Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Testosterone and Money

So last night, the news has this story about how some study somewhere has shown that women with higher testosterone levels are more reckless with money. And basically that was it, {it was one of the reports that kind of ends the night broadcast, and so it was cut pretty short}. But it got me interested, so I looked up the study on line.

Basically Northwestern University noticed that in their MBA program, only 36% of females were choosing high-risk financial careers compared to 57% of males. There was already some research done in England that (supposedly-I'm a little skeptical as to just how you could prove this) higher levels of testosterone boosts short term success at finance. That study tested only male traders and found that those with higher levels of testosterone in the morning were more likely to make an unusually big profit that day. Having heard of that study before, the university decided to test their students and see if the same held for women. They found that women with higher levels of testosterone were almost seven times more likely to take risks than women with lower levels.

One other side note: The study also showed that married men and women had lower levels of testosterone than single individuals and were therefore, more risk averse than unmarried people.

So here I am, thinking when I was younger and unmarried, I was not very good with money. At least not like my sister who has ALWAYS been good at saving it and spending it wisely. When Steve and I got married, we went to the bank to consolidate our funds, and I had $25.47 to my name. {you would remember that number too if your husband had a lot more than you in his account} The bank lady asked before we closed my account if there were any outstanding checks that hadn't been cleared yet. "Ummmmm.... I don't think so." Followed by Steve's, "Don't you check?" And no, not really I didn't check, and we went ahead and closed the account only to have a 3 dollar and some change check bounce and have to pay the bank back that amount plus the $20 bounce fee which means I basically had a little over $2 to my name when we got married.

But you know, I worked really hard to save money and not spend it. I worked as a teacher for a couple of years after being married, I feel like I contributed to us being able to buy our first house and pay off all my own student loans.

So now, after hearing this report, I was thinking all along that I was actually learning to be good with my money and really budget, but according to this "study" they are saying that really, I just had high levels of testosterone in my body when I was single, and just as time has gone on, the levels have decreased, and so therefore I am just less reckless with my money? Yeah, whatever, I don't buy it. I think when it comes to anything that we are either good at or bad at, there is some personal effort in it. There is some amount of physical and mental discipline that comes into play. And it is NOT just all based on how much testosterone is in my body.

One thing that the study forgets to look at, is what are the levels of testosterone like in men who are not risky with money. Or, maybe they did and found that there were more men with higher levels of testosterone in their body who were NOT high-risk takers and it just didn't support their "findings" so they left it out. I have added the site for you to take a look at if you are interested in the study at all. I know that I am just rambling, but this story kind of seriously bugs me. I'm just sayin'.


Lhone said...

yeah, i saw this on tv too, and thought it was rediculous. i think what you do with money depends on your discipline, not hormones.

BlaineUSA said...

I got into an argument with a sales rep. at the AT&T store when I went to get my wireless air card fixed. She was just reading "Outliers" by Malcom Gladwell (cool book, I hear. It and Gladwell's other famous one, "Blink" are on my wish list at Amazon.)

Anyway, the sales rep. tells me all about how, according to this book, Tiger Woods' and Bill Gates' successes were far more a matter of all the right conditions and circumstances lining up than any personal passion, talent, or achievement. What about choice, accountability, the personal dedication that each person ultimately had to decide to commit at one point or another? All programmed? Conditioned? Pre-determined? I think not.

The problem with science and news today is that too often, everyone fails to remember that 'Correlation' does NOT equal 'Causation'. Hormones do NOT earn you money. . . except in prostitution. You can quote me on that.