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.
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.”
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.’
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.’