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Wealth & IQ

May 16, 2007

Smarter people aren’t necessarily richer.


Do big brains mean big bucks? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Being smart may help you earn more, but it doesn’t help you get rich. This according to economist Jay Zagorsky at Ohio State University. Looking at decades of data on over seven thousand Americans, he found that generally, the higher your IQ, the bigger your paycheck. But there was no relationship between IQ and total wealth: in other words, your savings and assets minus your debts.

JAY ZAGORSKY (The Ohio State University):
One possible reason is that people say ‘oh, I’m earning higher income; there’s no reason for me to save right now. I can always earn higher income than say, other people. So whenever I need money, I can just earn it.

Strangely, he also found that people with just slightly above average intelligence were the least likely to have financial problems, like bankruptcies, overdue bills, and maxed out credit cards—while both the dullest and the brightest got into more trouble.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.