The surprising way birth order decides your money habits
The order in which you were born can say a lot about you. There have been many studies done that suggest your birth order is directly connected with your personality, achievements, and even who you marry. Your birth order might even give some significant insight in how you save and spend money.
Being the eldest of the family usually means you are more responsible and driven. Firstborns tend to be more organized and punctual, too. You have probably been in charge of your younger siblings on multiple occasions. And there were also many times when your parents depended on you.
All of these personality traits translate to healthy financial habits. Firstborns are more likely to pay bills on time, spend responsibly, and calculate financial risks thoroughly. Their driven behavior might be why many firstborns also make more money or have prestigious careers, such as a profession in the medical or law field.
Firstborns can also come with flaws. Their perfectionist nature can drive them too far. Firstborns are more likely to suffer burnout and mid-life crises. Your finances will suffer if you reach burnout and give up on your career or savings goals. (See also: Are You Smarter Than Your Sibling?)
Middle children tend to be the family's peacemaker. They are good at solving problems and coming up with inventive solutions to conflict and issues. Middle children can fall into the trap of not wanting to look upstaged by their older sibling. Middle children are more likely to hide their true financial situation, so that parents and siblings will think the middle child is responsible and successful.
Middle children will benefit the most financially by being honest with themselves and others about money. You will only put your budget in trouble if you pretend that you can afford everything your older sibling can. While the pressure to compete might have you embellishing how much is in your savings account, don't let your pride cause you to overspend or forgo asking for help when you are in financial hot water.
As an inventive problem solver, middle children can tend to deal with financial problems in a creative, but unhelpful way. Shuffling debt around to new 0% APR credit cards might seem smart, but it does not address the root issue — debt.
As the baby of the family, you are used to being in the spotlight. Family members are more likely to dote on the youngest and provide extra leniency as far as responsibility goes. The youngest tend to be more social and fun-loving, too.
All of these traits can lead to poor money habits. The youngest child might rely on their parents for financial support much longer than their other siblings and have a hard time developing financial responsibility. They can tend to blame bad financial consequences on others instead of owning up to mistakes. For example, a late bill is not their fault since the company forgot to send the bill or they were working too many hours to have time to pay it.
The youngest children can tend spend their money carelessly, especially in social and fun settings. They might complain about not having enough money to fix their car or pay rent, but they always seem to have money for a dinner out with friends or a Starbucks latte.
Don't let your youngest-child status ruin your finances though. You can still enjoy fun, social nights out, but learn to budget for it and find creative and more affordable solutions. A potluck with friends can be just as fun — and much less expensive — than going out for a dinner and a movie.
Only children share many of the great financial habits of firstborns. They tend to have great credit scores and be driven to make more money. Since only children have spent most of their lives around adults, they also tend to be more mature. However, only children can also feel more inclined to impress others and take risks. They might overspend and live above their means to impress others and to fit in.
Only children might also take riskier financial moves, such as putting their money in a new startup or risky investment. Their higher level of risk can either work for them, or against them. Some risks will pay off in big ways, while others will drain their bank accounts.
It is important to remember that birth order is a theory and not a law. While your birth order might mean you have natural inclinations to certain personality quirks and spending habits, it should by no means be what defines you. Don't write off your bad money habits just because you are the youngest child. Instead, learn what your natural inclinations are and work against them to create healthy money habits.
Did we nail your money habits right on the head or were we completely wrong? Share your how your birth order affects your money management.
Related: 5 great money-saving tips