Do you have eyes on reaching millionaire status? Well, it takes more than hard work.
Did you know that your personality can deeply affect your odds of getting there?
Millionaires, especially self-made ones, tend to be more risk-tolerant, emotionally stable, open, outgoing, and diligent than the average person, according to a recent study from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at the German Institute for Economic Research and the University of Münster.
Mitja Back, a psychology professor at the University of Munster who co-authored the paper, said in a university release that "this is the first study to characterize the personality of millionaires using robust data."
"The study of billionaires' personality qualities is of tremendous social value since the wealthy have exceptional influence over social decision-making processes and because personality has a decisive influence on how people think and behave."
In the SOEP, an ongoing household-based study of thousands of people in Germany that started in 1984, researchers analyzed data from validated personality tests of more than 20,000 sampled participants. More than 1,000 of the personality assessments that researchers looked at came from millionaires.
The assessments assessed the "Big Five" personality qualities, or neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness, as described by the study's authors. Researchers found that characteristics including extraversion, emotional stability, and risk tolerance were particularly strong in self-made millionaires and "less pronounced" in those who inherited their wealth.
The study found that certain personality traits were more prominent the wealthier a person was. People who considered themselves self-made, or, to put it another way, having made their money on their own, without major support from others, had many of the same personality qualities even with non-millionaires.
According to a university statement from Johannes König, a research associate at SOEP and another study co-author, "the results show that personality is an important element in wealth building."
A 2021 study by Credit Suisse says that this describes almost 22 million people in the U.S., but the study's authors warn that German millionaires may have different personalities than millionaires in other "high-wealth countries," like the U.S.
According to the report, the income distribution in the U.S. is "more unequal" than it is in Germany, and it "is typically thought to be more individualistic than other countries."