You are smart but can you make money?

It may sound like children’s taunting, make no mistake, it is. But we all have heard this before, directly or indirectly. It is the childish taunt,

“Well if you are so smart, why aren’t you making more money than I do?”

Some of the researchers asked exactly that question. Well not exactly and definitely not to their fellow researchers with more citations but making less money than themselves. They asked,

“Does intelligence drive future career success as measured by income”

Instead of doing just one study, they did a meta-analysis, a statistical summary of 85 existing data sets collected by other similar studies, and conclude that

“There is only 20% correlation between intelligence and future income, showing very low predictability”

Not to mention finding correlation is not an indication of causation.

Well it still does not answer the original question we face but at least we can try to explain how only 4% of income variation can be explained by changes in intelligence.

One more thing, next time you hear advice on “hard work, do your best, etc.” think of this statistic. There is more to getting ahead than just intelligence.