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Can Your Personality Type Determine How much You’ll Make in Your Career?

Jack Speer is President of Delta, Inc. and Delta Digital.  He is an organizational consultant and founder of The World Type Alliance,  A sometimes popular humorist on the subject of type, Jack regularly writes and comments on the MBTI® and other personality type instruments.  

Can Personality Type predict how rich and well-heeled you are and will be—or how poor?  The generation reaction that people when they are presented with the idea is that they get red in the face, swoon, and faint at the very idea.  But, there might just be some merit in the idea.

No matter how you react to the proposition of whether or how much you’ll earn, this point of view is traveling at digital speed around the globe. It all started with Jay Busbee, Yahoo Financial writer, who recently wrote an article on Yahoo, using really cool charts and graphs that appear on This website was founded by Jonathan Bollag, career expert, and features career assessments for sale that include CPP’s online MBTI®.

Web Talent Marketing, a really clever Internet marketing firm, developed the Infographic and has facilitated its rise to fame. The article has appeared in major news websites such as the Huffington Post.


Some personality types like money and some are less motivated by it. Take my type, ENTJ, as a prime example. According to the chart, we earn the big bucks.

When I was a young man, as an ENTJ, I was standing on a street corner in Amarillo, Texas—not known for pleasant weather in the winter—in February with wind and snow hurling up by nose, and I remember distinctly thinking, “For $50,000 more a year, I’d move to Siberia—I’ll just buy the family a few more coats.”

Now that is terminal greed, and we ENTJ’s have it. So what’s the point? Greedy people do in fact end up keeping more.

But here’s my basic argument: What I’d be prepared to argue is that no one type has more ability to earn more than another in terms of brains or talent. However, some personality types have much more of a drive to make money and find outcomes and initiatives that make money.

People with differing personality types are not only inclined to make differing levels of income, but they often have different abilities to hold onto it. And when it comes to type and earning, as they old saying goes, it’s not what you earn but what you keep.nd initiatives that make money.

The Infographic follows Keirsey’s temperament sorter classifications, and I’ve always found them quite useful, so let’s take a look at the four categories by earnings likelihood. Below are the four temperament categories and our take of the potential of each type to earn the big bucks.

Earning Power of the Rationalists

ENTJ ENTJ’s like myself can make a lot of money—but for how long? Since we don’t understand human boundaries and have a fundamental lack of understanding of how human beings work, just when we have everything and everybody under control, someone comes along and fires us or assassinates us. When that happens, it brings our earnings average way down.
ENTP ENTP’s can earn money in technology or communications, if they can just maintain focus on one idea at a time and not drive everyone crazy with hundreds of ideas a minute that give everyone brain whiplash.
INTJ INTJ’s tend to be brilliant souls, but they’re so far up in their ivory towers they can’t even see the doors to the bank from up so high. Most often INTJ’s would rather think about a cool idea than work, and just at the point of success, they just wander away. They’re not great candidates for making money.
INTP INTP’S might make money in some circumstances as professors and writers, which is where successful INTP’s often end up. At the low end of the scale, INTP’s whose greatest talent is finding the fly in the ointment, work as building inspectors or bug exterminators. INTP’s can earn good money, but they can be a really mixed bag.

The Guardians and Earning Power

It’s the Guardians who both make money and sock it away. They make money, and they hold onto it.

ESTJ The Infographic attributes great earning power to the ESTJ. This “just do it” type makes a lot of money when there is a job to be done where people and resources are available. ESTJ’s are among the types most likely to get laid off because they need a defined project to be successful. When the project ends, the ESTJ is often first to get laid off because it is not a type that tends toward long range business strategy. Gaps in income can be real limiters to real wages.
ESFJ ESFJ’s are practical people who are great at getting outcomes through people. They are best as service providers and team coordinators. If earning is important to an ESFJ, their best route is to hook up with people who bring in lots of cash.
ISTJ I see ISTJ’s as earning and keeping more money than any other type I know. They are naturally accountants, lawyers, and bankers and naturally travel to where the money is. They count the money, defend the money, and their inclination is to keep it and not spend it. I have never heard of or seen a playboy or playgirl ISTJ. Their greatest strategic threat in an organization where they are accountants or administrators is that they’ll be replaced by QuickBooks or some other form of technology because people get tired of arguing with them when money needs to be spent.
ISFJ ISFJ’s are caregivers and their time of opportunity is here because of the huge needs we have in healthcare. ISFJ’s can earn great money as healthcare providers at any level and often earn great salaries. Since ISFJ’s tend to form relationships with co-dependent relatives, friends and partners, these people often drain them of the money they’ve made.

Artisan’s and Earning Power

Don’t count out the mechanics of type when it comes to making money. They are the ones who can end up with the most money for the least amount of effort. Money is not their priority, but they often end up having it.

ESFP The ESFP lives for social connections. Friends and gatherings of friends is a primary passion. Because they are so naturally connected and always moving, they find good deals and good deals often find them.
ESTP There is no better deal maker than the ESTP. They have an ability to make you believe they have an innate understanding of what you need. Great communicators and salespeople, they have an ability to be at the right place at the right time.
ISFP The ISFP has a passion for exploration and experience the world by moving through it. They are not passionate about money, but tend to be thrifty because their needs are not focused on material things. They can end up quite comfortable in life.
ISTP The ISTP is the personality type that can earn a bunch of money and never know how. The ISTP is the mechanic and observer of what’s going on in the world. They enjoy the camaraderie of groups involved to make and maintain things. They watch and observe, and from these people come great inventions and improvements in processes. They can end up with the patent that makes them rich.

Idealists and Earning Power.

The Idealist is all about people, and because managing people and taking care of their needs is crucial to organizations, more Idealists are turning their idealism into income. Idealism can often also stand for IT and technical skills, Idealists do well in the digital age. Idealists will be good at making money or they will totally disdain it.

ENFJ ENFJ’s have a gift for facilitating groups and getting outcomes. This skill often can place ENFJ’s with powerful people who value the skill of high level negotiation, thus the ENFJ can have great earning power.
ENFP ENFP’s thrive in organizations where there is change. They inspire people, and make them feel good about changes they would otherwise dread. Their strategic threat is getting in over their heads where intricate gut-wrenching decision processes are being made. They can find themselves beloved in the organization one day and RIFed the next because they couldn’t dign in to the difficult issues.
INFJ INFJ’s can make money as a bi-product of all the things they do for people. They are great care givers, and are often physicians and psychiatrists. They may be found in any area of healthcare. They may be making good money, but if they feel a change in inner direction, they do not feel “golden handcuffs” that prevent them from leaving.
INFP INFP’s have versatile ways of earning money. They have an affinity for technology and find themselves in key positions in very lucrative jobs. Although very private people, INFP’s often are stand-up trainers. They make excellent occupational therapists, and are sought after in rehab environments. They have a huge aversion to getting bored and can then disappear, which brings down their income average.

So the bottom line (or my bottom line anyway) is that any personality type can earn money, and quite a lot of it. Some personality types are more motivated to build wealth. Some personality types seem to have a better knack for finding money. Some personality types are better at holding on to money than others. And some don’t seem to care that much about money.

What do you think?

Austin, Texas

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Carol Kallendorf, PhD. | (512) 417-9756 

Jack Speer | (512) 417-9428


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