Bill Gates’s father was a lawyer. A very successful one. His mother a teacher. Reading business magazines in middle school, Bill Jr. had a different dream – to open a company. You could say that’s how he started – with a childish dream. Many kids have dreams, though. How was he different?
In her book “Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength,” psychologist Dr. Laurie Helgoe writes:
“Introversion, when embraced, is a wellspring of riches.”
Although Dr. Helgoe’s book is primarily about helping people accept and use their introverted personalities to achieve success, this particular phrase in her book inspires yet another possibility: Introverts’ nature can help them achieve a literal “wellspring of riches.”
To put it another way, an introvert personality can absolutely make you wealthy. Just look at Bill Gates. Bestselling author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” and introvert expert Susan Cain said that the Microsoft co-founder is an introvert, reports The Huffington Post. And, his net worth is nearly $80 billion, according to Forbes.
So you see, being an introvert has its perks — especially when it comes to achieving financial success.
Introverts Vs. Extroverts: Key Differences
According to the Myers-Briggs personality test, the introvert personality gains energy from within and not from external sources. For this reason, many people mistake introverts for being shy, but that’s not necessarily true of all introverts. There are many introverts who are comfortable speaking in large groups and being leaders at work. There are even introverts who make a living in the performing arts and as college professors. The only difference is that they need time to themselves after a long day to recharge.
Energy levels and preferred lengths of face-to-face interaction aren’t the only notable or even the most interesting differences between extroverts and introverts. In fact, it’s the more subtle and unique layers of introverts that make them especially well-suited to build long-term wealth. Below are some examples:
Introverts Are Less Impulsive
Many introverts can identify with the following statement, according to MyersBriggs.org: “I take time to reflect so that I have a clear idea of what I’ll be doing when I decide to act.” Introverts are known for being disciplined and careful decision makers, two traits that are perfect for long-term wealth building. As author and money expert Robert Kiyosaki said, “It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep” that makes you wealthy.
Dr. Maryam Jahdi, a resident physician in the department of psychiatry and behavioral health at Ohio State University, said introverts are not impulsive because their “behavior is guided more by consequences and less by rewards.” And one study, as reported by LiveScience.com, backs up Jahdi’s statement; it found that introverts “tend to delay rewards” instead of jumping on “immediate gratification.”
Conversely, a 2013 study by Cornell University professor Richard Depue and graduate student Yu Fu found that extroverts actually have a different brain chemistry than introverts. They release more dopamine than introverts when they experience rewards, like accomplishing a monetary goal or eating delicious food. “In extroverts, this dopamine response to rewards is more robust so they experience more frequent activation of strong positive emotions,” Depue reportedly said.
A more recent study entitled “The Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale” published in September by the journal Frontiers in Psychology states, “Extroversion has been positively associated with shopping addiction, suggesting extroverts may be using shopping to uphold their social status and sustain their social attractiveness, such as buying a new outfit and accessories for every occasion.” For these reasons, it might be more challenging for some extroverts to control spending and have enough financial discipline to build wealth for the future.
Introverts Make Smart Investment Decisions
When it comes to investing, Dr. Jahdi said, “Being an introvert could influence becoming wealthy in the future because a lot of financial decisions are based on avoiding bad decisions, negative consequences and missed opportunities. Whereas an extrovert is more guided by immediate rewards to reinforce positive feelings — the feelings you get when you make a fun purchase, as opposed to waiting several years to see a good return on investment.”
Overall, successful investing demands careful contemplation, and introverted thinking by its very nature couldn’t conceive of acting rashly without researching something as serious as investing. Meanwhile, some extroverts tend to be thrill-seekers and impulsive, which means they might be “prone to making unduly risky investment decisions, while the quiet introvert might have more solid, research-based instincts,” reports Reuters.
According to a recent U.S. News interview with Cain, “introverts like to process slowly and deeply before they speak or act, and are comfortable with delayed gratification.” She also explained to Reuters this is the reason why legendary investor Warren Buffett is so successful. Cain said Buffett is “a classic example of an introvert taking careful, well-calibrated risks.”
Introverts Excel in the Workplace
In addition to being careful spenders and thoughtful investors, introverts also excel in the workplace, which can help them make more money and land promotions. Although they might not be the most outspoken or social employees, introverts can apply what author and global speaker Jennifer Kahnweiler calls the 4P’s — preparation, presence, push and practice — to become leaders in the workplace.
Introverts are also thoughtful and conscientious. Marti Olsen Laney, author of “The Introvert Advantage” told CNN that introverts have leadership qualities that set them apart from extroverts. “You really see a pattern of being conscientious, wanting to do a good job, being creative, good at problem solving,” she said.
According to a recent study at the University of Michigan Retirement Research Center, “Individuals who are at the 85th percentile of conscientiousness earn about $1,500 more per year than the average American, which amounts to about $96,000 more in lifetime earnings and $158,000 more in lifetime savings.”
Finding Meaning in It All
Researchers have enjoyed studying the differences between introverts and extroverts for quite some time. While extroverts have quite literally enjoyed their time in the spotlight and as leaders, recent research and publications show that this really is the time for introverts to shine. If you’re an introvert, you’re more than capable of utilizing you unique gifts and skills to achieve financial wealth and success.