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FALL 2012
oney matters stress me out. I get my husband to
balance my chequebook and, when I have to do my
end-of-month accounting for my business, I cringe.
Given my anxious tendencies, you would think that money is
actually taking away years of my life...but this may not be true.
Does personal wealth mean that you’ll live longer? It would
seem as if the obvious answer is “yes,”given that those with
money tend to have better access to higher-quality health
care. However, studies surrounding this topic take many more
factors into consideration.
A few years ago, the University College London contributed
to part of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and found
that a human hormone called Dehydroepiandrosterone
(DHEAS) can increase human longevity. The study also found
that the DHEAS hormone is found in higher levels in wealthier
people. In other words, the richer you are, the higher the level
of the DHEAS hormone.
However, according to an article on
citing the
same study, those with high levels of this particular hormone
also exercise more, enjoy a greater number of pastimes and
have more friends and family – all of which have been known
to increase life expectancy.
Stats which attest to the fact that wealth equals longevity are
common: A study conducted by the research firm Longevity
Science Advisory Panel found that men in the U.K. with the
highest net worth live for an average of six years longer than
those with significantly less money, and the gap has been
widening over the past 20 years (
). Another U.S.
congressional budget office study also indicated that the rich
live longer by an average of nearly two years.
Yet, the specific concrete explanation behind the reason for
those with money living longer is still a bit hazy. True, it may
have recently come out that those with higher levels of DHEAS
will enjoy increased longevity, but that is only one factor in the
equation. Many more “grey area” aspects play a part in all of
It’s interesting to note that the correlation between wealth
and longevity does not only go one way (in that the wealthy
by Jennifer Cox
Can money buy
a longer life?
live longer); health can contribute to wealth as well. “It’s clear
that those who have less wealth will have fewer years to
live than those with more wealth,” said James Smith, senior
economist at the research group RAND (reported by U.S.
News Weekly). “Because you are healthy and able to work,
you are wealthier [too],”he explained. At the same time, poor
health often takes a toll on a person’s wealth, either because it
prevents one fromworking or because of expensive medical
treatments. Taken together, researchers at the University of
Chicago estimate that the gains in life expectancy between
1970 and 2000 resulted in an additional $3.2 trillion a year in
national wealth.
Many people work to make ends meet, but who would have
thought that money could also help us live longer, more fruit-
ful lives?While the age-old adage that money isn’t everything
is true, it may just be that some of our “worth” comes from
what we’re literally worth.
So, the next time I sit down to do my monthly invoicing, I’ll
revel in the fact that those numbers may just increase my
longevity. It turns out that money isn’t the root of
evil – it could be the key to life!