The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Saturday, April 28, 2007

IQ and Wealth: Zagorsky study.

Are IQ and wealth related? Jay Zagorsky of Ohio State University has studied the matter and come up with some surprising conclusions.

In 1979, the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NSLY) began under the guidance of the Ohio State Center for Human Resource Research - and funded by the National Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 7,403 participants have been repeatedly questioned and studied over the years and the data trawled for interesting correlations.

Zagorsky thought to use the data to answer an interesting question: do you have to be smart to be rich? His answer is rather counter-intuitive.

Firstly, his data confirmed the common view that the smarter you are the more you earn. For every IQ point above 100, his cohort earned between $202 and $616 more per year. This equated to a person of IQ 130 earning between $6,000 to $18,500 a year more than their average counterpart at IQ 100. So were the smart ones wealthier? Did they have greater net worth? Were they freer of financial difficulties?

Rather peculiarly, they weren't. No strong correlation between wealth and intelligence was found. Indeed the smart were more prone to financial imprudence than the ones who were just slightly above average. As a measure of financial difficulties he looked at the failure to pay bills; make credit card payments; max out credit cards or become bankrupt. The smartest ones still got themselves into trouble in these ways. For instance, 11 per cent of people of IQ over 125 had missed credit card payments; 6 per cent had maxed out their cards. Though smart, they were not immune to carelessness with their finances.

So, what was the result of all this? Despite earning less than the most gifted in the cohort, those of average or slightly below average intelligence were as competent at accumulating wealth. Zagorsky's tentative conclusion - which he is investigating further - is that although the bright EARN more, they SAVE less.

What lessons can gifted parents get from this? Well, apart from teaching one's children the value of saving, it might be healthy to alter an expectation that many parents have of their gifted children: that they will be "well-off". This is not necessarily the case at all. It is partly because some of the professions that draw gifted children are not well-remunerated. University Professors, for instance, in most cultures, are not well-paid. Yet, they are among the most gifted of their societies.

(If you would like to read more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, seven years and five months, a scientific child prodigy, and his gifted brothers, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, baby genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children. Thanks.)

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:15 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats interesting. I read a similar bit on giftedness and income on a Wiki about giftedness. Or was it IQ? One or the other.

None of the profoundly gifted or exceptionally gifted people I know have very much money. Most of them don't care much about money, they are interested in other things. This could be an explanation. Or just coincidence.

Perhaps there is a point of diminishing returns, when it comes to motivation to accumulate wealth, somewhere after 130?

- Kathy

10:12 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape