Or, in other words, can you become rich?
Dr. William Hampton: Existing studies have determined that many factors play a role in how much money a person will make. Some are very obvious, such as education and occupation, while some are less so – taller people earn more, for example. Our study was the first, however, to create a validated rank ordering of these factors (age, occupation, education, geographic location, gender, race, ethnicity, height, age, delay discounting) using machine learning.
Our results were interesting because when we compared the importance of these factors we found that how much a person discounts the value of future rewards compared to immediate ones (known as delay discounting) is more predictive of income than some other ‘big’ variables such as age, ethnicity, and race.
This is one reason why so many poor migrants from China become stunningly wealthy in a few decades in the West.
This is also why many poor people will remain poor. One could give each of them a million dollars but they'll be broke again a few months down the road. They simply don't save or conserve for the long term. Look at the people who start off in life as not-rich and then slowly build wealth over many years. The most common factor is their high savings rate.
The most spectacular example of that was Ronald Read. He died at the age of 92. He left behind $8 million. What was his profession? Janitor.