Does Birth Order Really Affect How We Handle Money?

My cousin has three kids. The middle child has been whining about life being unfair since he was three years old. He turned eight last week and decided to run away with a lunch box full of canned soup, no can opener and high hopes that a childless couple would adopt him so that he could grow up as an only child.

His heartfelt goodbye letter was found before he made it past the front door and and he was lured back with promises of ice cream (it doesn’t take much to make him happy).

Apparently he’s right about life not being fair… especially not to him or most middle children. It does indeed suck to be him.

I came across this study on how birth order affects career paths and earnings and this one about credit scores, and it rocks to be the firstborn child or an only child. Here’s how it’ supposed to work:

Firstborn / Only Child – ‘The Leader

You got it made! You’re most likely to earn a 6-figure salary and become executives (CEOs, CFOs, Sr. VPs). You are also the one most likely to have the highest credit score since you pay everything on time and are the picture of responsibility. You’re a control freak though.

Middle/Second Child – ‘The Peacemaker

You’re out of luck. Not only do you get hand-me-downs, you’re the most likely to have an income of less than $35,000 and stick to entry-level positions.  Since you’re a problem solver, you like to deal with your own finances without asking for help, so you tend to move debt around and likely to have money troubles.

Last Born – ‘The Free Spirit

You’re most likely to be in middle management. You like to socialize and have a hard time cutting out social activities from your budget. So you prefer instant gratification over long-term savings. You’re known to be a bad decision maker.

But is it true?

In my case,  no.

I’m the second child and I certainly am not the peacemaker. And I’m not that bad with money… fiiiiine, I did in fact have some teeny- tiny, okay serious debt troubles, but dropped my ‘charge it and forget it’ motto and got out of a $34,000 debt.

When it comes to personal finance, I’m the more responsible one compared to my older brother. Despite my own bout with debt, I’m more of a planner for my financial future. When it comes to careers, I’d also have to say that mine has more of a focus. In fact, my brother is the more creative one of the two of us. He’s a free spirit, where I’m more controlled.

It looks like things are reversed in my family.

Is this true in your family?


Jen is a Headhunter who started her recruitment agency while juggling a $34,000 consumer debt. She decided to immerse herself in personal finance and managed to dig herself out of debt in one year. Jen writes humorously and candidly about her journey starting from the days she was swimming in debt to to debt-free living at

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