Do You Have To Be Smart To Be Rich? University Study Says No

by Will Chen on 25 April 2007 1 comment

genius staff working at apple store

Next time you complain about being poor, don't blame it on your intelligence.

“People don’t become rich just because they are smart,” said Jay Zagorsky, author of a recent nationwide study on wealth and intelligence and a researcher at Ohio State University.

“Your IQ has really no relationship to your wealth. And being very smart does not protect you from getting into financial difficulty,” Zagorsky explained.

They key findings of the study include:

  • People with higher IQs do earn a higher income. In fact, smarter people earn $202 to $616 per year for every additional IQ point they have.
  • However, people with lower IQs are just as wealthy as people with higher IQs.
  • There is no strong correlation between a person's IQ and his likelihood of experiencing financial problems such as maxing out credit cards, missing bill payments, or declaring bankruptcy. Source: Ohio State University Press Release.

The smartpants among you will pick up on this little incongruency: How can smarter people earn a higher income and not be wealthier?

Zargosky is still studying this puzzling question. His current working theory is that smarter people might not save as much money as their simpler counterparts.

I guess this doesn't come as a total shock. If smart people are all that, why are so many professors driving Pintos and why is the Apple store staffed with geniuses?

For those of us non-geniuses, it is comforting to know that even in the financial world, the race goes not always to the swift but to those who keep on running.

Photo by Mojo Denbow

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Brenda Helverson

I knew the late J.B. Hunt of trucking fame. He had an 8th Grade education and Mrs. Hunt's parents thought that he would never amount to anything. Fooled them, huh?