Americans with higher net worth in their 40s tend to live longer

Perhaps one of the keys to a long life is your net worth.

In the first wealth and longevity study to incorporate data on siblings and twins, researchers at Northwestern University analyzed mid-life adult net worth (mean age 46.7 years) and their death rates 24 years later. They found that those who were wealthier in their 40s tended to live longer.

The researchers used data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) project, a longitudinal study on aging. Using data from the first wave of collection in 1994-96 until a censorship date of 2018, the researchers used survival models to analyze the association between net worth and longevity.

To distinguish between genetics and wealth factors, the full sample was segmented into siblings and twins subsets.

In the full sample of 5,400 adults, a higher net worth was associated with a lower risk of mortality. Within the sibling and twin pairs data set (n = 2,490), they found a similar association with a tendency for the sibling or twin with more wealth to live longer than their co -brother / twin with less. This finding suggests that the wealth-longevity link may be causal, and is not simply a reflection of hereditary traits or early experiences that cluster together in families.

“Association within the family provides strong evidence that there is an association between wealth accumulation and life expectancy, because the comparison of siblings within the same family controls the whole. of the life experience and biology they share, “said corresponding author Eric Finegood, a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research.

The researchers also considered the possibility that previous health issues, such as heart disease or cancer, could impact an individual’s ability to accumulate wealth due to activity or cost limitations. health, which could confuse any association between wealth and longevity. To solve this problem, they reanalyzed the data using only people without cancer and heart disease. However, even within this healthy subgroup of individuals, the association within the family between wealth and longevity has remained.

The lead author of the study is Greg Miller, Louis W. Menk professor of psychology and faculty member of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern. Study co-authors include other Northwestern professors and interns (Edith Chen, Daniel Mroczek, Alexa Freedman) as well as researchers from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; University of West Virginia; Purdue University; and the University of Minnesota.

“Far too many American families are living on paychecks with little or no financial savings to tap into when needed,” Miller said. “At the same time, wealth inequalities have skyrocketed. Our results suggest that wealth creation is important for health at the individual level, even after taking into account the starting point of life. Thus, from a public health perspective, policies that support and protect the ability of individuals to achieve financial security are needed. “

Source of the story:

Materials provided by Northwestern University. Original written by Stéphanie Kulke. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.


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