Do You Need To Be A Genius To Be Rich?

Updated: May 28, 2024

I was studying the traffic data of my blog the other day, and one particular search phrase caught my attention. Apparently, a visitor was able to find my website by asking Google, “Do you need to be a genius to be rich?

That question got me thinking, which eventually prompted me to start my own search for the answer. Fortunately, I found what I was looking for.

But before I share what I discovered, I’d like you to ask yourself the same question and think about the answer: Do you need to be intelligent to become wealthy?

Intelligence and Wealth

We all know that some of the wealthiest people on earth are college dropouts. Personalities such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Ralph Lauren, Michael Dell, and Richard Branson have shown the world that one can be rich without having a degree.

Nevertheless, one could simply attribute their failure to finish formal education to economic and social circumstances and not because of low academic aptitude. Thus, we are still left with an unanswered question.

At the Center for Human Resource Research at Ohio State University, Jay Zagorsky had the same question in mind. He then conducted a study to find out how important intelligence is to financial success.

In his paper entitled, Do Have To Be Smart To Be Rich? The impact of IQ on wealth, income, and financial distress, he reveals his findings after following more than 7,000 Americans from their teen years to their early 30s.

He gathered the financial status of these baby boomers by asking several questions about their credit history, monthly spending, accumulated assets, and liabilities.

Furthermore, these same groups participated in an IQ test that covered word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, math knowledge, and arithmetic reasoning.

This information was then analyzed for correspondence. So what was his conclusion?

Intelligence provides more earning power but not necessarily more accumulated wealth. He further explains, “The smarter you are, the more income you have, but for wealth, there is no relationship.

Income and Wealth

Zagorsky defines wealth as the difference between a person’s assets and liabilities.

So, wealth is income plus home value plus investments and personal assets minus mortgages, credit card debt, and other individual liabilities.

In his study, he found that a higher yearly income does not necessarily translate into higher wealth. In fact, people with slightly above-average intelligence (105 IQ score) had an average net worth higher than those just a bit smarter (110 IQ).

“There are some very smart people who get into financial difficulties,” he notes. “Even smart people don’t save.”

Moreover, he tried to analyze the data for variables like race, education, job status, and even personal habits. Still, the gap between IQ and wealth remained the same.

So what does this mean?

Zagorsky concludes, “If you’re an individual with relatively low intelligence, you shouldn’t really believe that you’re handicapped in achieving wealth. Similarly, if you’re intelligent, you shouldn’t think you have an advantage in living the rich life.”

What’s your opinion on this topic? Please share them below as a comment.

Works Cited:
Zagorsky, Jay. “Do You Have To Be Smart To Be Rich?”. March 2007

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy


  1. […] Do You Need To Be A Genius To Be Rich? – i highly recommend this article by […]

  2. kahit ikaw na ang pinakamatalino sa buong mundo but you don’t have the skills pra magamit ito e wala din.gaya ng mga nabanggit mong mga kilalang tao jan sa entry mo e ginamit nila ang utak at diskarte nila.kung wala ka interes sa ginagawa mo ay yun ang magiging dahilan ng downfall mo.kaya im ready to be rich!ahehehe! :-)

  3. @Joliber
    Yes, a laser-point goal driven focus is important if one wants to be rich. Don’t worry, you’re not alone… I’m not yet rich myself.

    Hopefully, when we get to retire before 40 (my personal goal), we’ll all meet each other abroad on a luxury cruise! :D

    That’s true, much more than academic intelligence, it is important to have financial smarts and a passion for what you are doing. Almost all of the self-made rich people I know are into a business they really love.

    And yes, with all the various income generating blogs that you have, I can attest that you are ready to be rich. :)

  4. I think you don’t need to be a genius to be rich, most of the business tycoons are not genius they are just wise. When I say wise, they are wise spender and wise investors. No matter how genius a person is if his palms are always open with regards to money, how could he earn that way? Money will just come and go..Anything left on his side? Nothing.. Avoid getting into debt

    Live a simple life, and be wise spender and a wise earner!
    Be Debt Free

  5. Meron iba na mataas yung cost of living, tapos nawalan ng work, and hindi makapag-adjust, at parang nawalan ng self-control. Hindi naman masamang bumili but if they’re spending more than what they earn, lagot na.

    Off topic: ikaw po ba yung magaling mag-chess yung nakipag-pustahan pa? Sori po, kasi parang kamuka nyo po. Thanks.

  6. @DebtFreeChristian
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I agree, we should avoid getting into bad debt.

