5 things you might not know about rich people

Chris Gayomali
The Week
Has a short name: Check. Uses Google: Eh... probably not.

They tend to have short first names... like this Bill Gates fellow

You may have seen recent headlines about a surprising correlation between the amount of sex someone has in their off hours and how large their paychecks are. (Short version: More sex = more money.)

The study has attracted a fair amount of attention, presumably because people appreciate it when two individually enjoyable things — sex and money, in this case — become one, like the cronut. But more sex is not all that separates the Bourgeois from the down-on-his-luck everyman. Here, a short list of other things correlated with being wealthy:

1. They're happier
Money apparently can buy you happiness.

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A study from April by economist Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers found a clear correlation between wealth and self-described "happiness" spanning several different countries worldwide. "While there are some differences in the slopes, the more remarkable feature is simply that for every country, the relationship estimated at low incomes appears to hold in roughly equal measure at higher incomes," wrote the study's authors.

The important caveat is that original income level didn't appear to matter. For example: A doubling of wealth produces the same percent change in happiness whether that initial income was $1,000 or $1,000,000. Apparently, it's all relative.

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2. They drive like jerks
Social scientist Paul K. Piff at the University of California, Berkeley, wanted to know if rich people behaved differently when behind the wheel of an expensive vehicle with luxuries like working AC and FM radio. So he set up a study to observe how drivers of different vehicles responded to pedestrians, as well as at multi-stop intersections.

What did Piff discover? After observing 274 cars, the team found that more expensive vehicles were more likely to jump their turn at an intersection, or cut in front of pedestrians at a crosswalk. So-called "beater" cars, on the other hand, always stopped for someone trying to cross.

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3. They're probably taller
A recent Australian study found that being 6 feet tall raises your annual income nearly $1,000 compared to your less vertically gifted counterparts.

"Our estimates suggest that if the average man of about 178 centimeters [5 feet 10 inches] gains an additional five centimeters [2 inches] in height, he would be able to earn an extra $950 per year — which is approximately equal to the wage gain from one extra year of labor market experience," says study co-author Andrew Leigh, an economist at Australian National University. The findings seem to corroborate a 2005 sample of Fortune 500 CEOs, who averaged about 6 feet.

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Exactly why tall folks earn better wages is less clear. Researchers say it may have something to do with an added confidence boost. Or perhaps the air is just better up there.

4. They probably use Google
"If you're smart and rich, there's a good chance you use Google." That's a real line from a CNN Money story published today. It details a study conducted by an online advertising company you probably haven't heard of called Chitika, which found that people who use that Google thing tend to live in states with above-average median household incomes and above-average college graduation rates. Confoundingly, the data scientist responsible for the study declined to postulate on why the correlation occurs. Perhaps it's because Google controls a commanding two-thirds of the U.S. search market, which is a rather large Venn circle that, I'm guessing, might even contain a few rich people in it.

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5. They probably have a short first name
Short, easy-to-process names may lead to higher salaries, according to research conducted by TheLadders.com. The findings suggest that for every extra letter in your first name, there was a $3,600 drop in salary on average, especially for people who willfully shortened their names. (Steve versus Stephen, for instance.)

The highest paid male names, in no special order, appeared to be: Tom, Rob, Dale, Doug, and Wayne. And the highest paid female names: Lynn, Melissa, Cathy, Dana, Christine. Exactly why this is, again, is left undiscussed.

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