Do Wealthy Individuals Live Longer Lives?

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They say that money won’t buy you happiness, but what about health? That’s what the Longevity Science Advisory Panel in the United Kingdom set out to discover in a study that looked at the relative life expectancy for male and female adults in highly paid professional positions, as opposed to those workers who make a significantly smaller income at jobs with “routine tasks”. And according to the findings, the former category enjoys, on average, three and a half more years of life than those in the latter group. Further, the researchers concluded that this gap in longevity is widening, based on comparing their current data to statistics from the 1980s, which showed that workers in all levels of management (high or low) had virtually no difference in life expectancy (higher paid managers now get an extra year), while those who held menial jobs could expect to die two years earlier. In truth, these findings shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone.

The simple truth of the matter is that low-income earners just don’t tend to be as healthy as those who have greater expendable income, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they generally don’t have the same access to health care. Whereas highly paid professionals often receive a medical benefits package along with their salary as a matter of course, those who work in low-wage positions may not even have the option. And if health benefits are offered, employees might not be able to afford their portion of the cost, or the insurance may be substandard, providing for little real coverage. The end result is a lack of preventive care, leading to potentially serious health risks and ultimately, earlier demise. Think about it: if they can’t afford insurance, how can they afford regular check-ups and dental visits?

In addition, people living on a tight budget may lack healthy food options that are available to those with more money to spend. Eating right can be expensive. Lean meats and fresh produce cost more than pre-packaged options, and the latter can be high in sugars, fats, sodium, and preservatives, none of which are particularly healthy, especially when consumed in excess. This style of diet can lead to weight gain and a distinct lack of nutrients, and both can contribute not only to poor health, but to the onset of disorders like heart disease, diabetes, and any number of other ailments. In short, the inability to eat right could definitely play a role in truncating one’s life.

Even biology may contribute to cutting short the life expectancy of lower paid individuals. According to a study conducted by University College London, people who enjoy greater socioeconomic status tend to produce more of a hormone called DHEAS, or dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, which is thought to increase longevity. Their poorer counterparts, on the other hand, produce less. The long and short of it is that money can and does make a difference when it comes to health, and subsequently, longevity. Since those who make less money may not even have access to low-cost insurance offered by sites like, and they are relegated to eating inexpensive but unhealthy foods, they really don’t stand a chance of improving their life expectancy. And it seems that their allotted time may be growing shorter by the minute.

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