Researchers at Northwestern University say that every time another $50,000 is accumulated by middle age, an individual’s risk of death drops by five percent. In addition, for those who had stashed $139,000 more than a sibling, their chances of outliving them increased by 13 percent.
The study is based on 5,400 Americans tracked for almost a quarter of a century, as part of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) project, a longitudinal study on aging. Information on participants, with an average age of 46, was collected from 1994 to 1996. They were followed until 2018 by which time just over 1,000, almost a fifth, had died.
The study results suggest affluence leads to good health, rather than being a reflection of heritable traits or early experiences that cluster in families.
The bottom line? Having more money reduces mortality risk.
Dr. Eric Finegood, one of the co-authors of the study, believes the findings should be interpreted through a broader societal lens.“The U.S. ranks first in economic inequality among high-income nations. Over the past 30 years, the gap has widened through policies and practices that have diverted a substantial and increasing share of wealth from lower and middle-income groups to the affluent. Such redistribution may have implications for longevity patterns in the coming decades. Policies to reduce the wealth gap, if implemented, could be expected to generate substantial returns to public health.”
Who would have thought being wealthy would have led to a longer life span . Well, I for one am not surprised. Being wealthy gives you access to better shelter, better food options, and potentially a richer social life, all of which would likely have a positive impact on life expectancy.
But as was discussed on this blog before, just living a longer life may not be the right goal.
But living a longer life, while healthy and wealthy, seems like a winning strategy.