Why shorter, heavier people make less money

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Study Shows Short Men and Obese Women Make Less Money

Does the way you look actually make a difference in how successful you become?

A study by the UK Biobank seems to have found the answer, and it's somewhat disheartening. But fear not, there's much more science behind it than you may think.

SEE ALSO: The gender pay gap is bad in some states and worse in others

There seems to be a correlation between height, weight, gender and earnings. In short, the study found evidence pointing to the fact that shorter, heavier people have a lower socioeconomic status than those who are taller and of a average weight.

Money.com summarized the following results:

  • As little as an extra 2-and-a-half inches of height raised men's annual incomes by nearly $4,200.
  • Overweight men (measured by comparatively higher BMIs) also saw a drop in income, but the effect of higher BMIs dragging down incomes was far more pronounced for women than for men.
  • Women who weigh as little as 15 pounds more than their peers saw an average annual income drop of $1,600, and were less likely to own cars or homes, or be employed.

Of course these results beg answers from many questions. How much of this is causation versus pure correlation? If these variables are directly related, then what's the logic behind it?

To begin, the researchers acknowledged at the end of their study that "Further work is needed to understand the factors that lead to and from anthropometric traits and socioeconomic status."

Translation: there isn't enough evidence to address either question with a succinct and accurate answer.

But based on what we do know, we can make some assumptions. We know that lower socioeconomic status leads to poorer health, due to inability to access top-notch healthcare, medicine, outlets for exercise, healthy nutrition choices, etc.

We also know that factors such as socioeconomic status are somewhat cyclical, in that they pass on through generations.

If your parents were lower-middle class growing up and didn't receive a high-level education, you're less likely to receive one compared to others whose parents did have a high-level education.

Apart from this, the prioritization of health and practicing healthy habits are also things that tend to be passed down generationally. Again, if your parents didn't put an emphasis on nutrition and exercise as a priority, you're less likely to prioritize nutrition and exercise than someone whose parents did put an emphasis on them.

By applying this to the study, we can draw the somewhat feasible conclusion that shorter and heavier people have a lower socioeconomic status due to the status (and its implications) of the generations before them. The same goes for taller and thinner people.

Of course there are several other factors at play and to be considered, and this is just a rough guess as to what potential future research might unveil.

One thing, however, is for certain: whether you're tall, short, overweight or underweight, it can never determine the amount of drive you have to succeed.

RELATED: Easy ways to put more money in your pocket

Easy ways to put more money in your pocket
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Why shorter, heavier people make less money

Automate your finances. 

Set up your finances so that money is taken straight from your paycheck and deposited directly into your savings account or a retirement savings account. You can also set up your fixed bills like your Internet and cable to be automatically deducted from your checking account. Automate your finances to save time and prevent overspending. If you see extra money in your account, chances are you’ll find a way to spend it, leaving you little to invest in your future. Automation helps keep your priorities in line so that as money comes in, it is dispersed to your other accounts immediately.

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Cut back. 

At least twice a year, look at your expenses line by line and see if you’re getting the most bang for your buck. For example, do you read the magazines you subscribe to or maximize that gym membership? If the answer is “no,” consider canceling or negotiating a better rate. Take that money you save, and apply it toward bigger payoffs like debt reduction, retirement or an emergency fund.   

(Photo: Getty)

Get rewards. 

Lots of people use debit cards to make it easy to buy and budget for groceries, gas and other routine purchases. Instead of doing that, look into a credit card with a great rewards program for those daily purchases, and set it up to automatically pay the statement balance from your checking account each month. Over the course of the year, you could potentially pocket a few extra hundred dollars just by using a card with a good rewards program instead of your ordinary debit card (just make sure you’re paying off your credit card every month, so you don’t pay extra in interest).

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Boost your income. 

If you love your job and want to grow your career, it's time to think about boosting your income as well. Make it a goal to negotiate a raise this year. Consider your strengths and look at the value you've provided to your company over the last six months to a year, and discuss it during a performance review. This can feel intimidating, but it never hurts to ask.

(Photo: Getty)

Get a side gig. 

Take advantage of your skills, or turn a hobby into profit. Doing so can help you generate extra income – which you can put toward reaching your financial goals. Etsy, for example, is a great place to sell one-of-a-kind products.  If you have Web design, copy editing or other creative skills, consider offering your services on freelance websites such as Fiverr or Elance. These types of side gigs will allow you to earn extra income while also growing your skills.

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Track your progress. 

You can’t save money if you don't know where your money is going. Every month, track your net worth using a personal finance tool or app that will show you exactly where your money is going. This will make you think about your entire financial picture from income and expenses to investments and taxes. With this focus, you can ultimately make the greatest impact on your finances in 2015.

(Photo: Getty)


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