- Height: An Australian study found that 6-foot men earned $1,000 more than guys who were two inches shorter. "Taller people are perceived to be more intelligent and powerful," says the study.
- Regular exercise: People who work out regularly, according to a study in the Journal of Labor Research, earn nine percent more than their couch potato peers. Perhaps your monthly gym membership is literally paying off.
- Popularity in high school: Being well-liked in high school isn't something we can change right now, but if you were one of the cool kids, you're in luck. A National Bureau of Economic Research study says people who were among the top fifth most popular students in high school, earn a 10 percent premium on salary four decades later compared with the bottom fifth.
- When you marry: College-educated women who marry past their 30s make more income, while men who marry earlier see more financial benefits, according to a study by the National Marriage Project. One reason could be: women who marry earlier tend to have kids earlier as well, which forces them to take a break from their career during a period when they'll see a lot of growth. As for men, perhaps those who marry earlier tend to be more secure and confident than their single friends, leading to higher productivity.
Read on for more.
- Gender: This is something that's probably out of your hands, but as we all know, men make more than women. But did you know they even trump women in female-dominated industries? Sad, but true.
- Weight: Women who are 25 pounds lighter than the average weight (so basically, those who have the body of runway models), earn $15,572 more annually. On the flip side, men who gain weight (as long as it's not to the obesity levels) tend to make more than their skinny counterparts.
- Keeping your maiden name: Women who keep their maiden name were perceived to be more “independent, intelligent, ambitious and competent,” according to a study from the Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research in the Netherlands. In fact, those with maiden names were valued about $1,172.36 more per month than those who changed their last names.
- Girlie girls: It's OK to flutter your lashes once in a while, as long as there's a razor-sharp mind behind them. According to a British study, having feminine qualities will help you get ahead at work.
- Being mean: Nice guys finish last, at least in the cutthroat working world. Men who scored below average in agreeableness made $9,772 more annually than nice guys. In the case of women, mean girls made $1,828 more.
- Your looks: We live in a shallow, shallow world. Good-looking people make three to four percent more than the average Joe or plain Jane, according to research by Daniel Hamermesh, an economics professor at the University of Texas. That can add up to at least $230,000 more in a lifetime.
- How you negotiate: According to research by NYU and the Harvard Kennedy School, results showed that when both genders read a script that said, "I think I should be paid at the top of the salary range. And I would also like to be eligible for an end-of-the-year bonus," men were thought of as assertive while women gave off the impression of being pushy and unpleasant. Researchers found that if women phrased it in a way that aligned their needs with the company's goals, their requests are less likely to seem negative.
- Blondes: It's often said that blondes have more fun, but perhaps it's due to having more money to spend on entertainment. An Australian study shows that blondes earn seven percent more than women with other hair colors.
As always, take these studies with a grain of salt, and remember that correlation doesn't always mean causation. It seems reasonable to assume that how great you are at your job will affect your earning potential more than any of the factors mentioned above, right?