake

    That’s very true. Hindi masyado naiintindihan ng karaniwang tao ang halaga ng edukasyon as buhay nila. Na ito ang magic wand na nagpapabago as buhay ng bawat isa pataas o pababa sa antas ng buhay.

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