New York: What is the connection of your net worth with a longer, healthier life? A lot, say researchers. In a first such wealth and longevity study, a team of US researchers have claimed that Americans with higher net worth at midlife tend to live longer.
Incorporating siblings and twin pair data, researchers from Northwestern University analysed the midlife net worth of adults (mean age 46.7 years) and their mortality rates 24 years later.
They discovered those with greater wealth at midlife tended to live longer.
“The within-family association provides strong evidence that an association between wealth accumulation and life expectancy exists, because comparing siblings within the same family to each other controls for all of the life experience and biology that they share,” said Eric Finegood, a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern.
The researchers also considered the possibility that previous health conditions, such as heart disease or cancer, could impact an individual’s ability to accrue wealth due to activity limitations or healthcare costs — possibly confounding any association between wealth and longevity.
To address this, they re-analysed the data using only individuals without cancer or heart disease.
However, even within this sub-group of healthy individuals, the within-family association between wealth and longevity remained, said the findings published in the journal JAMA Health Forum.
Far too many American families are living paycheck to paycheck with little to no financial savings to draw on in times of need.
“At the same time, wealth inequality has skyrocketed. Our results suggest that building wealth is important for health at the individual level, even after accounting for where one starts out in life,” said senior study author Greg Miller.
“So, from a public health perspective, policies that support and protect individuals’ ability to achieve financial security are needed”, Miller added.