    Yes, people are usually not prepared when it comes to suddenly losing their jobs. That’s why it’s important to learn financial literacy. Anyway, I’m not so sure about that chess game you’re talking about. But I did write something about that here entitled, Checkmate. :)

  7. been reading all your post, (added to “my favorites”)
    Good topics… great blogs! you’re the best! cheers!

    just got questions… who hosted your site? are u the one who made your site or via web builder?
    i also want to have a website like yours… with a lot of ads. (passive income)? can u give us some advise? tnx

  8. Thanks json! Why don’t you subscribe to my site through email so that you’ll receive a notice everytime I post new articles here. Don’t worry, you’ll receive no spam. :D

    Anyway, my site is hosted at Protagonist Web Hosting Solutions. You can ask them how much a package will cost for you (domain name and hosting).

    I use as my blogging platform and this is one of the thousands of free customizable themes available. Just install it and voila, you have your website. So to answer your question, no I’m not the one who designed this website but I tweaked it to my satisfaction.

    Lastly, I would suggest that you think about the level of commitment that you can dedicate to your website. This is a long term endeavor and not an overnight success. If you build a website / blog that offers genuine value to its readers, then money / advertisers will surely come.

    Good luck and cheers!

  9. Fitz,

    Tagal na rin akong dropper mo pero ngayon lang ako magcocomment. Alam mo kapatid maraming factors ang contributors ng success. Success comes in many ways, although when we speak of material success (accumulation of wealth), being a genius in one area MAY not guarantee you success. At times we have to “feed the need” of the times. I know you got what I meant. Just like blogging, sometimes we have to write articles that make us money and not what makes us (the writers) happy and contented. :-) Take care and see you around.

  10. Hi Jessie,
    Yes I agree, if we want to be successful, then we should find a “need to feed”. Although sometimes we, as bloggers, do write off-topic articles (i.e., for SEO), but looking at it on a macro level – it still serves our end purpose, which is to be able to share to a wider audience our genuine thoughts and opinions. Thanks for finally commenting. I hope that there will be more. :D

  11. According to Ernie Baron – Knowledge is Power! But it’s really different in the real world, even if you know a lot but you lack action, still you will go nowhere. So the formula must be, education + action + connection….

    To Json – we might be able to help you in your webhosting + domain requirements. Email me [email protected]

  12. […] frugally and pretty much the normal way. Furthermore, he shares in his autobiography that he was a very poor student and never went to college. But despite these facts, it didn’t stop him from pursuing a […]

  13. No offensement to all. pero neither you have to be genius, smart, wise, average lang or not. yung mga tycoon natin at maging sa boung mundo ay mga genius. kung hindi genius sila Bill Gates walang microsoft, si Steve Jobs walang apple/mac, lucio tan w/out his asia-brewery, allied bank, pal, u.e and fortune tobacco. si Gokongwei naman cebu pacific/universal robina, andrew tan megaworld, suchiro honda ng honda motors at iba pa. Ang kaibahan lang nating mga pinoy sa mga chinito typans mas well verse tayo sa wikang english at nag-excel tayo academically. Pero ang mathematics nila hanep. kaya ang mga representative ng Pilipinas sa mga international math quiz galing sa mga chinese school. Grabe ang success nila since ancient china pa hanggang beijing olympics. chinese excels in arts, architechure, engineering, science, inventions, trading, entrepreneurship, academe, inventions, kung-fu at lalo na sa sports. They are more discipline compare to us. lalo nila tayong nauuhan. pati ang india nalampasan na tayo. Indians and Chinese are successful in using ancient system of numbers that contribute to their wealth. even koreans, thais and vietnamese economic power na talaga sila. dati estudyante lang sila ng uplb ngayon sa kanila na tayo nga-iimport ng bigas. I don’t say na mas matalino sila sa atin. kaya natin i-unlock our own geniuses hindi lang sa financial skills, enterprising spirits, salesman at negoskills kundi we know how to play the game of numbers. How? In accumulating wealth we must learn how to active the right and leftside of our brain. maging mind magician. ang ibig sabihin right education not traditional schooling in college. You have to be genius to untap your hidden potentials and spot oppurtunies to amass wealth.

  14. Hi bronee,

    The study conducted which I mentioned above shows that a person’s academic excellence and ability to accumulate wealth is not directly related.

    This means that even if you did poorly in school, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you have no chance to be rich. Inversely, it also means that being smart does not essentially give you an advantage over others in becoming wealthy.

    I agree, you need to tap and unleash your inner genius to be able to seize and take advantage of life’s opportunities. But the inner genius we’re talking about here are one’s talent and true passion and not traditional intelligence such as mathematical and memory skills.

    You said it yourself, one reason why Filipinos are left behind is because other cultures have more discipline – which I believe is an important trait to achieve wealth.

    Furthermore, I know that business ventures, personal finance and other money matters is a numbers game. But I think one doesn’t need to be able to multiply two-digit numbers in their head to run a successful enterprise. You can hire accountants, financial planners and business specialists to do that for you.

