How Being a Firstborn Can Get You Rich
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February 23, 2012

Have younger siblings? Chances are you're more interested in intellectual, cognitive careers, such as medicine, law, accounting and engineering, that wield larger paychecks than your younger brothers and sisters have. They're often drawn to artistic and outdoor-related careers.

Chances are you also had your fair share of fights in the back seat, too.

Besides always getting the window (or the middle seat if you were the youngest), your birth order also has a lot of pull with your finances. In addition to driving career choices, Derrick Kinney, an Ameriprise financial adviser at Derrick Kinney & Associates in Arlington, Texas, says your birth order can affect your relationship with money and how adeptly you manage your credit score. Being the oldest, the youngest or somewhere in between can affect how high your credit score might surge or how much debt you're likely to rack up.

RELATED: How Clinging to Mommy and Daddy Is Ruining a Generation

A few tricks of the trade can help keep your birth order from dragging down your credit score and keep you from piling up a mountain of debt. Here's a look at what you need to know to stay out of the financial middle seat.

Fierce responsibility is a prominent trait of firstborns, says Dr. Soroya Bacchus, a triple board-certified psychiatrist based in Los Angeles. "They're the most punctual about paying bills because they love to be seen as stable and dependable," says Bacchus. "They won't let financial details like payment due dates and avoiding unnecessary over-the-limit fees fall through the cracks."

Bacchus says firstborns are also phenomenally organized and "keep their finances in order." So they often have great credit scores. "Thirty-five percent of your FICO score is based on paying bills on time. So being responsible helps your credit score," says Chris Dlugozima, certified consumer credit counselor at GreenPath Debt Solutions in New York.

But all that perfectionism and drive of being the first in the birth order can backfire. "More often than not, being a perfectionist leads to burnout and giving up or setting unrealistic financial goals," says Kinney. "That may sabotage your finances."

Temper your traits: Instead of setting an unrealistic long-term goal like tripling the amount you put into your 401(k) every month, Kinney suggests setting attainable short-term goals.

Middle Children
"Middle children are inventive, natural problem-solvers. They grow up thinking they can handle anything themselves, including money problems," says Bacchus.

"Being inventive can result in constantly moving debt around between different cards through cash advances and balance transfers," says Dlugozima.  Bacchus says it also makes them prone to secrecy. "Inventing" ways to a pay a bill or to afford an impulse splurge can create the need to cover up -- or ignore -- financial troubles.

A secretive side muddies middle's water, making them more likely to hide financial secrets such as unpaid bills and accounts sent to collection from their spouses. They believe they can fix the problem themselves. Dlugozima says when a middle child and his spouse seek a mortgage or loan together, a middle's in-the-dark mate may be blindsided with a rejection because of the money-hiding middle's secret poor credit scores.

Temper your traits: Kinney says soul-searching helps resist the temptation to be secretive. "If it's embarrassing or disappointing to not have enough money so you get creative, (then) instead of secrecy, work together to create a mutual plan to turn your finances around," he says.