Can your Personality Determine your Income?

Experts will tell you that, when it comes to earning money, the type of personality that you have definitely influences how much money you will earn, save and/or put towards retirement.

On the other hand, they also cautioned that people shouldn’t read too much into personality tests or assume that their personality, if not geared toward financial topics, will automatically set them up for future failure.

“Self-analysis is an incredibly helpful tool for most people, especially when dealing with career issues,” says David Prescott, director of health care studies at Husson University in Bangor, Maine. “But, personality is just one of many factors, and the research shows that the predictive power of any psychological test for income is likely very, very modest.”

Recently, one of the major job sites online published an infographic that related the amount of income a person can make to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test.

And the results, as many things do these days, went “viral”.

The reaction suggested that somehow the test could give a person insight into their earning potential. For example, people who tested as a personality type ENTJ (extroversion, intuition, thinking, judgment) using the Myers-Briggs test earned approximately $85,000 a year on average. The same infographic showed that, as far as the next “best” performing personality type, anyone who fell into that category earned at least $10,000 per year less.

The problem with the infographic is simply that correlating income to a personality type is much different than actually showing how a person’s personality could possibly determine their income, according to Dr. David M. Reiss, a psychiatrist in San Diego.

“At best, you’d need incredibly large data sets to say anything useful about the correlation between personality type and income, and even then, you’d only get some very general trends,” Reiss says. “Tests like Myers-Briggs just aren’t designed to get at that kind of information because they group people into fairly broad categories.”

Reiss says that, while personality tests can definitely be useful as screening tools in the work environment, a lot of context must be taken into account in order for a person to be able to take away anything useful from the test results.

“Employers often use them to see if someone is a good fit for the specific job and to better understand how an employee might fit into the overall environment,” Reiss says. “And oftentimes, these tests are used to weed out extreme personalities that could be a problem. But even then, these tests aren’t perfect.”

That being said, as far as helping person find the right career path, personality tests are definitely helpful. Again however, a person’s personality, and where it might land on an info graphic, should not be confused with any kind of earning potential that they might eventually have.

“Obviously, different careers pay different salaries,” Reiss says. “So, you might find certain personality types gravitating to specific fields, but the tests aren’t determinative of your income.”

In summary, while a personality test like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test what kind of career path you should follow, when it comes to earning potential it isn’t nearly as accurate as some people would have you believe.

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5 thoughts on “Can your Personality Determine your Income?

  1. Eliza from Happy Simple Living

    This is an interesting concept. We once conducted personality testing at the company where I worked, and the biggest take-away for me was that it’s important for the employee’s personality type, aptitude and they way they approach work to be a good fit for the job – i.e., are they highly logical, structured, visionary, social, etc. ? Great post.

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