Wealth and intelligence 'do not go hand in hand'

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Having a high IQ may not increase a person's chances of being rich.

A US study has found no correlation between wealth and intelligence, claiming that clever people are just as well off as those with lower IQ scores.

Furthermore, today's research says that those with high intelligence are more likely to find themselves in financial problems.

"People don't become rich just because they are smart," said Jay Zagorsky, study author and research scientist at Ohio State University.

"Your IQ has really no relationship to your wealth. And being very smart does not protect you from getting into financial difficulty."

Dr Zagorsky's study confirmed other researchers' findings of a clear link between income and intelligence, with high-earners regarded as smarter.

But he says his research is the first to examine the relationship between wealth and financial difficulty.

"Financial success for most people means more than just income," the scientist explains.

"You need to build up wealth to help buffer life's storms and to prepare for retirement. You also shouldn't have to worry about being close to or beyond your financial limits."

Almost 7,500 people participated in the research in 2004; with people required to take the US army's qualification test and a general aptitude exam employed by the country's department of defence.

People were then quizzed on their income, total wealth and whether they had encountered financial difficulties in their lives – such as maxing out credit cards, missing bills or declaring themselves bankrupt.

Although Dr Zagorsky says that the top two per cent of American society (with IQ scores in excess of 130), earn $18,500 more than their less clever counterparts on an annual basis, he insists there is "no strong relationship" between total wealth and intelligence".

But he admits his data cannot provide the answer to the questions its raises, namely why are supposedly intelligent people earning more money but still finding themselves in financial difficulty.

"Just because you're smart doesn't mean you don't get into trouble. Among the smartest people, those with IQ scores above 125, even six percent of them have maxed out their credit cards and 11 percent occasionally miss payments," Dr Zagorsky continued.

"Intelligence is not a factor for explaining wealth. Those with low intelligence should not believe they are handicapped, and those with high intelligence should not believe they have an advantage."

Today's research is published in the journal Intelligence.

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