Why 'popular' kids may make more money later in life - KMSP-TV

Why 'popular' kids may make more money later in life

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Everyone takes on a role in high school, but does popularity affect grown-up life?

"I see men and women in their 40s and they have low self-esteem, and when I do a check about their history and what happened in childhood, a lot of these parents, it's because they were bullied or not in the popular group," explained Dr. Stacey Scheckner.

The popular may profit too, according to the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which followed more than 10,000 people who graduated in 1957. Those considered popular in high school earn more money now.

Forty years after graduation, the most popular earned 10 percent more than the high school geeks. That's about half the income boost they'd get from an extra year of school.

PHOTOS: Before they were famous: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/22210158/2013/05/09/before-they-were-famous

The explanation? The report found popularity translates in to a "skill." It's considered an ability to "adjust to the demands of a social situation" on the job.

"I know there are some guys who were very popular in high school who are world class losers," said Mel Lohn.

We asked the Tampa business owner about his high school social standing.

"I was in the high school band, so that would have been pretty much a geek," he said.

The geek grew in to a successful entrepreneur, with a restaurant open for 40 years.

"Often times, we measure success in dollars and cents, and the wealthiest people we know are often not the happiest people I know," he said.

His success isn't tied to hot dog sales.

"I measure my success in the success of my children, in the success of my marriage and the success of my relationships with my kids and my wife," Lohn said.

Mel offers hope for the less popular crowd and Dr. Scheckner agrees.

"You take it as ‘Is it nice they exclude you?' If it's not nice they exclude you then why would you want to be friends with that type of person?" she advises young people.

After all being a geek may have been part of what helped Bill Gates become the richest man in America.

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