1. 15 Signs You Will Be RichAttractive men earn 9 percent more money thanunattractive men; attractive women earn 4 percent moremoney than unattractive women."There is a significant penalty for bad looks among men," write the economists whoseresearch yielded these statistics. "Men who are viewed as being below average or homely arepenalized" when it comes to wages. Noting that many studies have been done on workplacediscrimination against women and ethnic minorities, these scholars undertook "the first studyof the economics of discrimination in the labor market against yet another group—the ugly."individuals with above-average IQs are only 1.2 times aslikely as individuals with below-average IQs to have a highnet worth.Few people with below-average IQs earn high incomes, but relatively large numbers of themare wealthy, according to the study that yielded this stat. "Smarter people tend to be paidmore, but that doesnt necessarily mean they end up with more wealth," says the studysauthor, Ohio State University economics professor Jay Zagorsky. In other words, being smartabout neurosurgery or nuclear fission doesnt necessarily make one smart about money. "Iveknown some certifiable geniuses who have been bankrupt."
2. People who were popular in high school earn 10 percentFew people with below-average IQs earn high incomes, but relatively large numbers of themare wealthy, according to the study that yielded this stat. "Smarter people tend to be paidmore, but that doesnt necessarily mean they end up with more wealth," says the studysauthor, Ohio State University economics professor Jay Zagorsky. In other words, being smartabout neurosurgery or nuclear fission doesnt necessarily make one smart about money. "Iveknown some certifiable geniuses who have been bankrupt."Popularity pays, according to a study examining the effects of what academics call"friendship nomination"—that is, how many people claim you as their friends, not how manypeople you claim as friends. Every friend you had in high school is worth another 2 percentincrease in adult wages. "Shifting somebody from the bottom fifth to the top fifth of theschool popularity distribution—in other words, turning a social reject into a star—would bepredicted to yield him a 10 percent wage advantage," write the economists who conductedthis study.Graduates of Princeton University and Dartmouth Collegeearn salaries 162 percent higher, on average, thangraduates of East Texas Baptist University.Mid-career median salaries for both Princeton and Dartmouth grads are $123,000, accordingto the job-market report containing these figures. For ETBU grads, its $47,000. But that stillbeats Coker College grads, who earn $40,300—putting them at the bottom of this survey.Harvard kids go on to make $121,000, while Brown and Berkeley grads earn $109,000. Whomakes the most? Graduates of Harvey Mudd College, the math-science-engineering arm ofSouthern Californias Claremont Colleges, at $126,000 a year.For every three inches taller than average they are,women earn 5 to 8 percent more money than women ofaverage height; men earn 4 to 10 percent more for everyextra three inches in height.The study that includes these figures was done in Australia, where the premiums for addedheight are only about half of those in the U.S., according to the authors. "Its definitely easier
3. for taller people to be noticed and to command attention," says Alan Corey, author of AMillion Bucks by 30: How to Overcome a Crap Job, Stingy Parents, and a Useless Degree toBecome a Millionaire Before (or After) Turning 30. "These are two great advantages forladder-climbers."Being married and staying married increases your networth by 77 percent.Divorced people "experience an average wealth drop of 77 percent," according to the studythat yielded this stat, and married peoples "wealth increases on average 16 percent per eachyear of marriage." "My best advice for those who want to be wealthy is this: Get married.Stay married," Zagorsky says. Marital status affects childrens fates as well: 50 percent ofchildren who start life poor with married parents who then stay married rise to the middle ortop third of the economic spectrum as adults. Yet only 26 percent of children born poor withparents who divorce rise to the middle or top, as do 42 percent of children born poor tounmarried mothers.Drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more money thanabstainers.Drinking leads to higher earnings by increasing social capital," write the researchers whosework yielded this stat. Male self-reported drinkers earn 21 percent more than male abstainers;drinking females earn 8 percent more than nondrinking females. Males who visit bars at leastonce a month "earn an additional 7 percent on top of the 10 percent drinkers premium...Rather than attempting to discourage drinking in society, perhaps we should encourage it."Says self-made multimillionaire Jim Britt, author of Do This. Get Rich!: "A person whodoesnt drink at all—not that thats a bad thing—is probably very conservative, and thatwould keep him or her out of a lot of social circles."Those who earned undergraduate degrees in petroleumengineering earn salaries over four times as high as thosewho earned undergraduate degrees in child and familystudies.Mid-career median salaries for former petroleum-engineering majors are around $157,000;for former child and family studies majors, theyre $38,400. Degrees in engineering—chemical, electrical, aerospace, nuclear, and petroleum—draw higher pay than any other typeof degree, according to the job-market report containing these figures. Those with undergraddegrees in applied mathematics earn nearly twice as much as those with degrees in theology,art history, and French.
