So, birth order isn’t meaningless after all — it might affect your bank account

We’ve been hearing a lot of things from the scientific community about birth order as of late. While some scientists say the whole personality thing (you know, the youngest kids are rebellious and the oldest are bossy, for example) is a total myth, birth order can affect us in unexpected ways. This summer, new research suggested that birth control can affect your health — first born children are more likely to have a higher weight and BMI as they got older. Now, it looks like your place in the family could have an effect on your bank account, too.

Research recently published in the Journal of Financial Therapy is incredibly interesting. Though it must be taken with a grain of salt, as researchers noted that some of the results were a bit contradictory, but it’s got us analyzing our bank accounts and wondering if our birth order really has a say.

Comparing only children to those with siblings, the research found that oldest children tend to be the best with their money, engaging in considerably less risk-taking behaviors. And you know all those traits you associate with older kids — achievement-oriented, organized, etc.? Yeah, all of those may translate to their spending and budgeting habits, the study suggests.

“Firstborns handle money differently,” Jerry Linebaugh, II, founder and CEO of JLine Financial, told GoBankingRates in response to the study. “I see a pattern in a lot of people that I know. They are viciously protective of making sure bills are paid on time and living within their means, which includes building savings and investments.”

Middle children are also rigid savers, but they tend to be a little more flexible with their money. They also tend to give more of their money to those in need, since they have an “I can handle anything that comes my way” attitude coupled with their tendency to people please. And as for youngest children, well, you can probably expect it: Many of them tend to be a little more crazy with their money. Being the life of the party, they tend to spend more and engage in more financial risk-taking behaviors.

In a nutshell, you can take the stereotypes surrounding your birth order, then apply them to money. Of course, the research is preliminary, and many scientists and psychologists continuously are debating over whether birth order has an effect on the way we live our lives, or if it has absolutely no relevance. But either way, it’s a fascinating concept, and a really good way to consider possible weaknesses, if this applies to us.

Older children, if you tend to be a little obsessive over paying the bills on time and saving money, let loose a little! Remember that having fun, then being a bit tight the next week, is not the end of the world. Middle children, remember that you don’t have to please everyone, and just because Uncle Dave asked to loan some cash doesn’t mean you have to. Youngest children, take a leaf out of your older siblings’ book and remember to budget.

(Image via Warner Bros.)

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