by Dana George | April 8, 2020
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What does your personality type say about your earning potential? Here are a few clues.
If you've ever taken a psychology class, you may recall learning about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). In fact, you may have spent time scanning a questionnaire, marking off characteristics that apply to you.
The Myers-Briggs theory was created by mother and daughter, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, but based on the much earlier work of Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung. It's all designed to determine which of Jung's 16 personality types best describes your character and approach to life.
In fact, a study conducted by Truity Psychometrics -- an online personality and career test creator -- found one personality type that tends to earn more money than any other Myers-Briggs type. At least for a while.
Truity found that the personality type ENTJ makes more money than any other personality type early in their careers. They earn an average of $59,993 per year compared with the lowest-earners (INFPs) who bring in just $33,736.
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In order to understand what ENTJ stands for, let's back up a bit. Each letter in the personality types identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator represents one of two characteristics taken from four different categories. If you'd like to get an idea of your personality type, grab a pen and record your preferences in each one. You may find that both descriptions in a category fit you, so choose the one that fits best.
Extroversion and Introversion: Those who prefer to spend their energy dealing with people and situations, lean towards Extroversion (E). Conversely, Introversion (I) describes those who use more energy dealing with information, beliefs, ideas, or the inner world.
Sensing and Intuition: If you're more comfortable dealing with facts, your preference is Sensing (S). If you're interested in the unknown and often follow your instincts, you can write down an N for iNtuition.
Thinking and Feeling: If you tend to make decisions based on logic and analytic data, you'd fall into the Thinking (T) category. If your style is to make decisions based on who or what you believe is important, your preference is for Feeling (F).
Judging and Perception: If you prefer a well-structured, well-planned life, you'd have a Judging (J) rather than a Perceiving (P) personality which marks more of a go-with-the-flow kind of person.
If you have ever taken the MBTI, you may have wondered when you would ever use it. Initially, the test was meant to help people understand how they (and others) perceive the world and how they make decisions.
Each of the 16 types has its own label. For example, the ENTJ personality type that earns the most money is dubbed the chief or the commander. This is an extrovert who prefers to examine ideas, makes decisions based on logic and data, and likes a well-structured life. These folks often start out strong, out-earning other personality types into their 40s, giving them the potential to save and invest more at an earlier age.
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But the picture changes as people enter their 40s, when ENTPs (also known as "Visionaries") become the biggest earners. Like ENTJs, ENTPs are extroverts who prefer to examine ideas and make decisions based on logic. What makes them different is that they are go-with-the-flow types who are less in need of structure. Those with the rare and lower-earning personality type of INFP (Mediators) also peak in their 40s, but still pull in significantly less than the high earners.
By the time they're in their 50s, other personality types come into their own and earn their highest incomes ever. These include ESTPs (Doers), INTJs (Masterminds), and INTPs (Thinkers). This could be because many of the IN-types (introverted intuitives) are more likely to spend their early years pursuing higher education, and so take longer to get into the race.
ESFPs (Performers), ISFPs (Composers), and ISFJs (Nurturers) also take longer to reach peak earnings due to the fact that they are more likely to put their careers on hold to care for children. What you'll notice about each of these personality types is that they are all feelers, people who are more interested in pursuing what they believe is important than analyzing data. It is possible that some of these feelers are also women who have dealt with the pay gap that accompanies taking time off to care for the kids.
MBTI is one tool for self-analysis and for understanding where your strengths lie, but it is not the only indicator of how well you'll do on the job or how much money you are likely to earn. Your overall personality also plays a role. Besides, it's not how much money you make but how you use it that determines whether you're likely to build wealth. You can earn millions and waste millions. Or, like most people who become millionaires, you can avoid unnecessary debt, live below your means, make simple investments, and aim to save a large portion of your income.
If you care about what you're doing and want to build a successful career, no personality type can hold you back. After all, Henry Ford or Walt Disney probably didn't know their personality types -- and they did just fine.
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