The ‘Big Five’ personality traits of the self-made millionaire

In the first study of its kind1, researchers have distinguished the personality traits most common among self-made millionaires versus those who have inherited their wealth. 

The study analysed a sample of wealthy individuals according to the so-called ‘Big Five’ personality traits:  

• Openness (i.e. curious vs cautious)  

• Conscientiousness (i.e. efficient vs disorganised)  

• Extroversion (i.e. outgoing vs reserved)  

• Agreeableness (i.e. friendly vs uncaring)  

• Neuroticism (i.e. confident vs anxious)  

The results showed that wealthy individuals across both categories tended to show a similar personality profile, being open to new experiences, extroverted, conscientious, agreeable and demonstrating low levels of neuroticism. They were also shown to be more risk tolerant than the average population.  

Interestingly, the study revealed that self-made millionaires more closely match this personality profile than inheritors – and that this becomes more pronounced the wealthier they are.  

The report concluded that people with this unique combination of personality traits have a higher chance of becoming rich via their own means. The good news – if you don’t match this specific profile – over the years many studies have also shown that taking financial advice can result in heightened wealth accumulation.  

1Humanities & Social Sciences Communications, 2022  

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