Lending Club Blog

Success Factors and Financial Prosperity

Most of the same factors that bring success in life also bring success in personal finances. It isn’t just that success in life brings financial rewards, but also that habits that induce success do so in all aspects of our lives, including our finances.

There are obvious factors that are widely believed to lead to all types of success, including intelligence, work ethic, and the like. There are other, less obvious factors that also play into the mix. As I’ve said many times before, those around you have enormous influence on your sense of “normal” and may drive many of your habits, financial or otherwise. This type of influence is what I’d like to discuss today.

For inspiration, I turned to two sources:

First is the new book, Outliers, The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. In the book, the author downplays the importance of traditional success factors and investigates the ways that cultural influences and unique skills accumulate into advantages that lead to success. It doesn’t take much to extend his conclusions to financial success as well.

The second source was a CareerBuilder study whose results were reported by CNN. The study looked to see what effect birth order (firstborn, middle child, youngest, twin, or only child) had on careers and earnings. The results showed a surprising correlation between the two.

It can be disconcerting to discover that your lot in life is influenced by factors beyond your control, such as your birth order or cultural heritage. If these were the only factors in success, our lives would all be predetermined at birth or within the first few years of life. Fortunately, the factors that we can control also come into play. What this all means is that some people may need to work harder to overcome those factors beyond their control and others may inexplicably find success despite a mediocre effort.

How well does the CareerBuilder study predict the success of you and your siblings? Has success come easier (or harder) to you compared to friends or colleagues with different cultural upbringings?

Saturday, January 24th, 2009 at 6:27 am

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