Are the wealthy also healthier?

Share This Post

Reckon old Scrooge McDuck is still alive and kicking? According to new research, highly likely. A recent global study has revealed that wealthy people tend to live longer and, on average, enjoy eight to nine healthier years compared to those who have less money. The findings published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A were drawn from the question regarding the role socioeconomic factors play in how long people live healthy lives. (Spoiler alert: It’s a big one.) 

To find an answer, researchers from several countries, including England and America, analysed the data of over 25 000 people over the age of 50. They looked at how various factors like education, social class and economic status predicted how long a person would live free of health conditions that impaired quality of life. The parameters where pretty simple. How long could someone live before daily activities like getting out of bed or cooking for themselves became too difficult? Of all the factors they considered, the one that had the biggest effect was wealth.

Rich dad, healthier dad

Researchers didn’t have to dig too deep to figure out why having more money  meant better health. Their conclusion was that access to funds means access to healthcare. “More wealth means it’s easier to get to your appointments and access additional services that would not be available to people with less,” said Dr Corinna Loeckenhoff, when interviewed about the study by The New York Times. 

Loeckenhoff, a supervisor of the Healthy Aging Laboratory at Cornell University in New York, also noted that poverty has been linked to higher stress levels, something that also has a big effect on our wellbeing. After all, many health conditions including cardiovascular diseases – the number one cause of death globally – have been linked to chronic stress.

The poverty stress connection

While nobody’s immune to feeling the pressures of daily life, it’s much easier to manage your stress levels when you can afford a good psychologist, a masseuse with magic hands or a relaxing weekend retreat. Also, not having to worry about money itself is a giant relief. 

Data from the American Psychological Association (APA) shows that money sits at the top of the list of things stressing out those living in the States. “Regardless of the economic climate, money and finances have remained the top stressor since our survey began in 2007. Furthermore, this year’s survey shows that stress related to financial issues could have a significant impact on Americans’ health and well-being,” says APA CEO Norman B. Anderson.

A report by financial education and servicing company Salary Finance – which surveyed 10,484 US employees – found that “money and finances are the leading cause of stress for 48% of American workers in general.

In addition, a 2017 poll commissioned by US financial protection benefits provider Unum found that “45% of men were stressed about their finances,” as reported in Business Wire.

While financial stress affects all genders, research conducted by Yolt Technology Services “found that nearly 2.3 million men in

the UK have had panic attacks as a direct result of financial worries”. Moreover, “14% struggle to sleep for worry over money… and 12% said they ignored their financial concerns as it caused them to feel anxious or depressed,” as noted in UK Tech News. 

The good news

If you’re living on the financial edge and concerned about how it may affect your health, know that all is not lost. Experts widely consider exercise, good nutrition, relaxation and sleep as the four pillars of good health, including Dr Rangan Chatterjee, author of The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep to a Longer, Healthier life (Penguin Life). “We are used to the idea that certain lifestyles are bad for us. Perhaps a less familiar idea is that our lifestyles can actually be medicine”, he says. 

Better yet, much of his lifestyle-improving advice isn’t going to hurt your wallet. For example, joining a gym might be out of your budget, but walking more than 10 000 steps a day is not. Getting used to enjoying your coffee without three sugars doesn’t come at a price. Neither does keeping a gratitude journal. Ultimately, the rich might have easier access to health care and experience a different type of stress, but making healthier choices doesn’t always have to depend on your bank balance.

.

.

Wealthness Pty Ltd ABN 13 231 248 112 [t/a Better Financial Planning Australia] is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL No. 236523. It is important to be aware that Better Financial Planning Australia is not authorised by Infocus to provide advice relating to credit services or property advice. Infocus is not responsible for any advice outside of the scope of this authorisation and should you wish to act on any of this general information, please first seek professional financial advice.
Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia will endeavour to update the website as needed. However, information can change without notice and Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia does not guarantee the accuracy of information on the website, including information provided by third parties, at any time.
This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be specific advice on any particular matter. Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information contained herein but should seek appropriate professional advice based upon their own personal circumstances. Although we consider the sources for this material reliable, no warranty is given and no liability is accepted for any statement or opinion or for any error or omission.
Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information which is contained in this website. Except insofar as any liability under statute cannot be excluded, Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia and its employees do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person.
Wealthness Pty Ltd (ACN 613 313 250) [t/a Better Financial Planning Australia] Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL Licence No. 236523.

Source: ASIC HealthLogix

More To Explore

Teaching kids about money

Start early to get your kids on track for the future Raising your kids to be smart with money gives them vital life skills. As

Banking and credit scams

How to spot a scam and protect yourself against scammers If someone asks you to verify or give your personal details or offers you a

Stay TUNED
Stay TUNED

Our Podcast ‘Sharing More Than The Sheets’ is designed to help Australians like you, DO BETTER, BE BETTER and FEEL BETTER with your finances.