Beyoncé or Mozart? New Study Suggests Music Impacts your Money

Hop Hop Artist Jay-Z and Singer Beyonce
Beyonce | Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS

The music you like could be linked to how you manage your finances.  A new study conducted on behalf of TD Ameritrade surveyed more than 1,500 millennials to analyze the connection between their taste in music and how they approach finances. The survey suggests respondents who prefer classical and electronic music are better at managing their finances.

The Cheat Sheet spoke with Christine Russell, TD Ameritrade’s senior manager of retirement and annuities, to learn more about the study.

The Cheat Sheet: Why and how does music impact financial preferences?

Christine Russell: Dozens of studies conducted by psychologists around the world tied music preferences into various things: personality types, level of creativity, and even IQ scores. All these studies suggest that musical taste can really say something about your personality and overall lifestyle. We were interested in seeing if this translates into attitudes toward finances, which is why we conducted this study. Our results show those who prefer classical and electronic music tend to fare better financially.

 CS: Do you think changing the type of music you listen to would have a subconscious effect on how you handle money?

CR: While we don’t have data supporting the claim that changing the type of music you listen to has a subconscious effect on how you handle money, we have seen studies showing that changing the type of music can alter a person’s mood. For example, when you’re listening to music that makes you feel more confident and in control—it may theoretically translate into how you feel about handling finances.

CS: What were some survey results that surprised you?

CR: We were surprised to see such consistency in our results. For those who regularly listen to classical and electronic music, our findings showed they fared better financially in all the categories we measured: financial security, personal income, financial literacy, and investing in the stock market.

CS: Is it possible the survey results had more to do with the personality type of the people who are drawn to certain musical styles rather than the type of music that person listens to?

CR: As psychological studies suggest that music taste correlates with personality, it’s likely that the personality type plays a big role in the overall picture.

CS: What advice would you have for those who want to improve their finances?

CR: For those who want to improve their finances I would suggest they:

  • Prioritize paying off high-interest credit card debt.
  • Establish an emergency fund to cover unforeseen life circumstances.
  • Have a regular contribution that goes toward retirement savings, such as a 401(k) – especially if your employer has a matching program.

 CS: Anything to add?

CR: While not the most financially confident, country music listeners seem to be the happiest. They have an average personal income of $58,500, but say they only need $54,200 to feel happy. This was the only group in our survey who met or exceeded their income expectations for happiness. Meanwhile, classical music listeners have an average personal income of $114,300 but need $171,400 to feel happy.

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