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How Birth Order May Affect Financial Personality

How Birth Order May Affect Financial Personality Credit: Siblings image via Shutterstock

While studies have long shown the role that birth order plays in a person's personality, new research suggests it also helps shape individuals’ financial makeup.

A study by CouponCabin confirmed birth order theorist Alfred Adler’s beliefs that firstborns are likely to be power-hungry conservatives, highly responsible and organized, as they've been expected to lead by example during their formative years. The data shows that 87 percent of surveyed firstborns consider themselves financially responsible.

While later-borns, including middle children and youngest children, are usually considered to be the most open to new experiences, the survey found that those who were the only child in their family are the biggest risk-takers when it comes to money. The only children surveyed had the highest instance of taking financial risks, such as borrowing for short-term investments or investing in risky ventures.

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"Birth order can be an interesting determiner of personality and behavior, which means that sometimes, financial decisions are affected," said Jackie Warrick, president and chief savings officer at "At the same time, it's important to recognize that birth order is a theory, and that other factors contribute to making money decisions."

In terms of saving money, middle children lead the way, with 65 percent of those surveyed putting money into their savings accounts each month. This research bucks the theory that firstborns are the conservative ones; the data shows they were the least likely to make monthly saving account payments.

Meanwhile, the research also reveals middle children are most likely to be asked for money from a sibling, with nearly half being hit for cash from a brother or sister.

The research was based on surveys of more than 2,200 U.S. adults.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.