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The Battle of the Riches: David and Goliath

When writing a blog each week, I generally have a desire to write about new money topics to ensure that it is interesting for you to read. I then have to remember that when it comes to money, it’s more important to get the basics right than it is to know about lots of different money topics. That is why I have many blogs which cover the same topic, just messaged differently. This blog is one of those.

In this blog, I want to help you talk about Rich vs. Wealthy with your kids but in a completely different format. I’m sure your kids will love this lesson as it uses one of the most famous stories ever told.

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David and Goliath

Like most people, I believed that the story behind David and Goliath is all about the ‘Underdog’. A big strong warrior against a young man. Everyone thought the warrior would win but somehow the underdog won.

People refer to this story in everyday life. For example, suppose I was going to race Usain Bolt over 100m. Very few people would believe that I could win as I’m the clear underdog. However, someone would say ‘Remember David beat Goliath’ so it could happen.

It wasn’t until I read the book, David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell that I learned that people’s views of this story are completely wrong.

To give a recap on the story. Two armies are in a deadlock on either side of a valley. No army will advance to attack the other as it would mean going into the valley which is a very weak position to be in. They, therefore, agreed to send a warrior to do battle. The army of the losing warrior would have to surrender.

One army sends their most feared warrior, Goliath. He is a giant amongst men. After seeing Goliath, no one from the other army is brave enough to fight him. Then a young man, David, steps forward and agrees to fight him. No one expected David to win.

Before I get to what happened (which you all know). Let me fill in some more details about Goliath.

Goliath was a giant, i.e. he had a hormone disorder, Acromegaly. The original story explains how he was escorted down the valley. This is largely due to his poor eye-sight which is common with Acromegaly. Goliath was a feared fighter, as long as his opponent was near him.

David and Goliath story illustration

We all know that the fight ends with David picking up some stones, putting them in a sling and firing them between Goliath’s eyes. Goliath couldn’t defend himself from these stones as he was pretty much blind and didn’t see them coming.

Now let’s talk about David. It wasn’t luck that David managed to hit Goliath between the eyes. David was in the army as part of a group of skilled ‘slingers’. The slingers were trained to launch stones from great distances with incredible accuracy. The speed of the stones was similar to the speed of a bullet from a gun!

In this light, the story is quite different. There is a fight between a blind giant with a sword vs a young man who is essentially a trained gunman. Who is the underdog in this story? That’s right, David wasn’t the underdog at all.

The Rules of the Game

People feel David was the underdog as they perceived the fight to be between two men using swords. In this case, Goliath had a massive advantage. I’m sure if they did have a sword fight, Goliath would have won and no one would have been interested in the story.

The story is powerful as the rules were not to have a sword fight but just a fight. David knew the rules and was the clear favourite to win.

Let’s go back to the 100m race between myself and Usain Bolt. People feel I would be David if we both sprinted and I somehow managed to win the race. However, that’s not the story of David and Goliath. I would be David if I had invented some super boots which had wheels and rockets on the souls. I would no longer be the underdog as the rules are to win over 100m (I didn’t say run over 100m).

This is so important when it comes to money. People usually have the rules completely wrong and therefore admire/follow the wrong people.

The Rules of Money

If there was a ‘Battle of the Riches’, many people believe the winner would be the person who has the nicest things (house, cars, designer clothes). They are the Instagram stars who have the life that everyone aspires to have (just as other warriors would aspire to be a great warrior like Goliath). They are ‘Rich’!

We need to teach kids that the rules of money aren’t just about being able to buy lots of nice things.

The winners are those who can spend their time doing what they want when they want. If you put money in that context, it’s not so clear that the Instagram stars are the likely winners. It is most likely to expose their weakness. Like Goliath had bad eyesight, many Instagram stars have no savings. They are unable to take time off as they need to keep working to fund their lavish lifestyle.

The David’s in the money battle are the ones people don’t expect. They are the ones who are in the background and have become skilled at looking after their money by following the 3 Rules of Wealth to become ‘Wealthy’. Just like David had trained to become a skilled slinger.

It becomes clear that under the rules of money, which focus on freedom and opportunity, those who learn to look after their money win. They will be those that have the opportunity to retire early or take a mini-retirement, whilst the Goliaths are busy working into old age.

I hope your kids want to be like the Davids of the money world, not the Goliaths who get so much attention.


Please talk to your kids about the real story behind David and Goliath.

When it comes to money, it’s not about just having lots of nice things. It’s about having freedom and opportunities. When you look at the world like that, it’s not the ones who have spent all their money that ‘win’, it’s the ones who have been looking after their money.

We can’t stop our kids from going on to social media (despite the 4 reasons why social media will stop your kids from becoming wealthy). We can, however, teach our kids that what they see on social media isn't exactly as it appears.

If you’d like to use characters to help explain this concept to your kids then I recommend you read my blog, ‘Rich Kids vs Wealthy Kids’, or my book Grandpa’s Fortune Fables. Your kids can see that the character, Richie Raccoon, is just like Goliath and Wealthy Wallaby (Grandpa) is just like David.

If you’ve not already read the book David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, I strongly recommend you do. It has many great stories about how people misunderstand the underdog. It has inspired me to write another blog about universities. So, if you think your kids will go to university in the future, make sure you don’t miss that by subscribing below. Essentially, sending your kids to the ‘best university’ might not lead to the best outcome.

If you enjoyed this blog, it would be amazing if you could share it so it reaches more families.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of my book Grandpa’s Fortune Fables. If you haven't bought your kids a copy yet, you can buy on Amazon or take advantage of our Special Bundle Offer below

Grandpa's fortune fables book

1 Comment

Aug 07, 2022

Great message Will!

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