But this advice about raising successful kids is on another level entirely.

A British website called Gocompare, which offers a tool to compare insurance rates, analyzed the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people over the past 20 years. They found some amusing statistics--the percentage of billionaires who wear glasses, for example--and some more serious ones, like the average net worth of those whose wealth is self-made.

You can check out some of their findings here. One that popped out at me however, was Zodiac signs. It turns out that a plurality of the wealthiest people on the lists, they found, happened to have been born under the sign of Aquarius.

Cute, right? I mean, one of the signs has to be number one, right? 

But then we broke down the numbers a little more.

Do rich people have earlier birthdays?

When you account for the distribution of birthdays, 22.5% percent of those on the lists were either Aquarians or Capricorns--born between December 22 and February 28. (If the distribution of birthdays were uniform, each Zodiac sign would account for about 8.3%.)

So: 22.5% versus an expected combined 16.6%. How do we explain the difference? Is their future foretold in the stars? Is it all pure chance?

Maybe. But if you're like me, perhaps you started thinking about the bestselling book Outliers, from a few years back, by Malcolm Gladwell.

One of the most-repeated vignettes from that book is about the fact that a disproportionate number of elite professional hockey players apparently share birthday in the first few months of the year.

Hockey leagues and school cut-offs

Gladwell's explanation? Canadian youth hockey leagues have a January 1 age cutoff.

Thus, the earlier in the year a player is born during a year, the older he is relative to the other kids he plays against. He's likely to be one of the better players on his team, just because he's older--bigger and more mature. Thus, he winds up getting more coaching, more special attention, and more playing time.

Eventually, he winds up becoming a better player than his peers, as a result.

So, let's apply this to the list of the wealthiest people. It's trickier than the hockey example, to be sure. It's by no means a straight line from birth date to net worth. And--a big caveat--to my knowledge the data didn't break out those people on the list who were self-made, versus those who inherited their wealth.

That said, schools have to apply similar age cutoffs. Maybe in some systems the cutoff date is January 1; in others it might be September 1. Regardless, across all schools, kids with birthdays in January or early February are likely to be among the oldest in their classes as they grow up.

Result? It's at least plausible that children under the signs of Aquarius or Capricorn are more likely to be slightly older than their school year peers. It's not a stretch to conclude that maybe something similar to the hockey players happens. They're born earlier, so they're a little more mature. They're treated like leaders. Things might come to them a little easier in school, on average--just because they've had more time to grow up than their schoolmates.

Why are you still here?

It's all just a theory of course. But if you were to put some stock in it, maybe you start doing some gestational math... and think a little about family planning.

We tend to think of the human gestation period as nine months, but to be more accurate, it's 40 weeks--or 280 days. The first day of the Capricorn-Aquarius period is December 22. What date happens to be 280 days before December 22?

March 17.

St. Patrick's Day.


Get off the computer, my friend. Put away your phone. You've got more important things to do. Your future children's net worth might depend on it.

Published on: Mar 16, 2016