Why Attractive People Earn More“Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of reference.” – Aristotle

Is there a link between looks and income?

Do good looking people earn more?

Not just in industries where looks matter, like modeling and entertainment, but in average fields, like insurance and medicine?


An average of 12-14% more, according to University of Texas psychologist Daniel Hamermesh.

He calls it the “beauty premium,” because those who are attractive tend to earn more, get better opportunities, and have a wider selection of partners. They also get more attention from parents and teachers growing up, so they enjoy preferential treatment their entire lives.

Winterthur Garden
Winterthur Garden, A DuPont Estate

That’s what I was thinking while I was in “Chateau Country” recently, an affluent area along the Route 52 corridor here in Northern Delaware/Southern Pennsylvania. This is where the DuPont family settled and began building their empire in the early 1800s, and where you drive through gently rolling hills and over meandering streams to get to work. It’s lovely.

It’s also overflowing with attractive people.

That’s the conclusion my daughter Peyton came to after “shadowing” at one of the high schools in the area. We’ve been thinking of moving up here, so I had her spend the day at the school, going to classes she’d attend if she was enrolled there.

Not only was she challenged academically – a rarity for her, which is why I’m considering a change – but she went on and on about how good looking everyone was. Much more so than at her current school, which has more middle and lower class kids. The difference in looks, academics, and ambition levels is markedly differently.

So is the general community.

Stores are stocked. Service is better. Buildings are maintained.

All those little things you stop seeing in your own world that you notice immediately when you step into someone else’s.

When everyone operates at a higher level because they have the resources to do so, it makes a difference. Not only in how they function day to day, but in how much they earn and the kind of lifestyle they enjoy their entire careers.

So what does all of this have to do with you?

How you look, act, and speak determines how far you go in life.

So if your goal is to earn more and have a more affluent lifestyle, you need to start by dressing the part.


Now I know plenty of people who disagree with me, who say that how you look should have nothing to with anything else, least of all how much you earn.

But the research is clear: attractive people earn more.

In one study done in 1990, good grooming counted for more favorable hiring decisions than did job qualifications – even though interviewers claimed appearance played a small role in their choices.

It’s called the “halo effect,” and happens when you take one aspect of somebody – like their physical appearance – as a proxy for their overall character.

So if you look good, people assume you are good. If you look bad, people will assume you’re bad or ignore you all together.

But it’s not just in job situations.

Other studies reveal that attractiveness plays a key role in court decisions and jury awards. In calls for help. In political elections.


Confidence showsResearcher Markus M. Mobius identified three reasons why beautiful people are more successful:

  1. Physically attractive people are more confident. Higher confidence increases wages.
  2. Because of their confidence, physically attractive people are perceived as being more competent
    then less attractive people.
  3. Because of their confidence, physically attractive people tend to have better verbal skills and social graces, which increases their income when they interact with employers.

In other words – not to sound like a broken record – how you look, act, and speak determines your lot in life.

Because people with wealth tend to be well educated, traveled, and cultured, and they like to hang out with people who are just like them.

So again, if your goal is to be a mover and shaker, you need to look, act, and speak the part. Not only will investing in your image open more doors, it can increase your income an average of 12-14% per year – or roughly twice as much as the stock market, which has averaged 7% over the last 65 years.

Ready to see “how the other half lives”? This resource can help you join them.


Diana Pemberton-SikesDiana Pemberton-Sikes helps women make more money by helping them dress appropriately for their jobs.  Ready to create your ideal image?  Click here to get started.

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