Want to become a millionaire? Turns out, your personality could help — or hurt — your odds.
A new study from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) of the German Institute for Economic Research and the University of Munster has found that millionaires, especially self-made millionaires, tend to be more tolerant of risky, emotionally stable, open, outgoing and conscientious. Everyone.
“This is the first study to describe the personality of millionaires using hard data,” Mitja Back, professor of psychology at the University of Münster and co-author of the study, said in a statement. of the University. “Since the wealthy exert a special influence on the decision-making processes of society and personality has a determining influence on the way people think and behave, the study of the personality traits of millionaires is of great importance. social relevance.”
Researchers studied validated personality test data from more than 20,000 sampled individuals in the SOEP, an ongoing household-based study of thousands of people in Germany that began in 1984. Among the personality tests studied by researchers, more than 1,000 came from millionaires.
The tests measured what the study authors called the “Big Five” personality traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness. The researchers say traits such as risk tolerance, emotional stability and extroversion were particularly evident in self-made millionaires and “less pronounced” in people who inherited their fortunes.
The higher the wealth, the more pronounced these personality traits are, according to the study. Even among non-millionaires, people who thought of themselves as self-made — or, in other words, having earned their money on their own, without significant help from others — shared many of the same personality traits.
“Taken together, the results suggest that personality is a relevant factor in wealth accumulation,” Johannes König, SOEP associate researcher and co-author of the study, said in the same academic statement.
The study was published last week in the journal Humanities and Social Sciences Communications. The researchers defined “millionaire” as someone with an individual net worth of at least 1 million, which equals $1,092,450, as of Thursday morning.
Nearly 22 million people in the United States fit this description, according to a 2021 study by Credit Suisse – although the study’s authors warned that German millionaires may have a different personality from millionaires elsewhere. “rich countries”, including the United States.
The United States has a “more unequal” distribution of wealth than Germany and “is generally considered to be more individualistic than other countries,” the study notes.
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