Eh. It was less about how wealthy the respective countries were and more about the political costs of funding those programs. In both Germany and Britain, state debt-to-GDP ratios declined between the 1860s and early 1910s. German chancellors were relatively conservative in their funding requests to the Reichstag and were also constrained by the size of the army budget, which made the part of the pie for the navy smaller than it was in Britain (which barely spent anything on its tiny army). In addition, German federal taxation powers were very limited, and efforts to expand them caused a political crisis in 1912. That said, the British also ran into severe difficulties with their armaments and taxation, with the so-called People's Budget - which was partially a navy expansion - precipitating tremendous fallout that eventually included a civil war in Ireland. While German steel production was more than sufficient to meet the requirements of the new navy (in contrast to the Second World War, where steel production was the primary limitation on the Nazi war economy), the actual shipbuilding industry in Germany was very limited, and much of the money devoted to naval construction actually went to plant and training rather than building ships. Britain, which possessed the largest shipbuilding industry in the world, did not suffer this constraint, and thus money spent on ships in Britain went further than an equivalent amount of money spent in Germany. So the Germans had a lot of obstacles to overcome in the naval arms race which made it very impractical for them to think about building up to British numbers. They never actually planned to build up to British numbers, but rather to build a fleet large and powerful enough to make a British attack on it not worth the trouble. Germany's military leaders in both the army and navy assumed incorrectly that the Royal Navy would have to mount a close blockade of German ports to avoid international condemnation, which would leave it vulnerable to even a smaller German fleet that was much closer to its bases.