Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Rich People Don’t Just Live Longer. They Also Get More Healthy Years.

SandtimerPaola Zaninotto, a professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London, was a lead author a recent study published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A. The study showed that the wealthy live longer and also have eight to nine more healthy years after 50 than the poorest individuals in the United States and in England.

The study analyzed data two existing data sets containing more than 25,000 people over 50. Instead of income, the study defined wealth as the person's financial assets such as their home and possessions, minus their debts. For Americans, the average wealth was $29,000 for the poorest group, $180,000 for the middle group and $980,000 for the richest group, Dr. Zaninotto said.In both countries, wealthy women tended to live 33 disability-free years after age 50 and wealthy men 31 disability-free years, while those that were poor eight to nine years less healthy years.

Race, social class and education level did not have any measurable effect on the results, but wealth did. “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, who was not involved in the study and is the director of the Healthy Aging Laboratory at Cornell University. But there are other factors to consider in one's longevity, such as a healthy diet, exercise, and reducing stress. The researchers had previously found that older Americans tended to be less healthy than older Britons, largely because of obesity.

See Heather Murphy, Rich People Don’t Just Live Longer. They Also Get More Healthy Years., New York Times, January 16, 2020.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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