‘Agreeable’ people get paid less and are more likely to go bankrupt
Why it doesn’t pay to be Mr Nice Guy: ‘Agreeable’ people get LESS money at work and are more likely to go bankrupt because they don’t value material goods as much as their pushy peers
- ‘Agreeable’ people place less value on financial success that others do
- This puts them at a disadvantage in a variety of financial situations
- Not every agreeable person is at equal risk of experiencing financial hardship
- People who are agreeable and on a low income are the worst affected
Nice people are paid less than their colleagues and are more likely to go bankrupt, scientists have discovered.
Scientists discovered that the issue is not that ‘agreeable’ people are more co-operative and easy to manipulate.
Pleasant individuals are simply less focused on financial gain and place less importance on money that their pushier peers.
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Nice people are paid less than their colleagues and are more likely to go bankrupt, scientists have discovered. Pleasant individuals are simply less focused on financial gain and place less importance on money that their pushier peers (stock)
Study lead author Assistant Professor Sandra Matz, of Columbia Business School in the United States, said: ‘We were interested in understanding whether having a nice and warm personality, what academics in personality research describe as agreeableness, was related to negative financial outcomes.
‘Previous research suggested that agreeableness was associated with lower credit scores and income.
‘We wanted to see if that association held true for other financial indicators and, if so, better understand why nice guys seem to finish last.’
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Dr Matz and her co-author Assistant Professor Joe Gladstone, of University College London, analysed data collected from more than three million people.
Participants submitted data via multiple methods including two online panels, a survey, bank account data and publicly available geographic data.
Analyses of these factors investigated whether the reason agreeable people were more likely to experience financial hardship was because of a cooperative negotiation style or the lower value they assign to money.
‘We found that agreeableness was associated with indicators of financial hardship, including lower savings, higher debt and higher default rates,’ Dr Gladstone revealed.
‘This relationship appears to be driven by the fact that agreeable people simply care less about money and therefore are at higher risk of money mismanagement.’
Not every agreeable person is at equal risk of experiencing financial hardship. The relationship was much stronger for lower-income individuals, scientists claim (stock)
The researchers also found that income plays an important role in the relationship between agreeableness and financial health.
Dr Gladstone said: ‘Not every agreeable person is at equal risk of experiencing financial hardship.
‘The relationship was much stronger for lower-income individuals, who don’t have the financial means to compensate for the detrimental impact of their agreeable personality.’
The researchers were surprised to find that even when agreeableness was measured in childhood, it still predicted greater financial hardship later in life.
The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, included survey data from a study following the same people over more than 25 years.
To further illustrate the connection, the researchers compared publicly available personality and financial data from two areas in the United Kingdom that both had similar per-capita income levels.
Dr Matz added: ‘Our results help us to understand one potential factor underlying financial hardship, which can have serious implications for people’s well-being.
‘Being kind and trusting has financial costs, especially for those who do not have the means to compensate for their personalities.’
WHAT ARE THE 4 PERSONALITY ‘CLUSTERS’ RESEARCHERS CLAIM WE ALL FALL INTO?
Experts from Northwestern University sifted through data from more than 1.5 million questionnaire respondents.
Their research suggests that everyone falls into one of four distinct clusters of personality types.
These are —
Average people are high in neuroticism and extraversion, while low in openness.
‘I would expect that the typical person would be in this cluster,’ said Martin Gerlach, a postdoctoral fellow and the paper’s first author.
Females are more likely than males to fall into the Average type.
The Reserved type is emotionally stable, but not open or neurotic.
They are not particularly extroverted, but can be somewhat agreeable and conscientious.
Role Models score low in neuroticism and high in all the other traits. The likelihood that someone is a role model increases dramatically with age.
‘These are people who are dependable and open to new ideas,’ said study lead Luís Amaral.
‘These are good people to be in charge of things.
‘In fact, life is easier if you have more dealings with role models.’
More women than men are likely to be role models.
Self-Centred people score very high in extraversion and below average in openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness.
‘These are people you don’t want to hang out with,’ co-author William Revelle, professor of psychology, said.
There is a very dramatic decrease in the number of self-centred types as people age, both with women and men.
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