Nice children are more likely to end up poor later in life, according to a new study.
Scientists have found that those with a more agreeable personality are destined to a higher degree of financial mismanagement as adults.
Experts at University College London and Columbia Business School analyzed the data from more than three million participants and found that those with meaner personalities ended up, on average, richer.
They looked both at children, following them into later life, and directly at adults.
Agreeability correlated with lower income, credit scores, lower savings and higher debt.
The research teams also sought to establish why the correlation existed.
They concluded that agreeable people are worse off not because they are more willing to compromise, but because they simply think less about money, and are therefore at a higher risk of mismanaging their affairs.
Dr Sandra Matz, from Columbia, said: “Our results help us to understand one potential factor underlying financial hardship, which can have serious implications for people's well-being.
"Being kind and trusting has financial costs, especially for those who do not have the means to compensate for their personalities."
The researchers took their findings two online panels, a national survey, bank account data and publicly available geographic data.
They also compared publicly available personality and financial data from two areas in the United Kingdom that both had similar per-capita income levels.
The city that scored significantly higher on agreeableness also had 50 percent higher bankruptcy rate.
"We were interested in understanding whether having a nice and warm personality, what academics in personality research describe as agreeableness, was related to negative financial outcomes," said Dr Matz.
"Previous research suggested that agreeableness was associated with lower credit scores and income.
“We wanted to see if that association held true for other financial indicators and, if so, better understand why nice guys seem to finish last."
The research is published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
But I think that this applies to an individualized society, where everyone thinks only about themselves. Which kind of fits, because the institutions that did this research are propagating this kind of approach to life. It seems that these effects can be easily mitigated in the environment where everyone cares not only about their own well-being, but also the well-being of others.