Money asks if millionaires are smarter than the rest of us.
I changed the title of this post because I'm not one of the "rest of us". :)
Anyway, here are their key thoughts:
It does seem, in general, that smart people pull down fatter paychecks. Jay Zagorsky, an economist and research scientist at The Ohio State University, found that every additional point a person scored on an IQ test correlated with between roughly $200 and $600 a year in income. In other words, a person with an IQ of 130 would earn between $6,000 and $18,500 a year more than someone with an IQ of 100.
But Zagorsky also found that the same isn’t true when it comes to wealth. “There seems to be no relationship between intelligence and net worth,” he said, because there are different factors at work.
“In general, businesses tend to want to hire smarter people and pay people more, but just because you have a higher income doesn’t mean that you’re more likely to save it or are better at building that wealth,” he said.
In fact, when Zagorsky charted IQ against people’s likelihood to have financial struggles like paying bills late, declaring bankruptcy and maxing out their credit cards, people with the highest IQs were more likely to have financial instability than those with just slightly above-average scores.
Several thoughts on this:
- We've talked about the relationship between intelligence and income previously. For details, see Intelligence is Linked to Income, but Not to Wealth and Intelligence Still Linked to Income, Not Wealth.
- As those posts also detail, intelligence is not tied to wealth. Just because you're smarter and make more money doesn't mean you have the skills to build wealth.
- In fact, it appears that intelligence may be inversely related to wealth generation. A good example: doctors and lawyers generate much lower levels of wealth than expected based on income.
- Why is this the case? My guess is that smarter people earn more because they are, well, smarter. And as such they likely add more value to their employers. More value = higher pay. But the skills needed to become wealthy don't focus as much on intelligence. Here you need traits like self-control, patience, and discipline. If you look at the seven traits of The Millionaire Next Door, you'll see that intelligence is not on the list.
IMO, it's good to be both smart but disciplined as well. If you can combine these two traits, you can generate substantial wealth.