Can Hard Work Make You Rich? (No, But It’s A Start)

By Zach Buchenau

Last Updated: December 28, 2020

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Can hard work make you rich? No, but it's a good start | Be The Budget

I think it’s fair to assume that most people would like to be rich. However, from what I have seen, many people aren’t willing to put in the hard work and make the sacrifices it takes to do so. To put it plainly, they want the results without the work.

On the flip side, for all you hard workers out there, it can be rather upsetting to watch people that don’t work as hard as you make more money and find a higher level of success. How can that be? I mean, the harder you work, the more money you should make, and the richer you should be, right? Wrong.

Sorry to burst your bubble. But I’m not writing this article to make you feel good. I’m writing it because I want you to win with money, and yes, build wealth. So, in the spirit of brutal honesty, allow me to answer the following question: can hard work make you rich?

No, hard work in and of itself will not make you rich. Rather, if you want to build wealth, you need to combine hard work with sound financial behaviors like, financial planning, budgeting, avoiding debt, saving, investing, and living below your means.

For the rest of this article, I am going to dive into 5 financial behaviors that — when paired with hard work and consistency — lead to wealth.

Let’s dive right in!


If wealth is your desired destination, then budgeting is your roadmap. I can personally attest to the fact that budgeting is one of the most important financial habits you can adopt.

To give you a little backstory, when my wife and I first decided to get on a budget, we were buried in all sorts of debt payments, our spending was over the top, and our overall net worth was sitting at around -$25,000. Thanks to budgeting, we got completely out of debt, built a six month emergency fund, and are consistently investing for our future.

I mean, why do you think we named this website Be The Budget?

Budgeting helps you control your spending, and reverse-engineer your financial goals so that you can reach them as efficiently as possible. It might not be the most exciting step on the road to wealth, but it’s the difference between living paycheck-to-paycheck, and achieving your financial dreams.

If you want to learn more about budgeting, be sure to check out our other posts on the subject. We have some thorough guides to help you get the most out of your budget, and turn your hard work into wealth.

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Avoiding Debt

If you haven’t noticed so far, I’m not the kind of gut to pull punches. So, here goes…

Debt is a financial monster just waiting to devour your money and your financial future. Sure, some debts are worse than others, but ultimately, every dollar you pay to somebody else is just money that doesn’t go toward your own wealth.

In fact, when you are in debt, all that hard work you put into earning an income just ends up making somebody else rich.

In the words of Charles Conrad, “The poor pay interest, while the rich earn interest.”

In other words, if you want to be rich, do what rich people do: stop paying interest, and start earning it.

Other Posts About Debt:

Living Below Your Means

Regardless of how much money you make, or how hard you work, if you don’t live below your means, then you will never be rich. Seriously, whether you make $25,000 per year, or $100,000 per year, if you don’t have any money left over after spending for saving and investing, then you will always rely on your next paycheck.

Living below your means is one of the keys to wealth. It gives you the ability to put your money to work, and grow your net worth.

Saving Money

Learning to save money is a critical part of wealth-building. Whether you are saving to pay cash for a big purchase like a vacation, or just to protect your financial life in the event of an emergency, it’s important to have a nice pile of savings.

As a good rule-of-thumb, at any one time, you should have at least 3 to 6 months of living expenses sitting in an emergency fund. Beyond that, you should make a point to save and pay cash for periodic expenses like car maintenance expenses, home repairs, and anything else that might arise.

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If you want to maximize the positive financial impact of your hard work, then you need to start investing your money. But let’s get something straight, investing isn’t the lottery. You don’t just buy some stocks one day, and hope to become a millionaire the next.

Proper investing is a long-term game. And when I say long-term, I’m talking decades of consistent, month-after-month investing.

You see, if you really want to become wealthy, then you need to put the power of compound interest to work in your life. And that takes time. But here’s the thing, when you invest your money, all the hard work you are putting into earning that money, will continue to pay you years into the future.

Investing really is the key to wealth. You just have to be patient and consistent.

For example, let’s say that you set a goal to become a millionaire in twenty years. Well if you’re starting from zero, then simple math suggests that you would need to invest about $1,700 per month and earn an average annual return of 8%.

That sounds simple enough, right? Well, then why isn’t just about every 40 or 50 year old a millionaire? It’s because very few people actually do it.

Don’t be one of those people. If you want your hard work to make you rich, then you need to use it to feed the wealth-building power of compound interest. In other words, work hard, and invest your money.

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Final Thoughts

Hard work alone won’t make you rich. However, when combined with solid financial habits like budgeting, staying out of debt, saving, living below your means, and investing, hard work can lead to serious wealth.

Can hard work make you rich? | Be The Budget

Can hard work make you rich? (No, But It's A Good Start) | Be The Budget

Zach Buchenau

About The Author:

Zach Buchenau is a self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. When he isn't writing about budgeting, getting out of debt, making extra money, and living a frugal life, you can find him building furniture, fly fishing, or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.

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