Polls / December 5, 2011

Do you think being good with money is genetic or a skill that is learned during life?

Half of respondents to the latest eZonomics online poll say being good with money is a combination of genetics and skills learned in life.

I inherited your blue eyes – and your saving habits
We can thank our genes for a lot in life but is our inclination to save (or spend) one of them? A study of twins and their savings styles called The Origins of Saving Behavior suggests that at least part of our financial nous is inherited. But there was no one simple explanation as to why some people spent more and some saved more.
The paper, by United States-based academics Henrik Cronqvist and Stephan Siegel, examined the saving styles of twins and claimed that genetics explained about a third of our savings style. In other words, it says we are each “born with an innate genetic predisposition to a specifi c savings behaviour” that we carry through life. Other factors that shaped savings styles included education from parents – but the influence of this nurture (rather than nature) was more likely to diminish over the years.

Shape your future
Why do we care if our saving and spending inclinations are passed down through the generations? With private retirement savings arguably becoming more important, study authors say understanding money motivations is more important. And knowledge can be empowering.
ING Direct USA’s We, the Savers says the study results could help motivate. Use the knowledge to set savings goals and cut procrastination. After all, if the study is right and genes account for a third of our savings propensities, that means there’s still plenty we can influence ourselves.

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eZonomics team
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