4. Each one-unit increase in a typical young persons bodymass index is associated with an 8 percent reduction inwealth.White females suffer the greatest wealth drop, at 12 percent. For white men, its only 2percent, and for African-American women, 7 percent. Weight gain has no impact on networth for African-American males, according to the study that produced this stat. Obesepeople "tend to have higher medical costs than others, which cuts into their savings,"Zagorsky says. "And some employers are willing to pay more for employees who fitstereotypical beauty models." In any case, "Losing a large amount of weight dramaticallyimproves your wealth over time. But it has to be an extreme weight change. Losing fivepounds doesnt do anything."22 percent of American households headed by persons ofRussian ancestry have a net worth of $1 million or more.People of Russian ancestry demonstrate a higher concentration of millionaires in the UnitedStates than those of all other ancestries, according to the authors of the book in which thisstatistic appears. Although only about 1.1 million of American households are headed bypersons of Russian ancestry, they account for "6.4 percent of all millionaire households." Bycontrast, 19.5 percent of American households are headed by persons of German ancestry, yet"only 17.3 percent of all millionaire households are headed by persons of German ancestryand only about 3.3 percent of German households are in the millionaire league."21 percent of white Americans and only 2 percent ofAfrican Americans and 8 percent of Hispanics buy realestate or make other investments at young ages, whicheconomists consider a key predictor of future wealth.Jim Britt never finished high school, "but I bought my first home when I was 19 and workingon a factory assembly line," he says. His wife was an assembly-line worker, too. "I had nobackground, no money—so I had to get creative. That was the first step. Seeing anopportunity, having a desire, making a decision to accomplish something before you knowhow youre going to accomplish it: This is the mind-set that many wealthy people share."Blond women earn 7 percent more money than non-blonds.And blond women marry men who earn about 6 percent more than the husbands of non-blonds, according to the study that yielded this stat. Blond hair is stereotypically consideredmore attractive than other hair colors, and "people like to be associated with pretty people... I
5. guess subconsciously a boss would pay extra for that potential privilege," Corey says. "Itolerate a sales pitch from an attractive girl much longer than I do from an unattractive one.Nonsmokers net worth is about 50 percent higher thanthat of light smokers, and more than twice as much as thatof heavy smokers. Each year of adulthood during which an individual remains a smoker represents a 4 percentdecrease in his or her net worth. "Smokers spend an incredible amount of money onsmoking," says Zagorsky, whose research produced these figures. "Those packs really do addup."36 percent of American children born to parents in theuppermost economic bracket remain there as adults.And exactly the same percentage of children born into the bottom wealth bracket remain inthe bottom bracket as adults. Born rich? Born poor? Youve got a 36 percent chance ofstaying that way54 percent of American children who are born to parentsin the uppermost economic bracket and who then earncollege degrees remain at the top.How to increase your chances of staying rich if you were born rich? Earn a college degree.How to get rich if you were born poor? Earn a college degree. 84 percent of Americanchildren born at the bottom of the economic ladder and who later earn degrees rise at leastone rung; 19 percent reach the top. But only 5 percent of Americans born poor rise to the topwithout college degrees, according to the authors of the study that produced these stats. (Toincrease your chances even more, attend Harvey Mudd.