What is it that the rich have that the rest of us don’t? Is coming from a wealthy family a pre-requisite? What kind of role does education play? Or does the accumulation of wealth happen because of certain personality traits?
One controversial theory is that some people actually have ‘rich genes,’ and that those who are rich were born to be. While this may sound far-fetched, there are still some who believe that ‘rich genes’ exist. So exactly what role do genes play, and what can we do to increase our chances of becoming wealthy? When Australian newspaper, the Herald Sun, last year reported the alleged findings of a study on the relationship between wealth and genetics, it certainly caused a lot of controversy. The Australian government’s top policy research report titled Deep and Persistent Disadvantage in Australia, was quoted by the newspaper, saying: “Rich kids do better at school while poor children struggle due to genetic ‘inherited abilities.’”
What Do Rich People Think About Rich Genes?
This quote turned out to be a misrepresentation of what the report actually concluded (i.e. that environment played the biggest role). In the meantime, however, the argument gathered support, mostly among the wealthy. Whereas those of the lower social classes tended to believe that they didn’t deserve to be disadvantaged. This is hardly surprising when you consider another study by Kraus and Keltner from the University of California, Berkeley, which showed that individuals who perceived themselves as higher in social class rank tended to believe that differences in social standing can be explained by natural or inherent factors, rather than the social-situation context.
In What Degree Do The Genes Affect Our Wealth?
But before we dismiss the idea of rich genes completely, we should consider that some studies suggest that income, educational attainment, and occupational status are at least partially determined by genetics. Researchers at Edinbrough University, for example, claim that genes determine how persistent we are and how much self-control we have, both of which play a large role in success.
What Else Determine Our Wealth?
A more recent study by CNN Money, in which wealth psychologists such as James Gottfurcht, who runs Los Angeles-based Psychology of Money Consultants, participated reveals that certain personality traits are responsible for the creation of high net worth individuals. Not surprisingly, nearly all individuals with a net worth of over $5 million were entrepreneurs. The ability to go into business for yourself rather than rely on the security of a salary was something nearly all of these people had in common. And according to the study, that requires certain personality and behavioral traits. These include high-energy levels and the ability to work up to 70-80 hours a week. These people often reported sleeping less than others, and frequently took working holidays. Vision and self-confidence were other traits that were essential to accumulating vast amounts of wealth.
Kristen Armstrong, a strategic wealth coach at Ascent Private Capital Management described many of her clients as “force of nature” people, who “have a really great ability to envision possible futures … [and] an amazing ability to focus their efforts and energy once they see a possibility.” High net worth individuals also tend to be tolerant of certain levels of risk. They understand that risk is an essential part of profit, but they are never impulsive and tend to take a long-term view of risk.
Despite a number of narcissists in the group, psychologists reported that many of the super-wealthy are surprisingly modest and don’t choose to change their lifestyle to suit their increased wealth, choosing instead to invest their money back into their businesses. The good news is that many of these traits can be learned. Wealth psychologists believe that it is sour deep sub-conscious beliefs about money that determine how much money we have.
If you want to improve your own financial situation, look for a life coach who specializes in wealth and money mindsets, and ask them to give you a few pointers. If you are a struggling business person, or budding entrepreneur, look around for someone successful to mentor you. Most of all believe in yourself, and remember that you don’t need to be born with ‘rich genes’ to be wealthy.
Featured photo credit: rich genes via madisonmovie.files.wordpress.com