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Five Personality Traits of Self-Made Millionaires

According to a recent study, the more a personality corresponds to these characteristics, the wealthier the entrepreneur.

Millionaires, especially self-made millionaires whose wealth wasn’t inherited, have five particular personality traits, according to new research. The five personality traits that are particularly standout are: risk-taking, emotional stability, openness, extraversion and conscientiousness. What’s even more surprising, per a recent study by the Institute for Economic Research and the Westphalian Wilhelms University of Münster, is that the more the personality corresponds to these characteristics, the wealthier the entrepreneur.

The study also finds that millionaires work the most hours per week, more than their wealthy and upper-middle-class counterparts. The average millionaire works 46.9 hours per week, whereas individuals in the bottom half of the income distribution work an average of 36.4 hours per week.


In addition to their work ethic, millionaires are also more willing to take risks. According to the study, 73% of the wealthy are self-employed or entrepreneurial. Although a corporate job may be appealing because of its stability, there’s a very apparent ceiling to the amount of wealth one can amass. The most successful businesses usually require the most risk. Some of the world’s most successful and wealthy individuals can back this theory — Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of college to pursue their startup dreams. The number of billionaires worldwide has been on an upward trajectory, for the most part, since the new millennium, so it’s likely that many of these success stories play an inspirational role (or, perhaps, the rich are just getting richer).

The risk-taking trait carries over to investing as well. According to data from the Deutsches Aktieninstitut, 42% of investors are willing to take risks when investing if they have good knowledge of money and capital investments. That number drops significantly when compared with those who have limited knowledge of money and capital investments — only 7% of that demographic said they’re willing to take risks. One can of course also make the argument that the more money one has, the more likely they’re willing to risk some of it on investments.

Life Satisfaction and Health

Not surprisingly, millionaires report to have an above-average level of life satisfaction. This may seem contrary to some of the stories you see in the news — for example, famous childhood actors who end up suffering from drug addiction —but for the most part, as the saying goes, money alone may not make people happy, but it can certainly help.

Also not surprisingly, research shows that the rich live longer and healthier lives. This likely doesn’t have much to do with personality traits, however, though healthy eating and exercising habits definitely help. The real reason is likely because the wealthy have more money to plan for, and invest in, their health.

 *This article is an adaptation of Block-Builder’s story “What 5 Traits Do Self-Made Millionaires Have In Common, And What Makes Them Different From The Rest Of The Population?

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