By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Broke vs. Poor
Live Without Limits 2-14-24
Bryan Golden
Bryan Golden

There is an enormous difference between someone who is broke and someone who considers themselves poor. Being broke refers to a current financial situation. Poor however, is a state of mind.

The person who is broke can rectify their circumstances by improving their finances. As a solution, they seek to change their strategy in a way to improve their finances. There are countless examples of an individual losing all of their money and then making it all back. Even wealthy people have gone through this cycle.

Walt Disney didn’t give up after he filed for bankruptcy in 1920. A few years later, in 1928, he founded a new company and created Mickey Mouse.

Henry Ford didn’t give up after his first company failed and went bankrupt. He got right back up and started a second company. However, his second company also went broke. Undaunted, he launched FORD in 1903.

Rowland H. Macy failed at four attempts to open successful retail stores. His fifth venture was opening a store in Manhattan in 1858. This one did well, with sales of $85,000 in the first year.

These are but three of numerous examples of people who have lost everything but never considered themselves poor. They were determined to continue until successful. They didn’t waste one second making excuses. They devoted all of their time and energy to turning their situation around.

The poor person has a self-image of poverty. They believe their financial situation is a result of forces beyond their control. They use poverty as an excuse to justify their circumstances.

Anyone may experience tough financial times. What you do when there, and where you go next, are the determining factors that make all the difference. Should you view yourself as a victim who doesn’t have control over their circumstances, you prevent yourself from taking corrective action.

Broke vs. poor illustrates the contrast between circumstances and attitude. Although circumstances do fluctuate, it’s your response which determines the future. Action changes circumstances but attitude controls action. So, it’s attitude which differentiates between someone who is broke and someone who is poor.

An attitude of “woe is me” leads to passivity. With this outlook, no action is taken because there is no point. This approach to life is characteristic of a victim mentality. Victims passively wait for things to get better. They passively wait for adversity to pass.

Victims blame other people or circumstances for their fate. They don’t believe they have any control over what happens to them. Where they are is a result of what has been done to them. The targets they blame include family, friends, the economy, their job, their boss, bad luck, the government, or even strangers.

A person who thinks of themself as poor has a victim mentality. If they receive guidance from anyone successful, they have limitless excuses as to why they can’t succeed. A poor person will also claim to have tried numerous strategies, none of which worked for them.

A broke person can’t wait to do whatever is necessary to improve their finances. These people know their situation is temporary. They are constantly looking for ideas and inspiration. They study successful people to learn how they have done things. A broke person does whatever is necessary to turn their situation around.

If you ever find yourself in an adverse situation, remember that the outcome is based on your outlook. Taking the “poor” approach leaves you passively hoping and waiting for things to get better. Utilizing the “broke” strategy gets you in gear to take whatever action is needed to improve your circumstances.


Bryan Golden is the author of “Dare to Live Without Limits.” Opinions expressed are those of the author. Contact him at or visit