Some days I feel like I write too much about money. Then I read something in the news that makes me feel like I couldn’t possibly write enough about money.
This article in Aeon magazine is a great example: Costly new longevity drugs could help the wealthy live 120 years or more – but will everyone else die young?
The article explains that there’s a “longevity gap” between those with money and without money. For example, “College-educated white men can expect to live to age 80, while counterparts without a high-school diploma die by age 67.”
The article digs into some of the reasons why those with less money are likely to die younger:
“Scraping to come up with routine living expenses – food, shelter, medical care, transportation – can cause chronic insomnia and anxiety, which boosts levels of cortisol, the stress hormone in the blood. This already makes the poor more vulnerable to a cascade of debilitating, life-threatening ills, from diabetes to high blood pressure and heart disease… People who are poor get sick more often. They live in higher-density households, and when one gets sick, everyone gets sick. And these disparities are going to expand.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who are more financially secure:
“[The benefits] range from simply growing up in less toxic environments with two financially stable parents to the ability to secure good jobs that provide decent salaries and adequate health insurance. They live in more prosperous communities with less crime and decent public schools, ample doctors and hospitals, better food and nutrition, and superior social services that cushion any fall…. [Gerontologist Caleb Finch says], ‘They engage in health-promoting behaviours, they don’t smoke, and they’re more likely to have time to exercise.'”
It hardly seems like surprising news that having financial success would lead to living longer.
However, the magazine points out that the gap has widening. Not only that, but paints a picture of new medicines being able to the rich that could drastically widen the gap even more. I’m a skeptical of their examples, we’ve been hearing about scientists extending rats lives for years, but translating the research to humans is a whole other ball of wax. Still, I’ll agree with the magazine’s general premise even if I believe it is a little aggressive.
Do you think people might think about money differently if they knew that managing it wisely could lead towards living a lot longer? I like to think they would. Then again, people don’t always make healthy choices when eating so I can’t see them suddenly saving money as if their life depends on it… even if it does.