Pop quiz! What factors help determine how wealthy you'll become in life? ... Ohio State economics professor Jay Zagorsky suggests different factors: "Staying married, not getting divorced, thinking about savings." Wow.1. Although we tend to confuse the two (and by "we" I mean those with a hankering for social engineering), income and wealth are two different concepts and are not as related as we think.
Not only did he not list intelligence, he went on to note that "intelligence really isn't one of the key driving forces. In fact, people at the middle of the smarts spectrum have the fewest money problems."
When I read about his findings from a study of 7,500 middle-aged Americans, I was surprised. It seems that the smarter you are, the more you tend to earn. For each IQ point you have above someone else's IQ, you'll earn between $200 and $600 more. As an example, he noted that someone with an IQ of 130 stands to make (on average) about $12,000 more per year than someone with an IQ of 100.
That's a promising start. We who are smarter than the average bear (I'm including myself and you) would reasonably assume, then, that smarter people would end up wealthier. But that was not suggested by the study. Instead, people with higher IQs and incomes tended to spend more, maxing out credit cards and paying bills late. At the end of the day, those with lower IQs often had a greater net worth.
2. By intelligence we mean a talent for a few specific pursuits. Those are not necessarily the most important pursuits and they don't necessarily lead to happiness. Just as income is not wealth, intelligence is not wisdom.