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The Home Economist: Learn Early, Make More Money?

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By Brett Graff

Still, they also offer real and free ways we can introduce fundamentals to our young kids today so they can soar financially tomorrow.

“Children who have acquired more skill in reading at age 7 have a cascade of positive events,” said Timothy Bates, a University of Edinburgh psychology professor, “and by adulthood are earning significantly more.”

How much? Bates found an increase in one level of reading at age 7 translated into an $8,000 increase in yearly earnings by age 45. In fact, after following 17,000 people in the United Kingdom over four decades, Bates saw that young subjects who were better at reading and math still ended up having higher incomes, better housing and better jobs in adulthood than the kids who had perhaps higher IQs or richer parents, but read or performed math at lower levels. And he expects that here in the United States, where our system is more merit-based, we’d see the same effect, only stronger.

“These findings imply that basic childhood skills, independent of how smart you are, how long you stay in school or the social class you started off in will be important throughout your life,” Bates said.

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