Core traits of BILLIONAIRES: Scientists identify 5 key characteristics

The core traits of BILLIONAIRES: Scientists identify 5 key characteristics in the rich – so do YOU have what it takes to be one of the wealthy elite?

  • Psychologists examined the relationship between wealth and personality
  • People with less money were found to be more neurotic and extraverted 

For years, viewers have been obsessed with the mega-rich yet miserable Roy family at the centre of the HBO series Succession, analysing the psychology and character traits of the narcissistic stars.

But is this a true depiction of billionaires?

Psychologists have examined the relationship between an individual’s wealth and personality traits to understand what it takes to be one of the wealthy elite. 

Their findings identify five key characteristics in the super rich – do you have any of them?  

For years, viewers have been hooked on the mega-rich yet completely miserable Roy family and their media empire in the hit HBO series


The study, conducted by researchers at the Open University and the Norwegian School of Management, accounted for numerous factors in daily life. 

Just over 3,200 participants were asked about their valuable physical possessions, property and other personal investments in the survey. 

Though they were not, of course, billionaires, around 10.8 per cent of these earned £75,000 or more each year, while 23.7 per cent had a household income less than £20,000. 

These attributes were then looked at against the ‘Big Five’ personality traits – openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

Scientists found that conscientiousness was positively related to levels of wealth, meaning that the rich are more likely to feel a stronger sense of responsibility.

The well-off were far less neurotic but also less extraverted, with these traits linked to lower savings and more spending on expensive goods.

Researchers believe the average person is far more impulsive – buying overpriced items and making poor investment decisions – than the super wealthy. 

‘First, nobody should take from this that if you want to improve your financial situation, you should change your personality,’ Professor Mark Fenton-O’Creevy, the study’s lead author told Psypost.

‘Rather, the insights form this study may help those offering financial advice to tailor their advice to the personality of their clients.

‘So, for example whilst if a client is high on conscientiousness, that is helpful. 

‘However, for example, our results suggest that extrovert, agreeable clients who are low on conscientiousness may need additional support to make regular savings and extroverts may be more prone to impulsive spending on physical items reducing capacity to invest.’

Psychologists  have examined the relationship between wealth and personality traits

Agreeableness was also negatively associated with saving money, which experts believe is linked to buying over-the-top presents and spending too generously.

Those with more property wealth were deemed to be less open to experiences too, thanks to being ‘tied down’ with houses.

‘Openness was negatively associated with property wealth possibly because that sort of wealth “ties one down” for long periods of time and prevents the experimentation that is associated with being open-to-experience,’ the authors wrote in the study, published in Financial Planning Review. 

Yet Professor Fenton-O’Creevy claims this study is only a ‘snapshot in time’, adding to an already mixed picture of personalities and the effect of financial incomes. 

‘Further research might usefully explore which contextual factors moderate these relationships, potentially explaining contrasting findings,’ he wrote. 

MailOnline has approached the authors for further information. 

READ MORE: Are YOU more of a Kendall or a Shiv? Psychologists reveal the dark personality traits of the Roy family from Succession 

MailOnline asked psychologists to assess the dark personality traits of Logan and his children Shiv, Kendall, Roman and Connor.

These traits, often known as the ‘Dark Triad’, are psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism.

The findings suggest that Logan and Kendall are the worst of the bunch, both displaying all three in the form of greed, egotism and disregard for the feelings of others.

Dr Stephen Joseph, a psychotherapy professor from the University of Nottingham and author of ‘Think Like a Therapist’, says that the siblings’ issues all stem from Logan’s mistreatment of them as children. 

Dr Ramani Durvasula, clinical psychologist and professor at California State University, says that Logan Roy’s (pictured) upbringing plays a part in his behaviour

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