Being Rich vs. Being Wealthy: What’s The Difference?

Ching Sue Mae

Ching Sue Mae

Last updated 03 September, 2021

How much money is enough? Are you rich or do you truly have wealth? Here’s a look at the definition of rich versus wealthy and what each entails. 


People often confuse being rich as having wealth. But is there really a difference between the two, or just a matter of semantics? 

Here’s a look at what it means to be rich versus what it means to have wealth. 

Being rich: Focusing on instant gratification

Everyone wants to get rich quick. While these are hardly sure-fire ways to get rich, if you’re lucky enough, you might land a windfall by striking the lottery, getting an inheritance, punting on a crypto coin, selling Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and more. 

But what does being rich really mean?

In the most basic sense, being rich means you have money — a lot of money. Someone who’s rich might also flaunt their wealth by purchasing luxury items such as  flashy watches and expensive handbags, and dining at upscale restaurants. 

A rich person would seek instant gratification and view wealth in monetary terms. They’re focused on the present and would splurge on a luxurious lifestyle rather than making their money last for the future. Such indiscriminate spending can gradually deplete their money until they’re no longer ‘rich’ and might even be spending more than they earn. 

As frivolous as being rich might sound, there’s also nothing wrong with that. When you’re rich, you can buy whatever you want, whenever you want it. Being rich can also be a great base for you to start building wealth. 

Having that much money on hand (think along the lines of S$200,000 or more) also opens the doors to opportunities such as starting a priority banking relationship, enjoying lower fees when investing with robo-advisors and being eligible for investments reserved for accredited investors. 

Having wealth: Focusing on the long-term 

Being rich doesn't mean that you have wealth. 

Being wealthy means that you’re well-off financially, and you’re looking to amass assets to make your money work harder for you. Assets can refer to investment such as stocks, cryptocurrency and gold, as well as property, cash, cars, art pieces and more. 

When looking to accumulate wealth, you’re focused on the long-term sustainability of your money. Having wealth also goes beyond having a comfortable salary. It encompasses other forms of income, such as investment returns, dividends, rental income and more. 

When you have wealth, you live within your means and also have the financial capability to spend on your wants. It also means leaving a legacy for future generations, be it an investment portfolio, properties or even payouts from insurance policies. 

With wealth, you can also work on your own terms and because you want to, not because you need to.

Having wealth sounds like the ultimate dream for many, particularly those looking to achieve financial freedom. So, how does one become wealthy in Singapore? Here are some of our best articles to help you get started:

If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach to purchase stocks, exchange traded funds (ETFs), options and more, you can start by opening a brokerage account. 

To be rich or to have wealth? 

Now that you know the difference between the two, it’s time to figure out which one you are — rich or wealthy.

An alternative perspective would be that being rich could be a building block towards having wealth. If you’re rich today, you can turn that money into long-term wealth by changing your spending habits and adopting a more sustainable approach to grow your money. 

Besides thinking long term, rather than striving to earn more money, you should instead look to grow your assets. This includes investing and finding ways to build a passive income stream.  

Once you’ve reached the threshold of about a quarter of a million dollars, it’s then time to start thinking about starting a priority banking account to get further along on your wealth accumulation journey. After all, you’ve earned it!

Ready to level up? Find out how you can make your money work harder and smarter for you. Enjoy your own dedicated relationship manager and privileged access to a whole suite of preferential rates with Priority Banking. Compare your options.

Read these next: 
8 Ways To Accelerate Your Wealth In Singapore
Privilege Banking: What’s In It For You and Your Money
How Much Do You Really Need To Afford A Landed Property In Singapore?
Premium Credit Cards: Which Gives High Income Earners The Best Value?
Uniquely Singaporean Things We Do To Accumulate Wealth


A flat white, an adventure-filled travel and a good workout is her fuel. Sue Mae enjoys sharing knowledge on personal finance while chasing the dream of financial independence.


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