    What is more important in this perspective is that you have the right attitude, social skills, business focus and determination to make any endeavor successful. And this I believe, is the true inner genius that one needs to have to be wealthy.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I hope you come and visit here often. Regards and God bless.

  15. I think it depends on a person’s attitude to become rich. IQ will not make you rich, but personality will.

    A rich man somehow can define as genius too, because they are genius of make money.

  16. You don’t become rich just because you want too. You can go bankrupt in the process of trying.
    If you don’t have the right idea that makes money you will never get rich no matter how intelligent you are or how much you brainwash yourself to get rich and personality alone will not make you rich either.

  17. It is about time that our government must focus in redeveloping the agriculture sector.Tadaan natin na ang pilipinas ay mayaman sa agrikultura at lupain ng magagaling na mamamayan.Dapat tigilan ng mga opisyal at mambabatas ng gobyerno ang pamumulitika instead na yan ang gawin they should support our scientist,inventors and entrepreneurs to increase the production of crops,bio-organic technology for plants,renewable resources and energy for environmental issues,healthy organic lifestyle,sports and wellness.Maraming mga Henyo,matatalino at maabilidad na pilipino na di na kailangan mag-abroad at mabigyan lang ng chance tiyak na magiging first world country ang pilipinas.Sa tagal na nating nasyon wala pang pinoy na nakarating sa buwan,even our own satellite,sophisticated military weapons,world class coliseum sa olympics and big concert events,high end dockyards,airports,public medical facilities,submarines,our own automotive brands like toyota,grand prix race track,tallest towers like petronas.eiffel tower,pinoy version of golden gate bridge,robots and etc.

  18. My comment relies on the verse of Ecclesiastes 9:11 “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or WEALTH to the BRILLIANT or favor to the learned;

    Sa wika natin, ang mabilis ay di siyang laging nananalo sa takbuhan ni ang malakas ay laging nagwawagi sa digmaan. Ang matatalino’y di laging nakakasumpong ng kanyang mga kailangan at di lahat ng marunong ay yumayaman. Di lahat ng may kakayahan ay nagtatagumpay; lahat ay dinaratnan ng malas.

  19. aq naman napansin ko lang din.. dahil sa facebook nakikita ko mga clasmates ko noon.. napansin ko mga drop outs nung sa school namin ngayon makikita mo sa facebook ang yaman na nila nasa ibang bansa na,, in short asensado na,,, samantalang mga nsa topnotchers may work sila maganda pero madaing,, malamang dahil mataas ang sahod,,mataas ang cost of living.. abilidad,lakas ng loob, at sipag malamang ang sagot jan..hndi sa gaano ka kagaling magkwenta.. kagaling sa grammar..kagaling sa logic equals yaman… tama?

  20. This finding is true because I have a neighbor who did not reach high school but she is very rich now. The secret is business and being frugal.

  21. All we need eagerness to achieve what we want in life… Nice blog sir

  22. IQ will get you a job/business and EQ will keep you there;
    but it’s FQ (financial literacy) will make you rich.

  23. I agree , they are not correlated minsan sila pa yung mahirap yumaman kasi they are caught up with what they know that they are hard to listen and follow advice. I read i quote that says ” its not what you know for sure that gets you into trouble, its what you know is right for sure, that is not.

  24. Ang pagiging matalino lang hindi.Dapat samahan ng lakas ng loob.
    Tamang kaalaman sa pag hawak ng pera.
    Salamat sir fitz sa pag educate us tru ur blog.
    God bless.

  25. I agree that you do not need to be a “brainiac” to become wealthy. I have worked beside several well off people and trust me, they were very good at what they did to earn but were in many ways virtually helpless. One gentleman called me on an icy winter day asking for help to get his plow truck unstuck. He owns a large lake-front home. The apartment-guest-house over the garage and also overlooking the lake is absolutely top shelf. He has money, many rental units, lost and lots of real estate deals. This guy is NEVER hurting financially. The public roads were a sheet of ice so I decided to bring what I needed in a wheelbarrow and off I went. First, the guy had no clue that he had lost 4-wheel drive, the chain in his transfer case had broken. It was a simple matter to rig a couple small winches and chains to pull him out from where he was stuck. Still, without 4-wheel drive he could not get enough traction to make it to his garage. I had to hook up his wife’s 4X4 and tug his truck to get him past the bad spot. Once finished, he said to me, “Jack, it is almost as if I do not belong out here in the woods. I have everything I want in life but I am helpless without guys like you.” The relationship I have with folks like these is symbiotic. I get to learn their secrets for free!!!

  26. Anybody, regardless of race who aims to be wealthy shall be. Life is what we make it and so true, ” WE ARE WHAT WE WANT TO BE”

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